Prayer: a better way: Praying in 5 dimensions
Since God is multidimensional, you don’t want to make your prayers one-dimensional. There are actually five dimensions of your life that you can pray about. Romans 6:13 (TLB) says, “Give yourselves completely to God—every part of you—for you are back from death and you want to be tools in the hands of God, to be used for his good purposes.”
Something To Talk About:
- I look backward to the cross? It’s good to start your prayers with the cross because it helps you have an attitude of gratitude. When you think about Jesus dying for you on the cross, it reminds you how deeply God loves you, how costly sin is, and how completely you’re forgiven. “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” (1 Peter 1:18-19) Look at the price God paid for me to find out how valuable I am. I matter to God.
- I look upward to my Father’s loving face: The way you see God will influence every area of your life, including whether or not your prayers are fruitful. If you only make one change to your prayers, start calling God “Father.” You’ll start to better understand just how much He loves you and how He works for your good. Romans 8:16-17 says, “For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory…” You should not act like cowering, fearful slaves, since God’s Spirit has adopted you as children into God’s family. We can call to Him as Abba, Father. God wants my prayers to be: personal and passionate, expressing both pain and pleasure. Establish a partnership by His Spirit who intercedes for us and helps us pray.
- I look inward to Jesus living inside me: 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” Jesus is in you, and you are unconditionally accepted by God the Father. This gives you the freedom and courage to face up to your faults. Before you can get better, you have to admit what’s bad. Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.
- I look around and ask the Holy Spirit to use me: Instead of complaining about or judging the world, just say, “Holy Spirit, show me what’s wrong and how I can make a difference. Use me.” When you make yourself available to God, He will use you for His good. Romans 6:13 says, “Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” Give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. What has God called you to do personally?
- I look forward to my future in faith: Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Parents love to hear their children talk about their dreams—and so does God. Tell Him about your thoughts, ideas, and dreams. He is a good Father who is waiting for you to talk to Him. My growth is dependent on God, not myself alone. He is working in me to complete a good work.
- C. S. Lewis once said, “That gnat-like cloud of petty anxieties and decisions about the conduct of the next hour have interfered with my prayers more often than any passion or appetite whatever.” What do you think interferes with your prayers?
- How does focusing your prayer around what Jesus did on the cross develop an attitude of gratitude?
- Read Romans 8:15-17: What is the importance of calling God Abba? Father? Do your prayers sound like a child talking to a loving Father? Why or why not?
- In what ways can changing the way you pray about problems in the world change the way you act in the world and serve others?
- “Can you fathom the limits and bounds of the greatness and power of God? The sky is no limit for God, but it lies beyond your reach! God knows the world of the dead, but you do not know it. God’s greatness is broader than the earth, and wider than the sea.” Job 11:7-9 (TEV) How would you paraphrase the message of this verse?
- We were created by God to make a contribution. Share with each other where the Lord has you in your walk with Him. What good work has the Lord begun in you that He is continuing to complete?
- Why do you think people tend to erase or neglect the Holy Spirit?
- Identify one practical way you will live in the Holy Spirit more fully as a response to this week’s sermon. Write it down, reflect on it, and put it into practice this week.
- Do you think it is right biblically to say that prayer should be viewed primarily as a way to build a relationship with God rather than a way to get answers?
- What was one thing you found particularly interesting, insightful, helpful, or difficult to understand from this sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
Jesus loves me. Think about that for a second. Simple but so powerfully profound, that one statement grounds us in the truth of who God says we are. Friends can’t make you feel accepted all the time. Accomplishments will never truly make you feel secure. Having lots of people around you does not mean you won’t ever feel lonely. When we feel all alone, all we need to remember is that God loves us and is always there for us. In the book of Hebrews, God reminds us that “…“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV)