Sanctification: Faith and Growth in the Christian Life
The Article: Preparing to Hear God’s Word
The Bible repeatedly warns and encourages us to be careful how we listen to what God says. Our hearts become hard easily, after which we are increasingly unable to hear the Savior’s voice. The purpose of this study is to address this issue by talking about the various ways in which God speaks to us and the disposition we ought to have in order that we might hear his voice.
1. Discuss the Bible’s emphasis on listening and hearing God’s word. Why is this so significant in light of our tendencies? Do we really listen well?
2. What are the 4 C’s of listening to God and being changed by his voice?
3. What are the ways in which God communicates to us? They are all very important, but which source(s) is to be the final authority?
4. In what ways do we need to be prepared to hear God’s word?
5. What are three key passages which teach “active participation” in the listening process? Explain each one briefly.
The Article: The Prayer-Filled Life (Part 1)
There is a strong connection in Psalm 119 and throughout all of Scripture between prayer and the will of God. We are not praying for our selfish will be to be done, but for God’s will to be done (which includes our needs). Thus prayer is really worship, a recognition of God’s sovereignty—a humble entrance into the service of his plans and will for the world. Prayer, therefore, takes on many forms including praise, confession, supplication, etc. But, it is always prayer to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Spirit. With this in mind, we can pray any time with all sorts of requests, focusing on the fact that it is God’s will that must be done. There are certain prerequisites to effective prayer such as a personal trust in Christ and a pure heart, obedient to the Word of God. On the other hand, there are hindrances to effective prayer such as simply failing to ask, wrong motives, or just giving up. Nonetheless, there are many reasons given in Scripture as to why the believer is to pray and there are many things we are given freedom to ask for.
1. What is the relationship between the Word and prayer in Psalm 119?
2. What are some of the various forms of prayer?
3. What is the ultimate and genuine focus of prayer?
4. What are some of the prerequisites of answered prayer?
5. Why should we pray? Why do we find it so difficult at times?
The Article: The Prayer-Filled Life (Part 2)
This article is an exposition of Luke 11:1-13 and Jesus’ teaching on prayer. In it the author discusses the model prayer Jesus gave the disciples in response to their request to be taught to pray. The Lord’s prayer (cf. Matt 6:9-13) was never intended as something to be said by rote—as if God didn’t hear us the first time—but was rather given as a pattern for prayer, focusing first on God, and then making our requests known to him. Significant space is given to the parable of the persistent friend because it strikes at the real problem in prayer—prayerlessness! Finally, the article concludes with a prescription for persistent prayer and the reminder that God promises always to listen.
1. Why did the disciples ask the Lord to teach them to pray in Luke 11:1?
2. What was Christ’s attitude in prayer? What does that teach you about what our attitude should be like?
3. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he gave them a pattern. What was the purpose of the pattern and what was it intended to never be? What is the two part breakdown of the prayer? Is the order significant in the breakdown?
4. What are the various things we pray for and what does each mean? In other words, what are we really praying for?
5. Discuss the parable of the persistent friend. What does this teach us about prayer, about God and about ourselves? What is the answer God gives to those who consistently and continuously ask?