Purposeful Prayer

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Episode Synopsis

Jani shares how to lead your discipleship group into regular individual prayer times. Listen for ways to develop a prayer notebook.

Audio Transcript

Jani: Hello, everyone. Welcome to our series on discipleship. I’m so glad to hear from many of you who have been listening and working on this together. It’s exciting to see what the Lord is doing among us. This is our lesson on prayer. We’re going to have two lessons on prayer. So leaders, you be strong and lead your group well. Feel free to stop the podcast at any time for discussion or questions and let’s ask the Lord to disciple us in prayer. Make sure leaders that you have any aids, any prayer aids you use yourself, a notebook, any books that you found helpful, make sure to gather those before you begin.

Sing Your Song

Jani: Now in my discipleship group, we’re learning a little chorus called Jesus Christ Is Made To Me. And we begin each of our meetings by singing it together. I’m not gonna sing it on the podcast, obviously, but you might have another chorus that you would lead your group in. So just turn off the podcast for a minute and begin by singing your chorus together.

Setting The Stage For Today

Jani: Now turn to 1 Corinthians 1:30. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says,

“And because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who becomes to us wisdom from God.”

1 Corinthians 1:30

Jani: Begin your meeting by discussing how Jesus became to us wisdom from God. Notice that phrase in this verse of 1 Corinthians 1:30. Notice that phrase “in Christ Jesus”. This means we have union with Christ. Paul defines a relationship to Christ as being “in Christ”. This phrase can be difficult for us to understand what does it mean to be “in Christ” to be “in someone”?

Jani: As Americans, we would never say we are “in George Washington”, even if he is the father of our country. Well, Dr. Wayne Grudem helps us understand what “union with Christ” means. What it means to be “in Christ”. This is from his systematic theology. Dr. Grudem says this,

“We may define union with Christ as follows: union with Christ is a phrase used to summarize several different relationships between believers and Christ, through which Christians receive every benefit of salvation. These relationships include the fact that we are in Christ, Christ is in us, we are like Christ, and we are with Christ.”

Dr. Wayne Grudem

Jani: That’s the end of the quote. Whoa, that’s wonderful, isn’t it? Let’s look at this verse in its context as we read aloud 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 and then 1 Corinthians 2:12-16. Now as you read this together, try to notice how many times the word wisdom is mentioned. So group leader, turn off your recording, your podcast, and have each group member read a verse from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. And then 1 Corinthians 2:12-16. Go ahead and do it right now.

Jani: Whoa, that turns the world upside down, doesn’t it? The cross was abhorrent to the Roman world. Yet God chose that to save us. His ways are so different from ours. This is called the doctrine of divine humility. In the cross, Jesus became to us wisdom from God, imagine that, through the cross.

Jani: Now, leaders elicit discussion from your group members on verses they found relating to Jesus Christ being our wisdom from God. As you do that you might like to bring in some of the following verses. Proverbs 19:10 says,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Proverbs 19:10

Jani: Proverbs 2:6 says,

“For the Lord gives wisdom. From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Proverbs 2:6

Jani: Or Luke 2:40 and then verse 52,

“And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And Jesus increased in wisdom.”

Luke 2:40, 52

Jani: Isn’t that interesting? As a human, Jesus knew what it was like to grow in wisdom, just as we are. That’s amazing. Or Colossians 2:2-3,

“To reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Colossians 2:2-3

Jani: Don’t you love that? There’s so many treasures of wisdom in Jesus Christ, they’re hidden in Him, we get to seek them out. Now listen and discuss some of the verses that members in your group have found this past week.

Jani: If you want to talk about what wisdom looks like in the life of a believer, you can turn to James 3 and discuss verses 13-18. That’s James 3:13-18. Then, sing your chorus again. Jesus Christ is made to us wisdom from God. Oh, what a wonder how we thank and praise Jesus for becoming God’s wisdom for us.

Share About Your Quiet Times

Jani: Next leader, I would encourage you to choose two names and ask those two members to share from their quiet times this week. How would they answer the question: who are you God? or What shall I do, Lord? Go ahead and do that now.

Share Two Biography Baskets

Jani: Next, I want you to take some time to share two more biography baskets. If you have that many members in your group if not share how ever many you have. If you just have one left, that’s fine or go on to our next section, which is teaching. But remember, if someone does share, to set a timer for 15 minutes, and then allow five minutes at the end for questions, encouragement, and prayer over each other. I hope that these biography baskets are proving helpful.

Our Teaching Time For Today

Jani: Now let’s go to our teaching time. Today we’re going to teach on prayer. Lead your group, in a discussion on their prayer habits, ask questions like this. When do you pray? How often? How do you pray? What aids, if any, do you use? Go ahead and take some time to answer those questions among yourself right now.

Jani: Well, welcome back. Let’s go to our teaching part of our discipleship group. Now, I’d like to teach on prayer. Mary Kassian is one of my living heroes. She says this,

“I believe that the state of a person’s prayer life is an indicator of the condition of that person’s heart.”

Mary Kassian

Prayer CPR

Jani: If our prayer life is weak or faltering, Mary wisely suggests that we administer some prayer CPR. I like that, it’s helpful. Here are three simple steps Mary gives us to help strengthen our prayer heartbeat by applying prayer CPR, which stands for: commit, plan, and rely. Commit, plan, and rely.

C: Commit

Jani: Let’s talk about applying prayer CPR to our lives. What about that first one, C, commit. You see, prayer involves a decision. You must use your mind and soul. I tried to pray. For a long time I tried to establish a regular prayer life, I wanted to be a strong prayer warrior. But when I was honest, I had to admit that I wasn’t. I really was a prayer weakling. I tried for years to just pray after my Bible reading. But I realized a few years ago, that I had to make a commitment, a measurable goal to reach for.

Jani: So when I was in my early 60s, oh, please don’t wait that long, dear listener, oh, my goodness, don’t wait until you’re in your 60s to do this. At least I did it before I died. I’ll admit that. I realized I had to make a commitment, a measurable goal to reach for. So I decided to commit to pray for five minutes a day. Oh, that’s so wimpy. Some of you have already heard me talk about this and so you’ve already forgiven me after rolling your eyes a bit. But if this is the first time you’ve heard it, I’m sorry for being such a wimp. To me, I had to make it measurable. I had to set a goal that I could reach.

Jani: So I committed to the Lord that I would pray five minutes each day after my quiet time in the morning, six days a week. Each year, I add one more minute. I know that’s not very much. This year, I’m praying 13 minutes a day, That sure is a lot more than what I was praying before I made a commitment before I started praying at five. I figure when I’m 88 years old, hopefully, I will be engaged in 30 minutes of meaningful prayer each day. Now that might not seem like much to some of you prayer warriors but it’s so much more than I was doing before I made a prayer commitment.

Jani: So I want you as a group to discuss this together. What prayer commitments can you make this year? Why don’t you each think about making a prayer commitment of your own? Colossians 4:2 puts it this way,

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”

Colossians 4:2

Jani: So the first step in our across the is C, commit.

P: Plan

Jani: The next letter is P in our CPR for prayer. P stands for plan. To develop a vibrant prayer life, you need a plan. When will you pray? Where will you pray? What will you use to help you pray? Oh, there are so many wonderful resources available to us. Leader if you’ve had a chance to gather some, just stop the podcast now and share those with your group.

Jani: Some of the resources I found helpful in my own prayer life are these. The Valley of Vision which is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions published by the Banner of Truth. Oh, it’s wonderful. I love Paul Miller’s book called A Praying Life. Another favorite of mine is Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word. Oh, it’s wonderful. I encourage you to buy that and use it in your own prayer life.

Jani: Now, another plan that I’ve used over the years is a prayer notebook. I found it to be extremely helpful. Let me describe it to you. Some of you have heard me describe it before, but I don’t think it will hurt to listen again and you can talk about it in your own group and add your own efforts at establishing your own prayer notebook. I buy several dividers and divide my notebook into multiple tabs. One tab is for daily prayers and then I have one tab for each day of the week, Sunday all the way down to Saturday.

Jani: Now, behind my daily tab, this is what I include. I have prayer pages for the members of my immediate family, along with pages for my personal requests. I usually put my personal requests first and write out my prayers to the Lord there. And then I have a prayer page for the members of my immediate family. If you’re married, you’d have your husband, if you have children, you’d have children, one for each child, you probably would have some for your parents, your sisters, your brothers, your nieces, your nephews, you choose. Begin each page with the name of the person for whom you’re praying.

Jani: Next, write a few short bullet point prayers you have for that person, or other prayer requests that that person has shared with you. Make this section personal and meaningful. include the date of a request. Add scripture you are praying over this person. Tape a picture of the person you’re praying for on that prayer page. I love Christmas cards, because often they include a picture. And so I’ll save those cards, and tape the picture of the person I’m praying for on that page. What about children if you have any or grand children, I not only include their picture there, but I show my grandchildren their prayer page, their individual prayer page, and I often have them sign their name and date it under the requests I’m praying.

Jani: Each day after you record your own requests and spend time alone with the Lord in prayer about your own heart, then read through your daily requests and call them out to the Lord. When you see a specific prayer answered, jot down the date next to it. Oh, may your faith increase and abound as you see how the Lord answers your prayers, day after day, week after week, year after year.

Jani: Now, not only do I have daily requests, but as I mentioned, I have weekly requests. I use the days of the week to help me consistently pray for certain groups of people or causes. It helps me to ask questions like, “Lord, what groups of people have you placed in my life? What areas of ministry have you given me a passion for? Who have you placed under my care?” And I break down each of my days into the following categories. I’ll list mine, then your leader can share hers or you can discuss how to be creative with these.

Jani: Sunday is my small group at at church and miscellaneous requests that don’t fit into other categories during the week. Monday is our extended family. Tuesday is my current discipleship group and past disciples with specific requests. Wednesday includes young friends or children with special needs and our Compassion kids whom we support and pray for. Thursday is a ministry day for me, pastor wives, ministry wives, missionaries that I pray for. Friday are friends that aren’t found in these other categories. And Saturday, I pray for my unsaved friends and workers whom I know.

Jani: Other possible list ideas include projects you’re working on at work or co workers, acquaintances, other countries you might have a heart for, maybe adoption, unsaved people groups, or even a random ongoing prayer list where you add the unexpected requests that pop up over the year. You see, the idea is not to be legalistic. The idea is to give you a tool where you can list prayer requests, date them, see when they’re answered, and then move on to more.

Jani: At the start of each new calendar year, I take out the completed prayer pages from my prayer notebook and I store them for possible future reference. That works better for me than having a prayer journal because we’ve moved so often and I I find that prayer pages are thinner and they store more easily and move with me more easily. You may find another method more suited to your devotional life. That’s okay. Share it with me. Find your own way. But do it. Oh, do it.

R: Rely

Jani: And then CP, you’ve committed, you’ve got your plan, R, rely on God’s word, God’s Spirit, and God’s promises. God’s words abiding in us will prove effective in our prayer lives. Listen to John 15:7,

“If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

John 15:7

Jani: Oh my goodness. That’s an amazing promise. Rely on his word, spend time in it and let it revive your prayer life. Again there, Beth Moore’s book will help you because she uses scripture for every one of her prayers there. God’s Spirit also will help us pray, even when we feel weak, and tongue tied, and almost dead spiritually. Listen to Romans 8:26,

“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness…” Isn’t that wonderful? The Lord recognizes that we’re weak.

“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know what to pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Romans 8:26

Jani: Don’t you love it? And God has promised to hear us when we pray, listen to his promise in 1 John 5:14-15,

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything, according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the request that we have asked of him.”

1 John 5:14-15

Jani: God has promised to hear us when we pray, rely on his promises. use them in your prayers. Hold him fast to his promises, He is faithful to fulfill them. So learn to rely on God’s Word, on God’s Spirit, and on God’s promises. CPR. Commit, plan, rely to reboot your prayer life.

Accountability

Jani: Now, leader I want you to share in your group regarding accountability, take 10 minutes or 15 minutes, however long you need, turn off the podcast and take 10 or 15 minutes to share insights from your reading of whatever book you’ve chosen. In my group, we’re reading Brother Lawrence, but whatever book you’ve chosen, take a few minutes and share from it, and then turn the podcast back on.

Next Week’s Assignment & Sharing Time

Jani: Now to end your group together. We have two things, first of all, your assignment for next week. And then finally sharing and prayer. Here’s your assignment.

Jani: I want you to have four quiet times this week. And write out two of them using our questions from Acts 22:8-10 for quiet times, but write out two and who knows if you’ll be asked to share next week.

Jani: Secondly, I want you to write out one prayer this week. Perhaps you can make it a new commitment to God in the area of your prayer life. Or just write out what is on your heart, your burdens, your joys, your blessings, your needs.

Jani: And then three, leader you’re going to have to give your group a reading assignment however many more chapters you want your group to read for next week.

Jani: Finally, I want you to close your group with sharing and prayer. End the group by sharing your prayer requests with one another and lifting up each other’s needs to the Father. God bless you and may He restore your souls as you spend time together in discipleship.

Thank You

Thank you for joining us today. This podcast is generously funded through Renewal Ministries. If you would like to discover more about Jani and Ray’s ministry or make a donation, visit their website at renewalministries.com. If you have a question for Jani or would like to learn more about this podcast, please visit our website at herestoresmysoul.org.

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He Restores My Soul with Jani Ortlund seeks to encourage women with God’s renewing power for their busy lives. Episodes include relevant biblical teaching, stimulating gospel conversations with other Christians, and “Ask Jani” sessions where we talk about what’s on our listeners’ hearts.

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