Sermon: Core Values - Passionate Prayer
Reading: Philippians 4 v.6- 8, Psalm 5 v.3, Matthew 14 v.23
Sermon date: January 28th
It is hard not to be anxious at various times throughout our lives, can you think of a time when prayer brought you through a time of anxiety? Talk together about how we cope with the difficult times in our lives and whether we turn to God in prayer or find another way of getting peace?
How difficult do you find it to pray?
Be honest and talk with the person next to you and then share as a whole group, what are some of the joys and some of the difficulties you have found in prayer?
Please read Philippians 4 v. 6-8
1. Can you share something of the sermon that you heard on Sunday?
Prayer is the foundation of our faith, as Christians we believe that having a life giving relationship with God is matured by a faithful prayer life. I have heard it said that if all we do in prayer is to say ‘thank you’ then that will be sufficient, saying ‘thank you’ may not be all you want to pray but it’s good place to start.
2. Stop for a moment now and as a group pray ‘thank you’ prayers, one word or a few words, no more than a sentence. If some of your group are nervous, then discuss this before you pray and write down a few prayers for them to say, so that everyone can take part.
How we pray, indeed whether we pray, depends first and last on our understanding of God. God has been made flesh in Jesus and The Holy Spirit has been given to us all. We cannot remove ourselves from the One in whom we live and move and have our being. The very fact that I exist means that I am in the presence of God. We may deny or ignore this relationship but God will never turn away from us. Prayer is therefore not an escape from life, a few minutes we so often begrudgingly give, but a regular disciplined reminder that all ‘life’ is lived in God’s wonderful presence.
3. Have you ever thought about why we pray?
4. How do you tend to pray?
5. Have you ever considered praying in a different way?
6. Did you come to ‘Praying Together’ and experience a different way of praying?
Please re-read Philippians 4 v.6-8 again
Context and explanation of words
V. 6: The words “be anxious” (merimnao) can refer to being unduly concerned about anything, but it is often used in contexts where persecution is the issue. So both Matthew and Luke use this word in their record of Jesus’ admonition to his disciples, not to be concerned about what they will say before the local councils, governors, and kings who hunt them down because of their commitment to the gospel (Matt. 10:19; Luke 12:11). The term “guard” (phroureo) likewise is a figure drawn from the arena of conflict and is frequently used to refer to the action of a military garrison stationed inside a city (Judith 3:6; cf. 2 Cor. 11:32).
The “and” at the beginning of verse 7 is more important than it looks. It does not simply attach another statement to verses 6 but gives the result of the thankful prayer that Paul has described in verse 6. If the Philippians follow Paul’s advice, he says, then “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” will stand like a garrison over their hearts and minds.
But what is the “peace of God”? Is it an overwhelming sense of inner contentment?
Is it the serenity that characterizes God himself, who is never anxious?
Is it the peace (Rom. 5:1) that results from God’s justifying work in Christ Jesus?
Since the peace mentioned here stands in contrast to the anxiety mentioned in verse 6, it is probably an inner sense of contentment supplied by God. It transcends all understanding because the anticipated response to the persecution the Philippians are experiencing is anxiety.
7. Do any thoughts come you as you hear the cultural context for which the passage was written?
Please now read Matthew 14 v.23
Praying is not all about thanks and intercession, a very important part is listening. In any relationship we need to both speak and to listen if we are to grow and know more deeply about the other person.
Quote: ‘How little we know, how little we reveal’ Michael Mayne
8. Do you find it hard or easy to ‘listen’ to God?
9. When was the last time you withdrew from ‘normal’ life and spent time away, alone with God?
10. Have you ever been on a Quiet Day/Retreat? Could you do this as a group?
How do you think you could grow in prayer individually and also as a house group?
Commit to spending some time over the next few house group meetings where you use different ways of praying. For instance, creatively, musically, silently, intercession, liturgy, poetry, biblical verses, art etc.
Prayer: Does it make any difference? by Phillip Yancey
The practice of the presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Sharon Seal, 11/01/2018