Devotional for Worship Series
Thoughts and Prayers
NOTE: Please use the devotional studies below to help you prepare for the upcoming weekend worship services.
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“The Problem of Prayer” June 17-23
- Prayer is risky business. When we pray, we release control of the outcome of the request to God– to His wisdom, counsel and priorities. Read Proverbs 3:5-8 & Romans 12:19. What do these passages say about who should be “in control” of our life? Do you struggle with this issue? If so, please give an example or two for discussion. How do you deal with this?
- Read Matthew 26:36-39. When did this event take place? What was Jesus’ emotional state like? What specifically did He pray for? Why did He pray such a humble yet bold prayer? In order to pray like this, what did Jesus have to trust His Father with?
- Read 1 Kings 3:4-14. Solomon had just become King of Israel at a very young age. What did he pray for? What did he not pray for? What did these priorities say about his character (Who was he willing to trust– in God or himself?)? What was God’s response to this prayer?
- How can Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and Solomon’s at the beginning of his kingship, serve as inspiration for your own struggles with the issues of your life?
- Read 2 Corinthians 11:18– 12:7. What character flaw or challenge do we find the Apostle Paul struggling with here? What did God do to help Paul deal with it (vs. 7)?
- Read 2 Corinthians 12:8. Apparently this affliction was very painful for Paul. How did Paul respond to God’s “assistance”?
- Read vs. 9. What was God’s response to Paul’s repeated prayers that God relieve him of his suffering? Why do you think God responded this way (Read 2 Peter 3:9 for help.)?
- Read vs. 10. What was Paul’s response to God’s answer?
“The Path of Prayer” June 10-16
- When it comes to prayer, there is some debate over whether it is better to pray extemporaneously, or to use a formal model like ACTS, HEART, PRAY etc. In Luke 11:1, we are told that the disciples, after observing Jesus in prayer said, “Lord, teach us to pray…” Jesus then gave them much of what we know today as The Lord’s Prayer. This can be used as a model prayer to be prayed in it’s entirety as we often do in worship services, or it can be used as a guide of important areas to cover in praying extemporaneously. This weed we’ll consider the various “petitions” of the Lord’s Prayer.
- Read Matthew 6:9. Who is being prayed to? Why is naming God important in prayer (Hint: for help read Mark 12:32.)? What does it mean for God’s name to be “hallowed” or holy (google the word if you need help)? How can we “hallow” God’s name?
- Read Matthew 6:10. How has God’s Kingdom come among us (see Hebrews 2:6-10)? In the second part of Matthew 6:10 we pray, “Thy” will be done, not “My” will be done. Why is this important? Is it easy to pray this way?
- Read Matthew 6:11. What’s next on the priority list for prayer from Jesus? This is not just a request for food. It covers everything that we need for daily life. Read 1 Timothy 4:4-5. What did Paul say causes these many things to bless our lives?
- Read Matthew 6:12, 14-15. Why do we need God’s forgiveness (see Ezra 9:15)? Why is it important for us to forgive others (see John 13:34-35)?
- Read Matthew 6:13. Why should we ask for God’s protection against Satan and his temptations (see 1 Peter 5:8-9 & Ephesians 6:10-17)?
“The Privilege of Prayer” May 30– June 2
Read Hebrews 4:12-16
This week we are beginning a 5 week sermon series on Thoughts and Prayers. We hear those words thrown around in our culture today. Whenever a tragedy strikes people often say, “sending our thoughts and prayers.” Many people not only question the sincerity of these offerings, but their effectiveness.
- What are some of the things you are currently praying for? When was the last time God answered your prayers? How did He answer your prayer(s)?
- Before the author of Hebrews talks about prayer, he talks about God’s Word. How does He describe God’s Word in verse 12? This imagery is meant to convey the power of God’s Word. His Word has the power to cut through any barrier that would stand in God’s way. In what other way is God’s Word like a two-edged sword?
- Verse 12 describes the precision of the sword, “piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” What does God’s Word have the power to do? Why is it important that we hear the Law of God?
- Read verses 14-16. When we struggle to find answers to our problems, what encouragement can we find in these verses?
- How does verse 15 describe God as He hears our prayers? What comfort does this give you as you come before Him with your prayers? What event in the life of Jesus allows Him to understand our “weaknesses?” Why is this important in your life?
- Read Ephesians 3:20-21. What does this tell us about God’s plan for our life? Is He is able to do more than we could ever ask? How might this bring comfort to you when you feel like your prayers are not being answered in the way you want?
“Memorial Day” May 23-27
Read Ephesians 6:10-20
While Memorial Day marks the start of summer for some, this day, also known as Decoration Day, is a holiday for remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the armed forces. Many states claim to be the first to have remembered those who died in service to their country. Warrenton, Virginia seems to be the oldest, dating back to 1861- the first year of the Civil War, according to an article in the Richmond Times newspaper.
- As much as we face trials and challenges in this life, we also engage in a battle that is unseen by the naked eye. According to verse 12, who else do we battle against? Read 1 Peter 5:8. Who do we battle against? What are some weaknesses the devil uses in your life to do battle with you?
- Just as a warrior prepares for battle, and would be foolish to do so without his armor, what does Paul encourage us to do?
- How are we equipped to do battle? What do we need to fight against opponents who are not of this world and do not battle with earthly weapons? (verses 14-18)
- What would happen to a warrior or solider who goes into battle without a piece of his gear? What happens to us when we do not adequately put on the armor of God?
“The Ascension of Jesus” May 13-19
Read Acts 1:3-11.
- Luke picks up where His own Gospel leaves off. Go back and read Luke 24:50-53. Why do you suppose there is repetition?
- Luke writes about the “many proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” What famous accounts can you remember where Jesus appeared after his death? Read John 20:11-18, 19-23, 24-29, 21:15-19, Luke 24:13-35.
- Jesus instructs the disciples not to leave Jerusalem prior to being baptized with the Holy Spirit. When does this occur? Read Acts 2:1-4.
- Read verse 6. What do the disciples still not understand even after Jesus is brought back to life? What was their focus? What did they think the job of the Messiah was? Read Luke 24:21.
- Jesus does say that He will come in glory. Who is the only person who knows that time? Read Mark 13:32. How can this help us when we hear people proclaiming that the end of the world is coming? Do they know when Jesus will return?
- Verse 8 sounds like a repetition of which famous section at the end of the Gospel of Luke?
- Jesus is lifted up into a cloud. Where else has a cloud been used to show God’s presence? Read Exodus 13:21-22, 16:4-10.
- Who are the two men who appear in white robes? Where else have angels appeared throughout the life of Jesus? What is their job when they appear? Read Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:8-14, Matthew 28:2-7.
- How does the angel say Jesus will come again? Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Luke 21:25-28.