Monday, October 06, 2008

Week 2 - “What Is Prayer”

Using the Prayer Resource Book:
This week begin each prayer by reading one or more of “The Prayers of Paul” from Part 2 of the Prayer Resource Book (pg. 12-13). The aim of this exercise is to “learn what to pray for, what arguments to use, what priorities we should adopt, what beliefs should shape our prayers and much more.” Read through each prayer 5 or 6 times. Read slowly, concentrating on each word and phrase and paying attention to how they connect and build. Try comparing different versions of each prayer by reading from various translations.

After you’re familiar with the prayer, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is Paul praying for (spiritual vitality, practical needs, deliverance, etc.)?
  2. What is the pattern of this prayer (thanksgiving, petition, exhortation, etc.)?
  3. What is Paul’s chief concern? What does he pray for most?
  4. How is Paul structuring or building this prayer (i.e., look for words like “so,” “therefore” or “in order to”)?
  5. How is Paul’s faith (that is, his theology) shaping his prayer? What do his prayers tell us about God?
Use one or more of Paul’s prayers as your own. Change the wording to reflect your needs and situation, but try to let Paul’s prayer shape your prayer. On the reverse side of this page is a sample of what this might look like.

Small Group Participation:
Bring a modified version of one Paul’s prayers to your small group and explain how you answered the reflection questions for at least one text. Also, if you haven’t shared your assessment and goals yet, do it this week.

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