Dear brothers and sisters,
We continue in week 2 of our series entitled Next STEPS. These steps are steps to life change. Today we will talk about Practicing faith through prayer and the sacraments. Prayer is not simply “talking to God,” but conversing with God – and a conversation involves both talking and listening. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and like all shepherds Jesus provides direction, protection, provision, and rest for his sheep. Jesus calls his sheep by name (John 10:3-4), and we are called to humbly submit to him (James 4:7). To pray effectively, there are two things we must do: (1) read and get to know God’s Word, especially the Gospels; and (2) practice prayer regularly – even daily – by listening and learning to recognize and discern God’s voice. Think about it: Jesus wants to give us direction, protection, provision, and rest, and we are challenged to carve out the time to recognize his voice and respond. Is “Practicing Prayer” the STEP that God is calling you to right now in your life?
This week, I invite you to discuss in small groups – among family, friends, spouses, co-workers, or a church prayer group – the following questions:
Prayer is defined as a conversation with God. What are your thoughts on that statement?
Shepherds provided direction, protection, provision and rest for the sheep. Of those listed, what do you need Jesus to provide for you right now?
Do you believe that God still talks and directs his people and that if you listen to God you will hear from him? Why or why not?
Read aloud John 10:3-4. What does this say about the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep? What vision does it paint for our relationship with Jesus?
Do you have a problem that you are trying to solve or emotional situation you are facing that you can bring to Jesus in prayer?
What will you do this week to strengthen your conversation with God?