A Praying Life (week 6)

SPBC BodyLife         A PRAYING LIFE – Week 6

  

Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray. For the past 5 weeks we have examined the Lord’s Prayer found in the passages above. The goal has been to understand that prayer is a relationship and communication with God that shows our total dependence on Him. It is not just an activity but a condition of our heart and life. As we grow in prayer we are moved toward God’s agenda rather than our own. The statement “prayer changes things” is only somewhat accurate. Prayer doesn’t change God or His plans but it changes ourselves and the way we understand/view life.

This week we conclude the Lord’s Prayer with a view towards asking God with a pure motivation, especially in the midst of temptation. On Nov 3 we will examine the topic of “unanswered prayers”; Nov 10 some specific and practical “prayer tools” offered by Paul Miller. Then on Nov 17 I would like to have a bit more interaction with an open forum of testimonies, questions and answers on the topic of “A Praying Life”. *Then I would like to take a break from BodyLife for the remainder of year and then restart in January. 

Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Luke 11:1-13 1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And 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 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” 5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

TEMPTATION EXAMPLES

µ      Adam & Eve: They doubted God’s word and promises were sufficient, so the made a God-substitute only to experience shame, guilt and loss (Genesis 3)

µ      King David: Looking for satisfaction only to feel unclean and unfulfilled (Psalm 51)

µ      Jesus: Resulted in trust in God’s provision and goodness (Matthew 4)

What does temptation have to do with prayer? Is there a specific temptation that Jesus is referencing in the Lord’s prayer? Perhaps. In a gospel-centered approach to prayer, we understand that prayer is a gift of grace relating to God through the cross and resurrection. The temptation (and perhaps every temptation) would be to doubt God’s grace and goodness. We often view our relationship with God as restrictive rather than relieving, when prayer is the channel for us experiencing joy and freedom.
In Luke 11, Jesus tells a parable to teach

–          God wants us to be bold in prayer (the man came at midnight)

–          God wants us to be persistent in prayer (keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking…”)

–          God wants us to ask God-sized prayers

John 14:13-14 “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

John 16:23-24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you… Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full”

Paul Miller says “If you are going to take Jesus’ offer of ‘ask anything’ seriously, what is the first thing you have to do? Any child will tell you. You have to ask, and in order to ask, you have to reflect on what you want. Now it starts getting complicated. Do you want a million dollars?… There is nothing wrong with earning a lot of money; [but we should be] keenly aware of what wealth can do to your soul…. It takes reflection to answer the question, ‘what do I want?’ It doesn’t take long before you are looking carefully at Jesus’ fine print – ‘If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you’ (John 15:7)” p.138

APPLY

ð      Remind yourself that we pray to a Father who is full of grace and goodness.

ð      Review “what do I want?”

ð      Request in prayer boldly
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16

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