SESSION ONE TALKING WITH YOUR FATHER. As you grow as a Christian, prayer will become an important part of your everyday life.

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1 BASIC PRAYER

2 Watch Video 1, Anytime, Anywhere. SESSION ONE TALKING WITH YOUR FATHER As you grow as a Christian, prayer will become an important part of your everyday life. Jesus Himself often prayed. The Bible tells us that Jesus sometimes would go to a place where He could spend time alone with God the Father in prayer. Jesus followers knew that prayer was important because they saw the example of prayer in Jesus life. So one day they came to Jesus and said to Him, Lord, teach us to pray. The prayer in Luke 11:2-4 and also in Matthew 6:9-13 is sometimes called the Lord s Prayer. Christians sometimes say this prayer together in worship services. This is good, but Jesus wants you to do more than this. Jesus said, This is how you should pray. Jesus wants you to use the principles in this prayer as a basis for your own personal prayer life. So it would be better to call this prayer the model prayer or the example prayer. 1. Read Luke 11: The beginning of verse 2 tells what the relationship between the Christian and God is like. On the basis of this verse, how would you describe your own personal relationship with God? God is our Father in heaven. The teaching that God is the heavenly Father is unique to Christianity. No other religion emphasizes God as Father. This is because it is only possible to have a Father-child relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. John 1:12 tells us that those who believe in Jesus are given the right to become children of God. Romans 8:14 teaches that God s Spirit (the Holy Spirit) works in those who believe in Jesus to make them into God s children. According to Romans 8:15-16: You received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God s children. Since God is your Father, He is concerned about every part of your life. When you talk to God the Father, God s Spirit reminds you that since you are God s beloved child you can tell Him anything. In your prayers, you should tell God about your needs, your desires, your feelings, your fears, and your joys. God wants to assist you with every problem of life, whether physical, psychological, or spiritual. God wants to walk with you through every situation in life, no matter how difficult or wonderful. God wants to calm all of your fears and to provide you with the peace and joy that only He can give.

3 1. Read Luke 11: Think about the importance of prayer and the manner of prayer in your own personal life until this time. What does your way of praying show about your own personal relationship with God the Father? 3. Share about when God answered your prayer in an unexpected way. 4. Share about when God did not give you what you wanted. Jesus promises that God will always answer your prayers. But God s answers to your prayers will not always be Yes. God will not always give you what you want. Our Father in heaven loves you and only wants to give you the best gifts. He only wants to give you what is good for you. So sometimes God s answer will be No because you have asked Him for something that is not good for you. In verses 11 and 12, Jesus asks: Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? No human parent who loves his or her child will give the child something that will hurt him. However, like children we often do not know what is best for us. Sometimes we actually ask God for something that is harmful. We ask God for a snake or a scorpion. These are poisonous animals whose bite can injure or even kill a person. We may ask God for something because it seems good to us, but God says No because he knows what we ask for is harmful. Since you are God s beloved child, God only wants to give you His best gifts. 1. Have each person mention one or two good gifts that the Heavenly Father has given to them. 2. Pray together. Each person should thank the Heavenly Father for the good gifts that He has given to them. Personal Application 1. As you go through the week make a list of the Heavenly Father s good gifts to you and the people that you know. Try to add at least one or two new things to your list everyday. 2. Sometime each day pray a prayer of thanks to the Heavenly Father for His good gifts to you and the people that you know. 3. Be prepared to share with your small group what God has taught you through this experience.

4 SESSION TWO KNOWING GOD S WILL 1. What did you learn through the personal application last week? 2. Read Luke 11:1-4. In the phrase, Your Kingdom come, the word kingdom refers to God s rule or control over the world. This includes God s rule over the everyday lives of Christians. As a believer, you not only refer to God as, Father. You also call Him, Lord. The prayer, Your Kingdom come is another way of calling God your Lord or master. It is another way of saying, God, I want You to be the ruler of my life. When you say, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, if you really mean these words you must be willing to give up your own will, desires, and dreams in order to do God s will. Otherwise the words Your will be done become meaningless. The goal of the Christian life is to follow Jesus. Christians call following Jesus and becoming like him discipleship. In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. When you became a Christian, you repented of your sin and believed in Jesus Christ. You turned away from your old life controlled by your own desires to become a follower of Jesus Christ. At that moment you began to walk with Jesus. Now you must continue your walk with Jesus by daily doing the same thing that you did when your walk with Jesus began. Everyday you must turn away from your own selfish desires. Everyday to must seek to know Jesus will for your life so that you can do what He wants you to do. The goal of prayer is to seek God s will so that you can do it. What does this suggest about the content of your prayers? One goal of prayer is discovering God s will. You begin by telling God your own thoughts, feelings and desires. As you share with God from your own heart, he will help you to understand his heart. Through prayer you will meet God face to face. You will come to understand that God s hopes and desires for your life are more wonderful than what you could have imagined for yourself. As a result of prayer, your own thoughts and desires will be changed so that God s thoughts become your own thoughts and God s desires become your own desires. However, do not expect this to happen immediately. Reaching this goal of prayer, knowing and doing God s will, takes time. God speaks to you through the Bible. But you can also use the Bible to assist you in talking to God. You can use many passages in Bible as a basis for your prayers by praying these passages to God. As you do this, the Holy Spirit will speak to you through these words, revealing the meaning God s Word to you in a deeper way. He also will give you additional words to pray to God the Father words that you would never have thought of by yourself. As Romans 8:26 tells us, In the same way,

5 the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 1. Divide into groups of 2-3 people. Use Romans 8:31-39 as a model for your prayer by praying the words of the passage to God. As God speaks to you, each person should add their own words to the prayer. 2. Talk about what God taught you through this experience. Personal Application Each day this week choose one of the passages below. Use it as a model for your prayer by praying the words of the passage to God. As God leads you, continue the prayer in your own words. Write down any insights that God shows you during these prayers. Come prepared to share these insights with your small group. Psalm 4 Psalm 51:10-17 Psalm 5 Psalm 91:9-16 Psalm 15 Psalm 103 Psalm 25:1-10 Psalm 113

6 SESSION THREE THE MODEL PRAYER 1. What insights did God give to you during your personal application last week? 2. Read Luke 11:1-4 Jesus gave his disciples the Model Prayer to teach them the basic principles of prayer. By studying and applying the principles of Jesus Model Prayer, you can begin to develop a strong and effective prayer life. Jesus prayer begins, Father, hollowed be your name. (Luke 11:2) You should begin prayer by praising God for who He is. Praising God is an act of worship. The teaching that God is Father is extremely important because it is unique to Christianity. Only those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are made God s children through the work of the Holy Spirit. God s name is holy because God Himself is holy. This means that God is righteous and pure. God has never done anything wrong. God never makes mistakes. As James 1:13 tells us, God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does he tempt anyone. There are also many other descriptions of God in Scripture that let us know about God s character who God is and what God is like. 1. What are some other terms for God or descriptions of God in Scripture that you can use when addressing God in prayer? 2. Pray together. Each person should pray one or two sentences. Use this time to praise God using the terms and descriptions for God that were just mentioned. You can also use other terms and descriptions to praise God that you think of while you are praying. Remember that one goal of prayer is to seek God s will. This is expressed most clearly in Matthew 6:10: Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. When you say to God, Your will be done, you must be willing to submit your own will and desires to God and even, when necessary, give up your own desires in order to do God s will. Otherwise the words of this prayer are meaningless. Like Jesus, you must come to the place where you can honestly pray, Not my will, but yours be done. (Luke 22:42) This is what it means when you say that you are a Christian. To be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus. As a Christian your goal should be to obey God s will and to fulfill His plan for your life. Growing in your understanding of God s will for your life is discipleship. Doing God s will results in a life of ministry to other people. Divide into groups of two or three. Have each person mention one or two areas of his life that he is struggling to submit to God s will. Now pray together. Ask God for his help and strength to enable you to submit these areas of your lives to God s will.

7 Your prayer should include a petition of your needs and desires. Jesus teaches that you should pray, Give us each day our daily bread. (Luke 11:3) This seems to be simple, but it is not a simple prayer. In order to pray this prayer you must acknowledge your dependence on God. Were it not for God s creation, you would not have what you need. Actually, without God s creation you would not even exist. You should also thank God for what he has already provided for you. Thanking God for what He has provided is another way for you to worship Him. Through His creation, God has provided human beings with everything that we need for life: food, water, air, housing, clothing, family and friends. Even the universe, the earth, and life itself have been provided for us by God. 1. Have each person mention one or two things that you are thankful for. 2. Pray together. Each person should pray one or two sentences. Thank God together for His blessings. In prayer you should also intercede for the needs of other people, especially your family and friends. Those who do not believe in Christ as their own Lord and Savior need your prayer the most. Many people do not want to admit that they are created by God because they do not want to acknowledge their dependence on him. They are too proud. They think that they are strong and do not need God. They think that they can live without God s help. These people think that they can say what they want to say and do what they want to do. However, despite how much these people claim to have personal freedom, the truth is that they are totally and completely dependent upon God. 1. Have each person name one person that they want to pray for. Each person should give the person s name and need. 2. Pray together. Have each person pray for the name and need that another person mentioned. Finally, you should confess your sins to God. Jesus teaches that you should pray, Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. (Luke 11:4) You should ask God for his assistance in overcoming evil in the world. You may agree with the widespread idea that the world would be a better place if there were no selfishness, hatred, violence, and war. You must remember, however, that all such evil begins in the human heart. This is explained so well James 4:1-2: What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something, but you don t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. Your own contribution to overcoming evil in the world must begin with overcoming the evil in your own life your own selfishness, anger and hatred. You can only truly love and forgive other people when you have experienced God s love and forgiveness in your own life. You cannot help change the world until you change yourself. But you cannot change yourself by yourself. This is only possible

8 through the power of God. Only God can give you forgiveness of sin and new life through Jesus Christ. Have individual prayers. Each person should ask God to show him any unconfessed sin that he has. Then he should confess those sins to God now and ask for God s forgiveness. Watch Video 2, Praying the Model Prayer Share what God has taught you as a result of today s study and application of the Model Prayer. Personal Application Pray each day this week using the Model Prayer as a guide for your prayer time. Reflection 1. What questions do you have about prayer that need to be answered? 2. What new insights do you have about prayer? 3. What is your plan to apply your new insights to your own prayer life? 4. What is your plan to share your insights about prayer with someone else and to help them to implement them in their own life?

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