Easter 2021: A Proclamation: Jesus’s Prayer from the Cross | Luke 23.34-26

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

Read John 11-12. What do you see about the character of God in this text? What do you see about the nature of God? What do you learn about the love of God?

Note the primary differences between Mary and Martha. Note their similarities.

How does the text characterize the relationship between Jesus and this family?

Read John 11.25-26. How does Martha respond to this statement? How does it change her? How do you respond to this statement of Jesus? How does it change you?

Jesus makes His first Messianic profession not to one of His disciples, but to Martha. What, if anything do you make of this profession?

What does Martha do when she hears this profession?

Read John 11.32-36. What do you learn about Jesus in this interaction? Why does Jesus weep? What was the response of those observing this scene?

How do our tears communicate love to those around us?

Jesus will again weep, this time He will weep over Jerusalem. Read Luke 19.42. Why is Jesus weeping?

Jesus raises Lazaurs from the dead. He then makes this statement, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Jesus invites others to participate in the resurrection of Lazarus. Why is this significant?

Read John 12. Describe the posture of Lazarus at the party. Describe the posture of Mary. Describe the posture of Jesus.

There is a death warrant for Lazarus and yet we find him “reclining” at the table. How can Lazarus be so comfortable?

A few days later, Jesus is crucified. Write the prayers Jesus prays from the cross.

Jesus prays, “It is finished.” What is finished? What is not finished?

Read John 20. How do you see this text a fulfillment of Jesus’ earlier claim to Martha?

What does His resurrection mean to you? What has His resurrection accomplished?

Read Ephesians 2.1, 4-5, and Colossians 2.13-15. What is the implication of this text? Were you really dead? As dead as Lazarus dead?

How might God be inviting you to recline, at His table today?

Praise Him for His resurrection power that is alive in you.

March 28, 2021: A Submission – Garden of Gethsemane | Matthew 26

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

Read all of Matthew 26. What speaks most personally to you in the text? How does the text invite you to view this Passion week with more clarity and intimacy as you walk through these days?

Consider the account in the Garden of Gethsemane. What happens right before this account, and what follows?

Note that Jesus brings His disciples with Him to the Garden, and invites a few disciples to come further in with HIm. Why does He invite them? How does this example encourage you to invite others to pray for you?

How does Jesus describe the condition of His soul? Notice that Jesus shares the condition of His soul with His friends.  Use three words to describe the condition of your soul. Who around you knows the current condition of your soul?

Jesus goes into the Garden on His own to pray. What is Jesus praying about?

Read Isaiah 53.4-5. How do you see this prophecy play out in the Garden, and then at the cross?

Jesus prays for “this cup to pass.” Read Jeremiah 25. In your own words, summarize the “cup.”

What does it mean to you that Jesus would take on the full extent of God’s wrath so you wouldn’t have to experience it?

Read Luke 4.1-13. In what ways was Jesus tempted? How was Jesus able to resist temptation? What parallels if any do you see in the wilderness temptation and in what Jesus was wrestling within the Garden?

Read Hebrews 5.7-8. How did Jesus learn obedience? How is suffering producing obedience in you? How is it not?

The scene ends with Jesus moving confidently toward His friend who is betraying Him. Deeper still, Jesus is moving with courage toward the cross. What does this say about the nature of Jesus? What does it say about His character? What does this say to you about the love of Jesus?

How might this story encourage you to live this Passion Week afresh and aware of His extravagant love for you?

Take a few moments to rest in His prevailing love.

March 21, 2021: For Glory | John 17

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

Read John 17.

What speaks to you in Jesus’ prayer today? How does it encourage you to see Jesus pray for his disciples and the future church?

Read John 1:14-18 and look for connections between John’s introduction to his gospel and Jesus’ prayer in John 17.

What comes to mind when you think of God’s glory? How would you describe God’s glory?

John Piper says, “The glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going-public of his holiness.” How does this help you in understanding God’s glory?

Where have you seen God’s glory in creation?

Read the following verses regarding the glory of God: Luke 2:8-14, Psalm 19:1, Isaiah 6:3, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 3:23, Psalm 8:1-5.

How does a right understanding of God’s glory change your prayers today?

Part of understanding God’s glory is realizing that God, not us, is the hero of the story.  How does this free you today?

Read Philippians 2:8-11 and spend some time giving glory to God for what Christ has done for you and in you.

March 14, 2021: Practiced | Mark 1

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

Read Mark 1. What speaks to you most personally in this first chapter? What does this text say about the nature of God? What does it say about the character of God? What does it say about the love of God? 

In the last few weeks, how have you grown in your understanding and desire to pray? 

Reread Mark 1.29-39. What draws you to Jesus in this portion of the text? 

What drew people to Jesus in the text? Why were people coming to Him? How would you characterize those seeking Jesus? 

In reading these verses and reflecting on the text, where do you find yourself? Do you relate most to Jesus and His need to be in a solitary place? Do you relate most to the disciples, “Everyone is looking for you?” Do you relate most to the sick who are being healed of all kinds of diseases? 

Verse 35 highlights a practice of Jesus that would be His norm: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place where he prayed.” Why was this rhythm important to Jesus? Why would Jesus need to pray or want to pray? What do you think Jesus prayed on this day in His solitary place? 

Do you have a solitary place? What’s your primary purpose for entering into that space? Do you invite anyone to join you there, or to pray for the things you pray for when you are in your solitary place? 

Simon Peter and the disciples go looking for Jesus as “Everyone is looking for you?” Why was Simon Peter looking for Him? What did Simon Peter want from Him? Why was “everyone” looking for Jesus? What did they want from Him? 

How active are you in your pursuit of Jesus? How do you sense His current pursuit of you? 

The verses that follow describe Jesus not returning to Simon Peter’s house, but going “somewhere else…so I can preach there also.” What happened in the solitary place to cause Jesus to go in a different direction? 

How have you been redirected, comforted, and blessed in your solitary place? 

What message did Jesus want to “preach” in the nearby villages? 

Read Hebrews 4.14-16. What does this text tell you about Jesus? What does it tell you about His character? What does it tell you about His love? 

What does it look like for you to “approach the throne of grace with confidence”? 

How do you sense you are in a time of need? Where in your life do you desire a deeper sense of grace and mercy? How do you long for Jesus to touch you as He did those who “gathered at the door”? 

Spend a few moments resting, listening, receiving, and praising. 

March 7, 2021: Hearing God | 1 Samuel 3

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

Read Psalm 19. Consider the words of the Psalm. What speaks most personally to you? 

How do you sense God speak to you? What’s the primary way in which He speaks? 

Read 1 Samuel 3.1-10. In what ways are Eli and Samuel different? How do you see God speaking to both of them? 

The phrase, “Speak, Lord for your servant is listening” is prominent in the text. How do you typically speak to God when you desire to hear Him? 

Reread 1 Samuel 3:1. Why was the voice of the Lord not heard often? What’s the implication of this verse on your life today? 

For the rest of this study, let’s take time to practice listening to God. Be free to listen however God invites you to listen, or you can continue to follow this guide in working through a few of the seasons of prayer we used on Sunday. 

Begin by settling yourself and then speak to God, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” 

Read Romans 8 aloud and ask God to speak to you through His Word. 

Choose a favorite song or hymn and play it allowing God to speak to you through the song. On Sunday, we listened to “Come to Me” by Jenn Johnson. You can listen to the song by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=sY0Vz8fvIhE

Spend some time in silence listening to God. Begin the season of silence by again saying, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” 

Take a few moments and intercede for someone specific in our Faith Family. Allow God to lead you as you speak to Him. 

Lastly, consider the Priestly Blessing that is spoken over our Faith Family every Sunday. Take some time to sit with this blessing. Ask God to speak to you as you review it, speaking it out loud. 

“‘The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.” – Numbers 6.24-26

February 28, 2021: Prayer As Dialogue | Exodus 3 & 4

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

Read Exodus 2-3. What does the text tell you about God? What does it reveal about His character? How is love expressed in the text? 

Reread Exodus 2.11-15. Why is Moses angry enough to kill? What might be at the root of his anger? What causes Moses to flee? Where does Moses spend the next 40 years of his life? 

Reread Exodus 3.1-10. How does God speak to Moses? Why does God not addresss the murder? 

In this section of Scripture, what breaks God’s heart? 

The text says, “God is concerned about their suffering.” Do you believe God is still concerned about suffering? Is He concerned about your suffering? How do you sense God doing something about your suffering and about the suffering of His people? 

God calls Moses to go back to Egypt, to go back to Pharaoh. God calls Moses to go back to the place of his greatest sin. Why would God call Moses back to the place that is most personal to him? 

What or where is a place/space that is most personal to you? How do you engage that place/space? What tempts you to stay away from that place/space? What if God invited you to return to that which is most personal to you? Would you go? What would be His motive in inviting you back? 

Reread Exodus 3.13-15. What is Moses’ motive in asking God these questions? What does God’s response say about who He is? 

God says He is the I AM. Do a quick study of the life of Jesus noting all the places where Jesus says, “I AM.” 

Moses not only does what God asks of him, Moses begins to intercede for God’s people. What does that say about Moses? What does it say about God? 

Read Exodus 33.8-11. What is the role of Moses in the text? How do the people of God participate in this prayer? How does God respond?

Read the following passages of Scripture and note the problem that requires intercession. Then, make special note of how God responds to each cry of the heart. 

  • Exodus 33.8-11
  • Exodus 15.23-25
  • Numbers 11.1-2
  • Exodus 17.8-13
  • Exodus 32.11, 14, 31-32

In your own words, describe how God responses to Moses. 

Intercession is “entering into the suffering of God’s people.” 

Who intercedes on your behalf? Who enters into your suffering before the throne of God? 

Read Hebrews 7.24-25. What does this text say about Jesus? What does it say about His love for you? In what ways might Jesus be interceding for you right now?

Spend the next few moments interceding on behalf of others. Use the following prompts as a guide. 

Loving God, I hold in your healing presence those who suffer pain and ill health… May they know the deep peace of Christ. 

Loving God, I hold in your healing presence those who suffer in mind and spirit… May they know the deep peace of Christ. 

Loving God, I hold in your healing presence the suffering people of our world, and the places where people are experiencing hurt and division — including places of hurt and division in my own life… May we know the deep peace of Christ. 

Loving God, I hold in your healing presence those experiencing grief and loss….May they know the deep peace of Christ. 

Loving God, I hold in your healing presence those who need wisdom for their next steps…May we know the deep peace of Christ. 

Loving God, I hold in your healing presence those people and situations that seem broken beyond repair….May we/they know the deep peace of Christ. 

Loving God, I hold in your healing presence and peace those whose needs are not known to me but are known by you, and those for whom I have been asked to pray… I name in my heart all those who are close to me…  May they know the deep peace of Christ. 

Glory to God, from whom all love flows, glory to Jesus, who showed his love through suffering, and glory to the Holy Spirit, who brings light to the darkest places. Amen.

February 21, 2021: David’s Prayers of Lament | Psalm 13, 90, 143

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

Read Psalm 13. How would you categorize this kind of prayer? When have you prayed a similar prayer? What was the outcome of that season? 

What’s the difference between a prayer of complaint and a prayer of lament? 

There are over 50 prayers of lament in Scripture, including an entire book called Lamentations. Do a search of Scripture and spend some time reading other prayers of lament. 

Read Psalm 79:5-8. Like David, Asaph prays a prayer of lament asking, “How long, Lord?” What is it that David and Asaph are waiting for?

Describe a season where you waited on God. What did God do in you in that season of waiting? How did the waiting challenge you? How did the waiting mature you? Whom did you invite into your waiting? 

Read Psalm 6:6. David says he is, “worn out from my groaning.” What is he describing here? 

Read Psalm 22:1-2. David senses he has been forsaken by God. Jesus too prays these same words from the cross. Does God forsake His people? How do you resolve the words of David and Jesus?

Read Psalm 58:6-8 in the Message. When is this kind of prayer appropriate? How does this kind of prayer work? What is the ultimate purpose of this kind of prayer? 

Read and reflect on the following: “Is it possible that we do a disservice, do injustice, violate our integrity when we avoid prayers that need to be spoken – thoughts and words that need to be exposed to the light – simply because we think that’s not what a faithful Christian would say?”

Read Psalm 13:4. What or whom is the enemy David is referring to in the text? What enemy wants to overcome you? What’s your greatest enemy? In what ways does it desire to overcome you? 

“God is not your fixer.” How have you grown in your understanding of the purpose of prayer? How have you grown in your understanding of the Person of Jesus to know God is much more than your fixer? What is your primary purpose in prayer?

Read Revelation 21-22. How does God resolve all that is wrong in the world?

Read Psalm 13:5-6. What happens to David to move from a place of lament, to a place of faith? 

Do a word search on God’s “unfailing love.” List five of the passages that most resonate with you. In your own words, define God’s unfailing love toward you. 

Read Psalm 33:20-22. How does this verse encourage you today? 

How does Psalm 13 call for you to invite deeper streams of community into your life? 

Give God praise for His faithfulness in the midst of seasons of hope and in seasons of lament.

February 14, 2021: Prayer in the Spirit | Romans 8

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

Is there a place in your life where are you losing hope? Is there someone or a situation where you feel like you are losing hope in?

How do you respond internally or externally to a lack of hope?

If Romans 7 is described as a wrestle within and Romans 8 is learning to rest in the wrestle (w’rest’le), which chapter do you think you relate to more today?

Read Romans 8:1-17. How have you or how are you learning to live life in the Spirit?

Read Romans 8:18-25. Where do you find hope for your journey in this passage?

Read Romans 8:26-30. Is there a time where you experienced spiritual growth, being conformed further to the image of Jesus, through suffering or weakness?

What do you think about the Spirit of God interceding on your behalf?

Read Romans 8:31-39. Rest in who God is and who you are in Him!

Allow Romans 15:13 to bless you and keep you in His hope!

February 7, 2021 – A Praise: Mary’s Prayer | Luke 1

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

As you begin this study, take some time to prepare your heart to commune with our Holy God.

Read Luke 18.1; Ephesians 6.18-20; 1 Thessalonians 5.17. What do these verses teach us about prayer? 

Describe a season when prayer was “compartmentalized.” What was the outcome of that season? 

How do you engage the tension of having a regular rhythm of prayer and pray continually? 

Read and reflect on the following statement: “One of the gifts of prayer is to learn how to live all of my life and speak all of my words in the joyful awareness of the presence of God.”

Read Luke 1. Where do you see God at work in this chapter? What speaks most personally to you in this chapter? 

Describe Mary’s response and posture to the angel’s pronouncement. 

Reread Luke 1.46-55. What speaks most profoundly to you in Mary’s prayer? How does Mary’s prayer inspire you and encourage you?

Mary begins by saying her “soul magnifies the Lord.” Reflect on your last week. What would those closest to you say your soul magnified? How might you recenter, even now?

How does this prayer get lived out in the life of Jesus? Can you see any overlap between Mary’s prayer and the way Jesus lives and loves? 

Why is it important for you to know and do the will of God? 

In your own words, define the prayer of indifference. 

Read and reflect on this version of The Lord’s Prayer. 

“Dear Father always near us, may your name be treasured and loved, may your rule be completed in us— may your will be done here on earth in just the way it is done in heaven. Give us today the things we need today, and forgive us our sins and impositions on you as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us. Please don’t put us through trials, but deliver us from everything bad. Because you are the one in charge, and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours—forever— which is just the way we want it!”

Jesus spoke “all of His words in the joyful awareness of the presence of God.” How might you learn to live and love like Jesus in this same way? Who might join you on this journey? 

A National Confession: Daniel’s Prayer | Daniel 9

By Prayer- A Holy Conversation

As you begin take a few minutes and watch the Bible Project’s introduction to the book of Daniel. Note how you see God at work in the midst of this story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cSC9uobtPM

Read Daniel 9. What speaks most personally to you in Daniel’s posture and prayer? 

How significant to you is that Daniel is “reading the Scriptures” as part of his regular time in prayer and study? Daniel is reading from the prophet Jeremiah. Read Jeremiah 29.10-14. How does this prophecy intersect with Daniel’s reality? 

Daniel is going to live out what he is reading in the text. When you read Scripture, how does it become part of your life? How do you live out the truth of the text? 

Daniel prays a prayer of confession on behalf of the people of Israel. How does Daniel identify himself with the sin of the nation? 

How would you describe Daniel’s understanding of sin? What is the relational consequence of our sin? How are we restored to right relationship with God through confession? 

In what ways do you see similarities between the people of Israel and the people in our neighborhood? 

Have you ever prayed a prayer of confession, or sought forgiveness from someone on behalf of another? What was the result of that confession?

In Daniel’s prayer, how does he view God? How does Daniel approach God, speak to God, and trust God? 

Read 1 John 1.5-9 and James 5.16. How do these passages encourage you?

What’s the role of community in prayer? How are we healed through confession? 

Read Matthew 3.8. What does it look like for you to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance?” 

Read 2 Corinthians 5.1-21. What does the “ministry of reconciliation” mean to you? How is God calling you to lean into this ministry? What’s His heart for your partnership as an “ambassador”? 

Read Psalm 139.22-24. Allow God to search you, allow Him to speak to you about what makes you anxious. Allow Him to lead you in the way everlasting.