January 27, 2013
“Every one of us qualifies to have a deep relationship with God.” It’s only by spending genuine time with God that we can reflect His love in our everyday lives. Pastor Scott examines what it is that holds us back from intimate communion, offering practical wisdom to transform prayer from an awkward activity into the passionate core of your faith.
2 Peter 1:3-4
1 John 5:20
2 Corinthians 3:12-18
We’re welcomed into a friendship with God, but do we really treat God like a true friend? What’s the difference between a social networking friend and a real friend? What’s the most important trait for a friend to possess?
We’re hesitant to pray alone because our early experiences are often discouraging, like a child who nearly drowns on his first visit to the pool. Even today’s pastors have abandoned the practice of prayer in favor of more popular modes of spiritual communication like reading books or musical worship. What are some of the obstacles to your own prayer life?
Many Christians substitute solitary prayer with communal activities. Perhaps they insist that growth happens mainly from the advice of others, or perhaps it’s difficult for them to “listen” to God. What do you think? Is it possible to know God, and to experience the love of God, in complete isolation? Does the life of Jesus provide any examples?
Pastor Scott is quick to point out that the spiritual life cannot be sustained by willpower. The Holy Spirit is what enables us to access the presence of God, and Luke 11 tells us that all we need to do to receive the Spirit is ask. What does it mean to balance personal discipline with dependency on the Spirit? How do you know (that is, what is it supposed to look like) when you’re being guided by the Spirit?
Church functions have taught us a wooden form of prayer based solely on prayer requests and public proclamations. Pastor Scott tells us that prayer should be much more exhilarating and terrifying, because real prayer is letting Jesus into the secret rooms of your heart—the rooms that you’ve never let God talk about with you. The room of fears, the room of blame, the room of future plans–God has an opinion on every single one of them. Which ones do you usually neglect to show Him into?
For the prayer component of your discipleship group, try a different format this week and separate by yourselves for a silent time with God. You can come back together to share prayer requests if there’s still time at the end, but make sure that you spend this period talking about the private matters of the heart first, just between you and God