Preparing for Next Week’s Message
This reading plan will get your heart and mind set for the next message on November 5, 2017:
- SUNDAY: Colossians 4:2-6, 1 Timothy 2:1-6, Matthew 5:43-48,
- MONDAY: James 5:13-20, Matthew 6:9-13, Matthew 9:35-38, John 17:20-26,
- TUESDAY: Mark 1:29-39, Luke 9:28-36,
- WEDNESDAY: Psalm 139,
- THURSDAY: Acts 12:1-19, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10,
- FRIDAY: Romans 12,
- SATURDAY: 1 Thessalonians 5:17,
Reflecting on the Most Recent Sermon
Sermon Series: Praying with Eyes Wide Open Sermon Title: Praying with Hearts Wide Open
Delivered On: October 29, 2017
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ([bible]Hebrews 4:16[/bible])
Spend time this week praying the three “alls” of Ephesians 6:18. Seek to pray on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers, for all of God’s people. Try to pray at a time you have never prayed before, try praying a new way, and pray for someone you have not thought to pray for until just now.
All God’s People Get a list of every Christian church in your town. If you are in a big city, narrow it to the area you live. Make a list of at least twenty other Christian churches and pray for these churches over the coming week. Ask for God’s blessing on each church, their leaders, and their mission!
Small Group Discussion
What are some of the things that can fill our hearts with worry, anxiety, or even fear? How can these get in the way of our prayers?
Describe a time when you started praying to God about a concern you had and then realized that your prayer had actually turned into worry and anxiety. What is the difference between confident and trusting prayer and worry-filled prayer?
Read: Psalm 23 The Lord is our Shepherd. What are some of the specific ways we experience God as our Shepherd when we prayerfully entrust our heart and life to him?
Read: Psalm 22:1-5 What do you notice about David’s honesty as he prays in Psalm 22? Why do you think that many Christians have a hard time being totally honest with God in prayer (particularly when they’re frustrated, hurt, or angry)?
How do Psalms 23 and 22 give a picture of the wide range of prayers that honor and please God? Why is it important for us to know that God welcomes both of these kinds of prayers?
There are more Psalms of Lament than any other kind of psalm. Just think about it, the most common kind of prayer in the Book of Psalms includes an honest and heart-rending cry to God out of the depths of pain, loss, and struggle. Why do you think there are so many examples of lament psalms in the Bible? How do you think God feels when he hears us pray like this?
There is a basic structure to a lament psalm. It looks like this:
- Address to God: Call to God by name (“My God,” “My Lord,” “My righteous God,” “Lord my God”)
- Honest and Heartfelt Complaint: Expression to God of the pain you are feeling (Declaration of fear, loneliness, pain, struggle, emotional turmoil, pain of being attacked…)
- Petition or Prayer: A passionate cry asking God to help (“Deliver me,” “Save me,” “Defeat my enemy,” “Heal me”)
- Confession of Trust: Bold declaration that God is on the throne and he will deliver (“You are my shield,” “You hear my voice,” “Yet I will trust you,” “The Lord is my King forever and ever!”)
(For further study on this, read Out of the Depths by Bernard Anderson.)
Why is it so important to address God specifically and by name when we are in a hard time and our heart is feeling bruised or broken? What are some of the names of God that might be good to use as you address him in hard times?
Why do you think God wants us to be totally honest and open with him about our hurts, pain, and the struggles we face? What are some possible negative consequences if we don’t tell God about the pain we are carrying?
Once we have addressed God and expressed, with deep honesty, our pain and struggle, we should ask for his help and invite him to unleash heavenly power into our tough circumstances. Tell about a time you cried to God from the depths of loss and heartache and he showed up and answered your prayer, healing your broken heart.
At the end of a lament psalm there is a bold pronouncement of utter trust in the power, goodness, and faithfulness of God. Why is it absolutely critical that we end these kinds of heartfelt prayers with a statement of confidence in God? What has God done in the past to make you confident that he will deliver you in the future?
What is one thing you are facing in life right now that would lead you to a time of praying a lament? How can your group members join you in praying as you face this situation?
Your Prayer Journey: Take time as a group, and also through your week, to pray using one or more of the “Your Prayer Journey” suggestions from chapters nine through twelve in the book, Praying with Eyes Wide Open. (Pages 122, 136, 151, and 163)