Prayer and Fasting Bible Study

Willem Nieuwboer • 13 January 2018
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Prayer

Read Mark 1:35-37

  • What can we learn from Jesus, who had a super busy schedule and many people who placed demands on/expected something from him?
  • How important was prayer to Jesus?
  • What situations in our lives would make it hard to make prayer a priority ?
  • What ideas do you have to help you spend time in prayer? What would help?


Read Psalm 63:1-8
David had a very intimate and passionate relationship with God.

  • What was the deepest passion of David ?
  • How did David express himself ?
  • What did David do at night?
  • What things do you think about when you can not sleep?

Read Luke 11:1-13 and Matthew 6:5-14

What encouragement do we get from Jesus if we are not so good any praying ?

  • What helpful ideas could you get from these passages about how to kickstart your prayer life when it is not super exciting or strong ?
  • What can you learn here about how far we can go in what we ask or tell God?
  • What do we learn about God's willingness or desire to help us when we pray?

Obstacles to Powerful Prayers

1. Psalm 66:16-20 

  • What causes God not to listen to or answer my prayers?

2. Proverbs 21:13 

  • What happens to our prayers when we do not care for others who are less fortunate then us?

3. Proverbs 28:9 

  • What is God's reaction when we do not listen to/obey His word, but we are praying anyway?

4. Luke 18:1-8 

  • What is a posable outcome of our prayers when we give up praying about something?

5. James 1:6-8 

  • What happens with our prayers when we doubt ?

6. 1 Peter 3:7 

  • How does being a bad husband / treating our wives badly affect our prayers ?

7. 1 Peter 4:7 

  • What effect does a lack of focus and concentration have on our prayers ?

8. 1 John 5:14-15 

  • How does knowing God's will help us in getting our prayers answered ?
  • Can you think of examples where someone made sure of God's wil before they prayed and their prayers were answered? {There are 667 specific prayers in the bible with 454 traceable answers}

Some examples where prayers did not get answered, because it was not God's will/plan:

  • 2 Samuel 12:15-23 - David begs God for his son's life but God refuses his request. 
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - Paul's request was turned down by God. 
  • Mark 14:32-42 - Jesus was unable to change God's mind on the crucifixion issue ! 

 

Fasting

Matthew 6:16-18 

  • What should we as Christians avoid when we fast?

Joel 2:12-14 

  • What situation in our walk with God may require fasting to help us?

Isaiah 58:1-14 

  • What do we learn here about fasting that shows us that it is more about the heart than the action of abstaining from eating ?
  • What will you do different the next time you fast ?

James 5:16

  • What type of lifestyle makes us (more) effective and powerful when we are praying / fasting?

CONCLUSION: 

Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
Pray in the spirit on ALL OCCASIONS with all kinds of prayers and requests.

The ultimate goal of our prayer time is to constantly be in dialog with God.  I don't know about you, but I find myself talking to "myself" a lot.  In my mind I talk about how I think and feel about what is going on around me, but I catch myself often forgetting to let God in on the conversation, just like I have trouble sometimes bringing my wife in on talks.

I try to do it all by myself instead of opening up and seeing what God thinks about it. "God, I feel like retaliating right now, this person is so ungrateful, blind and selfish.  I want to walk away from them and let them figure it out all by themselves." And then God talks back: "hmmm... yes, I understand. Boy, this is a tough one.  Very discouraging. Perhaps it is not worth it. But wait, no - they are worth it. YOU were worth it. Remember what Jesus, my son did.  And don't forget about Paul and all those other brothers and sisters who were willing to sacrifice because of His love"

That short talk took place in between a breakfast sandwich and 3 sips of coffee. It was a powerful and effective prayer.  It helped me continue to serve and love.