The Prayer of Privilege | George Hinman | Sept 4
Review: Last week’s application was to consider who you know in the kingdom who you disagree with, don’t like being around, or perhaps whose music you can’t stand. How were you able to extend community to that person or group, to understand more about their faith and how they see the kingdom of heaven?
Introduction: Jesus was skeptical of prayer. So much of what passes for prayer amounts to nothing more than what he called “heaping up empty phrases” (Matthew 6:7). And if that’s all it is, maybe that’s why we are skeptical too and why we struggle to do it; it hardly feels worth the time. In an era of do-it-yourself spirituality, what does Jesus have to teach us about effective prayer? Maybe if we understood it as he did, we would do it as he did. Because although he was skeptical, he also had deep conviction. We read “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
We begin our study of prayer with the opening words of the Lord’s prayer, “Our Father….”
Pray: Lord, teach us to pray. Help us to grow into the love relationship that you have called us. Amen.
Read: Matthew 6:7-13
1. Why do you pray? What is the purpose? What does it accomplish?
2. Read Matthew 6:1-9. Jesus is teaching his disciples about authentic prayer.
What is the significance of the first two words, “Our Father….”?
3. Meditate on the word, “Father.” Take a minute to consider what “father” means to you.
Acknowledge that all human fathers are imperfect. Recognize that some personal histories might lead people to a very negative response to “father” while some instinctively warm to the love they experience. Share your thoughts with your group.
Describe the character of a perfect father.
4. What is the difference between seeing God as your Father rather than as a ruler?
5. How can fear be dissolved by going to your Father?
6. How does Jesus including us as his brothers and sisters by saying “our Father” impact you?
What are the innate privileges of being God’s children?
Application: Prayer is one of the best gifts we have to navigate our lives on earth. How practiced are you? Do you wish you had a deeper prayer life?
This week, look for ways to build time for prayer into your daily rhythm of life.
Pray: Lord, thank you for the gift of prayer. Thank you for being a loving father. Give us the desire, discipline and boldness to walk with you in prayer. Amen.
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