Dear brothers and sisters,
Our responsibility as disciples of Christ is to move from passive consumerism, to active commitment: especially by our personal growth and bringing others to Christ. In this series we will talk about this responsibility for growing in our faith, which is always personal. When we look at what Jesus says about personal disciplines or habits, in his great Sermon on the Mount Jesus speaks about prayer, fasting, and giving. Today we will look at what Jesus says about prayer in this message (Matthew 6:5-15). Jesus assumes that ALL of his followers will pray regularly, and we pray not to some kind of distant force in the universe, but to God our Father who is close to us. It’s not about how long we pray, or our multiplication of words – but the regular habit. Jesus gives us the Our Father not simply as a rote prayer to say out of obligation, but as a model of prayer. All of us should have a regular time of prayer, a regular place of prayer (your bedroom, porch, etc.), a strategy of prayer (the Rosary, use of the Bible), and self-awareness of the rewards. I can tell you that it is always hard to pray no matter how long you have done it; but we should notice in our lives the rewards and benefits – how our daily life is always better when we pray. Remember that the first and most important way that we take responsibility as disciples is through the powerful habit of personal prayer. Questions for Small Groups:
When did you learn that it was up to you to take responsibility for your faith? What does that mean to you?
Did anyone teach you to pray? How did you learn to pray?
What are the rewards of prayer? What benefits have you seen personally in your life?
Is prayer a habit for you? Where do you pray? What have you found that works for you when it comes to prayer?
When you pray do you call God Father? How does addressing God as Father help us pray better?
What is your prayer plan? Do you need one?
What obstacles get in the way of prayer?