Briefly tell the group which Bible character you can most relate to, and why.
Isaiah 56:7 (NIV®)
“My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
Answered prayer is not merit based; God responds to us from His grace and mercy. We can learn to pray more effectively. Sometimes because of our fears or our lack of awareness we fail to pray and we forfeit opportunities. We are investing this time so that we can become more aware of what God will do in and through our lives.
I. Prayer Changes Everything
John 11:41-43 (NIV®)
Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 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.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
1. Because Jesus prayed, Lazarus walked out of the tomb. Without His prayer, things would have been very different. Share about a time when you prayed and saw God’s involvement.
2. Lazarus is one example from Scripture where prayer was the turning point for a new outcome. Can you think of other biblical examples of this idea?
3. What do you think the characters in this story––Mary, Martha, the disciples, etc.––felt when they saw Lazarus walk out of the tomb? What do you suppose they “took away” from this experience?
4. Jesus modeled a short, “Let’s Pray” prayer in this passage. What was it?
II. A New Response: “Let’s Pray”
We want to learn a new way to interact with our families, friends, coworkers, and others―wherever God provides an opportunity. We want to open our hearts to God in a new way. It does not require great theological depth or mastery of Scripture. It does not even suggest we are morally superior. We simply want to open the door of God’s possibility in our lives more frequently.
A Listening Prayer —
- we listen to someone else
- respond with a sentence prayer; begin with “Let’s Pray”
- do not wait for affirmation/encouragement/answer
- lowest stress to recipient
- opens door to consider God
- reveals your confidence in God
For example . . .
- Heavenly Father, we need Your mercy. Amen.
- Heavenly Father, give us Your wisdom. Amen.
- Almighty God, thank You for Your great kindness to us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
5. Take a moment and allow everyone to offer a one-sentence prayer.
6. Next, offer a one-sentence prayer for the person on your right.
7. Discuss reasons you might hesitate to have a “Let’s Pray” moment.
III. Prayer 201
James 5:16-18 (NASB®)
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
8. What made Elijah effective in prayer?
9. Read 1 Kings 18:43-46. How many times did Elijah send the servant to look for the rain? Why do you suppose God did not send rain the first time he prayed?
There is a workman-like quality in prayer. We understand we cannot heal, deliver, or restore. We can invite God into our circumstances. When we do our part, we create opportunities for God’s responses. God often waits for our invitations. We are cultivating a habit of consistently acknowledging God and His involvement in our lives.
10. Describe the habits of someone you know whose prayers are answered on a consistent basis.
11. Talk about places in your routine where you might be able to initiate a “Let’s Pray” moment.
Let’s Pray Together!
Heavenly Father, Help us to learn to be more conscious of You. Holy Spirit, open our eyes to see and our hearts to receive. Give us boldness to speak Your Word, extend Your hand to heal and to do miraculous things in the majestic name of Jesus. May Your Kingdom be extended. 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.