Encounter: Begin by lighting a candle. In the Christian tradition, candles are a reminder of God’s light and the presence of the Holy Spirit. After lighting your candle, take a few deep breaths, and offer up a breath prayer. This could be something as simple as praying “Holy Spirit,” as you breathe in, and “I yield to You,” as you exhale. Repeat your breath prayer several times before you dive into this week’s Renew.
Read Matthew 6:5-15.
We learned from Pastor Tammy last week that prayer is not striving for the goodness of God but, rather, is simply receiving God’s goodness. The Lord’s Prayer is built upon the truth that God “...knows what you need before you ask him.” Jesus encourages his followers to pray because of that truth. For some, that seems counterintuitive, they ask, “If God knows what I need before I ask, why, then would I pray?”
The answer to this question goes beyond the expectation that prayer is only about asking God for what we need. There must be something more to prayer than simply asking God for help with our own needs and for the needs of others. This Sunday we will take a look at what the Bible says about prayer, especially the relationship between us and God, which serves as the foundation for prayer. We will see that prayer is a sort of homecoming, of finding peace, rest, security, freedom, and confidence in God. We hear that God answers prayers, but often His answers to our prayers look different than our expectations. Not only do we have this experience (perhaps often), but we can be encouraged knowing that even characters in the Bible had this same experience of God’s answers to prayers being different than expected.
So come along with me on this journey in prayer; I am expectant and hopeful for what God will reveal to us together along the way!
Traveling the Way of Jesus with you, Pastor Matt
Do you have a prayer closet or some place quiet where you’re able to pray without distraction and in private? Consider finding a place where you can go to pray. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes to read through the Lord’s Prayer. As you read through take note what you notice about the structure of the prayer. Who and what is the focus of the verses in Matthew 6:9-13?
Throughout Jesus’s ministry in the Gospels, we read about times when Jesus spent time secluded in prayer with God. If even Jesus needed time alone with the Father, surely we need that time too. While we know that Jesus spent time with God in prayer, we don’t get much of an idea of what Jesus’s time in prayer looked like each time he prayed. Perhaps, the reason behind this is because prayer is less about what is achieved and more about simply spending time with God. Let that be an encouragement for you the next time you pray, and consider even setting aside some time to pray without presenting requests and instead just conversing with God.
Share what you noticed about the Lord’s Prayer in the “Reflect” portion of this Renew. Discuss the meaning of the word dedication. What does it mean for you to be dedicated to someone or something?