V – The Practice of Prayer

///V – The Practice of Prayer
V – The Practice of Prayer2017-03-30T17:07:01-05:00
Study Explanation
Key Scripture
Discussion Guides
Growing Exercises
Recommended Reading

Explanation

Prayer is talking to God.  And prayer is God listening.   And God speaking.  And God responding.  Prayer is dancing with the divine.  Prayer is fellowship and intimacy with the Living God.  Those who truly know God know how to pray.  It is how we communicate with him and commune with him.  Prayer may very well be the primary medium of our relationship with him.  Most people instinctively understand these things.  However, we often have great difficulty capturing this dynamic and vibrancy in our prayer lives.  In fact, praying for some of us feels mundane or even stale.  Does the Bible help?  Does it give us insight into prayer and how God relates to us as individuals?  How should we pray?  How should we not pray?  What can we learn from the people in the Bible about prayer?  How do we foster fellowship and intimacy with him?

KEY SCRIPTURES

Key Scriptures

Key Scriptures are designed to give a biblical overview of the topic in question.  They are extremely valuable for gaining an immediate general understanding of what the Bible teaches on a given subject.  Key Scriptures are the first place you should explore when starting a new subject.  They can be discussed individually, in part, or in whole.  Generic inductive Bible study questions are provided to assist you in your discussion.  Key Scriptures are also good for memorizing and reference.

Why Pray

Psalm 34:8 – Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. NIV

Revelation 3:20 – Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. NIV

Psalm 91:15 – He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. NIV

1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. NIV

Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. NIV

See also Matthew 28:20, Psalm 16:11; & 37:4

The heart of prayer (answered prayer)

James 1:6 – But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. NIV

James 4:3 – When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. NIV

Proverbs 21:13 – If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. NIV

See also Zechariah 7:13, 1 Chronicles 4:10, John 14: 13-14

Pray instructions and helps

Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. NIV

Daniel 6:10 – Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. NIV

Psalm 119:148 – My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,that I may meditate on your promises. NIV

Matthew 4:2 – After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. NIV

See also Genesis 24:63, Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, Psalm 5:3; 48:9; 77:12, Acts 14:23, & Luke 2:27

How to pray

Psalm 18:3 – I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise. NIV

Psalm 32:5 – Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin. NIV

John 16:24 – Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. NIV

Psalm 119:78 – I will meditate on your precepts. NIV

See also Psalm 34:1; 63:4, 119:78, Matthew 7:11, & John 11:22

Inductive Bible Study Questions

to be used with individual Key Scriptures

  • What is the primary point of this passage?
  • How does this passage challenge us?
  • How does this passage comfort or encourage us?
  • What does this passage teach us about God?
  • What spiritual insights are found in this passage?
  • What are the personal & spiritual implications of this text?
  • What does this passage ask or require of us?

Key Scriptures Bible Study

to be used when studying all Key Scriptures together

  • Did any of the scriptures given surprise you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given confuse you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given comfort or excite you?
  • How would you sum up these scriptures to another?
  • What implications do these scriptures have for our lives?
  • Which of these scriptures would you find it valuable to memorize?

DISCUSSION GUIDES

Desire to Pray

V1 – Teach us to Pray – Luke 11:1

Key Words: Prayer, Religion, Heart

  1. What religious background did the disciples have?
  2. Having grown up around the Jewish religion, how familiar do you think they were with prayer?
  3. Why do you suppose the disciples wanted Jesus to teach them to pray?
  4. What was different about the way Jesus prayed verses the prayers they grew up listening to?
  5. Why would this be attractive to them?
  6. What were they really asking Jesus?
  7. If you were to ask, ‘Jesus, teach me to pray like you,’ what specifically would you be asking Jesus for?
  8. Do you long for that kind of prayer life?
  9. What is keeping you from attaining that kind of prayer life?
  • Approach all scripture prayerfully open
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
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V2 –Time is Love – Matthew 22: 37-38

Key Words: Prayer, Love, Sincerity

  1. In what light does this passage apply to prayer?
  2. Is it normal to truly love someone, have access to them, and not desire to spend time with them?
  3. What does it communicate when we are indifferent or cavalier about spending time with someone we say we love?
  4. Respond to the following statement: ‘Jesus is teaching us to cultivate a sincere passion for God.’
  5. How do you suppose someone with a sincere passion for God approaches the practice of prayer?
  6. In what specific ways does prayer enable the sincere believer to both give and receive love from God?
  7. How and why is prayer crucial to keeping the command to love God?
  • Approach God’s Word with humility, honesty and teachability
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
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Why pray

V3 – Hungering for God – Psalm 42: 1-2

Key Words: Prayer, God’s Presence, Religion, Intimacy with God

  1. Do you resonate with the prayer of the Psalmist… explain?
  2. Do you feel it is possible for a human being to regularly experience God’s presence?
  3. How do we know this Psalm is written by someone familiar with the presence of God?
  4. What might it say about a person’s relationship with God if they were familiar with his presence?
  5. Does the Psalmist seem to you to be more religious or more spiritual?
  6. What is the difference? How much does the Psalmist hunger to be in the presence of God?
  7. Would the Psalmist have experienced the presence of God to the same degree if he was indifferent to spending time with God?
  8. How much does the Psalmist’s hunger to meet God play into his relationship with God?
  9. Rate your prayer life on a scale of one through ten.
  10. How much does your desire to meet God play into the vibrancy of your relationship with God?
  • These questions are only suggestions, allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide
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V4 – Ask, Seek, Knock – Matthew 7: 7-11

Key Words: Prayer, Persistence, Answered Prayer, Jesus Name, Faith, Power

  1. Do you believe God answers prayer today?
  2. Do you believe God answers all prayers?
  3. How does the fact that Jesus is speaking to those seeking to live in the kingdom (the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ manifesto on kingdom living) factor into how we interpret this passage?
  4. Can those living outside the kingdom (the kingdom is where God is king and his will holds sway) claim the promises in this passage?
  5. Why would a murderer or thief not be able to claim this promise (See Matthew 6:10)?
  6. How do people genuinely seeking God and his will pray? Why would God be inclined to answer such prayers?
  7. How does the parallel passage in John 14: 13-14 impact how we view this passage?
  8. If a name in Bible times represented the authority and character of a person, what does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?
  9. What is the posture of this person praying to God: persistent, cavalier, demanding?
  10. What is God’s posture towards those who pray to him in this way: beholden, condescending, loving?
  11. Is there true power in prayer?
  • These questions are simply a foundation for you to build upon
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V5 – The Presence of Christ – Revelation 1: 12-18

Key Words: Prayer, God’s Presence, Christ’s Glory, Majesty, Deity of Christ

  1. Describe the person in John’s vision and with whom is he speaking?
  2. What was John’s reaction to who was standing before him?
  3. How do you think you would react if you experienced Christ in this way?
  4. How does this passage reveal the deity of Christ? John knew the earthly Jesus, had seen the transfigured (glorified) Christ (see Matthew 17: 1-9), and he had seen the risen Christ on multiple occasions; do you suppose this experience was different and why?
  5. How and why do you think this encounter changed John’s prayer life from this point on?
  6. How would an actual encounter like this change your prayer life?
  7. How do you respond to the idea that through prayer we enter the presence of the holy, sovereign and living God of the universe?
  8. Have you ever felt an overwhelming sense of the presence of God during prayer?
  9. How the anticipation and posture of our hearts contribute to experiencing God?
  10. What do we learn from John about how to respond to this reality: what should we do that he did?
  • Create your own study by adding and subtracting questions as needed
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V6 – The Aroma of Prayer – Revelation 8: 1-5

Key Words: Prayer, Heaven, Reverence, Hope, Persecution

  1. What is this scene in heaven about and why is it included in the middle of various scriptures regarding judgment?
  2. What is incense and why do people burn it?
  3. What does this image convey: the aroma in heaven is the prayers of the saints?
  4. In what spirit are the prayers presented in heaven: with reverence… disdain… laughter… as something precious… something holy… something inconsequential… something important to God?
  5. Does the text give any clues about how deeply God feels our prayers?
  6. What does it say about your prayers and my prayers that they are wafting up before the throne of heaven?
  7. The context of the passage is that of the martyrs and those persecuted by injustice; does God’s response give you hope?
  8. Does this scene make you more or less inclined to pray?
  • Your questions are probably better than mine
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Heart of Prayer (answered prayer)

V7 – The Heart of Prayer – Matthew 6: 5-8; 14-18

Key Words: Prayer, Heart, Sincerity, Fasting, Blessing, Humility

  1. What does this text teach is the most important aspect of prayer?
  2. Describe the attitude God is seeking from those who pray to him?
  3. What various prayer motivations are represented in the text?
  4. What do verses 5 and 16 mean when they indicate that some have already received their reward in full?
  5. What motivation is represented by these people?
  6. Contrast this motivation with the motivation/heart Jesus prescribes?
  7. Why pray or fast in secret?
  8. According to verses 6 and 18, how does God respond to those whose hearts are right when they pray and fast?
  9. Does the blessing come from the activity or motion of prayer and fasting, or is the blessing found in the humble seeking of and yielding to God?
  • Spend time with the questions prior to leading a group or coaching time
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V8 – Humble Repentant Prayer – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Key Words: Prayer, Humility, Repentance, God’s People, Attitude, Heart

  1. What clues does the text give that the people God is speaking to are experiencing tough times?
  2. What reasons can you glean from the passage about why they may be experiencing tough times?
  3. What specific things does God desire to do for the people?
  4. Why do you suppose God desires to do these things?
  5. How does this promise illustrate the macro theme or narrative of scripture: ‘I will be your God, you will be my people?’
  6. What does this passage indicate about God’s desire for a relationship with us?
  7. Who is always at fault when our relationship with God is damaged?
  8. Why is repentance always necessary to restore our relationship?
  9. According to this passage, what heart attitudes are necessary for authentic repentance?
  • Interrogatives are keys that unlock wonderful secrets 
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V9 – Prayer and Faith – Mark 11: 22-25

Key Words: Prayer, Faith, Power, Answered Prayer, Doubt

  1. According to the command in verse 22, what is the point of this passage?
  2. Is verse 23 an axiom, command, promise, illustration or something else?
  3. Is verse 24 an axiom, command, promise or illustration?
  4. Why are these distinctions important in this passage?
  5. Is this passage a blank check or is there a larger biblical context or narrative Jesus assumes here (see John 14:13 & Matthew 6: 1-18)?
  6. What does Jesus want us to understand about the connection between faith and prayer? Why is faith so important to God?
  7. What does trusting God in prayer look like; does it necessarily mean that we always receive what we ask for?
  8. Why might God not be as responsive to those who pray in doubt or unbelief?
  9. Does praying in faith also mean trusting that God knows best… explain?
  • Be like a detective who interrogates scripture 
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V10 – Praying for the Sick – James 5:16

Key Words: Prayer, Healing, Sick, Faith, Compassion, Righteousness, Power

  1. How are the following attitudes assumed by this passage: humility… concern… caring, openness… love… trust… and faith?
  2. If righteousness is defined as right relationships; how does the concept of righteousness also reinforce the aforementioned attitudes or qualities?
  3. Why might God be more responsive to the prayers of the righteous?
  4. What are the opposite qualities to the ones mentioned in the first question?
  5. Why might God be not as responsive to someone who is unrighteous in the relationships with others?
  6. What does the text indicate about the prayers of a righteous person?
  7. What does it mean for a prayer to be powerful?
  8. What does it mean for a prayer to be effective?
  9. What is the connection between successful prayer and how we live our lives?
  • The insight is found in scripture; questions are simply tools to mine the ore
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V11 – The Prayers of the Faithful – 1 John 3: 21-24

Key Words: Prayer, Faith, Obedience, Love, Righteousness, Answered Prayer

  1. What qualities in this passage lead to successful prayer?
  2. Are faith, obedience and love some kind of a magic formula or do they point to something larger: an attitude, relationship or approach to God?
  3. If so, how would you define the posture John is advocating?
  4. What is meant by the phrase, “our hearts do not condemn us?”
  5. Do verses 16-20 shed light on your answer?
  6. Does this passage teach that a right relationship with God leads to answered prayer?
  7. How and why is this true?
  8. Does it teach that a right relationship with others leads to answered prayer?
  9. How and why is this true?
  10. How does verse 21 express both positional and practical righteousness?
  11. What is the relationship between, salvation, love and prayer?
  • Follow the lines of curiosity 
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V12 – The Prayers of the Penitent – Psalm 66: 16 – 20

Key Words: Prayer, Repentance, Sin, Answered Prayer, Sincerity

  1. Why is the Psalmist so elated in this passage?
  2. Describe the spiritual condition of the petitioner?
  3. How does God specifically respond in verses 19-20?
  4. According to verse 18, what would have prevented God from answering his prayer?
  5. Does God only answer the prayers of perfect people?
  6. We all sin, does this mean that God will not answer our prayers?
  7. What is the difference between sinning and cherishing sin in our hearts?
  8. Which people would verse 18 apply to: the repentant sinner, the unrepentant… the rebellious… the good intentioned but weak… the unintentionally disobedient… the intentionally disobedient… or the flawed but trying?
  9. Why are such distinctions important when it comes to our relationship with God?
  10. Why might God inclined to answer the prayers of one, but not the other?
  • Group leaders may wish to consult a commentary for background information 
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V13 – The Prayers of the Insincere – Proverbs 1: 28-30

Key Words: Prayer, Sincerity, Calling on God

  1. Describe the person the author is speaking of and their attitude towards God?
  2. Doesn’t God want people to seek him and call on him?
  3. How is the seeking of these people flawed?
  4. Read verses 20-27. Why are these people in trouble and distress?
  5. Why are these people seeking God now? What is the difference in the attitude between those who genuinely seek and call on God verses those who seek to use God?
  6. Why might God not respond to those who seek to use him?
  7. Why would someone only seeking God when he or she needs something be offensive to God?
  • Seek to connect the dots with other scriptures and Bible content 
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V14 – The Prayers of the Unrighteous – Isaiah 1: 15-17

Key Words: Prayer, Answered Prayer, Compassion, Repentance, Integrity

  1. Does God answer all prayers?
  2. What does God mean when he says, “I will hide my eyes from you?”
  3. Why might some prayers not be answered no matter how many times we pray them?
  4. Describe the spiritual condition of the people in this passage.
  5. Are these sins of commission or omission? Does it matter?
  6. Why is compassion an important quality in those upon whom the Lord will show compassion?
  7. Why is compassion important for God’s people?
  8. What kinds of prayers might kind, compassionate and loving people pray?
  9. Why kinds of prayers might greedy, selfish and uncaring people pray?
  10. Does this distinction give insight to the passage?
  11. Why are integrity, love, repentance and righteousness important in prayer?
  • There are no greater tools for effective Bible study than humility, honesty, and diligence
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V15 – The Prayers of the Righteous – Matthew 5: 23-24

Key Words: Prayer, Righteousness, Sincerity, Integrity

  1. What principle does this passage illustrate?
  2. This is a worship passage, why does this principle also apply to prayer?
  3. How is prayer an offering (see Revelation 8: 1-5)?
  4. How does this passage advocate righteousness or right relationships?
  5. Why is a righteous life an important prayer quality (see Isaiah 1: 15-17; 1 John 3: 21-24; Matthew 6: 14-16)?
  6. What does it say about a person who seeks to be right with God, but does not seek to be right with others?
  7. Why might such a person have a hard time connecting with God?
  8. What does it mean to be righteous in your family? … in your place or work?  …with your neighbors?  …with your church?  …in your community?
  9. How does a righteous person pray?
  10. How and why does this influence how God hears this person’s prayers?
  • You are responsible for your level of engagement
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Prayer Instructions and Helps

V16 – Solitude and Simplicity – Matthew 6: 5-8; 14-15

Key Words: Prayer, Simplicity, Solitude, Answered Prayer

  1. How is the dynamic different between public and private prayer?
  2. Why does Jesus recommend solitude when praying?
  3. What prayer mistakes does Jesus point out in this passage?
  4. How does solitude protect us from the mistakes or errors Jesus points out in this passage?
  5. What advantages does solitude give us when we pray?
  6. Do you think using the term ‘Father’ rather than simply ‘God’ changes the impact of the passage? What are the nuances of each?
  7. What does Jesus mean when he says, “keep on babbling like pagans?”
  8. What is the difference between trying to impress God and just talking to God?
  9. What prayer principles would sum up this teaching from Jesus?
  • Go beyond the obvious by avoiding “Yes” or “No” answers
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V17 – Listening to God – Joshua 1: 6-9

Key Words: Prayer, Listening to God, God’s Word, God’s Presence

  1. According to verse 7, what is the book of the law referred to in verse 8?
  2. Contrast and compare the concepts of prayer and meditation?
  3. When it comes to prayer, why should listening to God be as important as talking to God?
  4. According to this passage, what is the focus of Christian meditation?
  5. What does it mean when God’s word is in our mouths?
  6. How practical is it to meditate day and night on God’s word?
  7. How do we do that in our fast paced culture?
  8. What additional responsibility do we have with God’s word?
  9. What happens when we internalize God’s word like this?
  10. What would you rather have God’s blessing or God’s presence?
  • Think before answering
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V18 – Private Worship and Praising God – Psalm 59:16

Key Words: Prayer, Praise, Singing, Worship, Joy

  1. When does this passage say David sings to the Lord?
  2. Where is David when this Psalm was written (see verse 1)?
  3. Saul sent spies to watch David’s house; what did these men witness every morning?
  4. How do we know from the rest of the Psalm that David knows his life is in danger?
  5. What does David’s private worship of God every morning say about his relationship with God?
  6. How does his singing and worship enhance his prayers and relationship with God?
  7. How does this passage indicate that worship changes our perspective from self to God?
  8. Would you feel comfortable singing to God and worshipping him when you are alone?
  9. What dimension might such worship add to your prayer times that may not currently exist?
  • Thoughtful silence is the soil of epiphany
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V19 – Corporate Prayer – Acts 13: 1-3

Key Words: Prayer, Church, Corporate Prayer, Fasting

  1. What three activities is the church in Antioch practicing together?
  2. Why might a church be fasting together?
  3. Why might they be praying together?
  4. What happened as a result of these activities?
  5. What happened as a result of Paul and Barnabas going out from them?
  6. How would this passage counsel a church that genuinely desires to hear from God?
  7. How would this passage counsel a church that genuinely desires to be used of God?
  8. What worship dynamic makes it easier to hear God’s voice?
  9. What prayer dynamic makes it easier to hear God’s voice?
  10. What fasting dynamic makes it easier to hear God’s voice?
  •  Seek Nuance
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How to Pray

V20 – Major Movements of Prayer – Matthew 6: 9-13

Key Words: Prayer, Reverence, Petition, Victory, Power, Submission, Dependance

  1. What does Jesus mean when he says this is how you should pray: is this what Jesus prayed when he prays in scripture… explain?
  2. What are we saying when we indicate God’s name (his character and person) is hallowed, holy or revered?
  3. Why might it be a good idea to begin times of prayer with worship?
  4. What does verse 10 teach us about the kingdom of God?
  5. Why is God’s kingdom perfect in heaven?
  6. When do we know it has come to earth?
  7. By praying “Your kingdom come,” are we committing to be complicit in the kingdom on earth? What does that look like?
  8. What does verse 11 teach about how we petition God?
  9. When does God know that our confession is sincere?
  10. Why do we need God’s help in dealing with temptation?
  11. Which of these is most and least prominent in your current prayer practice: worship, submission, petition, confession, dependence?
  12. Do you feel the need to strive for more balance?
  • Be sure to explore all the resources for each doctrine, virtue, and practice
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V21 – Keeping Short Accounts with God – 1 John 1: 8 – 10

Key Words: Prayer, Forgiveness, Repentance, Sin, Confession

  1. Regardless of how hard we seek God, can we be free of sin this side of heaven?
  2. Why bother to try?
  3. Is this passage speaking of salvation, or simply staying right with God?
  4. Why is it important to keep short accounts with God?
  5. What happens when we harbor unconfessed sin in our lives?
  6. What provision is made for the gaps in our righteousness?
  7. Why is it important to maintain an attitude of humility and repentance before God?
  8. What does this indicate about the regular practice of confession?
  9. How does confession aid the other aspects of our prayer lives?
  • Remember there are additional studies in the Key Scriptures section
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V22 – Praying God’s Word – John 15

Key Words: Prayer, God’s Word, Answered Prayer, Obedience, Pleasing God

  1. What does verse 7 mean when it says to ‘remain in Christ?’
  2. Why would God be eager to answer the prayers of someone who remains in Christ?
  3. What does Jesus mean when he says, “and my words remain in you?”
  4. Does this mean knowing, understanding, obeying, or practicing God’s word… explain?
  5. Why would God be eager to answer the prayers of someone living God’s word?
  6. Does God ask us to pray for such things prior to moving in these areas?
  7. Why does God sometimes wait for people to pray his will or his kingdom before doing his will or building his kingdom?
  8. What can we glean from this passage about what kinds of prayers bring God pleasure and delight?
  9. Why might God be delighted with such prayers?
  10. Is he excited about us, his kingdom, his kingdom in us, or just happy that someone finally gets it?
  • Remember there are other learning and scripture studies in the Growing Exercises section
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V23 – Jesus Models Prayer – John 17

Key Words: Prayer, Unity, Christlikeness, God’s Will, Kingdom of God

  1. What strikes you most about Jesus’ prayer?
  2. What types of things does Jesus pray for?
  3. The only time Jesus prays for himself is when he asks to be glorified or lifted up, which is to complete his mission, why is this prayer ultimately a prayer for God’s kingdom and our salvation?
  4. Are there any personal or selfish requests in this prayer?
  5. What themes does Jesus explore in this prayer?
  6. When is the last time you prayed any of these themes?
  7. How does Jesus illustrate what to pray for when we pray?
  8. How can we discern God’s will verses our will?
  9. How do we know when we are praying for God’s kingdom verse our kingdom?
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GROWING EXERCISES

  1. Begin a daily prayer time if your do not already have one. Be sure to set aside a time and place where you can be alone for at least 10 – 15 minutes.  I recommend starting with the pattern found in the Lord’s Prayer: worship, submission, petition, confession and dependence.  Be sure to stick with it for at least 30 days.
  1. Keep a prayer journal where you intentionally write down the things you pray for and then keep a list of answered prayers. A prayer journal is extremely helpful in being intentional about prayer and remembering things to pray about.  If you think of something during the day that needs prayer, you simply write it down.  You can also keep a list of things you would like to regularly pray for like your family, your church, civic leaders, etc.
  1. Spend at least 5 minutes each day for 30 days in scripture meditation. The Key Scriptures in ‘Thrive 316’ would be a great place to begin.  You may wish to memorize the passage as well.  Spend time thinking about the passage and exploring various nuances of the passage.  Emphasize each word of the passage one at a time to see how it subtlety influences to reading.  You may even wish to keep notes regarding your insights in a journal.  We often spend all of our prayer time talking to God, but scripture meditation is one way to listen to God as well.
  1. Compare and contrast substantial Bible prayers.
  1. Genesis 18: 16-33 (conversation with God)
  2. Exodus 32: 9-14 (conversation with God)
  3. 1 Chronicles 29: 9-20
  4. Daniel 9: 1-19
  5. Psalm 51
  6. Psalm 139
  7. Luke 22: 39-46
  8. John 17
  9. Ephesians 1: 15-23
  • What similarities do you find in most of these prayers?
  • What elements are unique and different?
  • How do you account for the differences?
  • What does this teach us regarding personality and circumstance in our prayers?
  • Where any of the prayers you read remind you of how you pray?
  • What common theme did you find in these prayers?
  • How will this exercise change the way you pray?
  1. Examine the following verses to make a list of things the Bible indicates we can and maybe should pray for. Consider incorporating these requests and requests like them into your prayer time with God.
  • Luke 22:42
  • 1 Samuel 1:27
  • Acts 28:7-8
  • Matthew 5:44
  • Ephesians 1: 15-23
  • James 5: 13-14
  • Hebrews 13:18
  • Romans 15:30
  • Matthew 9:38
  • 1 Timothy 2: 1-4
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14
  1. Speak with your pastor or trusted church leader to point out who they consider to be the most active and fruitful person of prayer in your congregation. Ask to take them to coffee or lunch and ask the following questions.
  • Do you know that you have a reputation for being a person of prayer? How do you respond to that?
  • When and how did prayer come to play a large role in your life?
  • Is prayer natural for you or is it something you have to work at?
  • Would you be willing to describe your prayer life with me: where do you go, when do you pray, do you use any helps or tools, what patterns do you follow, etc…?
  • What aspect of your prayer life is most satisfying to you?
  • Are there any books or resources on prayer that you would recommend?
  • What advice would you give to me if I wanted to enrich my prayer life?
  1. Practice fasting during a time when you feel you really need to focus on God or hear from God? Take the time you would normally spend eating and spend it with God.  Start by skipping a single meal.  If you wish to explore fasting further, skip that same meal every day for five days or fast for an entire day.  If scripture and experience are any indication, you should experience a heightened sense of God’s voice and leading.
  1. Make a list of the things you are grateful for and express these to God in your prayer time.
  1. Spend 30 minutes in silence before God. Before you start ask God to speak to you during this time.  You may wish to go to a quiet place or a beautiful outdoor place?  Don’t try to pray or talk to God, just relax and listen to he may be saying to you.
  1. Find a prayer partner to pray with and hold you accountable. Your ‘Thrive 316’ friend or mentor might be a really good choice.  You can meet for prayer at certain times, keep a common prayer log or journal, or you simply share prayer needs to pray for one another.
  1. Prayer walk a community or neighborhood as part of an evangelism or missions exercise. Prayer walking invites God into the work by recognizing we need him and his power to be successful.  It also places us in touch with those we are praying for.

RECOMMENDED READING

  1. The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer by E. M. Bounds
  2. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard Foster
  3. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller
  4. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
  5. With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
  6. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
  7. The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard
  8. The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg
  9. A Call to Prayer by J. C. Ryle
  10. The Prayer of the Lord by R. C. Sproul