Session 1 – Small Group Study Guide
- The chapter begins by sharing a common sentiment many of us have encountered when it comes to prayer: Prayer can be discouraging. But that’s okay. We are studying prayer this season so we can be honest and grow together. How has the pursuit of prayer been discouraging for you? What have been some things you’ve done to try to change this and how has that helped?
- While prayer may be difficult, there is no denying it is essential. As DeYoung writes, “Prayer is for everyone who is a true follower of God” (15). Take time to consider why or when you are prone to neglect prayer. What does this reveal about your heart?
- Read Luke 11:1-2. As DeYoung points out, in this passage Jesus is interested less on how long their prayers should be, the time of prayer, how many times, how they should feel, physical posture, etc. Instead “Jesus was most concerned with what they prayed” (13). How can this change how you approach or think about prayer?
- DeYoung helps us to understand hypocrisy when he says, “Too often, Christians think of hypocrites as people who do one thing but feel another. But that’s not hypocrisy. Hypocrites publicize one set of beliefs but live by a different set of beliefs” (17). He then further goes on to explain that when we do things even though we don’t feel like it, that’s actually faithfulness and maturity. How does this encourage you in moments when you don’t feel like praying?
- Matthew 6:7-8 reminds us that when we pray, we want to be thoughtful and intentional with our words. In what ways have your prayers been “empty phrases and meaningless words?” What are some practical things you think you can do to help you be more engaged and thoughtful?
- At the end of the day, DeYoung encourages us to keep the purpose of prayer in perspective. “And at the heart of that right way is understanding that our God is not hard of hearing, and he is not hard of heart. Speak to him. Shoot straight with him. Be plain with him. You don’t need to impress him. As your heavenly Father, he already loves you. You just need to show up and talk to him. That’s the good news” (23). How does this encourage you to pray and how can you remind yourself of this?
Practicing Prayer Individually
One of our hopes this season is to not only meditate on the contents of our study, but to allow such meditation to transform how we think and interact with God. So answer the following questions:
- What is one area of your life that you want to grow in praying over for the rest of this season? This will be consistent from week to week so we can grow in progressively application of our study.
- Based upon what you learned from this chapter, how might you use the following ideas in your prayer:
- Avoiding trying to sound eloquent or holy and speaking to God as you were just carrying on a normal conversation.
- Praying regardless of how you’re feeling, even if it is short.
- Taking a minute to slow down and think of God as heavenly Father before praying.
- Write out a prayer based upon what you learned and take time to pray that prayer.
Sharing and Prayer in Groups
- Based upon what you wrote down in “Practicing Prayer Individually,” how has this study impacted the one area of your life you’ve been praying for? Share this with your prayer group so they know how to pray for you.
- Share other prayer requests: