Sermon & Small Group Resources
The first sermon in our series on "Next Steps": 'Prayer'. Bible passage: Matthew 6:5-13. Preacher: The Rev'd Adam Lowe. Download the Small Group Questions, Going Deeper, and Sermon Transcript (PDF).
Next Steps this Week
BIBLE READING: MATTHEW 6:5-13
‘And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. ‘This, then, is how you should pray:
‘“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
CONNECT: How can you shape your prayer life intentionally to reflect the return of Jesus?
- What do you find most challenging about prayer?
- Why do you think most people – even those whodo not believe in God – pray?
Read Matthew 6:5-6
- What is the significance of Jesus saying “when you pray” (rather than, ‘if’ you pray)?
- Do you think that we are ever in danger of having a ‘transactional’ approach to prayer? What does this look like in practice?
- How is prayer both relational and missional?
- What was really wrong with the approach of the ‘hypocrites’? What did Jesus mean when you said that they had received their ‘reward’ in full? What is the true reward for prayer?
- Why does God desire sincerity of heart when we pray? Do you think that you may ever have mixed motives when you pray? How can you be on guard about this?
- How intimate is the image of prayer that Jesus presents? What does this mean for you?
- Why did Jesus say to pray in private? What type of ‘room’ was he referencing?
- Do you set aside the space and time to pray privately? What does that look like in practice? (If you don’t currently pray in private, how might you approach it?)
- Do you think praying in private should be a priority in your life? How might you pray in private more?
Read Matthew 6:7-13
- How is our prayer life missional?
- What was the problem with the way that the pagans prayed? Do you think we can ever be in danger of falling into the same trap?
- Do you ever feel intimated by the way that other people pray? Why are Jesus’ words a great encouragement to us to pray with simplicity and focus?
- How do you think your prayer life can be more missional in focus?
- What are the key focus areas of the Lord’s prayer? How does this contrast to your normal pattern of prayer? How is it similar?
- How would you love to grow your prayer life in 2018? What is practical and achievable?
APPLY (to this week): What will be your first NEXT STEP in prayer for 2018?
PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank you for your abundant love and mercy! Thank you for calling us into your family and enabling us to participate in your mission to the world. Please help us to grow in sincerity and intimacy as we pray. Please help us to pray with a purpose that matches your will and your heart. Amen.
Talks & Audio
- St Helen’s Bishopsgate, Seven-Part Introduction to Prayer
- ‘How to Pray’ by Tim Keller
- ‘Asking in Prayer’ by David Mansfield
- ‘Mast Dangerous Prayer’ by Paul Tripp
- ‘Dependence on God’s Grace’ and ‘Concern for God’s Glory’ sermons by Hugh Palmer and John Stott
Video & Music
Next Steps Study Guide and Planner
Some Excellent Books on Prayer
In St Bart's Kids on Sunday, we created four prayer spaces for different types of prayer. Try creating one of more of these spaces together at home this week. Here are four examples:
- Graffiti Wall - Hang some butcher's paper on a wall. Use some markers to write/illustrate prayers of praises, thanks, concerns.
- Healing Wall - Hang a large poster to the wall. Write the names of people who need healing on the bandaids and then stick them onto the poster board.
- Blessing Tower - Stack duplo blocks, thanking God for a blessing with each block.
- Forgiveness Cross - Find or make a large cross. Children take a black rock from the bowl (representing their sin), hold it and confess their sins to God, then look at the cross and thank Jesus for the forgiveness that he gave, place the black stone on the cross and take a clear pebble with them, to show that they have been forgiven of their sins.
DAILY STUDY GUIDE
Download in PDF or collect a printed copy at church.