Lesson 1: The Necessity of Prayer
Note: This is a Sunday School lesson by Scott Carr, Jr. based on the first chapter in Dr. Tim Keller’s book Prayer.
Discussion: 1) What is your prayer life currently like? (How do you practice prayer? What do you get out of it?)
2) What is your perception of prayer?
3) What struggles do you have in your prayer life?
Modern Views on Prayer:
A means to experience God’s love and know oneness with Him (most common view).
Calling on God to bring in His Kingdom.
Question: Which view do you seem to hold while praying?
The Psalms reflect both:
Psalm 27, 36, 84, 131, 146-150.
Psalm 10, 13, 39, 42-43, 88 (more common in the psalter).
Theology of Prayer:
Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:25; Romans 8:9-11, 26-27; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 teach both views (see p. 4).
The great theologians also talked about both.
Conclusion: We should not separate these two views. Prayer is both practice and experience.
First, it is necessary.
We won’t make it without it. It is a nonnegotiable way of getting through this life.
Benefits of Prayer:
Brings about great change in us.
How to Pray:
This is a question being asked throughout our society.
Question: What answers do we see being given?
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirt that we are children of God.”
Work of the Spirit:
The Spirit enables us to come to God as Father.
He comes and adds a more direct testimony.
This is a description of experiencing the doctrine we confess in prayer, both corporately and privately, an “intelligent mysticism”. It involves both the heart and the mind. It is an emotion and conviction. It is an experience of our theology.
1 Peter 1:8
“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”
Peter is describing the experience of ordinary Christians.
How to Begin Learning to Pray:
Go through the Psalms and summarize each one.
Meditate in between Bible reading and prayer.
Pray in the morning and evening.
Pray with greater expectation.
1) Begin summarizing the Psalms.
2) Read Prayer ch. 2 for the second reason to pray.