1 - Pray

Talking to God


In the last section, we focused on how, as Christians, we are to obey God and abide in Christ. The next three sections of this course highlight three ways we can abide in Christ: prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. This section examines the importance of prayer in the Christian walk. Before diving into D.A. Carson’s teaching, watch this video illustration that answers the question, “what is prayer?” 


What new insights did you gain from this video about prayer? How did this clip speak to you about your personal prayer life?
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Prayer is simply talking to God, but how does that work out practically? Listen to  D.A. (Don) Carson, respected New Testament scholar and Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, define biblical prayer and explain why we pray to an omniscient God. 



Don described several aspects of prayer—adoration, requests, thanksgiving. Sometimes, we can’t muster words for prayer and the Spirit intercedes for us. We can even enter into a conversation with God as we read Scripture.  

In what ways does Don’s definition of prayer impact you? Why?
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After Don defined prayer, he unpacked why Christians should still pray to God, even though He knows everything. He pointed out two truths from Jesus’ teaching (use the verses listed below as a reference):

  1. We shouldn’t be verbose.
  2. We should pray and not give up.

Matthew 6:7-8 (ESV)

7“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Luke 18:1-8 (ESV)

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

1And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.2He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.3And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’4For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man,5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”6And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.7And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?8I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


How do the above Scriptures explain why we should pray to an omniscient God?
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Which of the two principles Don described is easy to apply in your life? Why? Is one more difficult than the other? If so, which one and why?
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Don used a story about his daughter’s longing to play the flute to demonstrate an aspect of God’s purposes in answering our prayers. What stood out to you about Don’s illustration about his daughter? Why?
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What does it mean for you and your prayer life that God knows best? Is it difficult for you to trust in His goodness when it seems like He doesn’t hear your prayers? Why or why not?
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Don said God isn’t like a vending machine. He won’t give us what we want if we push the right button. He’s a person and wants us to interact with Him on a personal level.  

What are some practical steps you can take to have a personal interaction with God today? What could you do this week to increase prayer in your life?
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As you close this session, spend some intentional time in prayer. Try practicing the principles Don highlighted in his teaching. Tell God the stresses and worries in your life. Ask Him to convict you of sin. Praise Him for His glory and majesty. Finish your prayer by thanking Him for speaking to you.