Something always happens when we pray.
If we really mean business, then we begin by recognising that prayer says something about God - both His character and His intervention in everyday lives and events. Prayer also changes us when we pray and, if we pray for someone else, we can expect something to happen for them too.
"True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that - it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth." (Charles Spurgeon)
What does that spiritual transaction really look like for us? How can we really engage with God when on the one hand we have a long list of concerns, and on the other, readily pray “thy will be done?”
There’s some very specific advice in our passage today about the way we approach God: it’s a privilege not a right, an opportunity not a burden. If we’re aware that we need God then we will seek out any opportunity to build our relationship with Him: prayer lies at the heart of our faith as it brings us to God and Him to us.
The reality is, my prayers don't change God. But, I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself ( Lysa TerKeurst)
Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire? (Corrie ten Boom)
To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing (Martin Luther)
To think about
- What answers have you recently received to your prayers? Where have these responses from God affected your discipleship?
- How do these definitions (above) help your understanding of prayer?
- What impact does prayer have on your relationship with God and others?
Please read 2 Chronicles 7 verses 11 to 22
It’s a pivotal moment in the history of Israel as the construction of the Temple and the King’s Palace has now been completed. The biggest physical structures in Jerusalem, they serve as visible reminders of the spiritual heart of the nation as well as the political leadership of Israel. Access to an earthly ruler and a heavenly creator is now open to all.
Prayer changes us
- What aspects of Christian Discipleship are reflected in Solomon’s actions (see verse 11)?
- Verse 12 shows us that God responds to our prayer and our faithfulness. How do God’s answers inspire confidence for the church?
- Humility (verse 14) is often perceived as weakness as it can appear to be an attitude that allows others to walk roughshod over us. How would you define humility from a Christian point of view?
- Why is humility a strength for us to grasp if our prayers are to be answered?
- How do we ensure that we are honest in our prayers by describing our circumstances without being presumptuous in our demands for a response?
- How might we incorporate this understanding of prayer into our personal as well as our corporate prayer life?
When God answers prayer it is not a response to our demands – He answers because He wants the best for us. If we are prepared to put ourselves in God’s hands in the way prayer demands, we also need to be ready to receive whatever answer God will bring. There is often – as in this instance in 2 Chronicles 7 – an immediate response, as well as an invitation to develop our relationship with God by committing to holy living and responsible attitudes in the future.
Prayer reveals the heart of God
- What strikes you about God’s response to Solomon?
- How are the God’s promises revealed in the way He answers our prayers?
- The words “call” and “consecration” are used in these verses to describe our unique relationship with God. How would you define these words and what difference do they make to your life?
- How can we make God’s answers to prayer today part of our vision and life in the future?
- for God’s people
- for God’s work
- for God’s precious children – each other