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Yesterday we held our third session in our prayer class themed around Paul Miller's book, "A Praying Life".  We continue to have very consistent attendance - evidence that God has placed a hunger for deeper prayer lives in our congregation.  It's exciting to think about what he might do with that hunger!

This week we covered chapters 6-8 of the book, and I divided the session into three main topics based on those chapters:

  • Letting helplessness drive us to prayer
  • Letting circumstances drive us to prayer
  • Letting anxiety drive us to prayer

The topics seemed to connect well, and there was good engagement in the class.

At the beginning of the first week, Richard, who is co-teaching the class with me, asked people what they wanted to get out of the class or any specific struggles they had in prayer, and we created a "parking lot" out of those items.  Yesterday's session really hit on the "praying continuously" item on that parking lot, as we discussed the different ways that God draws us to prayer through things like helplessness, circumstances, and anxiety.

A couple of highlights:

  • Prayer doesn't automatically relieve anxiety - it is prayer with thanksgiving that brings God's peace (Ph. 4:6-7)
  • The way Paul worded this means that we are to give thanks even before we see the answers.
  • This type of thanksgiving is rooted in the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 - being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  (We discussed the faith of the centurion whose servant Jesus healed from a distance in this context).

One of the parking lot items was the question of if there is a "wrong prayer".  We touched on two examples of wrong prayer:

  1. The Israelites asking for a king
  2. The Pharisee in Jesus' example of the two men praying in the temple.

In the first case, a wrong prayer is prayer for anything that puts something other than God on the throne of our lives.

In the second case, a wrong prayer is prayer that is all about exalting ourselves rather than God (the same type of prayer that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6).

Next week:  Chapters 9-11!

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Comment by Malva Birch on February 25, 2020 at 10:19am
Praise the Lord!

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