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"Lord, teach us to pray" (2) 

 

Introduction and Inventory: 

 

Very few Christians (if any) want to challenge the statement that prayer is (or ought to be) very important in the life of the individual Christian and the life of the local Church. No one wants to debate the need of prayer or, if you like, the PRINCIPLE of prayer.  

 

Yet many (most?) of us have some struggles when it comes to the PRACTICE of prayer. What we feel are our feeble attempts at prayer can create all kinds of guilt within us. More times than we can count we have made new and determined efforts to be more committed in our prayer life and often feel we have failed just as many times.  

 

About the time we feel this sense of failure, along comes someone who tells us (in a book or on a tape or in a testimony) how God has led them into a whole new experience in the arena of prayer. And that makes us feel even worse!!   If we are totally honest with each other, probably all of us would acknowledge that there are times when God seems distant from us and even disinterested in us. We might even acknowledge that there are days when we go without any conscious attempt to 'pray' or to set aside time for prayer.  

 

Then, some of us find it difficult (very difficult?) to pray in the presence of others. We are so conscious of their presence that the sense of God's presence is largely lost.   If you can relate to those observations above, then hopefully you can relate to these two further observations:  

 

1. Many others know about this 'prayer struggle' - we are not unique or alone in this experience.  

 

2.There is a hunger and desire for something more...something richer...in our prayer experience.  

 

Take heart! This series of studies is for you. It is designed to help you, not to further dis-empower you. The content and format is primarily written for use among the members of a small group but this material can also be helpful in personal use.   If prayer is to be the very life and strength of the Christian experience, then it follows that it will be a primary target for our enemy to attack. If Satan can keep us from prayer, then all our efforts, activity and organisation will not bother him in the least. He feeds that sense of failure, condemnation and discouragement within our lives until we finally give up altogether or, more likely, simply maintain a token but largely ineffective prayer life.

 

This series is shared with the anticipation that it will open for you a vision of the possibilities of a renewed prayer life .... that together we will begin to tap into the dynamic of prayer in a way never experienced before.   Before we launch into this journey of discovery (or recovery) in prayer, let's take time to identify just where we are so that we can see where we want to go.  

 

Below is something of a "inventory" or "stock take" regarding just where we are at the moment. The value of this introductory exercise depends on how honestly you answer the questions.The right answers are what you really think and what is true for you. Whether or not you share your answers with other group members is up to you.    

 

1. What is the purpose of prayer?   __________________________________________________________________     

 

2. Have you ever spent one hour in prayer on your own?    [  ] Yes     [  ] No      [  ] Don't know  

 

3. Do you (usually) find it an effort to pray for, say, more than 10 minutes?  

[  ] Yes     [  ] No  

 

4.Do you (usually) find a sense of fulfilment in prayer or is it usually a bore/drag? What words best describe your feelings about prayer?

a. _____________b. _____________c. ______________d._________________  

 

5. Would your 'average'prayer consist of .....   [   ] Mainly talking?     

[  ] Mainly asking?         [  ] Mainly listening?     [  ] Mainly praising?     

[  ] Other__________________________

 

6. At what time(s) and in what circumstances do you usually pray?   ________________________________________________________________

 

7. How much do you think your prayer life is effected by your feelings & emotions?   _______________________________________________________  

 

8. Can you recall one specific time in the last weekwhen one of your prayers was answered?   ________________________________________________________________  

 

9.Are there any specific conditions or qualifications that you believe are necessary in a person's life before they can pray effectively? If so, what are they?  

a.___________________________             b. __________________________ 

c. __________________________             d. _________________________  

 

10.What do you find the most difficult aspect of trying to develop your prayer life?   ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_____________________________________________________   __________________________________________________________  

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