• Matt Beaney

#360 - PRAY FOR PROTECTION (28/5/21)


Today, we finish our brief devotionals is the four major themes of The Lord’s Prayer: Praise, Petitions, Peace-making and Protection.


Protection

A healthy prayer-diet regularly asks for protection against temptation and dark forces.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)
‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him,’ (1 Peter 5:8-9).
'Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said…’ (Matthew 4:1-3)

Think about Judas. He had been here on the mountain as Jesus taught them how to pray. I’m sure that he would have nodded his head in agreement. He may well have been in total agreement against the vain praying of those who pray for a show, babble… However, it’s clear that he was not fully convinced by Jesus about the need to pray, in particular, the need to pray for protection.


Would he have betrayed Jesus if he had been regularly praying these four themes? However, we read that ‘Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus’ (Luke 22:3-4).


The themes of ‘Our Father…Hallowed…Your Kingdom…Your will…My provider…forgive me…Protect me…” Had clearly been replaced with “God doesn’t see…My kingdom…my will…I provide…I’m not accountable…I don’t need protection…”!


RESPONSE

I’m no Judas, we say about ourselves. However, Judas is in all of us. We are all susceptible to the world, the flesh and the devil. You and I need to be faithful in prayer.

In response, I encourage you to carefully consider how and when you pray. Let’s be careful to include the four themes of a healthy prayer diet.

Specifically, notice and ‘take every thought captive’ when lies and accusations fill your mind. Be aware of the devil’s schemes to divide you from God and others. Be quick to defend against the flaming arrows of the evil one.


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - THIS THEN IS HOW YOU SHOULD PRAY

Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

Do you have any encouraging stories of answered prayer that you'd like to share?


Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we continue to learn from Jesus about prayer from The Lord’s Prayer.


Please read Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1.


Let’s briefly look at The Lord’s prayer together. We're going to break this prayer into 4 themes. I don’t believe that Jesus is teaching us to repeat this prayer as a kind of mantra. Rather, He is teaching us the themes that should regularly feature in a healthy and well-rounded prayer-life. They are like the ingredients to a healthy diet.


1. PRAISE - WORSHIP

“…Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”

Prayer begins with looking up and recalling who God is. He’s our Father. He loves us. He’s with us. He’s for us. He ‘in heaven’. This speaks of His almighty power. He’s imminent and transcendent. He’s Abba Father and Holy, Holy, Holy.


2. PETITION

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread…”

Prayer also includes asking for things. Please prayers. Jesus teaches us to begin this section by praying ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done’. Not my kingdom and my will! We are to find out what God wants from His word and pray for that.

After praying for God’s Kingdom and will to be done, we turn to our needs. We are to pray for our ‘daily bread’, pray for the things that we need. Pray for other people’s needs.


3. PEACE - MAKING (RECEIVING AND GIVING FORGIVENESS)

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…”

Penitence is a vital part of prayer as is forgiving others. I think that this is often overlooked in corporate and personal prayer. Many people change their friends and change their church because of unmet expectations. It’s easy to walk away, it’s Christ-like to forgive and love.


4. PROTECTION

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

We are to regularly pray for protection and pray for others to be protected from dark forces. Too many are unaware of his schemes. Too many of us don’t realise that we are in a war zone. We are not in peacetime.

Peter tells us that we are to be,

‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him,’ (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Discussion questions

1. What did God speak to you about from Sunday's message?

2. Why is it important to begin prayer with praise and how do you do this?

3. Which of the four themes of prayer - praise, petition, peace-making and protection do you most overlook and why?

4. Our aim as a Community Group is for each of us to be growing in prayer. What steps does the Father want you to take in order to grow in prayer?


Serving, Investing and inviting

1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting that you'd like to share?

2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?

2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?




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