TiO 45 – Alpha – What is Prayer?

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The Main Idea

Prayer is not an add-on to our journey with Jesus. It is not something we are to do just when we are sad or scared or in trouble. It is the core of our relationship with God which, like any relationship, requires work in order to maintain. Prayer is the centre of our communication with God.

Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)

Q1: As a child, when you wanted something, would you talk with your Mom or your Dad?

Q2: What is your approach to asking people that you know for things that you need?

Q3: Have you ever had an experience, like Mark did, where your greatest fear was revealed against your will?

Dig a Little Deeper

This week Mark walked us through Luke 22 and in so doing he presented for us a model of prayer in the life of Jesus.

Read Luke 22:39-46

This passage clearly shows us a incident of prayer in Jesus’ life. But, as with all lessons from Scripture, context—the place in the overall story that this incident is placed into—is very important to help us understand why Jesus did what he did.

As a large group or in smaller groups of 2 or 3 scan the rest of Luke 22, that is, Luke 22:1-38 and Luke 22:47-71.

Q1: What is going on in Jesus’ life both right before and right after he retreats to pray?

Q2: Based on the context you have identified, why do you think Jesus stopped at this point to retreat from the action around him to pray?

Luke 22:39-46 shows us some characteristics about Jesus’ prayer life.

Q3: What does Luke 22:39 tell us about prayer in Jesus’ life?

By the time Jesus withdraws to pray he is tired and dreading what he knows is to come. We hear him call out to God in verse 42. In this short prayer we see two parts:

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me”

and

“Yet, not my will but yours be done.”

Q4: What does the first part—his request—tell you about the prayers of Jesus, his state of mind, and his relationship with God the Father?

Q5: What does the second part tell you about the prayers of Jesus, his state of mind, and his relationship with God the Father?

Twice Jesus says to his disciples “pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” For this to be mentioned twice in an 8 verse passage indicates that this is an important message that the disciples must understand.

Q6: What do you think that Jesus is referring to when he talks about the “time of trial”?

Next Steps

As he concluded his sermon, Mark spoke of two things about prayer: first, that prayer is, for us, a habit that we should cultivate in order to intentionally foster a relationship with God; and second, that prayer is an everyday thing we do, not just for today but to prepare us for the unknown that is coming. Sadly, many of us treat prayer like flossing our teeth: we do it only when we are preparing for a meeting with someone who will ask us about it or when we are really nervous about the state of our (spiritual) health.

Q1: How do you pray? What works the best for you?

Q2: When do you pray? That is, what time during the day and how frequently?

Q3: What steps can/will you take to improve the quality of your prayer life, your conduit to God.

Pray together that God would give you the desire and opportunities to pray more and better.

The Scriptures

In this section we are provide the scriptures referenced in this study. Some are core to the lesson, others can optionally be read and discussed as part of your time together.

Luke 22:39-46 (NRSV)

            He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” [[ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]] When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.

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