Portraits of Kingdom Living – Lesson Nine
The Lord’s Life of Prayer
I. DAY ONE
A. Focus: Since this week we are studying the life of prayer that Jesus led, we are going to focus on who He was in our daily focus times. Begin today with Isaiah 53:1-3. For the next three weeks, we are going to focus on the gift of prayer. We will be studying the portrait of Elijah to give us insight. Have you ever thought about what a gracious gift prayer is to us? Have you thought about the amazing truth that we have been allowed to walk in to the throne room of God Almighty and talk with Him? Listen to Hebrews 4:14-16:
We have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to Him and never stop trusting Him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.
Do you need help? Are you tempted in any way? Where do you go when you are hurting and helpless? Where do you go when you are happy and content? Are you regularly spending time alone with God in prayer? The goal of this study is to make you anxious to enter His throne room! Most of us don’t prayer as much as we would like to simply because we don’t understand what it is all about. Is it just a time for us to make sure God knows what we need? What is the purpose of prayer, and how can we pray more effectively? Another reason prayer is so difficult is because we have an enemy who does not want us to pray more effectively. Another reason prayer is so difficult is because we have an enemy who does not want us to pray. There’s a couplet that says, “The devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” He will do anything to keep us from praying. The truth is, for most of us, he doesn’t have to do much. But, we are in the right place! We don’t need to stay defeated in our prayer lives! Will you commit to seriously studying prayer for the next three weeks? Will you ask God to help you gain some ground in this area? Take some time and slowly read these words of hope from Andrew Murray. He is addressing those who have struggled with the sin of prayerlessness:
Many a one has turned to his inner chamber, under bitter self-accusation that he has prayed so little, and has resolved for the future to live in a different manner. Yet no blessing has come–there was not the strength to continue faithful, and the call to repentance had no power, because his eyes had not been fixed on the Lord Jesus. If he had only understood, he would have said, “Lord, Thou seest how cold and dark my heart is: I know that I must pray, but I feel I cannot do so; I lack the urgency and desire to pray.” He did not know that at that moment the Lord Jesus, in His tender love, was looking down upon him saying: “You cannot pray; you feel that all is cold and dark; why not give yourself over into My hands? Only believe that I am ready to help you in prayer; I long greatly to shed abroad My love in your heart, so that you, in the consciousness of weakness, may confidently rely on Me to bestow the grace of prayer. Just as I will cleanse you from all other sins, so also will I deliver you from the sin of prayerlessness–only do not seek the victory in your own strength. Bow before Me as one who expects everything from his Savior. Let your soul keep silence before Me, however sad you feel your state to be. Be assured of this–I will teach you how to pray.” Many a one will acknowledge; “I see my mistake; I had not thought that the Lord Jesus must deliver and cleanse me from this sin also. I had not understood that He was with me every day in the inner chamber, in His great love ready to keep and bless me, however sinful and guilty I felt myself to be. I had not supposed that just as He will give all other grace in answer to prayer, so, above all and before all, He will bestow the grace of a praying heart. What folly to think that all other blessings must come from Him, but that of prayer, whereon everything else depends, must be obtained by personal effort! Thank God I begin to comprehend–the Lord Jesus is Himself in the inner chamber watching over me, and holding Himself responsible to teach me how to approach the Father. This only He demands–that I, with childlike confidence, wait upon Him and glorify Him.
Can you relate to this? Have you felt defeated over and over again when it comes to prayer? Did you ever consider prayerlessness a sin that needs to be confessed? Jesus commanded us to pray! Perhaps we should start with confession (I John 1:19); and then sincerely ask the Lord Jesus to teach us to pray. We will never be victorious prayers in our own strength. We need the power of Jesus in us (the Holy Spirit) to help us pray. Take a few moments and be honest with God. Do you practice Hebrews 4:14-16? Are you willing to ‘wait on the Lord’ as He teaches us to pray so that we may glorify Him? Are you tired of feeling guilty about your lack of prayer? Talk to the Lord and invite Him to bestow the grace of prayer in your life, and to let you experience His power in this area.
II. DAY TWO
A. Focus: Isaiah 53:4-6 E. M. Bounds says, “The most important lesson we can learn is how to pray. Indeed, we must pray so that our prayers take hold of God. The man who has done the most and the best praying is the most immortal, because prayers do not die. Perhaps the lips that uttered them are closed in death, or the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them. Prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them–outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.” Isn’t that exciting? Think of the impact our prayers can have in our world! He goes on to say, “The strongest one in Christ’s kingdom is he who can knock the best, and the secret of success in Christ’s kingdom is the ability to pray.” So, let’s study God’s Word, and learn how to knock! B. Feed: 1. Jesus is our supreme example when it comes to prayer. He was a man of prayer. Read the following verses and comment on the prayer life of God in the flesh: a. Mark 1:35 b. What had Jesus been doing the day and night before? (See Mark 1:21-34.) c. Do you think the night before may have been tiring for Jesus? d. When you are exhausted, where do you go to get re-filled? Jesus went to His Father. Do you see prayer as a time of refreshment for you as you fellowship with the Father? 2. Read Luke 6:12-13. What happened after Jesus spent a night in prayer? a. Jesus sought His Father for wisdom in choosing His apostles. What does James 1:5 say? b. What are some major decisions most of us make in our lifetime? c. What do you learn from Jesus about prayer during times of decision? 3. Read Luke 9:18-20. What is happening here? a. What question does Jesus ask His disciples? b. How does Peter answer? c. Read Matthew 16:15-17. How did Peter come to this conclusion? d. It’s safe to say that Jesus had been praying for this, and here was an answer to His prayer! Following His example, what should we be praying for those we know and love that don’t know who Jesus is? 4. Read Luke 9:28-35. When did Jesus’ appearance change? a. Who appeared to Him as He was praying? b. What did they reveal to Jesus? C. Fill: Are you amazed at the prayer life of Jesus? He obviously depended on prayer to fulfill the plan God had for Him. He was completely human, and needed the fellowship and guidance of His Father, just like we do. What do you want to remember so far about prayer? D. Follow: Begin memorizing Psalm 63:7.
III. DAY THREE
A. Focus: Luke 11:1-13 B. Feed: Let’s continue to learn from the prayer life of our Lord. 1. Read Luke 11:1-13. What preceded Jesus’ teaching of what we call the Lord’s Prayer (verse one)? a. Jesus revealed His heart in prayer to His disciples at this time. What was the desire of His heart, as revealed in verse 2? b. How will these things ever come to pass? c. Jesus taught that we pray for it. What else are we to pray for according to verse 3?
- Do you trust God to meet your daily needs?
- Do you realize everything you have is from Him?
- Do you trust Him to fill your Spirit with His bread?
d. What else does He teach us to pray for in verse 4?
- Do you take time to confess your sins?
- Do you pray for the grace to forgive others?
- Again, this is a work of prayer. Are you seeing what an incredible gift it is?
e. Lastly, He tells us to pray that we may not be lead into temptation. He knows the power of the dark world, and He knows it will not be diverted by will power . . . but only through the power of prayer! Where are you tempted most often? Do you struggle with anger, greed, jealousy, envy, gossip, lying, materialism, selfishness, laziness, sexual temptation? Be specific in your prayer and ask God to help you to steer clear of these temptations. Do you believe He can? 2. The most powerful and wonderful gift we have been given as Christians living in New Testament times is the gift of the Holy Spirit. How did we acquire this gift according to John 14:16? 3. One of Jesus’ most well known prayers is recorded in Matthew 26:36-46. Read it slowly. a. What does Jesus pray for? b. Does He hold back His true feeling from God? What does He ask? c. After He pleads with God to remove this cup (the cup of suffering on the cross), what does He commit to? d. What do you learn about prayer from our Lord as He prayed in the garden? C. Fill: Jesus taught us how to pray, and He modeled for us that He was a man of prayer. Andrew Murray also said, “The connection between the prayer life and the Spirit life is close and indissoluble. It is not merely that we receive the Spirit through prayer, but the Spirit life requires, as an indispensable thing, a continuous prayer life. I can be led continually by the Spirit only as I continually give myself to prayer.” We’ve seen this truth demonstrated in the life of Jesus. What have you learned? Talk to God about what He is teaching you about prayer. D. Follow: Continue memorizing Psalm 63:7.
IV. DAY FOUR
A. Focus: Isaiah 53:10-12 We are going to continue to examine the life of prayer that Jesus led. John 17 records an incredible prayer spoken by the Lord Himself before He was arrested. Take time to really embrace what Jesus prayed. The Gospel has endured to this day in answer to the prayer of Jesus Christ. B. Feed: Jesus had been teaching His disciples of what was to come. They were scared and unsure of what their future would hold. Read John 17:1-5. 1. What is the central request of Jesus’ prayer? a. What authority was Jesus given? (v. 2) b. What is eternal life according to Jesus? c. How did Jesus glorify God while on earth? d. Where does He now desire to be? 2. Next, Jesus prays for His disciples. Look in to His heart as He prays for those He has lead for three years. Read John 17:6-19. a. Look closely at verses 6-11. Why was Jesus’ coming to the Father? b. Look at verses 11-12. What is the desire of His heart for His followers? c. From verses 13-14, what does Jesus acknowledge about His followers? d. What does He pray for in verse 15? e. Do you see that His prayer is not all requests, but also discussion? What do you learn from this? f. What is His request from verses 16-19? g. What is it that will sanctify them? Who is the Word? (See John 1:1.) 3. Read John 17:20-21. Who else does Jesus pray for and what does He ask? a. How is it possible for us to experience this glory of Oneness according to verse 22-23? b. What will this unity prove to the world? Do you pray for believers this way? c. Read verses 24-26. What does Jesus want? Will God answer this prayer? d. Does the world know who the Father is? e. How has He been revealed to the world? f. What will Jesus continue to do? C. Fill: After Jesus prayed this prayer, He went to the garden, and was arrested there. Did you realize He prayed for you the night before He died? And did you know that He lives to intercede for you (Hebrews 7:25)? Does this passage in John 17 give you insight to what He is praying? Slowly read through this chapter again, in a quiet attitude of prayer. Have you thanked Him for this prayer? How is it being answered in your life? D. Follow: Review you memory passage of Psalm 63:1-7.
V. DAY FIVE
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Jesus said that we build a strong foundation as we put His word into practice (Matthew 7:24). This part of the lesson is a little more abstract than days 1-4. There are no right or wrong answers. The goal of this day is to solidify in your mind and heart what you are learning from God’s word. A. Focus: 1. Look back over your lesson for this week. For each day’s lesson, write one or two key points: Day 1: Day 2: Day 3: Day 4: 2. What verses seem to stand out to you from your study? 3. Why did you pick these verses? 4. What is one lesson or principle you want to remember from your study? 5. How will you apply this lesson to your everyday life? B. Summary: Jesus’ Portrait of Kingdom Living
- What does Jesus’ prayer life teach you about living with the Kingdom of God as your primary concern?
- Conclude this lesson by discussing what you’ve written above with your Father.
- Write out your memory verse(s):
Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God
through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.
About the author
I've been a Bible Study teacher for years! I LOVE God's word and am thrilled when others fall in love with it too. However, I've noticed that too many of us stop at the 'information' part of study and don't take the time for the 'transformational' power of lingering with the Living Word. I hope you will journey with me as we listen to what the Spirit in us longs to teach us as we pay attention to His Voice. May God richly bless you with deep roots in Him.View all articles by: Grace Cabalka
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