Section 44 | Week 30

The Priority of PrayerThis week our study illustrates how prayer was an essential aspect of Jesus’ relationship with His Father and an integrated quality of his life, ministry, mission and strategy. In light of this, and instruction throughout the Scriptures we must integrate the same discipline into our lives or suffer the perils of pride, prayer anemia, and spiritual malnutrition.


Scripture:

Matthew 4:23-35

23 Jesus went about in all Galilee,1 teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people.  24 The report about him went out into all Syria.2 They brought to him all who were sick, afflicted with various diseases and torments, possessed with demons, epileptics, and paralytics; and he healed them. 25 Great multitudes from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

Mark 1:35-39
35 Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he rose up and went out, and departed into a deserted place, and prayed there.3 36 Simon and those who were with him followed after him; 37 and they found him, and told him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 He said to them, “Let’s go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because I came out for this reason.”4¯5 39 He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee,6 preaching and casting out demons.
Luke 4:42-44
42 When it was day, he departed and went into an uninhabited place, and the multitudes looked for him, and came to him, and held on to him, so that he wouldn’t go away from them. 43 But he said to them, “I must preach the good news of God’s Kingdom to the other cities also. For this reason I have been sent.” 44 He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

Group Dialog:

  1. Do you feel close to God?
  2. How has prayer benefited you?
  3. Why do you pray? (brokenness, for family, spouse, faith, fear, defeat, sin, depression, covetousness, something else?)
  4. Read and discuss these other passages of prayer (Ps 34:15,17; Ps 102:17; 1 Jn 5:14-15; Jms 4:3; Jms 5:16; Mt 21:22; Heb 10:19-22; )
  5. What is at risk when we fail to pray? (Heb 2:3; Jer 2:32; Rev 2:4;
  6. What is the most common reason you fail to pray? ☐ Self-Sufficiency ☐ Doubt ☐ Guilt ☐ Feelings of inadequacy ☐ Self-Interest ☐ Don’t know how ☐ Lukewarm Christianity ☐ Different Priorities
  7. What should we pray based on Jesus’ life, prayers, and and teaching?
  8. How does your specific focus in ministry rely on prayer, and your relationship with Christ?

Learning Objectives: prayer, recovery, spirit-filled, silence, strategy, renewal, ministry, priorities, spiritual disciplines,


Image: Looking toward the Caloosahatchee River at Gulf Harbour Yacht & Country Club in Fort Myers, FL (sorry its a sunset, not a sunrise). The palm trees and sun remind me of Psalm 113:3 “From the rising of the sun to its setting,  the name of the LORD is to be praised.”


Study Notes:

  1. The region of Galilee is often called the evangelistic triangle is what some teachers call this region because there are about 20 instances of ministry which the Gospel writers included in their Gospel accounts. Read the prophetic passage from of Isaiah 9:1-2 written 700 years before.
  2. Cyril Alexandria (c 400 ad) spoke about the importance of his message reaching throughout Syria, not only to the Jewish people. Josephus says the region had 204 cities and towns (not including villages).
  3. Throughout the Gospels (in no fewer than 100 events over the course of about 1000 days of Jesus’ ministry) Jesus’ life was filled with prayer. Jesus prayed in on all kinds of occasions – one teacher calculates he did so on eight different type of situations, and at least 25 different occasions. Read “Some thoughts on Prayer“. Over and over the apostle Paul urges us to pray-  for all things, for all occasions, at all times (Phil 4:6; 1Ths 5:17).
  4. To preach the Good News
  5. Jesus’ mission is the “reconciling of humanity to God” whereas his strategy included: preaching, teaching, healing, fellowship, baptism, etc.. These strategic efforts serve as paths/means by which people might be reconciled to God – That is the objective. We are now called to the ministry of reconciliation (2Cor 5:11-21), and we do this as we implement the Great Commission (Mt 28:16). Today many churches place such an emphasis on their strategy that that the forget Jesus’ mission and their first love (Rev 2).
  6. The Gospels make mention of at least 28 places of Jesus’ ministry.