The early disciples prayed some bold prayers, didn’t they? But, more recent disciples don’s really do that… In fact, I feel like we have been conditioned to use weak prayer language when speaking to God. What has happened to us?
Life group Discussion Questions are after the link.
If you’re the discussion leader, have everyone open this page on their mobile device, or just put it up on your large screen, like Michael Howell does. Take turns reading and discussing together. Remember, this is a GUIDE. Your group discussion may need to go in different directions.
I bet nobody in your group wants to pray out loud tonight.
On Sunday, I talked about “bold prayers,” which really seemed to get people talking.
I asked what you prayed for this past week, and how the world would be different today if God had answered “yes” to all of your prayers. Is it true that most Christians pray “chicken prayers” a lot of the time? I described our prayers as only reaching a tiny little circle. Maybe you disagree. Why is that true or untrue?
This week’s key truth: “What you pray for reflects what you believe about God.” How is that true?
The disciples boldly prayed for boldness, didn’t they?
And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word.
In the face of imminent persecution, they were pretty bold, and the results were amazing.
After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
Are we really conditioned to pray weak prayers? I talked about the very typical prayers that we tend to pray… How did these thoughts bounce off you? How are these things weak?
- “Dear Heavenly Father…” (check out Acts 4:24 to see how the disciples addressed God in this story)
- “Thank you for this beautiful day”
- “Give us traveling mercies”
Jesus said that we would do “greater works” than he had done… And he directly connected that promise to prayer. We only read John 14:12 on Sunday, but look at that verse in the context of the next two immediate verses:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”
-Jesus, John 14:12-14
He clearly wants us to be praying and doing bold things… But not just bold for boldness’ sake… He has a purpose in mind for each of us:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
What works are those? What kind of thing would GOD Himself plan for you and me to do? Weak things? Or bold things? How do we discover those bold things?
Nehemiah was a servant of the king in Babylon. Even though he was Jewish, he had never actually seen Israel’s capitol city, Jerusalem, because he had been born in captivity. One day, some travelers arrived from Judah (where Jerusalem is located) and gave a very sad report of the condition of the city.
“Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
This news weighed heavily on Nehemiah, who knew that the city of Jerusalem represented the glory of God. He so deeply moved that he mourned and fasted for days… And he wasn’t willing for God’s city to continue in it’s present state.
Rather than wait on a move of God, Nehemiah believed that he was a move of God. He had a bold vision for rebuilding the walls of his home city, and restoring the glory of God. He knew he couldn’t do this without permission from his king… His king who was the enemy of Israel. Nehemiah could have been immediately killed for making a request to return to his home city, but his burden for God’s glory outweighed his need for self-preservation. So, Nehemiah prayed boldly:
O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”
The result was God’s blessing. The enemy king not only gave Nehemiah favor, but paid for much of the materials to rebuild the wall! It is one of the greatest stories in the Bible!
If God is powerful enough to turn the heart of the Babylonian king to favor a servant… Why don’t we tap into that power ourselves?
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
What bold, world-shaking prayers SHOULD we be praying?
Why doesn’t your group pray for life change this Easter? Pray for boldness to bring people with you. Pray for opportunities to win someone to Christ this week. Pray for our new campus launching on April 3.