Lizzie spoke about how prayer is our personal communication with God and we can talk to Him because:
- God is patient (1 Timothy 1:16)
- God is kind & merciful (Luke 6:35)
- God is our wise councillor (Isaiah 9:6)
- God is our friend (Luke 7:34)
- God made us (Psalm 139:13)
- God knows us (Matthew 10:13)
- God never sleeps (Psalm 121)
- God pursues us (Psalm 139)
The bible is also clear that prayer is important, and that the Lord will help us to do it:
- Ephesians 6:18 – Praying at all times in the Spirit
- Romans 12:12 – Be constant in prayer
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing
- Romans 8:26-27: “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves…and keeps us present before God.” (The Message)
If you struggle with praying, Lizzie suggested starting by reflecting on the Psalms, particularly Psalm
Praying for Others
Doris told us that the main points in praying for others are:
- To bear one another’s burdens through prayer. Galatians 6:2
- To develop your prayer life with a prayer partner. Ephesians 1:16
- To thank God for others, remembering others in your prayers
- We are a church where all of us are all in for Jesus. How can we use our prayer life to reflect this?
- What are the challenges of having prayer partners?
- How can we share prayer issues that are intimate or confidential?
- Does prayer partnership encourage cliques?
The Persistent Widow
Key idea: Keep praying “Your Kingdom come”.
In this section of the Gospel, Jesus has been speaking of his spectacular public return from heaven to reign, e.g. Luke 17:22-24. He knows that while we wait for that day when He will make all things right, we can give up and stop praying for His kingdom to come. So He tells a story of a widow in a desperate situation who keeps going to an unjust judge to get justice. After a time, the judge eventually becomes worn down by her insistence and concerned with how he might be effected by her, he makes sure that she gets justice.
Jesus then contrasts the unjust judge with our good God and says how much more those who call out to God day and night will have the joy, after a time, of seeing his kingdom come quickly. However, Jesus leaves the question hanging about whether He will find that kind of faith when He returns to reign. He wants us to keep praying “Your kingdom come” and not give up.
- V.1. Why do you think people can be tempted to give up and stop praying for things to become right?
- Have you ever been tempted to give up praying? Can you give an example?
Waiting for God’s response can be hard and requires faith: To learn patience; to be even more thankful when He responds; because there is a spiritual battle in the background; like Job, we sometimes simply don’t know why an unjust situation goes on and on.
- V.2. When you consider this judge, how can we be encouraged to keep praying to our God?
- V.3. Why do you think Jesus chooses a widow as the person who goes to the judge?
Consider God’s special care for the widow, Exodus 22:22-23. Psalm 68:4-5 (we worship this God who is “the defender of widows”). We too, as his children, have a special place in his heart.
- Vs.7-8. How and when will we fully see God’s justice? Reminder of recent teaching: Each time we take the Lord’s supper, we do this “until He comes”. What place does that hope of Christ’s return have for you?
- Finally, what do you think crying out to God day and night looks like in practise? How can we encourage each other in that?
Consider closing with a song in which we affirm our hope in Christ e.g. # 119 “My hope is built (Cornerstone)” Consider praying together or singing together the Lord’s prayer (“Your kingdom come”) found in Matthew 6:9-13 and song #132 (“Our Father”).