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When God's People Pray Participant's GuideSix Sessions on the Transforming Power of Prayer
By Jim Cymbala Stephen Sorenson Amanda Sorenson
ZondervanCopyright © 2007 Jim Cymbala
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSession One God's Heart for Us
At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord. GENESIS 4:26, TNIV
INTRODUCTION (6 MINUTES)
DVD Introduction by Jim Cymbala
Question to Think About
What do you think Christians and the churches they attend miss out on when calling on God in prayer is not an essential part of their life and worship?
DVD TEACHING SEGMENT (9 MINUTES)
God is rich in mercy to all who call on him
Prayer: the evidence of true faith
God answers prayer
Life's problems remind us to call on God
No place to go but God
GROUP EXPLORATION (18 MINUTES)
1. What were your thoughts as Jim explained how people who really believe in God instinctively call on him in petition and praise?
2. To what degree do you think people in our culture (ourselves included) are aware of this instinct?
3. Jim says that God is a prayer-answering God who is rich in mercy to everyone who calls on him. When God responds to our prayers with mercy, what impact does it have on us, and what does it reveal to us about God?
4. As Christians, we believe that God already knows ourneeds, so what do you think might be his purpose in waiting for us to ask him to meet our needs before he takes action on our behalf?
1. What does scripture say God will do when people turn to him in faith and wholeheartedly call on his name in prayer? (see Proverbs 15:29; Jeremiah 33:2-3; Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 18:7-8.)
2. Scripture reveals valuable insight into God's character and commitment in relationship to his people.
a. What is it about God that leads him to respond to those who cry out to him? (See Psalm 86:5-7; Psalm 89:8; Ephesians 2:4 - 5.)
b. What response does God's faithfulness in answering prayer inspire in the hearts of his people? (See Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 4:3; Psalm 9:9-10.)
DVD PRAYER STORY (14 MINUTES)
1. When Wanda first prayed with Danny out loud, in public, what do you think began to happen in his life? Why do you think he continued to allow her to pray for him?
2. No matter how far away from God Danny ran, he could not forget Wanda's simple promise: "The day you call on the name of the Lord, he is going to set you free." Would you have expected such a simple, basic message to make such a great difference in Danny's life? Why or why not?
3. Why was it important for Wanda to have a whole team of people praying for Danny? What impact do you think seeing the fruit of their prayers in Danny's changed life had on those faithful believers?
WRAP-UP (13 MINUTES)
Closing DVD Comments from Jim Cymbala
God has chosen prayer as his channel of blessing and is waiting to answer us and supply our needs. He uses our everyday troubles to remind us that we need him to intervene in our lives and that we need to take prayer seriously and call on him passionately.
Think for several minutes about the difference the promise of 1 John 5:14-15 makes in your life: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him."
Now consider how you are approaching God as you face the challenges of your life:
To what extent are you drawn to God, eagerly praying and anticipating his blessing?
To what extent do you try to face challenges on your own, without God's help? What is the result?
To what extent are you confident that God will keep his promises and meet your needs when you call on him?
Briefly share a few needs and seemingly insurmountable problems you face. Then begin praying together. Praise God for who he is and what he has revealed to you during this session. Trust him enough to call on his name and ask him for help. Let today be the day you arise and talk to the Father from your hearts. Let this be the day you experience a breakthrough moment in which you receive help through the loving power of your prayer-answering God.
PERSONAL JOURNEY: TO DO ON YOUR OWN
God loves you deeply and longs to be in relationship with you. His blessings are tangible and life-changing, and he makes those blessings available to everyone who calls on him. You can bank on the promise of Philippians 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
The Bible is full of examples of God's people who have gone before you and held nothing back when they asked God for help. A few of these examples are listed in the following chart. As you read about the needs and experiences of these people, consider what an awesome privilege it is to come to God's throne of grace. Write down how God answered these needy people who called on him from their hearts' deepest desires. Then think about your need to call out to God for help: write it down and start praying.
Starting today, call on God with your whole heart! Tell him your needs, desires, hopes, and dreams. Pour out your heart before him and invite him into your life situation.
My Personal Prayer Journal
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. JAMES 5:13
Use the following pages to write down your prayer requests, praises, thoughts about God and prayer, and so on. You might, for example, thank God in writing for the opportunity you have to call on his name, knowing that he is listening and will act in love on your behalf. You might jot down specific requests and what you would like to see God do in a particular situation. You might list some things that cause you to drift away from the practice of prayer and the things that draw you toward God in prayer. When fears, needs, and unmet desires surface in the days and weeks ahead, and you need God's help to stay on track, write them down.
Most important, get in the habit of prayer. Continue to pray, calling on the name of the Lord regularly. May this record of your prayer journey be a reminder of where you have been and an encouragement for what God will do as you continue to call on his name!
Excerpted from When God's People Pray Participant's Guide by Jim Cymbala Stephen Sorenson Amanda Sorenson Copyright © 2007 by Jim Cymbala. Excerpted by permission.
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