If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” Matthew 7:18
[Thought questions for Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival July 10, 2013]
1. Through prayer. Can you imagine even for a few moments what your life would be like without prayer? How has God demonstrated His longing to communicate with each of us regarding our life-changing decisions, problems, and hopes? How would our lives be different today if we had never asked God to be our guide? Recognizing—and despising—the benefits of prayer, how does the evil one work to distract or confuse us about the importance of constant communion with God?
2. The Book of Acts sets the stage for revival. Once in a while we hear about baptisms of 1,000 or more persons in a day following an intensive evangelistic campaign in a country ripe for revival. Acts records conversions more numerous than that. What caused the phenomenal growth of the early church from a handful of disciples to an estimated one million Christians by the end of the first century AD? Is the power that planted Christian hope in so many hearts still available to us today? Where is it? How can we obtain it to use for His glory?
3. How Jesus prayed. What seems to be Jesus’ driving purpose in His prayer life while He lived on earth? Why didn’t He spend more time praying for His heavenly Father to show compassion on Him? Is the energy and strength of soul Jesus received from prayer available to us today? Which of the following comes closest to describing Jesus’ prayers: (1) For Himself and then for others; (2) For others and then for Himself? Discuss.
5. Solitary prayer. Does God intend for us to spend most of our prayer life alone in a quiet place? Or should we try harder to meet with others as we pray? Have you ever joined in a prayer group with a specific need and watched as that need was filled? The story of Peter being rescued by God from prison has to be one of the most dramatic stories of all Scripture. What was the irony of Peter knocking on the door only to have it swing shut on him while Rhoda ran to tell others in the house?
6. Praying for events of today. What is the danger of praying for a specific outcome for a specific event taking place today? Or is there a danger? Should we decide under God what the outcome should be and then pray for that result to come to be? Or should we focus more on the readiness of our own hearts to see the workings of God in whatever takes place? What is the nature of the battle that is raging all around us? What can our prayers do for us as we face a world being rocked by confusion and rebellion against God’s love?
7. Effective prayer. What are the elements of effective prayer? What was the subject matter of most (but not all) of David the psalmist’s prayers? Think about each of the following types of prayer in terms of how it helps you draw closer to Jesus. Praying for (A) another person’s salvation; (B) healing or relief from suffering; (C) God’s leadership in church decisions; (D) your personal spiritual life. Is it okay to pray about anything any time as long as you are seeking a deeper friendship with Jesus with your prayers? Can you pray a meaningful prayer without giving thanks to God? Why or why not?
8. How prayer works. If God can read our minds, why pray? If He can’t read our minds, how can He be God? What changes most when we pray: (A) God’s attitude towards us; or (B) Our attitude towards God. Do you look forward to prayer sessions set aside to communicate with God? Does He also hear your short requests and your continual prayers for His Spirit to rule in your heart? Are you able to sing a hymn and pray at the same time? Does God ever close His ears and turn from our seeking Him in prayer?