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Lesson 7: Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Prayer *

Introduction: How is your prayer life? Could it use an infusion of energy? Since God already knows about your needs, maybe you don't need that much energy. Indeed, why should you have to repeat what God already knows? This week we learn some exciting things about prayer, the Holy Spirit, and boldly asking. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible!

  1. Lord's Prayer


    1. Read Luke 11:1. How would you answer that question? Would you say, "Fold your hands, close your eyes" and give other "form" answers? What do you think this disciple was really asking?


      1. Do you need help with your prayers?


      2. I'm going to guess that your prayers are pretty much the same each time. Your mind is not be as active as it should be, because you are repeating the same thing. Is that true?


    2. Read Luke 11:2-4. If repeating the same prayer items is a problem, is this the solution?


      1. Read Matthew 6:7-8. This introduces the Matthew version of the Lord's prayer. Against what are we warned? (Babbling!)


        1. What does that suggest about Jesus' model prayer? (That mindlessly repeating it is not the goal!)


    3. With the idea that mindless repetition is to be avoided, let's look at Jesus' suggested prayer in some detail. Read Luke 11:2. If this is an outline, not a script to be memorized, how should every prayer begin? (Praising God!)


    4. Re-read Luke 11:2. What comes next? (A request for God's kingdom to come.)


      1. Is this a prayer for Jesus' Second Coming? (Yes.)


      2. Read Matthew 6:10. How does this further explain Jesus' kingdom? (We should not read Luke 11:2 narrowly to mean only the Second Coming. This is a prayer for God's Kingdom to come here and now.)


        1. What role do you have in that? (Each day we have a part in helping the Kingdom of God come to those who we meet.)


        2. Do you want God's will to be done in your life? (The Kingdom of Heaven starts now, daily, with you and me!)


    5. Read Luke 11:3. What is the subject here? (Your needs! What do you want God to do for you.)


    6. Read Luke 11:4. When you structure your own prayers, what do you discuss first? (I always want to rush to ask forgiveness of my sins. My idea is to get the slate cleaned with a Holy God before we get into other business.)


      1. Why does Jesus tell us to pray about our needs before we ask forgiveness for our sins? (It says something about God's priorities. He loves us, He wants to help us, and that comes before dealing with our sin problem.)


        1. Is there a lesson here for our dealings with fellow humans?


      2. Is sin forgiveness conditional? (Read Matthew 6:14-15. This is Matthew's record of Jesus' conversation regarding how we should pray. This makes clear that forgiving others is very serious stuff. We need to have a forgiving attitude, or God will not forgive us. What an important and dreadful warning.)


    7. Re-read the last part of Luke 11:4. Does God lead us into temptation?


      1. Read James 1:13. What does James say on the subject?


        1. When we studied the book of James, his statements sometimes gave me heartburn. James seemed to write things that conflicted with Paul, and so we would dig deeper to try to understand. Should we try to look deeper here, or is the obvious meaning right?


        2. Read the balance of what James says: James 1:14-15. Who does James say tempts us? (We are tempted by our own evil desires.)


      2. Read 1 Corinthians 7:5. Who does Paul say tempts us? (Satan. But, Paul suggests this is a joint effort with us because of our lack of self-control. See also Matthew 4:3.)


      3. Read Matthew 6:13. What additional light does Matthew's record give us? (I'm with James in thinking that God never tempts us. Considering the Matthew account, my best understanding of this is that Jesus prays that God will help us to avoid temptation.)


  2. The Sleeping Friend


    1. Read Luke 11:5-6. Explain the factual situation? (Three friends. One has a home, one has bread, and one is traveling to visit the one with the home and no bread.)


    2. Read Luke 11:7-8. Is friendship powerful enough to get you bread? (No. Boldness at midnight gets you bread.)


    3. Would you agree that this is an odd story? Tell me why you think it follows immediately after Jesus explains how we should pray?


      1. Will God answer bold prayers that He would not otherwise answer based on friendship and love? (That radical conclusion seems unescapable.)


    4. Read Luke 11:9-10. Consider what we have studied so far in Luke 11. What is Jesus teaching us? (Jesus teaches us that the most important part of answered prayer is boldly asking! I'm astonished!)


    5. Re-read Matthew 6:7-8. If God knows what we need, and we are not to babble (a point we looked at earlier), what else is Jesus teaching us in His point about asking? (We don't have to explain the problem to God. We don't have to keep repeating the same request. (But, see Luke 18:1-8.) However, we do have to ask!)


      1. Are you shy about "boldly" praying for something? (We need to be aggressive in asking God! We need to be bold! This is God's instruction to us! This is not presumption.)


    6. Read Luke 11:11-13. Did anyone suggest that God would give us something that might hurt or kill us? (There is nothing like that in the text so far.)


      1. If Jesus is teaching us that "bold" prayers are the key - that if we want something, we need just ask, what would worry you? (A prudent person would be concerned about asking for and receiving something that would be harmful. Now we understand the sense of this. God says, "Boldly ask and I'll give it to you - but I'm not going to give you something that will seriously harm you.)


  3. Holy Spirit


    1. Re-read Luke 11:13. Is this anti-climatic? Is this a let-down? After all the discussion about boldly asking for things, it turns out that we are not getting a new Mercedes, but rather the Holy Spirit?


      1. What have you read about the power of the Holy Spirit to do great things?


      2. Read Acts 2:1-4 and Acts 2:41. Is this a bold result?


      3. Read Acts 5:15-16. Is this a bold result?


      4. Read Acts 4:31. Is this a bold result?


      5. Read Acts 9:40-41. Is this a bold result?


      6. Read Acts 4:32. Is this a bold result?


    2. How do you understand what Jesus has said so far? If we ask boldly, will God give us power through the Holy Spirit to perform miracles, convert people, help us understand God's will and bring harmony to the Church? (Yes!)


      1. If we fail to ask, will God give these things to us even though He knows we need them? (We must ask. The parable of the friend tells us that without asking we will not receive.)


    3. Friend, do you see the immense possibilities laid before you? God offers us great things, and He promises He will not give us something that will be bad for us. Will you boldly ask God for great things, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to advance the Kingdom of God?


  4. Next week: The Mission of Jesus.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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