In this series we are talking about how we can respond to God’s goodness and graciousness, both in the personal development and formation of our own souls, and by supporting the mission of the Church as disciples. As we said last week, Jesus names three major pillars for our personal growth: prayer, fasting, and giving. Last week we talked about our need for a prayer strategy. This week, we are talking about how so often we feel that we fail in prayer, or that we don’t feel the immediate satisfying effects of prayer. In Genesis 18, we catch a glimpse of a conversation between Abraham and God, right before God is about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, where Abraham’s nephew Lot lives. Reading this passage, we see that Abraham and God interact back and forth – if only there are 10 righteous people in these cities, God will not destroy them. This passage shows that God really listens to our prayers, even though in the end Abraham’s prayer isn’t answered in the way he had hoped. If you feel like your prayer has failed, you are encouraged like Abraham to persevere. First, we are encouraged to become people of prayer. There will be times when we fall short, but make it a habit to persevere to the point where our souls crave daily prayer. Second, keep on asking God to intervene in your life, for the people you love, for our Church and for our world – to become intercessors before God – even though God’s will is not always our will. Third, make it a daily habit to carve out the time, and don’t give up on this time, even when we feel like nothing is happening. Today we may not hear God speaking to us, but don’t give up on tomorrow. Questions for Small Groups:
What is a skill or talent you achieved over the course of many years? What did it take to achieve that skill?
We have all felt like a failure in prayer at times. When have you felt that way about prayer?
Read aloud Genesis 18:23-25. What do those verses teach us about prayer?
Do you believe that prayer can interrupt heaven and change God’s mind? Why or why not?
What requests do you have for God right now? What are you praying for?
What does it look like to persevere when prayer feels dry or pointless?