- What GPS app is the best and why? How often do they use them in Fort Worth, and how often when they are driving out of town?
- What instruction from your GPS app do you dread to hear? Have you ever been led astray by your GPS app?
- If you could, what would you change about your GPS app?
Using a GPS app is easy – you search for your destination, choose your method of transportation and navigate there. All you have to do is follow the next step in the directions. Sometimes we treat our prayer lives like a GPS app; we want to tell God where our destination is and expect Him to guide us on the shortest, least congested route.
- Although having turn-by-turn directions from God to navigate through life would be so helpful at times, why is this not an accurate picture of prayer?
From The Message translation, Read Matthew 6:6 - “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”
- What did Jesus want his followers to do when they went to pray? Why? What was the goal?
If we treat our prayer lives like a GPS app, the goal is receiving the directions to get us to our desired location, but Jesus clearly tells us that the goal of prayer is shifting our focus from ourselves to God. It is about getting to know Him, and sensing His grace. Prayer is communication with God, so we can have a relationship with Him.
- How does this goal differ from your goals when you pray? Do you see prayer as an opportunity for intimacy with God? How could this view change your approach to praying?
Matthew 6:5-8 - “When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! 6 But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. 8 Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.
- What phrase is repeated in this passage?
- What does Jesus say not to do “when you pray”?
- What does Jesus say to do?
Jesus practiced this principle of getting alone with God often throughout his human life. All of the gospel writers record instances where “Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to pray” and times when Jesus spent entire nights alone in prayer.
- According to Jesus’s words and example, prayer is not optional, but vital.
- Why is it so often difficult for us to pray? What hindrances or obstacles do you encounter when you pray?
It may be that not knowing how to pray, not being sure if your prayers are being heard, not knowing how to approach God, or what to say keeps you from praying. It may be distractions or doubt that interfere with communicating with God.
Just as there is not one common or universal answer to these questions, there is not one universal solution, tactic or technique that will ignite your prayer life and improve your relationship with God. And even if you have found a pattern or method that is working now, different seasons in your life may necessitate a change in your approach to prayer. Whatever the difficulty is in starting to pray – do not let that stop you from trusting God enough to talk to Him!
Isaiah 30:18-21 - “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! 19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of afliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
- What encouragements to pray are found is this passage?
The Bible is filled with so many examples of prayers and answers to prayers and instruction on prayer. Numerous books have been written on this subject.
The bottom line is that without intentional times of solitary prayer with God, you cannot develop your relationship with Him.
Prayer is the means God gave us for speaking with Him, and He longs to hear your voice and answer you.
Psalm 37:7 says, “Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him…”
Father help each of us this week desire to get alone with You. Teach us how to pray and to wait expectantly for You… to answer, to reassure, to give us what we need, to reveal more of Yourself to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.