Friday, April 25, 2014

Starting a new bible study: Prayer that Works

I am starting a new study today. "Prayer that Works" by Pastor Dr. Andrew Corbett, each study will be about a week or so long. It is rather deep and challenging and will teach us and encourage us more to pray daily. Hopefully we will be drawn closer to God. I encourage you to leave some notes and your thoughts to get the conversation rolling.... this is actually a group teaching series and is filled with lots of questions, as you will see. This first one I think has 13 questions and lots of scripture to pound away at and is why I didn't add it this time around and will take me longer to prepare each one as well. I will add clips of the scripture and my answers as a reply and as I said I encourage you to join in. Don't be afraid, we are all learning as followers of Jesus to bring us back to THE Father.

As a side note each study will be listed in the title as:
"PtW #: title of the study"
This way it can be rather easy to know what it is...
God Bless You and thanks for reading.

PTW: Praying Privately


In its simplest sense, prayer is talking to God. But pondering prayer a little deeper, prayer is actually conversing with God. As we study what the Scriptures teach about prayer, we will see that prayer is not just speaking but listening.

1. Genesis 20:7 is the first time that prayer is mentioned in Scripture.
What do we learn from this text? What do you find curious about what God said in this text? (Note Genesis 20:17)

2. What did Isaac know in order for him to do what he did in Genesis 25:21?

From the earliest times it appears that people had the idea that they could seek God in prayer to meet their needs. Scripture reveals that this was done simply and privately. As people learned more about God and how to approach Him, prayer evolved from merely a private a matter to become ultimately a corporate (many people together) exercise in the New Testament.

3. Do you know what you would like God to do for you? That is, what are you praying for regularly? Can you share one of those requests?

4. Read the episode of someone praying in 1Samuel 1:9-18. What is perhaps unusual about this woman’s prayer?

Private prayer should be an act of worship- something we do to further our surrender to God. It is also the most appropriate means to bring our deepest requests before God. But what it isn’t is an opportunity to be seen by others in order to impress them with your spirituality (note Matt. 6:6). Praying privately is not for superChristians, it’s for all Christians. Will you take time to pray privately?

5. Observe what Jesus was doing in Luke 6:12. Why did He do this?

When we pray privately, there is no right way to pray. That is, there are no magic words to utter, no mystical phrases that must be cited, or no sacred expressions to be repeated.

Singing-Reading-Writing Reciting-Spontaneous praying

Perhaps the most common type of private praying is the whispered or mental prayer. But prayers do not have to be spoken.

6. Consider the Book of Psalms. Randomly select a Psalm. Discuss whether this Psalm is a “private” prayer and whether it was meant to prayed by the reader. Give reasons.

The Book of Psalms is generally considered to be a collection of prayers to be sung. Singing prayers is a legitimate way to pray. Singing prayers engages the pray-er’s heart and mind. It also helps the pray-er to recall God’s faithfulness and presence at those times when praying is difficult. The next time you find it hard to pray and you’re alone, try singing your prayers.

I was speaking with someone recently who told me that they weren’t particularly emotional. As such, they found it easier to pray by reading the prepared prayers of others. In particular they found the Anglican Common Book of Prayer very helpful for their prayer life. The next time your heart is dull toward prayer, try reading some classic prayers.

Another great way to pray is by writing. Some refer to this type of prayer as “Prayer-Journaling”. Christian Bookstores sell blank Prayer Journals but your local stationery store sells blank exercise books which can serve the same purpose for a fraction of the cost of a printed Prayer-Journal. The next you find it difficult to speak your prayers, try writing a daily prayer down in a Prayer-Journal.

7. Some people regard reading the prayers of others as insincere. What do you think?

Writing your prayers down also has the added benefit of having a record to which you can refer back to when your prayer is answered.

8. Some scholars regard Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians as a written prayer. Can you see why they might think that? Could you give an example of what Paul prayed for for the Ephesians?

Some believers have found great comfort and strength from reciting prayers. Repeating prayers is however seen by some as pointless because God doesn’t forget what we pray so why keep praying the same thing?
9. Read Matthew 26:40-44. What do we learn about praying from the Master of Prayer in this passage?

Some of the prayers of famous past Christians have been recited by other Christians down through the centuries. Do you know of any of these type of prayers?
As a young boy I grew up in a family where at meal time we prayed the same prayer each time:
"Thank You Lord for the world so sweet,
Thank You Lord for the food we eat,
Thank You Lord for the birds that sing,
Thank You Lord for everything."

While there is great benefit to gained from praying prepared prayers, there is the need for each of us to develop spontaneous prayers.
10.  Consider the prayer of Nehemiah 1:4-11. Do you think this prayer was spontaneous? Did Nehemiah intend for this to be a private prayer?

11.  How is this prayer of Nehemiah (1:4-11) different to his prayer in Nehemiah 2:4?
When praying privately you have the wonderful privilege of being able to pray unscripted, spontaneous prayers. You can pray at any time, from your heart, using words that you might not otherwise use in public because they are too personal. Spontaneous prayers don’t have to be long. These spontaneous prayers might be just two words! (Like, “God, help!”)
What Praying Does For God
12. What does 1Peter 3:12 tell us about God’s response to His people praying?

Several times in Scripture God is described as being enveloped in clouds of glory. One contribution of the source of these glory clouds in Revelation 5:8.

13.  Read Revelation 5:8 and discuss what this source of glory is.

14. How does Mark 11:24 encourage us in prayer? (Matt. 21:22) When we pray and God answers, God is glorified! Far from being a selfish thing to present our petitions to God, it is ultimately a God glorifying act to pray. If God chooses to grant our request it also brings glory to Him. Therefore, we should be pray-res who live to give God glory and especially pray that He will be glorified in our lives.

15.  In what way does praying affect our eternal condition
[  ]  By praying for our bills to be paid we are paying our eternal debts to be cleared.
[  ]   If we pray for others to be blessed God will surely bless us for eternity.
[  ]   If we pray for God to change our character and to help us to become like Christ.
[  ]   By praying for souls to saved we will be given bigger mansions in heaven.

16. According to Romans 12:12 how much time should a growing believer be devoting to prayer everyday?

Your homework for our next Bible study meeting is to do the following
1.Pray daily for the needs of those in your Bible Study Group (you’ll need to note what those needs are)
2.Write a “Life Prayer” for yourself that you can share with the group.
3. Find a classic prayer that you can relate to and share it with the group (see if you can also get the story behind the prayer as well) Amen.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Message We Share

Yesterday we learned how Barnabas and Paul left their “comfort zone” and went to Barnabas’ home province to tell people about Jesus. Elymas the sorcerer opposed them, but God struck him with blindness and the proconsul put his faith in Jesus.

In reading the portion of the Bible today, name some people you think would be among the top 10 most famous people in the Philippines. Today we will read about the most famous King of Israel.

In Acts chapter 13, Paul reminded the people of how God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and gave them the Promised Land. Then he narrated about King Saul and King David. How did God feel about Saul turning away from Him and not following His instructions? God was grieved.

Acts 13: 22 told what God did with King Saul. He removed him and replaced him with King David. What does this tell us about how God feels about sin? God hates sin.

How does God describe David, son of Jesse? “A man after my own heart…who will do everything I want him to do”

Our reading says, according to Paul King David was a great man. He was the most famous king of Israel. But Jesus, the Son of God, was much greater still. According to verses 36-37, what is the evidence that Jesus is greater than King David? God raised Him from the dead.

Why is it important to your faith that Jesus has been raised from the dead and is alive today?
Jesus is a living Savior!

According to verse 38 of our day’s reading, what does Jesus do with our sins when we put our faith in Him? He forgives us of all our sins.

According to verse 39, everyone who believes in Jesus is “justified.” This means God looks at us as people who are fully cleansed and acceptable in His sight!

Read verse 36. Like King David, we too should serve the purpose of God in our own generation. What do you think God wants you to do during this generation? Share the good news about Jesus with others.

Pray: Ask God to show us His purpose for us in this generation. How does He want us to get out of our comfort zone to do His will? Pray for opportunities to share the Good News about Jesus, greater than any person who has ever lived - the Resurrected Savior.

Go: Who will you talk with about Jesus this week?

13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.
14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.
15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!
17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country;
18 for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness;
19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance.
20 All this took about 450 years.“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.
21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years.
22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.
24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.
25 As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’
26 “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.
27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.
28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed.
29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb.
30 But God raised him from the dead,
31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.
32 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors
33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:“‘You are my son; today I have become your father.’
34 God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said,“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’
35 So it is also stated elsewhere:“‘You will not let your holy one see decay.’
36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.
37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.
40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
41 “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’”
42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.
43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. - Acts 13:13-43 (NIV)
10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, - 1Samuel 13:10-11 (NIV)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Moving Beyond Our Comfort Zone

Have you ever moved away from your home to study or to work? How did it make you feel? Moving out of our comfort zone could be an adventure for some but for the majority it is difficult and sometimes depressing.

Acts 13: 1-12 said that the Holy Spirit had called Barnabas and Saul (who was also called “Paul”) to be missionaries. They were to leave their church in Antioch and take the “good news” about Jesus to people who did not know Him. According to verse 3, how did the church at Antioch respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit? They obeyed. They sent Barnabas and Saul out.

According to verse 4, the first place Barnabas and Saul went to was Cyprus. Reading from Acts 4:36 we’ll know that this was the home province of Barnabas. Most likely he had relatives and friends living there. But rather than being welcomed, what did they encounter from a sorcerer named Elymas in verse 8? He tried to keep the local leader, the “proconsul” from believing.

Why do you think Elymas opposed Barnabas and Saul? Bible doesn’t say. But it might be fear of losing his influence? Demonic deception? Have you ever-experienced opposition like this before when you tried to share with others about Jesus?

How did Saul (Paul) deal with that situation according to verses 9-11? Paul rebuked Elymas and he became blind for a time!

How did this affect the proconsul according to verse 12? He put his faith in Jesus and was saved!

When people oppose the sharing about Jesus, do you think direct confrontation (like Paul used) is appropriate? Is it better to use a more gentle approach? Depends on the situation. We must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit & obey Him!

How would you feel if God called you to go somewhere where the followers of Jesus are persecuted? Or
Maybe the Holy Spirit isn’t leading you to go overseas, but He is telling you to share with your neighbors & friends. Are we obeying what He has already told us to do? What will you do this week?

Pray: Ask God to speak to us in a way we can clearly understand. And that we will obey what He tells us to do about taking the “good news” to people from other countries. Pray for opportunities to share about Jesus with influential people you know who are like the proconsul or like Elymas the sorcerer.

Go: To whom will you talk with about Jesus tomorrow?

1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.
5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
6 They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus,
7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.
8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.
9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,
10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?
11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord. - Acts 13:1-12 (NIV)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Praying People Out of Prison

Acts 12:1-19 tells the story of some of the apostles and what happened to James (verse 2). What do you think motivated Herod to arrest Peter (verse 3)? Pleasing people and perhaps popularity. Now Peter was in a very bad situation--he was facing execution. BUT according to verse 5, what was the church doing? They were praying earnestly for him!

Do you know of someone who is praying for you? Who is it and how does it make you feel?

Why do you think the disciples were so surprised to find Peter knocking at the door? Was it unbelief? Was it because of weak faith?

Do you believe God can do just as great things today as He did for Peter?

You and I may know a person who is in a real prison today. But all of us know people who are in other kinds of prisons. For example, some people are in the prison of drug or alcohol addiction. Other people are in a prison of emotional pain because of something that happened in their past. Still others are in a prison of physical suffering.

Remember, James 4:2 says: “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Let’s pray in faith today that God will set the prisoners free. Let’s believe that people’s lives will be dramatically changed because we are praying.

Pray: For someone whom you is “in prison.” Pray that God will begin breaking him out of his prison today!

Go: In His teaching about the final Judgment, Jesus said He was pleased with believers who go out of their way to visit people in prison. As we have talked and prayed about setting captives free, has God reminded you of someone you should visit this week? Make time to go to that person. Encourage and pray with him.

1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.
2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.
3 When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.
7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.
9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.
10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.
13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door.
14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
18 In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter.
19 After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.
- Acts 12:1-19 (NIV)

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
- Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Invite People to Church

I wanted to get this posted last night but didn't get around to it. I did manage to remember as was looking and reading over my study for today and realised I forgot to post it.. I will post my commentaries in a bit after supper..
That being said here's today's bible study.


Have you been inviting people to attend church? The word for “church” in the Bible means “the called out ones.” It does not mean a church building. Today we are here gathered in Jesus’ name to worship Him, to encourage one another in the faith, to listen to Him speak to us through His word and to obey what He tells us to do.

One of the early churches the Bible was in the city of Philippi. Let’s look at how that church get started In Acts 16:11-15, 16-24. 25-34. As you read this, look for the main three people whose lives were changed because of the things they heard and believed about Jesus.

The three main characters in this story whose lives were changed were Lydia, the slave girl, and the jailor. A relationship with Jesus Christ dramatically changed the lives of these three people. If you lived in those days, which life story among the three would you most liked to hear? And why?

As you think about this story, some of the things we see in Paul and Silas’s lives are: • Victory over Satan’s power - the evil spirit left the slave girl (v. 16-18) • Rejoicing even in times of trials - even in prison (v. 25) • Being able to tell others about Jesus clearly and simply (v. 30-32)

Which one of these would you like to see more of in your life? Why?

Pray: Think of some people you know that are like Lydia, the slave girl or the jailor that you would like to bring to church. How can you pray for them?

Go: Look for opportunities to reach out to others to share the love of Christ with them. Share with others what God has done in your life.

11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. 16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. 19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. - Acts 16:11-34 (NIV)