Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday School Prayer Discussion

I. Prayer Defined.
-Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies. [Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.98]

1)Is it possible to know the will of God in every situation?
2)According to Psalm 37:4, we are to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts. How does this relate to the above definition of prayer?
3)We are told in scripture that God does not hear those who walk in sin. Should believers confess their sins? How thorough should an examination be before we pray? In what way should we examine our own hearts?

II. The Power of Prayer
-Rooted in the promises of prayer: 1 John 5:14-15: And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
-Matt. 7:7-11; James 1:5; John 14:11-14; 15:7; 15:16; 16:24; James 5:13-18
-Rooted in the sovereignty of God. Westminster Confession Chapter 5:2: “Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause , all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly: yet, but the same providence, He ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.”
-Notice these instances in Scripture:
a) 2 Kings 20:1-5
b) Exodus 32:7-14
c) 1 Samuel 1:1-20

1. How does the doctrine taught in the Confession help us avoid the error of “Hyper Calvinism?
2. Do you sometimes struggle to pray because you think God will do His will anyway?
3. How liberating are the promises of prayer in your own life? Do you struggle to believe them? Why?

II. The Frequency of Prayer.
-1 Thessalonians 5:17: Pray without ceasing.
-Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
-Luke 18: 1-8.

1) What does it mean to pray without ceasing?
2)What is the purpose of the parable in Luke?

III. The Prayers of our Lord.
-Matt. 14:23: After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.
-Matt. 26:36: Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
-Mark 1:35-36: Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
-Hebrews 5:7: During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of His reverence.

1) In connection to Mark 1:35, do you have a specific time every day where you get alone with God and pray?
2) How are we to explain the dependence Christ had upon prayer? How should this affect us?
3) Do you relate well to the disciples who slept in the garden? What is it about our nature that makes prayer so difficult?

IV. The Blueprint for Prayer.
-From the Westminster Standards: “What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?” Answer: The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught His disciples commonly called The Lord's Prayer.
-Matt. 6:1-18.

1) How does the Word of God direct us in prayer?
2) Do you ever pray the Scriptures?
3) What does the Fatherhood of God teach us about prayer?

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