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4. Prayer – Living in the Father’s Love

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You learned that the Holy Spirit brings to you much more than emotions or feelings…although they may be part of it. He brings you his power so that you can live the awesome life Christ has planned for you. Power to overcome temptation and sin, to love others, and to live a life of obedience, freedom and joy is yours through your relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity is Christ’s life in you!

The Holy Spirit also provides the way for you to enjoy a life of prayer.

What Is Prayer?

Jesus taught his followers to think of God as their Heavenly Father. Prayer is communicating with your Heavenly Father and hearing back from him. It is conversation with someone who loves you dearly. What a privilege for the believer…to go directly into God’s presence and talk with him about whatever is on your heart. He desires to hear from us, and he promises to listen!

“And this is the confidence we have before him: that whenever we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, then we know that we have the requests that we asked from him.” (1 John 5:4-15)

The Holy Spirit helps you to pray (Romans 8:26) and teaches you how to pray in faith—learning to trust in God’s goodness in how and when he answers your prayers. As you study God’s words to you in the Bible, the Spirit will teach you who God is and how to enjoy your prayer relationship with him.

The next section will focus on God’s character. Then you will know who your Heavenly Father is…and why you can trust him.

Key Question: What words come to mind when you think about the character of God? Is he someone you can know?

1. The God You Can Know

God’s greatness is far beyond human understanding. But, his Word does give us part of the picture…He is an awesome God! Take time to think through each of the following characteristics of God and how each one affects your view of God…and your relationship with him.

God is sovereign. Read 2 Samuel 7:22. God is the sovereign ruler over his creation. He rules it with supreme authority and power. Are you willing to recognize God’s authority over you—to trust that he knows what is best for you?

God is all-powerful. Read Ephesians 1:19-20; 3:20. God is more powerful than anything or anyone else in the entire universe. God uses his power to work for us and in us. Do you feel confident that you can ask him to work in your life, and he will do it?

God is present everywhere. Read Psalm 139:7-10, 18. God is present everywhere at the same time. Can you go to any place where God is not with you or cannot hear your prayer to him?

God is all-knowing. Read Psalm 139:1-4. God knows everything there is to know. Does anything good or bad in your life escape God’s notice or surprise him?

God is just. Read Jeremiah 9:24. God always does what is morally right and fair. How does knowing this make you feel as you share your heart with him?

God is good. Read Psalm 119:68. God is good all the time—in the tough times, in different ways for each person, and in what he allows or does not allow into our lives. As you talk to your Heavenly Father, are you willing to trust his goodness in the way he chooses to answer your prayer?

2. Praying to Your Heavenly Father

Now that you begin to see how great your Heavenly Father is, you may be afraid to approach him in prayer. Yet, as his child, you are always welcome in his presence. Go to him…boldly!

“Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.” (Hebrews 4:16)

You Can Talk to God Anytime and Anywhere

You can talk with God throughout the day, telling him your needs, asking him for guidance, and thanking him for all of his many blessings. And your prayers do not have to be especially long. You can shoot up an “arrow” prayer to God anytime: “Father, I need your peace,” or “Please comfort me right now.” You can talk to him at work, while you drive in the car, even when you are talking with other people! He loves you that much.

You Can Talk to God about Anything

Your Heavenly Father loves you very much and wants to hear what is on your mind. When you talk to him about your thoughts and needs, it shows him that you trust him. You can call out to him, and He promises to answer—what a wonderful guarantee! Your prayers do not have to be anything fancy. God is pleased with honesty, not impressed with formality. Just start today by telling God what is on your mind and asking him to speak to you through his words in the Bible.

You Can Talk to God Expecting an Answer

God has given his words in the Bible to teach you what his will is on many areas of life. You can pray with confidence when you pray according to his will.

“And this is the confidence we have before him: that whenever we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, then we know that we have the requests that we asked from him.” (1 John 5:4-15)

And, you can ask God what to do in other situations and believe he will guide you. Pray with humility, wanting to be dependent on him and learn from him.

“But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

3. Developing a Life of Prayer

As a Christian, you can approach prayer as a conversation with someone who loves you dearly. As with any relationship, living in the Father’s love takes regular time together with him. Plan a daily time that works for you to have focused time with your Heavenly Father. Many Christians call this a “Quiet Time.” It helps to have a place with few distractions. Jesus, as our example, got away from the people surrounding him so that he could spend time talking to his Father.

Key Question: In your daily life, when could you carve out focused time to meet with your Heavenly Father? How would you minimize distractions?

You can start talking to your Father in the morning before you even get out of bed. For example:

“Good morning, Lord. Today, before I get going, I just want you to know I love you…and want to live for you today!”

“Lord, today, I am going to trust you to direct my paths as I choose to live my life your way.”

God’s Perfect Timing

Do not be discouraged by prayers that seem to go unanswered. God in his goodness may choose to delay the answer. Countless Christians will tell you stories of God’s faithfulness in answering prayers after many years of continual praying.

God delights in your bringing him your requests since doing so is an act of faith and obedience. Keep asking him for things that are within his will as revealed in the Bible. He promises to answer those prayers…still, in his time!

Remember to Be Thankful!

God has done so much for you that your heart should want to thank him in prayer and adore him because of his greatness and his unending love for you.

Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Discover more treasure: Work through your Personal Discovery Guide to review what you learned in today’s “Together Session” and discover more of the riches that are yours in your relationship with Christ.

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When you invited Jesus into your life, you began a relationship with God that is very personal and intimate. All relationships need good communication to be healthy. Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for you to talk directly with God as your Heavenly Father. He wants you to seek his guidance, comfort, peace, and companionship always…not just when you want things.

And, he is a God you can know. Because of this, you can think about him rightly as you pray.

Renewing Your Mind with Truth

Continue putting truth in your mind through memorizing Bible verses that are relevant to what you are learning.

  • Review Memory Verse 1 – Ephesians 2:8-9.
  • Review Memory Verse 2 – John 20:31.
  • Review Memory Verse 3 – Galatians 5:22-23.
  • Begin working on this week’s verse – Hebrews 4:16.

Memory Verse 4

“Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Day 1 Discovery – Review “Prayer – Living in the Father’s Love”

Review these truths about your Heavenly Father. Make them part of your life as you learn to pray while living in your Father’s love.

  • God is sovereign: When you talk to your Father, approach him with humility and respect for his absolute authority.
  • God is all-powerful: When you talk to your Father, humbly realize he can do anything. And, although he cares about every detail in your life, think about how small your problems are compared with how awesome he is!
  • God is present everywhere: When you talk to your Father, remember that wherever you go…he is already there. Even in the worst situation or location, he is not blocked out.
  • God is all-knowing: When you talk to your Father, think about how he knows what is going on deep in your heart. And, he knows what is best for you!
  • God is good: When you talk to your Father, remember that he is good all the time—in the tough times, in different ways for each person, and in what he allows or does not allow into our lives.

So, begin talking to your awesome Father!

Getting to Know Christ

Continue reading through the gospel of Mark to get to know Jesus better—reflecting on his life, his relationships, and his teaching. Also, begin to pray regularly to your Heavenly Father. Consider praying for specific issues in your life, for friends and family you desire to know Christ, and for your personal spiritual growth. As you read God’s Word, you will want to talk with him more. To help you develop your time with God, a “Day 6” reading is now added. 

Day 2 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 6:30-56. Reflect on what you read—

Day 3 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 7:1-23. Reflect on what you read—

Day 4 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 7:24-37. Reflect on what you read—

Day 5 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 8:1-21. Reflect on what you read—

Day 6 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 8:22-9:1. Reflect on what you read—

Days 7 Review and Ask Questions

Spend time reviewing what you have learned this week about your new life in Christ. Bring these to your Graceful Beginnings leader so she will know how to help you grow.

  • What discoveries have you made?
  • What questions do you have?

NEXT LESSON: Graceful Beginnings, Lesson 5. Your New Life in Community.”

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Christian Life, Spiritual Life