Opening Question: Who taught you how to pray?
The best example on prayer we can look at is Jesus! How big a part did prayer play in the life of Jesus on earth? Well we see that Jesus often got up early to pray, there were even times when He chose to pray through the entire night! So yes, Jesus did take prayer seriously. If Jesus gave so much of His time to prayer, then we should consider doing the same. One prayer in particular that Jesus modelled on the cross and taught us is to pray for those who have wronged us:
Read Matt 5 vs 43 – 48
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
1. Why should we pray for those who wrong us (our enemies)?
Leader’s Guide: Stephen, the first Christian Martyr, prayed as he was being murdered that God would “forgive them, because they do not know what they doing”. Paul, who was Saul, stood by approving to the murder but Stephen prayed forgiveness over him. We then see Paul getting saved soon after as heaven was opened to him after a simple prayer of forgiveness by Stephen.
2. Matt 5 vs 14 – 15 says that the Father will only listen to our prayers and forgive us when we live in forgiveness to those who wrong us. It isn’t easy to forgive others, so how do we do it?
Leader’s Guide: With the same forgiveness that we have been shown by Jesus, He enables us to forgive others. It doesn’t seem natural, that’s why we need His supernatural forgiveness.
3. Who do you need to pray for/forgive? Allow God to work forgiveness into your heart and pray for those who have wronged you.
Leader’s Guide: Please don’t let people in the group express out loud who they need to forgive! Rather let it be a personal time of reflection and allowing the Holy Spirit to minister.
Opening Question: How do you talk to God?
Heaven has unfortunately been seen as a place where after death we will be like ghosts & sing to Jesus on a cloud for all eternity. Fortunately the Bible shows us that Heaven is A LOT more exciting than this! The Bible tells us that we will be given a new body, will dance, eat, talk to one another, be satisfied, serve and even govern cities and judge angels! Heaven is described to us as a garden, a city and a kingdom.
Read Matt 6:9-13
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”
1. When you think of Heaven what do imagine it to be like?
2. What do you think it means when Jesus says “let your Kingdom come as it is on earth as it is in Heaven…” Leader’s Guide: As described earlier, Heaven is compared to a Kingdom. A kingdom has a king and the king has reign over all areas of his kingdom. Therefore when we pray that God’s kingdom would come on a person’s life or situation, we are actually praying that the rulership and reign of Jesus would come over that person/situation that His kingdom would take over their lives/situation.
3. Why don’t you take your homegroup on a journey of prayer? Use the model in vs 9-13 to guide the group in prayer for 30 mins, focusing on vs 10 (see if you can fit it all in in 30 mins!!)
The Lord’s Prayer is a model to guide our prayers:
His Kingdom in our lives (vs 10)
– Family – wives/husbands/children/parents
– Church – unsaved/leaders/Holy Spirit to invade our meetings
– Work – for God to use you in the work/study place/ business to thrive