Briefly introduce yourself to the group.
The greatest hurdle we face regarding prayer is that we don’t. Prayer will lead us to God’s solutions, enabling us to walk through difficult seasons of life. Prayer does not always result in an immediate deliverance. God is responsible for the outcomes and methods. Prayer opens possibilities for God’s strength and involvement so that we do not face life alone. We are going to become Let’s Pray people.
Isaiah 37:21, 33 (NIV®)
21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria . . . He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here.”
1. Why did God respond to the Assyrian threat?
In addition to his prayer, Hezekiah built additional walls around Jerusalem. He also dug a tunnel through solid limestone to bring the water of Jerusalem’s spring inside the city walls. Archaeologists have uncovered these projects from Hezekiah. You can experience them when you visit Jerusalem.
2. Prayer does not mean we just sit down and do nothing. Our activity can be an expression of faith. We visit the doctor, in faith. We parent our children, in faith. We go to work, trusting God for His provision. Describe a time when God responded to a prayer, but you were required to “walk through” the circumstance.
I. “Because you have prayed”
Luke 11:9-10 (NIV®)
9 ”So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Jesus gave us permission to pray. He said if we knock “the door will be opened.” Too often we are reluctant to pray. There are many reasons: we feel inadequate, we have little experience, we are embarrassed, etc. Let’s make a decision to begin a new response to life: Let’s Pray.
3. What are some of the reasons that have contributed to lack of prayer in your life?
Mark 10:46-52 (NIV®)
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 ”What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 ”Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
4. It was obvious to everyone that Bartimaeus was blind. Why do you think Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
5. The blind man “swung for the fences” and asked for his sight. What would he have forfeited with a more timid request? Why are we often reluctant to ask for the “impossible”? Have you experienced a God-sized answer to prayer?
Matthew 9:1-6 (NIV®)
1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
Jesus recognized the faith of the men when they brought their friend. The sick man received the benefit, but the faith of the friends opened the door of possibility. Your faith can open God-opportunities for other people. It is a powerful thing to believe in God and give expression to that belief through prayer.
6. Sometimes your experience with the Lord will open the doors of possibility for God in the life of somebody else. Describe a time when someone else had faith or knew God in a way that opened a doorway for you.
7. In these verses Jesus saw beyond the man’s obvious physical need to his greater need―peace with God. Jesus does heal the man, but first he receives a greater gift―forgiveness. Tell about a time when God answered in a way that exceeded your request.
Jesus’ primary interest was in the condition of the man’s heart. Often, our prayers address our physical circumstances. These are not inappropriate prayers; they are a good beginning point. However, God will work through our circumstances to impact our heart condition and provide for us a revelation of Himself. Prayer is about more than just “getting my way.” Investing time and effort and prayer allows us to be transformed.
8. Reflect on your own prayers. Which do you spend more time praying about― your physical circumstances or the condition of your heart? Discuss “heart changes” that God has helped you make. It will open your imagination to the many ways God’s power can bring freedom to our lives.
9. Will you commit to saying the Lord’s Prayer each day this week?
Let’s Pray Together!
Our Father, Who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For yours is the Kingdom and the glory and the power for ever and ever, amen.
Scripture quotations marked NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.