Praying to Our Father – connection (Prayer day 13)

In praying to “Our Father in heaven” we have confidence in God’s sympathy (as His children), superiority (in power) and spirit (his loving generosity). 

Scripture

Ephesians 3:14-21

14  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Observations and reflections

  1. What is Paul’s POSTURE in praying this prayer to the Ephesian church? (v14) Why do you think it mattered to Paul?
  2. Note TO WHOM does Paul this prayer. (v14-15)  What do we learn about how we relate to God the Father | Christ Jesus His Son | and the Holy Spirit’s from this prayer?
  1. Note the CONFIDENCE in this prayer. Try find one descriptive word for Paul’s confidence in verse 16a and the reason for his confidence in verse 20?
  2. WHAT does Paul pray for the Ephesian church in verses 16-19? Again try single descriptive words.

Personal reflection and Prayer

The Ephesian church suffered from internal factions and external persecution. Yet Paul confidently kneeled to the Father in heaven and prayed for strength through faith, knowing that the God the Father loves His children, is generous and kind, and can do far more than we can imagine.

  1. Write down all your external pressures and internal, emotional struggles.
  2. Now slowly pray this prayer for yourself today: (Can you kneel down?)
  • Thank God the Father that you are HIS CHILD – you find your identity, destiny and security in him – he is responsible for you.
  • Tell God you pray CONFIDENTLY to him because of His supreme GENEROSITY and ABILITY. (stay here for a while)
  • Pray for STRENGTH to endure. (be specific)
  • Pray for FAITH to trust him for provision, to do his will not yours, and to know he is with you in these hardships (dependence, surrender, communion). Bring your needs to God here.
  • Pray that you may experience His LOVE – in your heart and in His church.
  1. Take a while and IMAGINE how God will solve all these issues. Tell God what you see, and how you believe he can do so much more than that!
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Where, To Whom, and Why to pray (Prayer day 11)

Before Jesus taught his disciples WHAT to pray, he taught them WHERE, TO WHOM and WHY (NOT) to pray.

This story of Ps Bill Hybels will greatly enhance your reflection on Scripture reading. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xU9GR4H0WQ

Scripture

Matthew 6:5-9 the beginning of Jesus’ teaching on prayer.

5  “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6  But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7  “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Observations and reflections

  1. Jesus’ first teaching on prayer is WHERE to pray (v5-6). Where should we pray, and why does that matter?
  2. Jesus’s second teaching on prayer is TO WHOM to pray. (v6)
  • What difference does it make to pray to God “our Father” vs “God our Creator” or “God our Judge”? (hint: think of the relation and role of a father to his children)
  • What is God our Father like? Write down the first ten things you know the Bible teaches about God our Father.
  1. Why should we not use many words when asking God for things? (v7-8)
  • If God already knows about our needs, what does Jesus imply about WHY we pray? (hint: prayer is not primarily about…)
  • In your opinion, WHY do you think we should primarily pray? (hint: to WHOM do we pray?)

Personal reflection and Prayer

Without a regular platform WHERE we meet God our Father in prayer, our relationship with God will be incidental and fractured like a drive-through restaurant, leaving our knowledge of God shallow.   But a regular place and time to meet our Father will ensure we stop and talk about our deeper and more important concerns, and where we evaluate our thoughts and desires in his presence – so we may know Him and become like Him (Phil 3:10).

  1. WHERE and when do you usually meet with God your Father? Does that time and place allow you to have a meaningful encounter with God?  How can you adjust it to make it more meaningful?
  2. Does your meetings with God feel like meetings with YOUR FATHER? How do you view and experience God’s presence and response to your prayers?
  3. If someone were to listen to your prayers, WHY would they say do you pray? I.e. what do you mainly pray about?
  4. Spend some time to talk to God your Father about where and why you pray. Ask Him to teach and lead your meetings, because you want to know him and become like him.

 

Prayer 8 – Praying as Jesus taught

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on and pray as Jesus taught his followers.

Scripture

Matthew 6:9-13

9  Pray then like this: “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 also have forgiven our debtors.

13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Observations and Prayer

Follow Jesus model prayer and pray in your own words – line by line – as he taught the principles of prayer to his disciples.

  1. Person
    1. Pray to God the Father, with sincerity and confidence, knowing He is your Dad
    2. Start by praising Him for Who He is. Take some time giving thanks and remind yourself how great God is.
  2. Purpose: pray for God’s Kingdom to come, his will to be done.
    1. Start by submitting your will and your day to him – invite Him to reign in every area of your life.
    2. Pray for your family, workplace and neighborhood, and pray for God’s Kingdom of “righteousness, peace and joy” (Romans 14:17) to manifest in it.
  3. Provision
    1. Thanks God for all the blessings he richly gives to you.
    2. Then bring your needs to God with faith and confidence.
  4. Pardon: Ask the Lord “to search me and know me” (Psalm 139:23), to reveal any sin and unforgiveness in your heart.
    1. Confess your sins and shortcomings to the Lord, asking and thanking him for forgiveness.
    2. Forgive those who have wronged you “form your heart” (Matthew 18:35), and bless them.
  5. Protection
    1. Pray God’s protection over you, your family and your city today.
    2. Acknowledge your vulnerability and fallibility to God and ask Him for grace to keep you from giving in to temptation and deception.