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Conversation Starters and Stoppers

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From the Workbook: “I don’t believe in the power of prayer” we must believe in the power of God who is accessed by the privilege of prayer. our words have no power except that God hears them and acts upon His love and our requests.
Q: What do you think of this story and using the phrase “power of prayer?”
Personally I do not think there is anything wrong with using the phrase the power of prayer as long as you understand that it is God who works in His power and that prayer is not some kind of good luck mantra but something we must do with belief.
Our conversations with God must take into account who He is as almighty God but also we must consider who He is as our heavenly Father. This should affect our conversations with God...
Q: Do you think that only understanding God from His position of power can hinder our prayers? If so how?
We may feel to fearful or unworthy to pray as if God would never have time or concern for us. The truth is we are all unworthy. As the Apostle Paul was. But God is graceful and cares and listens as a loving Father.
How can we start our conversations with God in a way that leads to open, heartfelt prayers...

Conversation Starters

Q: How can we start our conversations with God in a way that leads to open, heartfelt prayers?
Q: What are some good prayer starters?
Focus on God: Like Jesus taught start with a focus on God and recognition of Him, praising Him. Jesus taught, “Our Father in heaven” Notice (person/relationship - Father: closeness) and position (heaven: God’s transcendence)…Holiness - “hallowed be your name.”
Thanksgiving for God’s blessings
Thanksgiving and praise for who God is
Focus on others: notice the prayers of Paul (as with Jesus’ prayers) were focused on others:
Ephesians 1:18 ESV
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 3:14 ESV
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
Ephesians 3:14–16 ESV
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Ephesians 3:
Philippians 1:9 ESV
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,
PHilippians
Colossians 1:9–10 ESV
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Q: What is most striking to you about Paul’s prayers for others?
The majority of them are all relate to spiritual growth and strength. Many times our prayers are for the physical things regarding others…i.e. getting over sickness, help with…not that these are bad but…Paul prayers teach us a lesson about what is most important.
Q: How does praying for others help our outlook in our daily lives?
It gives us an outward focus and helps us get outside of our own little worlds and understand that we are not the only ones in need or the only ones struggling.

Conversation Stoppers

Q: What are some obstacles to our conversations with God being better?
Thinking that knowing a lot about prayer makes us good at prayer. Just because we know it does not mean that we do it passionately or consistently. We all know this because we all have had times when our prayer lives were weak despite knowing all about it.
Not being willing to learn more about prayer and how to be better. The attitude is that it is simple you just talk to God. But the apostles had prayed all their lives but still asked Jesus “teach us to pray.” We can learn from the prayers in scripture such as Jesus, Paul, Hezekiah and prayers from others as we really listen. Do you still think you have some things to learn or can learn to pray better?
Not have expectations that take into account God’s will. While we may want God to do something that would make our lives easier (i.e. take away pain) it may not be God’s will.
The Apostle Paul prayed but God said no to his “thorn in the flesh.”
2 Corinthians 12:7–9 ESV
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:
Q: what good came out of God not answering Paul prayer with a yes?
God’s power would be shown and Paul would rely on Him more in humility.
Paul would not become conceited because of what He had seen.
Q: What is the greatest outcome of our prayer lives?
We grow closer to God and help others.
Takeaways:
Conversation starters: Focus on God, Focus on Others, Focus on Self
Focus on God
Focus on Others
Focus on Self
Conversation stoppers: Knowing about prayer but not doing it, Not being willing to be a lifetime learner, Not praying with God’s will in mind.
Knowing about prayer but not doing it
Not being willing to be a lifetime learner
Not praying with God’s will in mind
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