Mobile Manna applying God’s Word to our everyday lives June 21, 2011
NOTE: This is an outline for a weekly bible study I am a part of at my work. Included at the bottom is a brief “my prayer journey” from a friend that fit nicely with our bible study.
Open Discussion Question: What is prayer?
> Prayer is simply talking to God… just like we are talking to each other here… normal conversation
No ‘magic formula’:
1 John 5:14-15 – This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
John 14:13 – And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
According to these and other Scriptures, God answers prayer based on whether they are asked according to His will and in the name of Jesus (to bring glory to Jesus).
Open Discussion Question: What is the ‘proper’ way to pray?
> Think about talking to your wife… best friend… what are the characteristics of your conversations with them – openness, sincerity, honesty, joy, willingness to talk about anything, share the ups and downs, love to talk with them – typically it is not necessarily rehearsed, outlined or mono-toned – it’s honest and open
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with Him, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us – trust Him even when we don’t see the immediate answer (or at least the way we think it should be… sometimes the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not yet’.
Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness.
> How healthy would your relationships be with those closest to you if you rarely talked with them… or talked with them like a broken record?
Jesus doesn’t want to be a ‘distant relative’ who we visit or chat with once or twice a year… He wants to be our best friend – someone whom we desire to connect with and talk with every day.
Open Discussion Question: With long work days, do you still find time to pray? Do you pray with your wife/kids?
Final Thoughts on Prayer:
> Far too often, prayer is viewed as a “magic formula.” Some believe that if we do not say exactly the right things, or pray in the right position, God will not hear and answer our prayer. This is completely unbiblical. God does not answer our prayers based on when we pray, where we are, what position our body is in, or in what order we word our prayers.
> God’s desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.
> God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words.
When you pray…
Praying. There are times that it’s unmistakeable that God has shown up and directly answered when I pray. I’ve seen demons cast out, the sick healed, God’s provision “just in time”, and those far from God reconciled to Him. But there are also other times, where it seems my words are passing my lips and falling to the floor. There are times when I’m not sure if God’s really listening. There are times when I’m not sure if even I believe what I’m praying. There are times I feel I’m just saying the “right words” because that’s what I’m supposed to say “in faith”. Maybe I’m the only one, but sometimes I’ve felt that prayer was a waste of time, when I could actually be doing the work of ministry. (Part of that is my temperament, I’m more of a “get stuff done” kinda guy.) Over the course of the last few months I’ve started to get a new perspective on prayer. Part of it is due to some teaching I’ve heard on the subject, but a lot of it is also due to this process with our calling to join the staff of FamilyLife. Here’s what I’ve found. Perhaps praying is more about communion with our Creator instead of getting our wants or desires granted. (Even when those wants and desires are for good, or even godly things.) And it’s not even necessarily a process or a journey on which God is trying to teach us “something”. Sometimes I’ve felt that if I could just figure out what that “thing” was that Jesus was trying to teach me then he’d start answering my prayers. With that attitude my prayers were still focused on trying to get from God my prayers answered. I’ve come to learn prayer is more about me simply being with Jesus; instead of me asking of Jesus. Although supplication is an aspect of prayer, it’s not the main reason for praying. God does deeply care about all of our needs, wants, and desires. And it builds our faith when we pray and see a direct correlation in our situation in response to that prayer. Next month we’ll share one such story that happened recently with our oldest daughter Anna. Until then spend some time with the Lord, just being with Him. And when you get to the “asking” portion of your prayers join with us for God to do the miraculous in the areas below.