This past week, we spent our lesson time focused on the wonder of prayer. Prayer is one of the spiritual disciplines of faith. In the most simplistic of terms, prayer is communication with God.
On Day 1, we assessed our prayer lives. We evaluated areas where we struggle in the mechanics of prayer. A few of the examples were praying out loud, staying focused and not getting distracted during prayer or feeling that the prayers went unanswered by God. Then, we looked at ways to develop a more consistent rhythm of prayer in our lives. I’ve found that keeping to a general time each day for prayer is helpful for me as well as using a notebook to record my prayer requests and thoughts about the passages of scripture that I read. One other area that has encouraged more consistent prayer in my life is recording answered prayers in my notebook. As I’ve seen prayers answered, I’ve sought God more for answers to requests and watched for His answer which has built my faith and my prayer life.
On Days 2-4, we focused on nine specific prayers of Jesus. The Lord’s Prayer was our focus on Day 2. We learned about the Aramaic word, Abba, that Jesus used for God. This word choice is more informal and translates to the English word, Dad or Daddy. We were to ponder how we approach God in prayer and if we approach Him as Dad how that affects the way we pray. We, also, briefly touched on what the words,”daily” and “temptation” refer to in the Lord’s prayer.
Our lesson on Day 3 delved more into the prayer life of Jesus. We looked at Matthew 11:25,26; John 11:41,42; John 12:27,28 and John 17:11. In each of these passages, we see Jesus’ heart for people. We see His confidence in approaching the Father as He offers Him praise and thanksgiving and we see His petition as He wrestles with God in prayer.
On Day 4, we looked at the prayers that Jesus offered up while nailed to the cross. We read Luke 23:34; Luke 23:46; Matthew 27:46; and John 10:17,18. We answered questions on forgiveness, abandonment, and obstacles. Issues that Jesus addressed in His prayers.
Our last assignment on Day 5 focused on being persistent in prayer. We were challenged to question ourselves on why we are tempted to give up on praying. One of the reasons why I’m tempted to quit is that the answer doesn’t come quick. I lack perseverance at times. Margaret Feinberg states that “we need to persevere not just in the consistency of our petitions but in learning to become people whose prayers are marked by increasing faith, humility, harmony with the will of God, and thanksgiving.”
Our memory verse this week was Romans 12:12.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Some questions to consider:
- Why is an understanding of God as a loving Abba Father so important to a healthy prayer life?
- What is most challenging about the prayer life of Jesus?
- When I pray, how does beginning with a focus on God instead of myself change my perspective and attitude in prayer?
This week, we will be working the Week 5 assignments on the Wonder of Friendship. Feel free to respond to the above questions in the comment section and/or on the Facebook page. I look forward to discussion.