Session Overview: Prayer
The early church devoted themselves to prayer because they had been given an enormous mission. How on earth was this small group of people supposed to bring the good news of Jesus to the whole world? They were going to need God’s help, or else it would be impossible. When it comes to prayer, however, God wants us to understand certain things about his character and power.
Francis Chan mentioned that we need to be careful how we approach God instead of just saying whatever comes to our minds. We read in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near and listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.” We must always consider who we are in light of who God is, having our hearts and minds in the right posture before him.
When we pray we must also consider out motives. James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Are your prayers primarily for your own selfish gain, or are they driven by a desire to see God’s will accomplished in your life and the lives of those around you? Take the time necessary to figure out what is truly in your heart, and if you find sin and selfishness, admit those things to God and ask for forgiveness. He desires to forgive those who repent and desire to live right.
Ultimately, life isn’t about you and me. It’s about God and what he’s doing in this world through Jesus, and through you and me if we follow Jesus. It’s really easy to make all of our prayers about ourselves by asking for a list of things, and then saying, “in Jesus’ name, Amen!” But prayer is more than just asking God for whatever we want or think is best. It’s about asking God, “God, what do you want?”
- God always hears our prayers, but he doesn’t always listen to them. What is the difference, and why do you think that is?
- How would your prayers change if your motives were right?
- Read through Matthew 6:7-14, where Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. What do you think Jesus wants us to understand by teaching us to pray like this?
- What might happen in our lives and communities if we started praying together as brothers and sisters, asking God to do what he wants?