Preacher: Pastor Ray
Do you feel stuck in prayer? Listen over the next few weeks as we seek to gain a new understanding and approach to prayer.
Read John 14:14, 1 John 5:14-15 and Psalm 37:4.
– What’s your reaction as you read these verses?
– What do these verses teach us about prayer?
Read Rom 8:26-27.
– Who’s doing the groaning (groan means “wordless sigh”)?
– What type of groaning is this?
– What other types of groaning do you see in this chapter (v22 and v23)?
There are 3 camps regarding the will of God: 1) the universal will of God revealed in Scripture is all we have, 2) there is a universal will of God plus a very specific will for the individual but we have no idea to access it and 3) there is a universal will of God plus a personal, tailor-made will of God that we can grow into.
– Which camp are you in?
– What do we learn from Hebrews 11 and the heroes of faith? Does this change the camp you want to be in?
The church in the Western world worships the intellect and education and we elevate our interpretation of the Bible, and as a result, we have a lot of knowledge but we are spiritually malnourished.
– Do you agree or disagree?
– People say I am doing God’s will because I’ve studied this Book. Are these the same thing?
– Recall the Cheesecake Factory example. Do you agree that we are studying the menu (i.e. Bible), but we are failing to order from it and eat (i.e. nourished by Jesus, the bread of life)?
Knowledge by itself is insufficient. It will make you feel good. It will puff you up. It will make you look down on others with an inferior interpretive method.
– Do you agree or disagree?
If you elevate your intellect and your ability to interpret Scripture and all you have is the Bible, what you’ve done is to divide life into 2 categories: 1) the moral category (universal moral principles found in Scripture) and 2) the non-moral category (the bulk of life).
– What happens if you live with these 2 categories?
– What’s the difference between a father and a stepfather?
– Is God your heavenly Father or stepfather?
Regarding God’s will in our decision making, there are several options. One option is that He doesn’t really care so you choose. Another option is that He cares but He’s not going to tell you and you’re going to have to figure it out on your own. A third option is that intimacy is impossible on this side of eternity so just read His Book and do your best.
– Does God care about small decisions like where I live?
– Consider Lot in Genesis. Did it matter that he decided to leave Abraham and move nearby Sodom?
It’s our pride that races to erect intellectual defenses to explain away our lack of intimacy with the Lord. Moses is special and we’re not. Paul was an apostle and we’re not. God spoke to His people intimately prior to the canonization of the Bible, but no longer.
– Who’s the best interpreter of any book?
– Who’s the Author of the Bible?
– Without the Holy Spirit’s help, the Bible will remain a book. Ask the Spirit to help illuminate truth in your heart.
It takes humility to say, Lord, search my heart so that we can kill all traces of flesh. When the flesh is still alive and our intellect breathes life into our flesh, we end up elevating our ability to interpret Scripture. As a result, we create a system of belief which turns life into compartments (career, family, parenting, hobbies). And because the Bible is silent in specifically addressing many of these areas of life, we end up doing what we want.
– Whenever you pray for something, do you often already have an answer in mind and you assume you know God’s will in every decision?
– When you pray and you don’t hear anything, do you assume silence means God must approve?
Approaching prayer as a time to get your list answered without growing in intimacy means we’ve turned Christianity into magic. Magic is a ritualistic system where you do certain things and out comes a result.
– Have you grown in intimacy during your prayer times recently or have you turned it into a time to get your list answered?
– Why is it offensive to approach God in a results-oriented way?
– Do you approach God like an oil change where you want something from Him so that your life can run more smoothly? What does this mindset reveal?
– Ask the Father to search your heart and remove hindrances to intimacy.