5 Habits - Prayer #7

Welcome to Everyday Devotions. These daily Bible readings and Prayer Pathways are designed to help you go deeper with God each day in response to what you are hearing at the Everyday Church services and Life Group gatherings.

Sunday 19th January

In this week’s Everyday Devotions, we have learned four Prayer Pathways together – simple structures to help us marshal our thoughts and focus our prayers. Having looked at The Lord’s Prayer, The Moses Prayer, The Trinity Prayer and The Examen Prayer, this final devotional of the week seeks to draw it all together into an ongoing lifestyle of prayer.

Bible Meditation

Luke 18:1-8

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

1) What is Jesus trying to say through this parable? Why do you think he uses a mean-spirited judge to help us realise that God will certainly answer our prayers if we pray persistently?

2) How have you enjoyed this week of thinking about prayer pathways? How much have you grown this week into becoming one of those that Jesus comments in verse 7 for their passion to pray to God, “who cry out to him day and night”?

3) What is your answer to Jesus’ question in verse 8? When Jesus comes back, will he find faith where you are, expressed by your commitment to a lifestyle of prayer?

Prayer is a funny thing. It’s very easy for us to make ourselves feel guilty when we become prayerless, but it’s also very easy for us to get proud when we find ourselves enjoying a consistent life of prayer. Perhaps that’s why Jesus carries on with a warning about what kind of prayers God finds acceptable. It’s quite surprising!

Luke 18:9-14

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

4) What wrong attitude lay at the heart of the mistake that the Pharisee made in his attempts to pray to God?

5) What was it about the tax collector’s prayer that delighted God and sent him home from the temple with an answer to his prayers?

6) How does this parable of Jesus help us when we fail to pray and start feeling guilty? How does it warn us when we make some breakthroughs in our prayer lives and start getting proud like the Pharisee?

Prayer Pathway

This week, we have taught you four prayer pathways that you can use to marshal your thoughts and to structure your thoughts as you pray. We talked about The Lord’s Prayer and how to use each of its sections as a header for structured prayer. We talked about The Moses Prayer and how to use each of the items that a priest encountered on his way into the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle as a structure for our own prayers today. We talked about The Trinity Prayer, a very simple way of using 2 Corinthians 13:14 to engage with God in all of his Triune glory. We talked about The Examen Prayer, created by Ignatius of Loyola as a way of ‘checking in’ with God three times a day – first thing in the morning, then at lunchtime and in the evening before bed. Variety is the spice of any prayer life, so we are recommending that you use all four of them at different times, as you intentionally pursue a lifestyle of deeper prayer.

So, end your Everyday Devotions today by choosing any one of these four prayer pathways and putting into practice some of what you have learned this week. We hope that these four prayer pathways help you to keep persevering in prayer!
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These Everyday Devotions have been produced and edited by Phil and Ruth Moore on behalf of the Everyday Church Elders

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