Welcome to a fresh adventure in prayer! Over the next few weeks, we will be diving heart-first into the Lord’s Prayer. Rich and powerful, theologians often call it “the greatest gift the Church has ever been given.” After studying it for the past few months, I couldn’t agree more. While the weekend messages will look exclusively at those iconic words from the gospel of Luke, the journal will focus on the whole prayer life of Jesus during His ministry on earth. One of the best resources on this subject is an old book called Teach Us to Pray. Written by South African pastor, Andrew Murray, in the mid-1800’s, it is deep, beautiful and - in some cases - a little hard to understand. Because the language is very old and the work is public domain, we have updated it slightly to make it easier to read and comprehend, but the heart of the message remains unchanged. In addition to a portion of Teach Us to Pray each day, we will also look at a time when Jesus prayed, uncovering clues as to how His way in prayer might become our way as well. We believe that as we immerse ourselves in the prayer life of Jesus, we will discover the greatness of His Kingdom coming to our right-here, right-now lives. Please consider joining or starting a Blue Group, where we will come together, join our faith and humbly ask Jesus to teach us to pray. With hope,
WEEK ONE DAY ONE: The disciples had been with Christ and seen Him pray. They had learned to understand His powerful public life was undoubtedly connected to His private prayer life. They had learned to believe in Him as a master in the art of prayer, knowing that no one else could pray like Him. And so it is to Him they come with this bold request: “Lord, teach us to pray.” Surely they would tell us now that there were few things more wonderful or important that He taught them than His lessons on prayer. Today, we are the disciples. He is still praying, and we have the same opportunity to come to Him with the very same request: “Please, teach US to pray.” As we grow in our desire to become more like Him and to follow His ways, we will begin to clearly see how precious and powerful is His never-failing intercession, and learning from Him becomes more compelling than ever before. As we see Him pray, and remember that there is no one else who can pray like Him, and none who can teach like Him, we feel the same longing of the disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray.” We begin to know that this is just what we need. And as we think about all He is and has, how He Himself is our very own, how He is Himself our very life, we feel certain that we only need to ask and He will be delighted to bring us in close to Himself and teach us to pray as He does. Come, friends! Let’s go directly to our beautiful Jesus and ask Him to enroll us into the school He always keeps open for those who long to continue their studies in the divine art of prayer and intercession. As we meditate, we will find each word of the petitions we bring to Him are full of meaning.
READ: Luke 3:21-22 (The prayer that inaugurates the ministry of Jesus) When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” 21
QUESTIONS: Was this prayer public or private? Where did it take place? What do you think was the purpose for this prayer? What was the result? Think of a crossroads moment in your life. What role did prayer play?
WEEK ONE DAY 2: Lord, teach us to pray. Yes, to pray. This is what we need to be taught. Though in it’s beginnings, prayer is so simple that the smallest child can pray, yet it is at the same time the highest and holiest work to which we can aspire. It is communication with the unseen and most Holy One. The powers of the eternal world have been placed at prayer’s disposal. It is the very essence of true religion, the channel of all blessings, the secret of power and life. God has given us the right to take hold of Him and His strength through prayer - for ourselves, for others, for the Church and for the World. The promises of the kingdom for its coming and the glory of God for its full revelation will find their fulfillment in prayer. We are too human for this work, but the Spirit of God enables us to do it well and right. It’s so easy to fall back on the form or formula of prayer, and miss out on the power. This can be the result of bad teaching, bad habits or unhealthy emotions. This kind of prayer accomplishes little. But true prayer takes hold of God’s strength, accomplishes much and opens the gates of heaven. Who would not long to learn to pray this way?
READ: Mark 1:35-44 (A prayer of solitude) 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. 36Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 35
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. 43Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 40 41
QUESTIONS: When and where did Jesus pray? What followed Jesus’ time of prayer? What might be some reasons Jesus prayed before the sun rose? What does this example teach us about our own prayer lives?
WEEK ONE DAY 3: Jesus has opened a school, in which He trains His redeemed ones who specially desire it to have power in prayer. Should we not joyfully enter with the cry, “Lord! This is exactly what we need! Please, teach us to pray.” We have read in Your word of the power Your believing people of old used to pray, and we’ve read of the mighty wonders they experienced as answers to their prayers. If this all took place under the old covenant, in the time while humanity was only preparing for the arrival of our Savior, Jesus, how much more can we expect now that we are living in these days of fulfillment? Show us the sign of Your presence in our midst. We have heard the promises given to Your apostles of the power of prayer in Your name, and have seen how gloriously they experienced the truth of who You are: we know for certain, this can become true to us too. We hear continually even in these days what glorious gifts of Your power You give to those who trust You fully. Lord! These things are happening to people just like us; teach us to pray, too! The promises are for us. The powers and gifts of Your Kingdom are for us. Teach us to pray and expect abundantly. You have not just entrusted Your work to men and women of old, but also to us. Our prayers can usher in Your kingdom on earth. Our prayers will bring glory to Your name. We offer ourselves as students in Your school and ask yet again: Teach us to pray.
READ: Luke 5:15-16 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. 15
QUESTIONS: This verse calls the place where Jesus prays a “lonely place.” Does prayer ever feel lonely to you? If so, is this a negative or positive for you?
This week, set aside thirty minutes to get in a quiet room or car and just sit with Jesus and your journal. Listen. Talk. Worship. Pay attention to how you feel as you spend this time alone with Him and write down the words that come to mind.
WEEK ONE DAY 4: “Lord, teach us to pray.” We can feel how deeply we need it. At first, the work of prayer seems so simple, but as we go we discover that it is more difficult than we could have imagined and all we can say is: We don’t know what we’re doing here! It is true we have God’s Word, with its clear and sure promises; but sin has so darkened our minds that we don’t always know how to apply it. In spiritual things we don’t always seek the things we need the very most, or we fail in praying according to Your Word. In temporal things we still struggle to comprehend this amazing freedom the Father has given us to ask for whatever we need.
READ: Luke 6:12-13 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles. 12
QUESTIONS: This passage tells us that Jesus got away alone to pray and prayed all night. What decision was he making at this time? Do you think His time in prayer influenced the choosing of the disciples? Have you ever prayed a long time for an answer to a particular question? What was the result?
WEEK ONE DAY 5: Prayer must be to the glory of God, in full surrender to His will, in full faith, in the name of Jesus, and with a perseverance that, if need be, refuses to be denied. All this must be learned. It can only be learned in the school of much prayer, for practice makes perfect. Amid our acute awareness of our own ignorance and unworthiness, and in the struggle between believing and doubting, the heavenly art of effective prayer is learned. And the Beginner and Finisher of faith and prayer, who watches over our praying, sees to it that all who trust Him for their education in the school of prayer shall be carried on to perfection. Being aware of how much we have yet to learn, let the deep undertone of all our prayer be a teachable spirit, with our faith rooted firmly in Him as the perfect teacher. If we have these things, we can be sure we will be taught and we will learn to pray in power. Depend on it.
READ: Matthew 11:25-30 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. 27“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 25
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 28
QUESTIONS: What is the focus of Jesus’ prayer here? This scripture reveals that there is only one way for us to know the Father. What is it? What will be the glorious result of our coming to the Father through Jesus? What does this scripture tell you about the weight of the “yoke” of prayer?
WEEK ONE GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What have you learned this week from the examples we read of the prayer life of Jesus? What are the benefits of private prayer vs. public prayer? Which do you feel is more difficult - public or private prayer - and why?
GROUP PRAYER POINTS: Pray for an infilling of the Holy Spirit in the people of Westside Church, as we embark upon this prayer adventure - that we would be filled with the passion to learn and activate new levels of prayer in our lives. Pick one elementary, middle and high school in our city and pray for the students and staff.
WEEK TWO DAY 1: What do you think, my friends? Wouldn’t it be just what we need to ask the Master for a month to give us special lessons in the art of prayer? As we mediate on the words He spoke on earth, let us give ourselves to His teaching with full confidence that, with such a great teacher, we will make great progress. Let’s take time not just to meditate, but to pray, to wait at the foot of His throne, and to be trained in the work of intercession. Let’s do this with the assurance that even in our stammering and fears, He is carrying on His work most beautifully. He will breathe His own life, which is all prayer, into us. As He makes us partakers of His righteousness and life, He will also make us a partaker of His intercession. As the members of His body, as a holy priesthood, we will take part in His priestly work of pleading and prevailing with God for men. Yes, let us say, ignorant and feeble though we are, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
READ: John 6:4-14 The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 4
QUESTIONS: Here, Jesus prays for a meal. Why do you think He prayed before distributing the food to the masses? What impact do you think His prayer may have had on this event? Have you ever prayed about a need and received miraculous intervention?
PRAYER PROJECT: Would you commit a little time to praying for Bidi Bidi, a refugee camp in Uganda where many are starving to death? Pray for these 275,000 souls, many of whom are believers, that they would experience supernatural intervention and that the same God who fed the 5,000 will feed them.
WEEK TWO DAY 2: The hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is Spirit: and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. John 4:23, 24 These words of Jesus to the woman of Samaria are his first recorded teaching on the subject of prayer. They give us some wonderful first glimpses into the world of prayer. The Father seeks worshippers: our worship satisfies His loving heart and is a joy to Him. He seeks true worshippers, but finds few. True worship is that which is in spirit and truth. The Son has come to open the way for this worship in spirit and in truth, and teach it to us. And so, one of our first lessons in the school of prayer must be to understand what it is to pray in spirit and truth, and to know exactly how to do it.
READ: Matthew 14:22-33 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 22
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 25
“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 29
QUESTIONS: Jesus stops His ministry to crowds of people in order to pray - what does this say to us about the importance of prayer? How did Jesus find space alone to pray? What follows Jesus’ prayer time?
WEEK TWO DAY 3: To the woman of Samaria our Lord spoke of three kinds of worship. There is first, the ignorant worship of the Samaritans: “You worship what you do not know.” Second, the intelligent worship of the Jew, having the true knowledge of God: “We worship what we know; for salvation is of the Jews.” And then the new, the spiritual worship which He Himself has come to introduce: “The hour is coming, and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.” From the connection it is evident that the words “in spirit and truth” do not mean, as is often thought, “earnestly, from the heart, in sincerity.” The Samaritans had the five books of Moses and some knowledge of God; there was doubtless more than one among them who honestly and earnestly sought God in prayer. The Jews had the true full revelation of God in His word, as thus far given; there were among them godly people, who called upon God with their whole heart and yet not “in spirit and truth”, in the full meaning of the words. Jesus says, “The hour is coming and now is” - it is only in and through Him that the worship of God will be in spirit and in truth.
READ: Mark 7:31-37 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. 33After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. 36Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” 31
QUESTIONS: What in this situation moved Jesus to pray? Why do you think He groaned? Have you ever prayed for healing for yourself or someone else? What was the result?
HOMEWORK: Today, take a moment to ask Jesus to increase your compassion for those who are suffering as well as your faith that prayer can make a difference in their lives.
WEEK TWO DAY 4: Among Christians, one still finds the three classes of worshippers. Some who in their ignorance hardly know what they ask: they pray earnestly, and yet receive little. Others have more correct knowledge, who try to pray with all their mind and heart, and often pray most earnestly, and yet do not experience the full blessing that is worship in spirit and truth. It is into the third class we must ask Jesus to take us; we must be taught of Him how to worship in spirit and truth. This alone is spiritual worship; this makes us worshippers such as the Father seeks. In prayer everything will depend on our understanding well and practicing this kind of worship.
READ: Matthew 15:32-39 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” 32
His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”
“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.” He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. 39After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan. 35
QUESTIONS: Again, we see Jesus praying before a meal and a miracle. What do you need today? Does it seem impossible? Do you know someone who needs an encounter with the God who feels compassion on those who are hungry and without? This is a good time to stop and pray that the One who multiplies meals would provide in His way and time.
WEEK TWO DAY 5: “God is Spirit; and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.” The first thought suggested here by the Master is that there must be harmony between God and His worshippers; as God is, so must His worship be. This is according to a principle which prevails throughout the universe: We look for correspondence between an object and the organ to which it reveals or yields itself. The eye has an inner fitness for the light, the ear for sound. The man who would truly worship God, would find and know and enjoy God, must be in harmony with Him, must have a capacity for receiving Him. Because God is Spirit, we must worship Him in spirit. As God is, so is His worship. And what does this mean? The woman had asked our Lord whether Samaria or Jerusalem was the true place of worship. He answers that henceforth worship is no longer to be limited to a certain place. Because God is Spirit, He is not bound by any space or time, but is in His infinite perfection always and everywhere the same, so His worship would no longer be confined by place or form, but spiritual as God Himself is spiritual. This is a lesson of deep importance. How much our Christianity suffers when it is confined to certain times and places. Our worship should not be the work of a fixed place or hour, but of our whole being. His worship must be the spirit of our life; our life must be given to worship.
HOMEWORK: Set aside 30 minutes for prayer, practicing what you’ve learned this week. Journal your thoughts about how you feel, what you hear, what you sense. Do you feel weary or refreshed afterwards? Do you feel alone or secure? What are some things you were able to pray about during this time?
WEEK TWO GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What role does compassion/empathy play in effective prayer? Discuss a time in your life when you have been moved to pray for someone you did not know well. What motivated you? How did you feel as you prayed?
GROUP PRAYER POINTS: Make a list of single parents you know. Now pray as a group for their needs. Ask God to cover them, provide, protect, give wisdom - everything you can think to ask Him on their behalf. Pray for our church - that God would increase the compassion level at Westside and that it would motivate us to pray more fervently than we have ever prayed before.
BONUS GROUP HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Be watching this week for someone who needs compassion and offer it in whatever way the Holy Spirit directs. Share your story with the group next week.
WEEK THREE DAY 1: “God is Spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The second thought that comes to us is that this worship in the spirit must come from God Himself. God is Spirit: He alone has Spirit to give. It was for this He sent His Son, to fit us for such spiritual worship, by giving us the Holy Spirit. It is of His own work that Jesus speaks when He says twice, “The hour comes,” and then adds, “and is now.” It was when He had made an end of sin, and entering into the Holiest of all with His blood, had there on our behalf received the Holy Spirit, that He could send Him to us. We never find one of the Old Testament saints personally take on the name of “child” or call God his father. The worship of the Father is only possible for those to whom the Spirit of the Son has been given. Worship in spirit is only possible for those to whom the Son has revealed the Father, and who have received the spirit of Sonship. It is only Christ who opens the way and teaches us to worship in spirit.
READ: Luke 9:18-27 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” 19They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” 20“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” 18
Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” 23Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” 21
QUESTIONS: This is an interesting picture into Jesus’ life. Here He is again off praying alone, but stops to ask the disciples a question, which leads to a very important conversation - a conversation they would undoubtedly remember during the dark days of the crucifixion. Knowing that Jesus is not distracted or flighty - especially when it comes to time with His Father - what might have caused Him to interrupt His own prayer time at this moment? Have you ever received specific instruction in a time of prayer? What did you do with that?
WEEK THREE DAY 2: What does it mean to worship “in truth”? It doesn’t only mean, in sincerity, nor does it only signify, in accordance with the truth of God’s Word. The expression is one of deep and divine meaning. Jesus is “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”. The law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “I am the truth and the life.” In the Old Testament was all shadow and promise; Jesus brought and gives the reality, the substance, of things hoped for. In Him the blessings and powers of the eternal life are our actual possession and experience. Jesus is full of grace and truth; the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth; through Him the grace that is in Jesus is ours indeed, and truth becomes a positive communication out of the divine life. And so worship in spirit is worship in truth; actual living fellowship with God, a real correspondence and harmony between the Father, who is a Spirit, and the child, praying in the spirit.
READ: Luke 9:28-36 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) 28
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen. 34 35
QUESTIONS: This is certainly one of the most dramatic prayer events in the New Testament. Where does Jesus go to pray? Who is with Him? What is the result?
WEEK THREE DAY 3: What Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, she could not immediately understand. Pentecost was needed to reveal its full meaning. We are hardly prepared at our first entrance into the school of prayer to grasp such teaching. We will understand it better later on. Let us only begin and take the lesson as He gives it. We are flesh and carnal and cannot bring God the worship He seeks. But Jesus came to give the Spirit: He has given Him to us. Let the way in which we set ourselves to pray be what Christ’s words have taught us. Let us bring a childlike teachableness that waits on Him to instruct us; the simple faith that yields itself to the breathing of the Spirit.
READ: Luke 10:21 (For context, you will want to read Luke 10:1-24.) At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” 21
QUESTIONS: What is Jesus’ mood in this prayer time? What has caused such joy? Have you ever felt great joy in the place of prayer? What was the reason?
HOMEWORK: Today, look for reasons to rejoice with God in prayer. Watch for signs of His goodness and favor and fun in your world and mention them to Him when you spot them.
WEEK THREE DAY 4: But when you pray, go into your inner chamber; and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you. Matthew 6:6 After Jesus had called His first disciples, He gave them their first public teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. He expounded to them the kingdom of God, its laws and its life. In that kingdom, God is not only King, but Father; He not only gives all, but is Himself all. In the knowledge and fellowship of Him alone is its blessedness. Therefore, the revelation of prayer and the prayer life was a part of His teaching concerning the new Kingdom He came to establish. Moses gave neither command nor regulation with regard to prayer. Even the prophets say little directly of the duty of prayer; it is Christ who teaches to pray.
READ: John 11:32-44 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34“Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35Jesus wept. 36Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 32
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39“Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” 38
QUESTIONS: This prayer has a very specific purpose and is done in a very specific way, even though it seems to be happening several days too late. What reason does Jesus give for speaking His request out loud? What is the reason for this prayer and what is the result of it?
WEEK THREE DAY 5: The first instruction of the Lord to His disciples is that they must have a secret place for prayer; every one must have some solitary spot where he can be alone with his God. Every teacher must have a schoolroom. We have learned to know and accept Jesus as our only teacher in the school of prayer. He has already taught us at Samaria that worship is no longer confined to times and places; that worship, spiritual true worship, is a thing of the spirit and the life. And yet He wants each one to choose the fixed spot in which to daily meet with God. That inner chamber, that solitary place, is Jesus’ schoolroom. That spot may be anywhere. The spot may change from day to day if we have to change our abode; but that secret place must be where we position ourselves in the Master’s presence. As we are alone, and there most surely, Jesus comes to us and teaches us to pray.
READ: Matthew 19:13-15 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. 13
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. 14
QUESTIONS: Here, Jesus speaks a blessing over the children whom the disciples wanted to shoo away. What does this tell you about the value system of heaven? What children in your life could you bless with prayer today?
WEEK THREE GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Did you do the homework assignment last week to show compassion to someone? How did it go? What kinds of things might prevent us from worshiping or praying “in truth”? Jesus often went away to lonely places to pray. Talk about how easy or difficult you find it to be to make a time and place for prayer to happen consistently.
GROUP PRAYER POINTS: Pray for our missionaries. Pray the Lord’s prayer over their ministries and families and ask that He would meet them in specific and tangible ways as they give their lives to loving God and loving people.
Brent & Virginia Earwicker - Uganda Ryan & Adriel Booker - Australia Steve & Holly Taft - Mexico Seth & Diana Sokoloff - Uganda Dan & Marlene Bray - The Philippines Aaron & Lisa Woolhiser - Mexico
Pray for our Westside family - that our worship of the Father would grow in both spirit and truth to new levels of joy and passion.
WEEK FOUR DAY 1: A teacher always wants the schoolroom to be bright and lovely, filled with the light and air of heaven, a place where students long to come and love to stay. In His first words in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus seeks to set the inner chamber before us in its most attractive light. If we listen carefully, we soon notice the echoic thing He has to tell us of our tarrying there. Three times He uses the name of Father: “Pray to your Father.” “Your Father shall reward you.” “Your Father knows what you need.” The first thing to know of effective prayer is: I must meet my Father.
READ: John 12:24-28 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 24
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!” 27
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
QUESTIONS: As Jesus approaches the final days of His ministry on earth, He is faced with the reality of His difficult mission. In verse 27, He tells His listeners that He is struggling, but willing to endure anything in order to glorify His Father and His Father responds. Jesus’ obedience in the place of prayer is met with supernatural affirmation. How does this make you feel about your place in prayer? When the chips are down in our lives and we don’t know how to pray, it seems a good place to start is: “Father, glorify Your name.”
WEEK FOUR DAY 2: God is a God who hides Himself to the human eye. As long as we are chiefly occupied with our own thoughts and exercises, we shall not meet Him who is a Spirit, the unseen One. But to the man who withdraws himself from all that is of the world, and prepares to wait upon God alone, the Father will reveal Himself. As he forsakes and shuts out the world, and surrenders himself to be led of Christ into the secret of God’s presence, the light of the Father’s love will rise upon him. And so we are taught, that in being alone with the Father, we will learn to pray as we should. The Father is in secret: in these words Jesus teaches us where He is waiting for us, where He is always to be found.
READ: Matthew 26:26-30 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 26
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 27
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
QUESTIONS: In the account of the Last Supper, Jesus prays to bless the meal. Why do you think He does this?
WEEK FOUR DAY 3: Christians often complain that private prayer is not what it should be. They feel weak and sinful, the heart is cold and dark; it is as if they have so little to pray, and little faith or joy. They are discouraged and kept from prayer by the thought that they cannot come to the Father as they ought or as they wish. Child of God! Listen to your Teacher. He tells you that when you come to private prayer, your first thought should be: The Father awaits me there. Jesus teaches us: When your heart is cold and prayerless, get yourself into the presence of the loving Father. As a father loves his children, so the Lord loves you.
READ: Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 31
QUESTIONS: For whom does Jesus pray in this passage? What is the result of His prayer for His friend?
HOMEWORK: Are you worried for someone today who’s faith is being sifted? Take a moment to pray for him or her, in faith, as Jesus prayed for Peter.
WEEK FOUR DAY 4: “And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.” Here Jesus assures us that secret prayer cannot be fruitless: its blessing will show itself in our life. When we entrust our life to Him in secret, He will reward us openly; He will see to it that the answer to prayer be made manifest and His blessing upon us. Jesus also teaches us that God is infinitely Fatherly and Faithful and we must come to Him in a childlike simplicity of faith, with the confidence that the secret prayer life is richly blessed. “He who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Not on the strong or the fervent feeling with which we pray does the blessing of the secret place depend, but upon the love and power of the Father to whom we entrust our needs.
READ: John 17:1-26 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 6
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 13
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” 20
QUESTIONS: This is one of the most beautiful prayers recorded - a conversation of agony and awe, between a Son and His Father. Journal your thoughts about what this passage teaches us about the prayer life of Jesus and how that applies to our prayer lives as well.
WEEK FOUR DAY 5: And now, all you who have newly entered into the school of Christ to be taught to pray, take these lessons, practice them, and trust Him to work in you through them. Dwell often in the secret place, with the door shut shut in from men, shut up with God; it is there the Father awaits you, it is there Jesus will teach you to pray. To be alone in secret with the Father, this will be your highest joy. To be assured that your Father will openly reward the secret prayer, so that it cannot remain unblessed, this will be your strength day by day. And to know that the Father knows that you need what you ask, this will be your liberty to bring every need, knowing that your God will supply it according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
READ: Matthew 26:36-46 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.” 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 36
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 42
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” 45
QUESTIONS: What does this passage teach us about bringing our honest feelings and desperation to the Father in prayer?
WEEK FOUR GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: We read this week that â€œprivate prayer cannot be fruitlessâ€?. Jesus will reward our efforts in the place of prayer. What might these rewards be? Read John 17 together and discuss this beautiful conversation between Father and Son. How does this prayer impact your desire to pray?
GROUP PRAYER POINTS: As a group, pick five leaders of our country (they can be active in government or business or humanitarian efforts - just choose people you feel have significant influence in America) and pray for them together. Pray that God will lead, guide, capture their hearts and give them supernatural wisdom. Pray for the children and youth at Westside Church - that the Holy Spirit would heal and fill and direct them into purpose and life.
WEEK FIVE DAY 1: “Our Father in heaven...” To appreciate this word of adoration adequately, we must remember that none of the saints had in Scripture ever ventured to address God as their Father. This reveals to us the wonderful truth that the Son came to make His Father our Father, too. It fully captures the mystery of redemption - Christ delivering us from the curse that could become the children of God. These words, “Our Father,” are the key to the whole prayer, to all prayer. It takes time, it takes life to study them; it will take eternity to understand them fully. The knowledge of God’s Father-Love is the first and simplest, but also the last and highest lesson in the school of prayer. It is in personal relation to the living God, and the personal fellowship of love with Him, that prayer begins. It is in the knowledge of God’s Fatherliness, revealed by the Holy Spirit, that the power of prayer will be found to root and grow. In the infinite tenderness of the infinite Father, in His loving readiness to hear and to help, the life of prayer finds its joy. When we pray the words “Our Father in heaven,” in spirit and truth, then we are indeed in the secret place of power where prayer always prevails.
READ: Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 34
QUESTIONS: How does Jesus model the words of the Lord’s Prayer in this prayer? Is there a prayer of forgiveness you need to pray today?
WEEK FIVE DAY 2: “Hallowed be Your name.” What name? This new name of “Father”. The word “Holy” is the central word of the Old Testament; the name “Father” of the New. In this name of Love all the holiness and glory of God are now to be revealed. “Your Kingdom come.” The Father is a King and has a Kingdom. The son and heir of a king has no higher ambition than the glory of his father’s kingdom. In time of war or danger, this becomes his passion; he can think of nothing else. The children of the Father are here in the enemy’s territory, where the Kingdom, which is heaven is not yet fully manifested. The coming of the Kingdom is the one great event on which the revelation of the Father’s glory, the blessedness of His children, the salvation of the world depends. On our prayers too, the coming of the Kingdom waits. Shall we not join in the deep longing cry of the redeemed: “Your Kingdom come”?
READ: Matthew 27:45-50 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 45
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 48
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit
QUESTIONS: What is the nature of Jesus’ prayer in this passage? Have you ever felt abandoned? Jesus teaches us through example that it’s okay to be honest with the Father when we are brokenhearted. Bring all the broken parts of your heart to Him in prayer today.
WEEK FIVE DAY 3: “Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” This petition is too often applied alone to the suffering of the will of God. In heaven, God’s will is done, and the Master teaches the child to ask that the will may be done on earth just as in heaven: in the spirit of adoring submission and ready obedience. Because the will of God is the glory of heaven, the doing of it is the blessing of heaven. As the will is done, the kingdom of heaven comes into the heart. And wherever faith has accepted the Father’s love, obedience accepts the Father’s will. The prayer for a heavenlike obedience is the spirit of childlike prayer. “Give us this day our daily bread.” When we have yielded ourselves to the Father in the care for His Name, His Kingdom, and His will, we then have full liberty to ask for daily bread. A master cares for the food of his servant, a general of his soldier, a father of his child. We may indeed in full confidence say: Father, I live for Your honor and Your work; I know You love me, my whole earthly life is given to Your loving care.
READ: Luke 24:28-32 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 28
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 30
QUESTIONS: Jesus again blesses a meal. What is the significance of gathering around a table, sharing gratitude and a blessing? How does prayer position our hearts toward Him?
WEEK FIVE DAY 4: “And forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors.” As bread is the first need of the body, so forgiveness is the first need for the soul. And the provision for the one is as sure as for the other. Let us beware of the prayer for forgiveness becoming a formality: only what is really confessed is really forgiven. Let us in faith accept the forgiveness as promised: as a spiritual reality, an actual transaction between God and us, it is the entrance into all the Father’s love and all the privileges of children. Such forgiveness, as a living experience is impossible without a forgiving spirit toward others: as “forgiven” expresses the heavenward, so “forgiving” the earthward. In each prayer to the Father, I must be able to say that I know of no one whom I do not heartily love.
READ: Luke 24:50-53 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. 50
QUESTIONS: What is Jesus’ last act before leaving His disciples?
HOMEWORK: Do you leave people with a blessing? This week, try to speak (silently or openly) a blessing over each person you talk with when you part company. How does it make you feel about them?
WEEK FIVE DAY 5: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Our daily bread, the pardon of our sins, and then our being kept from all sin and the power of the evil one, in these three petitions all our personal need is included. The prayer for bread and pardon must be accompanied by the surrender to live in all things in holy obedience to the Father’s will, and the believing prayer in everything to be kept by the power of the indwelling Spirit from the power of the evil one. Children of God! This is how Jesus would have us pray to the Father in heaven. O let His Name, and Kingdom, and Will, have the first place in our love; His providing and pardoning and keeping love will be our sure portion. Such prayer will, indeed, be the fellowship and interchange of love, always bringing us back in trust and worship to Him who is not only the Beginning, but the End: For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.
READ: Luke 11:1-4 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 1
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
HOMEWORK: And so we end where we began, with the simple, powerful, world-changing words of our Lord’s prayer. Pray them today out loud, over your work, your will and your world. May Jesus Himself continue to teach us to pray.
WEEK FIVE GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What does it mean to you to call God, “Father”? When Jesus instructs us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread...” what do you feel that means? When is it okay to ask for things that are “wants” and not necessarily “needs”?
GROUP PRAYER POINTS: Pray for the leaders of Bend:
Mayor - Casey Roats Mayor Pro Tem - Sally Russel Councilors - Bruce Abernethy, Nathan Boddie, Barb Campbell, Justin Livingston and Bill Moseley
Pray for the marriages at Westside - that they would be strengthened and healed by the power of the Holy Spirit and that we would see a revival in life-giving relationships in our church.
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To know how to pray and connect with our Father in heaven so that the grand narrative of God’s kingdom coming is accomplished in our persona...
Published on Sep 17, 2017
To know how to pray and connect with our Father in heaven so that the grand narrative of God’s kingdom coming is accomplished in our persona...