Prayer 1 – Jesus’ Instructions

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on Jesus’ instructions regarding the discipline of prayer in the life of the believer.


Matthew 6:5-15

5 And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 “ But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father, who sees in the secret place will reward you openly.

7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

9 “In this manner, therefore, pray:  Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.10 Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Observations and Reflections

Note: Jesus’ teaching on prayer does not condemn public prayer (v 6) nor does “vain repetitions” (v 7) refer to repeating requests when praying.  Instead He teaches, by way of contrast, focussed prayer which acknowledges God’s needed reign in every area of our lives.

  1. Jesus uses the words “when you pray” (v 6, 7) and “pray therefore” (v 9) instead of “if you pray”. What does His use of words imply?
  2. What instructions does Jesus give concerning time, space, method and content of prayer? Try to put each of these instructions in one or two words.
  3. Why do you think Jesus values prayer in the ‘secret place’ specifically vs prayer that attracts attention?

Personal reflection & Prayer

  1. Consider your own prayer life:
  • How often do you talk to God?
  • Do you have a special place or time set aside for prayer?
  1. Consider Jesus’ promise of reward for disciplined prayer:
  • Ask God to show you how and where He wants you to create a ‘secret place’ where the two of you can communicate without distractions.

Share you intent and plan with your accountability friend or some trusted mature Christian and ask him/ her to help you cultivate a place of private prayer by keeping you accountable.

Acknowledgement: This devotional series on prayer was developed and complied by Ester Venter.

Discipleship 13 – discipline your body

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the need for a disciplined life-style.


1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.


Note: The context of this portion is Pauls’ defense in his rights as an apostle and his commitment to preaching the gospel at the cost of his comforts.

  1. What do you think Paul means when he writes about being “disqualified”? (verse 27)
  2. So why should Paul “discipline his body to keep it under control”? (verse 25)
  3. What could Paul mean to “not run aimlessly… not box … the air”? (verse 26)
  4. Which one word in verse 25 could best summarize Paul’s appeal in this paragraph?


Consider the temptations you are most vulnerable to.  It helps to “play the movie forward” so to speak.

  1. Which desires/ passions you have, if left unchecked, would ruin your life? Why or how?
  2. Which desires/passions you have in your heart, if left unchecked, could lead you away from Christ and your faith in God? Why and how?
  3. What do you do as a lifestyle to “exercise self-control” and to “discipline [your] body to keep it under control”?
  4. Which disciplines / habits should you grow in to prevent you from falling into such a destructive lifestyle?


Confess the weakness of your sinful self and your need for God’s grace, then pray for God’s help to grow in self-control.