Key Text: Matthew 6:5-14
Preparation: print out the A5 daily retreat sheet, ensuring there is enough for one each.
Jesus’ life was fueled by prayer. There is this clear rhythm of praying and ministering. Before Jesus sees any breakthrough, he first retreats into the quiet space to hear from his Father.
The Bible tells us (1 Th 5:17) to “pray without ceasing.” While we don’t believe this literally means to never stop praying, we would say that Jesus probably came closer to never stopping than any person who has ever lived on this planet. He was continually in a prayer mode. He is shown to pray: alone (Mt 14:23) (Mk 1:35) (Lk 9:18) (Lk 22:39-41), in public (Jn 11:41-42) (Jn 12:27-30), before meals (Mt 26:26) (Mk 8:6) (Lk 24:30) (Jn 6:11), before important decisions (Lk 6:12-13), before healing (Mk 7:34-35), after healing (Lk 5:16), to do the Father’s will (Mt 26:36-44), among other things. He also taught on the importance of prayer (Mt 21:22) (Mk 11:24-26) (Mt 7:7-11) (Lk 11:9-13) (Jn 14:13-14) (Jn 15:7,16) (Jn 16:23-24) (Mt 5:44) (Lk 6:27-28) (Mt 6:5-15: including the Lord’s Prayer) (Lk 11:2-4) (Mt 18:19-20). If you take all of the places that show Jesus praying, you will have a PERFECT outline of how to pray (check out John 17).
Q. How much are you an activist and how much are you a contemplative?
Q. Rev Simon Ponsonby says “If you tell me you love praying in a quiet room on your own every day. I would tell you that you’re not a pray-er you’re an introvert”. How do you find praying on your own?
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”.
What jumps out at you?
What questions do you have?
Q. Before Jesus ever saw breakthrough in people’s lives he would always be found praying on his own in some secluded place. Do you get a sense of what was going on for Jesus in these moments?
Q. Do not be like the ‘hypocrites’. The Greek here is hippocrates meaning ‘performer on a stage’. How can prayer be a performance in today’s Church culture?
Q. How would you benefit by being more committed to praying on your own regularly?
Q. (v. 10 ) When we pray and we say “your will be done” we are admitting that God knows best and that we don’t. Why do we pray if God already knows best?
Q. (v. 7) “Do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them…” Your prayers don’t need to be clever, long and complex. Say it as it is. Be normal. How is this helpful and how is this a struggle for you?
Q. How does the line “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Sit with you?
Q. If we ask the question “What would Jesus do” when it comes to seeing breakthrough, why do you think we struggle to much to pray as much as He seemed to do? Did he have it easier because he had more time on his hands? Do you think Jesus found it harder when he was a workman.
Q. It seems for Jesus, prayer was less about asking and more about resting with his Father, being in his presence and knowing Gods will. We tend to pray to get ‘stuff’ or change situations. How can your prayer life change to match more of that of Jesus. (Both are actually ok, it’s just a challenge to listen more and talk less.)
A Prayer Triplet is a group of three Christians, committed to praying together regularly. A “team of three” is suggested because it is non-threatening. People are not so nervous about saying the wrong thing in a small group of friends who are learning to trust God and each other together. We would love to encourage people to have 2 others to pray with regularly to get support. The structure of a prayer triplet is simple. Get together for 60 mins. 30 mins share and catch up together and 30 mins praying together. These can meet weekly, bi-weekly or monthly depending upon the group.
Remind the group about the 321, Daily Retreat. Encourage the group to take a daily 6 min retreat – to advance.
Take some time to pray together as a group for the needs of the small group. Encourage everyone to be praying for those needs throughout the week.