16 May 1993

Basics study: Week 4

Week 4: Prayer

This lesson is part of an 8-week study series on the basics of Christian life.

6:30 - 6:45 Gather, socialize.
6:45 - 7:20 Eat.
7:20 - 7:25 Sing.
7:25 - 7:30 Discuss pledges. Are they helping?
7:30 - 9:10 Study/discussion.
9:10 - 9:20 Take prayer requests.
9:20 - 9:30 Pray.

Open in prayer.

7:30 Refresher

  1. Why does God forget our sins? Isaiah 43:25
    • He wants a relationship with us.
  2. What is the effect of unconfessed sin in our lives? Psalm 32:1-5
    • puts distance in our relationship with God
  3. What effect does it have if we do not forgive others? Matthew 6:14-15
    • ditto
  4. Based on these ideas, what are some prerequisites to having our prayers heard?

7:35 Turn to 1 John 3:21-23.

  1. When can we have confidence before God?
  2. What does it mean for our hearts to not condemn us?
  3. When will our hearts not condemn us?
  4. How does this relate to what we've been studying the past two weeks?
  5. How does our loving others affect our assurance and our prayers?
  6. 7:40 So, what is the confidence that we can have in approaching God? 1 John 5:14-15
  7. What does it mean to 'pray in His will'?
  8. Why do you think John stresses the fact that God hears us?
  9. Does it ever feel like God doesn't hear you?

7:45 Turn to John 16:23-27.

  1. How did the nature of prayer change with Jesus? relationship
  2. What does it mean to ask in His name?
  3. How important is it to say, "In Jesus' name, Amen"?
  4. What is important? relationship

7:50 Turn to John 15:5-8,16-17.

  1. What is the condition for answered prayer given here?
  2. What does it mean to remain in Him and have His words remain in you?
    • continual relationship with Jesus
  3. How does this condition for answered prayer relate to the other conditions we've talked about?
  4. Why does God answer our prayers?

Turn to Matthew 6:5-15.

  1. 7:55 Does v. 6 mean that you should never pray in public?
  2. What was the Pharisees' primary motive for praying?
  3. What does v. 6 mean?
  4. Is this ever relevant to modern-day Christians?
  5. 8:00 What does it mean to 'keep on babbling like pagans'?
  6. Why do pagans talk on and on?
  7. Do we as Christians ever keep on praying longer than we need to present our request in a public assembly? Why?
  8. What is the point of v. 8?
    • don't need to explain to God, only appeal

Read Ecclesiastes 5:2-3.

  1. 8:05 Do you think Jesus means that we should always use these exact words when we pray?
  2. What does he mean?
  3. What is the first thing we should focus on?
    • who God is; our relationship to Him
  4. What is the most important thing we need to pray for?
    • God's glory; God's will
  5. What sorts of things should we pray for for ourselves?
    • simple necessities - not luxuries
    • forgiveness
    • protection from the attacks of the enemy
  6. Does the context of v. 14-15 have any implications on how we should interpret that passage?
    • We need to forgive others in order to have our prayers be heard.

8:15 Read Matthew 7:7-11.

  1. Does it ever seem as if you seek and do not find? Or as if you ask God for bread and He gives you a stone?
  2. How does that make you feel? about yourself? about God?
  3. Do you think this is a promise God wants us to test?
  4. 8:20 We're going to look at one of the great 'unanswered prayers' of the Bible.

Turn to Luke 22:39-46.

  1. What does Jesus stress as one of the most important purposes of prayer?
  2. How does praying keep us from falling into temptation?
  3. What was Jesus praying for?
  4. What was his highest priority in his prayer?
  5. Did God answer his prayer? Yes, although not in the way he most wanted
  6. Did God give him the bread he asked for? Yes, in the form of strength
  7. What was it about Jesus' prayer that allowed God to answer it?
  8. How can we model this in the way we pray?

8:25 Unanswered prayer

  1. Do any of the passages we've studied say that God will always respond immediately to our requests?
  2. Do any of them say that God will answer our selfish requests?
  3. What do they say?
  4. From what we know about God, how would He most likely respond to a request for something that is harmful to us, or not in our best interest?

8:30 Turn to James 4:1-3.

  1. What is the most common reason for unanswered prayers?
  2. What should we do if we recognize that we have wrong motives? v. 7-10

8:35 Read Matthew 21:21-22; James 1:5-7.

  1. Is it important to expect answers to our prayers?
  2. How can we hope to ever have a prayer answered once we get to the point of doubting?
    • study and meditate upon these Scriptures
    • get others to pray for us
  3. Does it ever happen that there is no unconfessed sin in our lives, that we have examined our motives and found them pure, that we are praying in full assurance that God is listening, and He still doesn't seem to answer our prayers? What should we do then?

8:40 Read Luke 11:5-8; turn to Luke 18:1-8.

  1. What is the point of these parables? v. 1
  2. What does God want us to do when he doesn't seem to be answering our prayers?
  3. What might you infer is one reason God delays answering our prayers? v. 8

8:50 Read Philippians 1:3; Colossians 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

  1. How often should we pray? Is prayer more something that we do, or something that we are?
  2. Do we pray continually? Why not?

Power of unified prayer

9:00 Read Acts 1:14; turn to Matthew 18:19.

  1. What does it mean to come together in Jesus' name?
  2. What does it mean to agree about something you ask for?
  3. Is it the same as not disagreeing?
  4. Do you think that most of the time Christians pray in a group, they are agreeing in prayer?

9:05 Turn to 2 Chronicles 7:14.

  1. What is the source of healing for a hurting land?
  2. Would you consider the United States of America a hurting land?
  3. What will bring healing?
  4. Suggest examining some more of the prayers in the Bible, especially Psalms and Nehemiah 1&2. Compare with the model of Matthew 6.

Topic for next week: Peace

Memory verse for next week: Philippians 4:6-7 or John 14:27.

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