Help us understand what God wants us to know about praying and what we should think when requests we have made are not answered,
Matt 6:5-14, Matt 21:22 & 26:39, Luke 11:5-13, James 5:15-16
The Back Door:
Ask the group to imagine that an exchange student from a third world country has arrived to live with them. You need to teach them about life in your world and the topic of the day is using fast food drive through. How would you explain to your friend how to successfully order a meal at the McDonalds Drive Through - Do a step by step walk through. - (you should get something like this but with more detail)
- Drive up to the menu box
- check the Menu and select what you want
- -Ask for your order when it your turn
- -wait in line
- -Pay for your food
- wait a little more
- get your order
Then discuss what can go wrong .. ask the following questions
- What happens if you forget to ask for something
- What happens if you ask for things that are not on the menu
- What happens if you get beligerent ior nasty wth Mac
- what happens if you dont wait for your food
- what happens if you go back again to the speaker?
Students Teach Students
Consider now Jesus teaching on prayer in Matt chapter 6. Use the verses listed below to define each point. Have students read the verses and comment on what they see. Be sure to make the key points as they are not always obvious.
A. What not to do .. Matt 6:5-7
Do not pray in vain memorized repetitive verse of chants and do not get up in front of everybody so they can hear how well you speak
B. Before you Start Matt 6:6-9
Get by yourself .. In a group close our eyes and "get as alone as you can" . Adopt a reverent attitude .. this is the Creator you are addressing not man nor angel
C. Four Basic Steps of Prayer
Step 1 - Acknowledge Gods role in your life ...... Matt 6:10-11 / Acts 17:24
Acknowledge Gods Will for your life .. (check the menu) and acknowledge who its is who provides for you (food and everything)
Step 2 - Clean House ..... Matt 6:12-14
Confess your un-confessed sins / ask for forgiveness & repent (decide to turn around) and make up your mind to forgive others and be sure you go do it if possible Ask for help with the sin you have just confessed and for protection from Satan. Acknowledge the real struggle in your life is against sin (desires) and Satan lies.
Step 3 - Now Present your requests to God .. Phil 4:6 and Luke 11:5-13
Its good to first think of request for others and then ask for yourself last . Read Luke 11:5-13. Realize that God wants to give you the things you need and wants you to realize that He is the actual provider.
Step 4 - Believe .... Matt 21:22 & 26:39
Believe that God will give you what you ask as long as it is in Gods will for you (on the menu). Thank the Lord for what he will provide. Remember Faith is very valuable to God!
Now since Step 4 of prayer is the hard one .. (faith it seems always is) , lets look for a minute at what kind of prayers the Bible teaches us are effective and what kind are in-effective.
In effective prayers
|Those for things that are inside of Gods will or Gods plan for our life .. Matt 26:39||Those for things that are not part of Gods plan or will for us. God knows best!|
|Those offered in faith by believers .. Believing the request are will be granted .. Matt 21:22, Luke 18:1, James 5:15||Those offered without faith|
|Those offered by the righteous (believers living inside of Gods will) James 5:16||Those offered by unbelievers or believers who are living outside of Gods will (ie. in sin perhaps with lots of sorry and no repentance) Isa 1:5-21, John 9:31|
D. Now what about After we Pray
So what should we do while we wait for our prayers to be answered.?
First we should consider the parable in Luke 18:1-8 and the story of the centurion in Matt 8:5-9. God values faith and faith must be exercised. We dont need to keep repeating the prayer as though God did not hear it. Remember God has a better memory than McDonalds does. An also dont leave the line so to speak. Exercise the faith by being patient. Realize that demonstrating faith requires time and faith demonstrated is very valuable to God and you ! (see 1 Peter 1:3-9 & Rom 12:12 )
When prayer is finally answered what should we do ?
Acknowledge that God has answered it and praise him and thank him for it. ... Rom 4:18-20
An lastly when prayer just does not seem to be getting answer we should recognize that-
.. use your own examples here .. mine are included as examples
When you pray never forget the high point of Romans .which says ...
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Rom 8:28 (NIV)