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LEADERS GUIDE Topic: Pray Part 1

Simple Reminders

  • The primary idea you need to keep revisiting during this Following Jesus Pathway is that we are following and being formed by Jesus. This pathway can be learned simply or in great depth. We trust that you as a leader know your people and the dynamics of your group well enough to adapt and impart this topic with grace and wisdom.

  • This guide is designed to help you and others follow and be formed by Jesus. Remember to keep it Jesus-Centered.

  • We pray that you will be Spirit-Led and Spirit- Empowered as you lead and learn together.

Pray Hand Motion

Researchers have found that moving our bodies and adding actions to our learning significantly increases our ability to remember. Here is a hand action you can add to the command to remember it:

  • Step 1: Take both hands and put them together in front of you palms touching & facing each other, fingers pointing up

  • Step 2: Bow your head

Brief Commentary and Context

Brief Commentary for Matthew 6:5-13 - (The Motive, Meaning and Method of Prayer)

Jesus sat down on a mountain side amidst desperate masses to give his most famous sermon. He had come to usher in a life-giving revolution called the Kingdom of God, the way and will of his Father, rising to restore a fallen, hurting, creation back to flourishing. At the very center of his revolutionary message he opened his central passion, prayer.

Prayer is a relationship with the Father, a reciprocal communion of love, a river of affection. There is no one who understood communion with the Father more deeply or fully than this man Jesus. He is the one who had enjoyed eternal delight with the Father as the uncreated Word before time and the one, who now made flesh, had given himself entirely to loving union with his Abba, Father. Jesus lived and breathed prayer, practicing the presence of God in all of life.

The gospel writer Luke records that Jesus' lifestyle of prayer inspired and provoked his young disciples who curiously asked, “teach us to pray.” Jesus didn’t hold back his secrets on this occasion. He laid out what is famously known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” It was the original creed, a simple thesis containing a core framework for the Kingdom of God and a simple pattern for prayer that draws us down endless pathways in God’s presence! Pete Greig remarks, “In these old, familiar words we are going to discover nine different paths of prayer: stillness, adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, contemplation, listening, confession and spiritual warfare.” (How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People, p. 3.)

In his teaching in Matthew 6:5-13, Jesus will lay out the motive, method and meaning of prayer. He challenges the motivation behind the failed righteousness of the Pharisees who desired to pray to be seen by people rather than the Father. There is a secret for those who enter the secret place to be seen and known by only the Father, a secret worth searching out all our days. To simply be with the Father is the pure motivation in prayer for Kingdom sons and daughters!

Jesus also got incredibly practical in teaching a method of prayer when he said, “when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father.” He understood the human temptation to distraction and gave them a practical instruction to be alone and focused on the Father. Jesus didn’t stop with the motive and method of prayer, he opened up the substance and meaning of prayer in what is known as “The Lord’s Prayer”.

Every line can be endlessly enjoyed and explored. It calls us into loving union and worship of “Our Father” and his beautiful “Kingdom…on earth as it is in heaven.” The paths of prayer begin with words like, “give us”, “forgive us”, “lead us”, “deliver us”. We do not need to say “empty words” or “many words” to impress God or people, but rather ‘meaningful words’ because the Father already knows what we need and loves us. Above all, Jesus came to welcome each of us into the same loving union with the Father in prayer and participation in His Kingdom that he enjoyed. Matthew 6:5-13 declares that the Father sees us, knows us and rewards us.

Welcome to the greatest privilege and pursuit in all of human existence, prayer, and the greatest reward that one can ever have, the Father’s presence.

Core Truths from the Topic:

  • Summary Scripture: Ephesian 6:18 - And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

  • Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

  • Mark 11:24 - Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

  • Romans 8:26 - Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

  • James 5:16 - Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

  • Matthew 26:41 - Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

  • Colossians 4:2 - Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  • 1 John 5:14-15 -This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

  • 1 Chronicles 16:11 - Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 - If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Other Biblical Stories to DBS (Discovery Bible Study) for further reflection and discussion on Prayer :

  • Pharisee & the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

  • Persistent Widow – Luke 18:1-8

  • Ask and Given – Matt. 7:7-11

Extra Resources

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