We’re in a new series called “Foundations” which builds off of Jesus’ metaphor in Matt 7: “A house built on sand will never be able to stand BUT a house that’s built on the rock will never be able to fall.”
Practice #3: Prayer
We believe people can talk to God. Moreover, we believe he actually listens! This audacious idea is a common teaching within nearly all major religions. However, following the example of Christ, believers share the remarkable distinction of communicating intimately to our God as a father — not as some disconnected and distant deity. Still, many believers find prayer to be a difficult discipline to practice. For many of us, the powerful intimate conversations we desire have given way to rote recitations, lifeless confessions, and laundry lists of desires that could have been plagiarized from from the Sear’s Christmas Catalogue. At Dallas Bible, we want to pursue the rich prayerful fellowship that Christ promises.
For Group Leaders
- Begin in prayer. Welcome the Holy Spirit to the group and invite Him to lead, guide, and convict your group as you meet together.
- Reflect on the sermon this morning as a group. What were some highlights? Was anything particularly helpful, convicting, or confusing?
- Consider the following questions and pick a few to focus your discussion.
Examine the Word
- Re-read Psalm 66:16-20
- When prayer comes up, what emotions come to mind? Affection? Guilt? Boredom?
- How would you describe your current prayer life? In what ways would you like to see it improve?
- Do you have any specific habits regarding prayer? Times of day that you pray? Moments in which you engage God better personally?
- Think about a time in your life when communicating with God was a top priority (maybe it’s now!). What was unique about this time? We're there any extenuating circumstances that cultivated intimacy, immediacy, or affection?
- Often our prayer life is reflective of where our hearts and emotions reside. When our prayer lives are characterized by joy, praise often overflows. When we’re needy —petition. When we’re sad — lament. Think about the commonalities and themes in your current prayer life; what does this say about the current desires of your heart?
- Practice prayer together. Pair up in groups of 3-4 and dedicate a set amount of time to pursuing prayer alongside of one another.
- Try the ACTS method (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). Take time moving slowly and deliberately through each movement. Journal through each movement, taking note of where God is driving your heart and affections.
- Go for a prayer walk. Put away your phone pick a safe and known route with relatively little distractions. Slowly and mindfully talk to God about what’s on your mind. If you run out of “material” at any point in the walk, don’t force it. Use this time to listen to the Spirit, slow your heart, and honestly reflect.
- Pray for an extended amount of time. For those who have never tried this before, this might be a stretch. Carve out an hour (maybe during a lunch break or after the kids are in bed), set a timer, and pray. Before entering this time, be prepared; you will find moments of discomfort, perplexity, and even boredom. Don’t let that intimidate you — you hit a road block, read a psalm out loud to God, practice mindfulness, enjoy his presence.
For Family Discussions
- Take some time to talk about the sermon together. What did you learn that was new? Were there any parts that were confusing?
- Ask your kids: Why do you think God wants us to pray? What do you think God wants to hear when we pray?
- For discussion: Do you think God wants to hear us even when we don’t want to pray or when we’re angry? What about when we’re sad or upset?
Published on 09-19-2021 @ 4:55 AM CDT