Session 20: Prayer in Missional Communities

  • One important thing that an MC needs and what disciples need training in is an ongoing dependency on connection to God through prayer

    • God has told us in his word that he opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Prayer must be from a position of humility.

      • When you look at what Jesus tells the disciples to do—wait for power on high and then they would be his witnesses—God poured out his spirit. To share the gospel with power and authority, it was proceeded by prayer.

        • Movements aren’t just about new practices but new dependencies—God is the key factor.

    • Paul—pray without ceasing. Live a life that is in ongoing dependency on God. 2 important questions for this session:

      • How do we grow our people to be unceasingly dependent on God in prayer through life?

      • How do we grow people to also be together in prayer, proceeding the mission as the early church did?

A few things to recognize

  • People need to learn how to pray.

    • Many are uncomfortable praying. –we need to create space for prayer

    • Ways to create space to pray

      • Dick Eastman prayer wheel. 12 hours a day, pray 5 minutes of each hour. –this is hard, it shows us that we don’t know how to pray. Here are the 12 sections, 5 minutes each. Can be 5 minutes of 12 different hours, or one hour with 12 sections, 5 minutes each.

        • Praise and worship—know and celebrate who God is

        • Waiting on the Lord—He is god and I am not

        • Thanksgiving—prayer and thanksgiving. Before we ask for more help, we are thankful for what God has already done

        • Confession—ask the Holy Spirit to show you your sin. Write down what God shows you.

        • Pray Scripture—pray through psalm 48, pray through the words of Jesus, pray through the scripture. This helps us understand what to pray as we are shaped by the word of God. Pray the very words of God.—praying in His name

        • Watching—God open my eyes, show me what I don’t see in my life, in my marriage, relationships, work—write down what God says to you

        • Intercessory Prayer—pray for what God showed you. On behalf of others

        • Petition—what you need from God. Only 5 minutes…remember

        • Song to God—sing a hymn to God

        • Prayer through Meditation—look at scripture

        • Listening again—

        • Praise—for the day.

      • You could lead your MC in this. If you do this for a time in life—it will change your life.

      • Get away, and get alone

        • Be alone and pray to your father. You don’t have to be impressive to pray. We need time alone with our father as Jesus did.

        • Make space to be alone with God, not just in groups.

        • Maybe 15 minutes a day, maybe at lunch, maybe at the end of the day, maybe at the beginning—maybe all of these.

      • Pray through the distractions—

        • EX: in prayer you might start thinking about something you are worried about in your budget, commit that to God and put it under his guidance.

        • EX: worried for a coworker…commit that to God.

        • Obey God by placing your requests before God, remove your distractions by placing them before God rather than ignoring them

      • Pray in Groups

        • We, together are putting ourselves before you.

        • We learn how to pray from one another

        • We learn about those we disciple from the way they pray—about their theology, about their fears, about the way they think He is or isn’t generous and loving. Do they believe he is a great Father, or not? Maybe they are only praying for their own personal agenda, not realizing the importance of the greater Kingdom

        • When we pray together, our prayer endurance grows.—this helps us spend more time in prayer and understand how that works.

Jesus on Prayer

  • When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the gentiles do. You can speak to God with conviction—you don’t have to say things a million times to convince God. It isn’t wrong to pray over and over…but it is if you think He’ll listen more if you say it more.

    • God already knows what your needs are—God wants you to share life and intimacy with you because he loves you. Prayer is a way of giving your whole self to God

  • “our father”—Pray as a dearly loved child of God. If we start prayer knowing that we already have God’s favor—he sees us as he sees Jesus. If we don’t know this, we’ll feel like we have to earn his love and that praying is a way to earn God’s love—this is wrong! Pray with the posture of Jesus. His son or daughter. There is nothing we can do to earn his love

  • “hallowed be thy name”—You are so radically different from everything I know. You are so wonderfully graceful. How can I not ask for what I need when I know how you love me.

    • Psalms—great for training in Prayer

      • Praise and thanksgiving

        • Praise—This is who You are. I believe that you are holy, good, great, and loving. So amazing.

        • Thanksgiving—You have rescued me, thank you. You have blessed me, thank you.

      • We enter his courts with thanksgiving and praise

  • “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done”—we want to do what you want. Whatever is true in Heaven, we want to be true here. Let this inform your prayers. I see brokenness—that isn’t heaven! That is hell! I pray that your will would be done here in your neighborhood, in your city, your rule and reign come in!

    • For some reason, God has invited you to make a change in the world for His Kingdom. We get the privilege to pray in accordance with His will in order to affect change.

  • “our daily bread”—We can ask for God to help us with our basic needs. The lilies? The sparrows? Doesn’t the father care so much for you? Bring your basic needs to God. Like a little child depends on their parent—our father.

  • “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive”—You are saying: show me my sin. Show me where I have turned away—I can’t see it all on my own. Don’t just show me, but forgive me.

    • As God who you have not forgiven. We have ask God to help us to see where we have not forgiven, where we have not practiced the gospel.

  • “lead us not into temptation”—Paul in Ephesians 4, if we do not speak truthfully to one another, if we do not build one another up, we are bringing the devil an opportunity to destroy our community. I am willing to give forgiveness to everyone else…

    • all that we went through before this line is important in being lead from temptation, delivered from evil. The gospel delivers. God delivers.

    • Sometimes we struggle in prayer because we don’t really want to be set free from sin.

    • Ask God at the beginning of your day to make you aware of where evil is and then ask God for the power to overcome evil by His authority and spirit.

    • Jesus, lead us.

Recommended Tools

  • 1. “The Praying Life” Paul Miller. How the gospel informs our prayer.

  • 2. Prayer journal. Have your bible and journal open as you pray. I use different colored pens to show what God is saying

    • Black: write what I learned

    • Red: anything God said to me in my life

    • Blue: tasks that are to do from reading the word, with a box to check if you actually did it

    • Green: all the petitions and requests that I pray for myself and others with a circle next to it with the date.

    • Purple: I write with a purple pen to show when and how God answered those requests and petitions.

    • This allows me to track my relationship with God through the bible and prayer

  • 3. Get a missional community prayer journal—

    • show what God has done in your community

  • 4. Make space to pray in groups

Questions for Reflection

  • 1. What was new about prayer that you heard in this session?

  • 2. Why do you think you and maybe the MC struggle in prayer? What are the reasons why you fail to pray?

  • 3. How are we going to help each other grow in prayer in this group, both individually as well as collectively?