listening, part 2

16 Jul

Listening part 2: John 17 is Jesus’ prayer for His Disciples (that’s us) This prayer is about ‘listening.’

EQ: How does the Father listen to us when we pray?
The same way He listens to His son; He loves to hear our voice.
He listens to us as a Father listens to a child. He knows our voice; our cries; our words. Our prayers. He hears.

The Message states John 17: 9-10 as, ‘For they are yours by right. Everything mine is yours, and yours mine.’ If we are ‘by right’ His, how will our prayers sound to Him?

Exercise: Compose a one sentence immediate, right now, response:

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Let’s look at another prayer. This time Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. . (In John 17 the disciples saw Jesus Himself praying.) The ‘Our Father’ (Matthew 6) is so well known that to hear it fresh ears and eyes let us listen to The Message version:

‘Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
14-15 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.16-18 “When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.’

Matthew 6:9 begins with this phrase, ‘Our Father…’
He is ‘Our Father…’ Now ask yourself,

Step 1. What does this phrase, ‘Our Father’ tells us about God?

Small group activity (or by yourself):

1. Within your group discuss how a distracted parent may listen to their child. List some qualities from your discussion. (5 minutes) Quick report and recording to whole group.

2. Now, how would the best and most loving and most attentive parent listen to their child? List qualities; share in whole group (Share and discussion 10 minutes)

We read John 17 out loud as a group. (NIV translation) Our purpose, to listen. To listen for the voice of our loving Father.

Move to an individual reflection: Reread the John 17 NIV hand-out. We will spend 20-25 minutes following steps 1-3 below:

A Simple Way to Pray
(Adapted notes from Tim Keller’s teaching from Martin Luther’s way of meditation: Letter to his barber)

Pray that the Lord would speak to you through His word. Start with scriptures you have chosen to study; read. Continue till some passage strikes home to you. Trust the Spirit to lead here. Now:
1. What does this scripture tell you about who god is? (How he thinks and feels?)
2. What does this scripture tell you about you?
3. Garland of Praise. On the basis of this scripture, what can you thank God for?
And a new step, a last question:

4. Confession: On the basis of this scripture, what can you confess to God?
This last question should not be answered to the end of your day. TK calls it casting a vision. If you really believed this scripture is true, how would the scripture change your life? Pray for change, the next step.

Pray for change, the next step. We will do this at the end of our day. Wait; listen; wait.

Prayer/reflection:

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2 Responses to “listening, part 2”

  1. Brendan Joyce July 17, 2014 at 2:59 am #

    These are great, please keep them coming.

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