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Bible Study Lent 2012

During Lent 2012 The Word Among Us sponsored a free online Bible Study. The topic of our Lenten Bible study was prayer. There were six sessions, one for each week of Lent. Kevin Perrotta, an award-winning Catholic writer and editor, lead our online discussion. Each session had a five-minute video, and there were question or topic for discussion for each day of the week. All materials (videos, questions, and online discussion) were available for free and were posted on facebook.com/ lentbiblestudy All videos can be found here vimeo.com/channels/lentbiblestudy

Š 2012 The Word Among Us. All Rights Reserved.


Bible Study Lent 2012 Question for Reflection Session 1 1) One day Elijah was bold enough to challenge his opponents to a public test of faith (1 Kings 18:19-25). The next day, when Jezebel threatened him, Elijah fled for his life (19:1-3). What happened to Elijah’s faith? How would you explain his erratic behavior? What ups and downs do you experience in your relationship with God? How do you handle them? What resources help you remain steady and faithful to the Lord through changing circumstances and moods? 2) Now, at the beginning of Lent, is a good time to read through Jesus’ brief but fundamental instruction on almsgiving, prayer, and fasting in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1-18). Read it as though it is his personal word to you about how he would like you to do acts of kindness, fast, and pray this Lent because it is! 3) Elijah wanted to quit (1 Kings 19:4). Has there been a situation in which you felt like quitting the responsibilities God gave you? How did you deal with that temptation? What were the results? What did you learn from this experience?

© 2012 The Word Among Us. All Rights Reserved.


Bible Study Lent 2012

Session 2 1) At first Elijah was more interested in what God gave him through the angel--food and drink--than in what God might wish to say to him. Do you sometimes give more attention to material needs than to God’s word to you? If so, why is that? What could you do to be a little more attentive to God’s word to you? 2) Reflect on Hosea 2:14 I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,and speak tenderly to her. 3) Elijah’s journey to Horeb (1 Kings 19:8) is symbolic of each person’s life, because each of our lives is a kind of journey from birth to death. God wants each of our lives to be a journey toward the kingdom of God. What does Elijah’s journey symbolize about our journey toward God? What is symbolized by the food for his journey the angelically delivered bread and water? 4) Reflect on John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. 5) Being fed by an angel, as Elijah was, is an unusual experience. But perhaps people have more experiences of angels than many of us realize. Have you ever had reason to think that God sent an angel to guide or protect you or provide for you? If so, how has this affected your relationship with God now?

© 2012 The Word Among Us. All Rights Reserved.


Bible Study Lent 2012

Session 3 1) Compare Elijah’s experience of God at Horeb (1 Kings 19:11-18) with Moses’ experiences at the same mountain (Exodus 3:1-4:18; 19:9-25; 24:1-2, 9-18; 33:18-34:9). What differences do you observe in God’s way of relating to the two men at the same place? Why did God relate in one way to Moses and in another way to Elijah? 2) Elijah would have known about Moses’ experience at the mountain. Do you think Elijah might have been disappointed that God did not relate to him as he related to Moses at the same mountain? It’s easy to have expectations for what our experience of God in prayer or liturgy will be. When have your expectations for how God was going to relate to you been disappointed? What expectations should a person have for how God relates to him or her in prayer? 3) Reflect on Psalm 40:6-7 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, "Here I am." 4) Elijah poured out complaints to God (1 Kings 19:4, 10, 14). When do you complain to God? Are there good ways and bad ways of complaining to God? There is a fair amount of complaining to God in the Psalms for example Psalms 3, 4, 5,6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13). How does Elijah’s prayer compare to the complaining prayers of the psalmists? How does your complaining in prayer compare to theirs? 5) After Elijah expressed his gloomy assessment of his situation to God, God corrected his view of the situation (1 Kings 19:18). When have you discovered that your view of a situation was too negative, that you were overlooking positive factors and resources, that you were not considering God’s presence and love? When have you experienced God adjusting your perspective?

© 2012 The Word Among Us. All Rights Reserved.


Bible Study Lent 2012 Session 4 1) God sometimes reveals himself through displays of natural powers, both ordinary (Psalm 29) and extraordinary (Exodus 19:16-19). Yet God revealed himself to Elijah without any fanfare, in silence. Why? What is the function of silence in our relationship with God? 2) Reflect on Psalm 37:7 Be still before the Lord; wait for God 3) How noisy is your inner life? Why is it like that? Is silence for seeking God something you desire? What are the obstacles to silence in your life? too many demands? inner turmoil? surrounding yourself with distractions? other? What opportunities for silence do you have? How could you make better use of them?" 4) We've been reading and talking about Elijah for about four weeks now. Soon we will be moving on to read a little of Paul's letter to the Romans. What are your final reflections on what 1 Kings 19 has meant to you? 5) For today, rather than a question to ponder, here is a personal thought about getting quiet in prayer. If we want to pray to God in silence, we have to deal with a two main challenges. The first is getting some quiet time; the other is, quite simply, getting quiet. In a busy life, the first challenge is pretty hard. But for some of us, the second is more daunting. Speaking for myself, as soon as I have some quiet time, my mind becomes like a flooding river, carrying along an endless stream of mental debris—to-do lists, scenes from movies, plans for next year’s vacation, and so on. As these random thoughts flow through my consciousness, there seems to be little chance of getting quiet. Each of us has to find his or her own way of dealing with this problem. One way that many have found helpful is the Jesus Prayer. Developed back in the fifth and sixth centuries by monks in the deserts of Egypt (especially at Mount Sinai), Palestine, and Syria, the prayer is a short one: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.” Many people add “a sinner.” Others shorten the prayer to: “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.” The monks recommend praying the prayer over and over. As you pray the words, you turn your attention to Jesus, present within you. Books have been written about the Jesus Prayer. Yet the prayer remains very simple: it is calling out to Jesus, who lives in us by his Spirit. The Jesus Prayer helps me get beyond thinking about things, including thinking about my relationship with God. It helps me to get quiet. There is nothing automatic about it. I would never say that the prayer “works,” as though it has a power of its own. But I have found that praying it is something that God always uses. Through it, God helps me get in touch with the awesome reality that Jesus is present with me. That’s the beginning of silence. You might want to give the Jesus Prayer a try.

© 2012 The Word Among Us. All Rights Reserved.


Bible Study Lent 2012

Session 5 1) The gospel writers tell us of many times when Jesus addressed God as Father, for example, Matthew 11:25-27; Luke 10:21; 23:34, 46; John 11:41; 12:28; 17:1, 5. Look at these passages to see the various situations in which Jesus prayed to God as his Father. What sorts of things did Jesus speak to his Father about? From Jesus’ prayers to his Father, what can you learn about your prayer to God as your Father? 2) For reflection: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) 3) Paul knows that his readers have received the Holy Spirit in baptism, and he assumes that they experience the Spirit in their lives. In what ways have you experienced the presence and power of the Spirit? How can a person become more open to the Spirit’s action? 4) On the Lord’s Prayer: “The prayer begins with the words ‘Our Father.’ . . . With these words, it raises its face and its gaze seeks another face, the face of the Father, that eye may meet eye and that the movement of man’s heart may find its way to the heart of God.” --Roman Guardini 5) Paul speaks of God as our Father. What experiences of fatherly and motherly love from your parents stand out in your mind? Which other adults have played a fatherly or motherly role in your life? How do these experiences help you understand God’s love for you?

© 2012 The Word Among Us. All Rights Reserved.


Bible Study Lent 2012

Session 6 1) Paul speaks of suffering with Christ. In your experience, what has it meant to suffer with Jesus? How has this experience affected you? 2) Where is there suffering in your life now? How do you go through this suffering with Jesus? How could you deepen your union with him in your suffering? 3) Paul also addresses the problem of fear in this week’s reading: “You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” In what way is fear a kind of slavery? How does the Holy Spirit help you in dealing with situations where you feel afraid? 4) Paul calls us “joint heirs with Christ.” He means that we will come to share in the life and love that the Father gives his Son. How does this hope affect the way you live? 5) We have reached the end of our Lenten Bible study. What impact has it had on you? How will your life be different now?

© 2012 The Word Among Us. All Rights Reserved.


2012 Lent Bible Study - Study Guide