Teach Us to Pray

Most people pray. People from almost all cultures and all religions pray. Prayer is all over the Scriptures. But, prayer can be intimidating. Our minds get flooded with questions. Can I pray? Am I doing it right? What should I expect? Does prayer change anything? In this series we will explore these questions and many more as we, like his first disciples, ask Jesus to Teach Us to Pray. And as Jesus teaches us to pray we will grow in awe, intimacy, and strength in our relationship with God.

See below for audio from each sermon in the series, as well as a corresponding sermon study. Here are some helpful Facilitator Tips for those leading the sermon study in a community group. 

04.12.20 | Prayer as Power

by Pastor Gabe Kasper

Text | John 20:1-18

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there,and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

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Teach Us to Pray: Prayer as Power
Pastor Gabe Kasper
April 12, 2020

Prayer: Pause for a few moments to go to the Lord in prayer. Ask that He would draw near to you in this time, and open your heart and mind to hear His Word.
Icebreaker: How did you celebrate Easter this year?
ReadingJohn 20:1-18

I. Frailty (v1-4)
     a. In the face of our own frailty, we have a tendency to reach up to God for help.
     b. When everything that usually distracts or gives us security is stripped away, we’re left to face the evil in our hearts and death.
Q: What was the initial assumption of Mary when she saw Jesus’ body was gone?

II. Investigation (v5-15)
     a. Some of us respond to Jesus with the simple faith of John, or the curiosity of Peter.
     b. In Jesus, we can view our present reality outside the lens of common experience.
Q: Why did John wait outside for Peter to arrive and enter the tomb?

III. Transformation (v16-17)
    a. When we press in, the resurrected Jesus calls our name and transforms us.
    b. Easter transforms our past, struggles, sins, doubts, fears, and ultimately death.
Q: Why didn’t Mary recognize Jesus until he spoke to her?

Reflection/Application Questions:

1) What has been most difficult in this time of isolation? What have you been forced to confront?

2) Who do you identify most with in this story: John, Peter or Mary?

3) What does it mean to “look through the lens of common experience”? Do you do it?

4) Have you heard the resurrected Jesus call your name?

5) What can you celebrate knowing Easter has ruined?

Suggestions for further study:

  • Luke 24:1-12
    • Q: Do we ever seek the living among the dead?
  • Acts 3:1-16
    • Q: See what power the name of the resurrected Jesus has! What are you praying for in his name this Easter season?
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-28
    • Q: What does it mean that Jesus is “the first-fruits” (v23)?

Closing Prayer: ​Lord Jesus, we thank you that you are our resurrected Lord. That when the darkness, brokenness, pain, and suffering of this world did its worst to you it did not get the final say, but you won. You rose victorious. God, you call each of us by name. We pray for those who respond like Peter, with questions and concerns. We pray that they would hear you call their name, that they would respond to you in faith, and that you would transform their lives. We thank you for the hope of Easter. Jesus, we thank you that because you didn’t stay dead it means we won’t either. It means that one day you will heal, restore and renew all things. Oh Lord, point our eyes towards that. Keep our eyes focused on you and the hope we have in you now and always. In your holy name we pray, Amen.

04.10.20 | Good Friday

by Pastor Marcus Lane

Text | John 18-19

18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.”This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

04.05.20 | Prayer as Praise

by Pastor Marcus Lane

Text | Luke 19:28-40

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’”32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.”35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

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Teach Us to Pray: Prayer as Praise
Pastor Marcus Lane
April 5, 2020

Prayer: Pause for a few moments to go to the Lord in prayer. Ask that He would draw near to you in this time, and open your heart and mind to hear His Word.
Icebreaker: What have you tried recently that you told all your friends about? It could be a product, recipe, TV show, book, etc.
ReadingLuke 19:28-40

I. We praise God through our obedience (v28-35).
     a. Prayer is active expression of our trust in God before we see the results.
     b. Hopeful obedience flows from remembering God’s faithfulness in the past and trusting that he will be faithful in the present.
Q: Are we called to just blindly obey God?

II. Praise is our destiny (v36-40)
a. The very thing we are designed to do is praise God. It is the future He has in store for us.
b.We all end up praising something; it is inevitable.
Q: What did the Jews expect of a Messiah? Did Jesus fit that description?

III. Praise demands repentance (v45-46)
a. Jesus doesn’t leave us alone; he disrupts the sickness in us and takes it on himself.
b. On the cross, Jesus cleanses the temples of or bodies and sets us free to be houses of prayer and praise.
          Q: Why does Jesus cleanse the temple?

Reflection/Application Questions:

1) When have you seen God’s faithfulness in your life?

2) What is God asking of you that you don’t yet understand?

3) What things do you find yourself praising instead of God?

4) Have you ever wanted God to just “leave you alone”?

5) What brokenness do you need Jesus to cleanse?

Suggestions for further study:

  • Deuteronomy 8:1-10
    • Q: Where does Moses say obedience flows from?
  • Philippians 2:1-11
    • Q: Why has the Father exalted Jesus for such high praise?
  • Hebrews 9:11-14
    • Q: What parallels do you see between this passage and the account of Jesus cleansing the temple (Luke 19:45-48)?

Closing Prayer: ​ Gracious God, we thank you for how good you are. Lord, you have shown us that goodness by sending your son Jesus to be our perfect king: a king who rides into Jerusalem humbly yet triumphantly on the back of a donkey, who turns over tables, who identifies our brokenness but ultimately takes it on himself so that we would be set free. God, we ask that you would form and shape in us hearts of worship and praise so that we would kneel before you in prayer, trust and follow you in the face of all circumstances, and see that just as you have been good to us in Jesus, you have good things in store for us. Father, we pray this all in the name of our King. Amen.

03.29.20 | Prayer as Struggle

by Pastor Gabe Kasper

Text | Matthew 26:36-46

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on.[b] See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

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Teach Us to Pray: Prayer as Struggle
Pastor Gabe Kasper
March 29, 2020

Prayer: Pause for a few moments to go to the Lord in prayer. Ask that He would draw near to you in this time, and open your heart and mind to hear His Word.
Icebreaker: What’s a subject or skill you had to wrestle with to learn? Discuss!
Reading: Matthew 26:36-46

Outline: We struggle when we…
I. Come honest in request (v36-39)
     a. In his sorrow, Jesus provides an example of raw, honest prayer that we should follow.
     b. It is biblical and effective to come to God with gut-wrenchingly honest prayers.
          Q: What is Jesus’ first move when facing a difficult and scary situation?

II. Come clear in relationship (v39)
     a. We are to pray with humility knowing that He is God and we are not.
     b. At the same time, we can pray boldly because of our relationship with our Father.
          Q: What does Jesus request in his prayer? How does he respond to the answer?

III. End in relinquishment (v42)
     a. We may discover in prayer that God’s will for us is not what we want or what’s comfortable for us.
     b. We should surrender to the will of God in our prayers, as Jesus surrendered and accepted his crucifixion as the sacrifice for our salvation.
          Q: Where else does Jesus instruct us to pray “Your will be done”?

Reflection/Application Questions:

1) How is your prayer life going?
2) Do you find yourself holding the “ugly parts” back when you pray?
3) How do you remember that God is God when he answers your prayers with a “no”?
4) What does it mean to surrender?
5) What is most difficult for you to let go of? What might happen if you surrender control of it to God?

Suggestions for further study:

  • Psalm 79
    • Q: What imagery does the psalmist use to describe God’s love?
  • Luke 22:39-46
    • Q: In Luke’s depiction, how does God respond to Jesus’ prayer?
  • Hebrews 5:7-9
    • Q: What resulted from the Father’s “no” to Jesus’ prayer?

Closing Prayer: ​Lord God, we thank you for the gift of prayer. We thank you that you let us come to you in any and all circumstance, and yet, it is a struggle to use this gift sometimes. God, we pray that you would teach us to come honestly to you and not hold things back, to be real with what’s troubling us and know that there’s nothing we need to hide because you are our Father who loves us. From that place, teach us to submit to your will. Teach us to surrender what you would have us surrender. We pray that you would teach us to relinquish the things on our hearts, trust in your will, and follow after you so that we can live more fully. We thank you that Jesus submitted to your will, and that it led him to the cross for our salvation. We praise you for that gift today and always. It’s in his name we pray, Amen.

03.22.20 | Prayer as Encounter

by Pastor Gabe Kasper

Text | Ephesians 3:14-19

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

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Teach Us to Pray: Prayer as Encounter 
Pastor Gabe Kasper
March 22, 2020

Prayer: Pause for a few moments to go to the Lord in prayer. Ask that He would draw near to you in this time, and open your heart and mind to hear His Word.
Icebreaker: What’s a subject or skill you had to wrestle with to learn? Discuss!
Reading: Ephesians 3:14-19

I. We encounter God in prayer as we are strengthened by His Spirit (v14-16).

a. We’re invited to not just know God’s Spirit is at work in us, but to experience it.
b. The truth of the gospel is not meant to just reside in our heads, but to be experienced in our inner being.

Q: What does being “strengthened with power” look like?

II. We encounter God in prayer as we grasp the love of Christ (v17-19a).

a. We’re invited to grab, wrestle with, pin down, and seize hold of Christ’s love for us.
b. Meditation and pondering the love of Christ through prayer allows us to encounter Him.

               Q: What does it mean to be “rooted and grounded in love?”

III. We encounter God in prayer as we are filled with His fullness (v19b).

a. In a time of isolation, we can still be filled with God’s Spirit and all the goodness He brings.
b. God longs to meet with us, so much that he sent His Son that one day we might experience his fullness in eternity one day.

Reflection/Application Questions:

1)  Have you had a spiritual encounter with God, in prayer or otherwise?
2)  Is Jesus’ love for you something you’ve ever wrestled with? What did it look like?
3)  Do you take time to meditate on and ponder God’s love for you in your prayers?
4)  Which dimension (breadth, length, depth, height) of God’s love resonates most with you?
5)  How are you encountering God in a time of social isolation?

Suggestions for further study:

  • Psalm 103:1-14
    • Q: What imagery does the psalmist use to describe God’s love?
  • John 10:22-42
    • Q: What does Jesus promise for those who hear his voice?
  • 1 John 3:1-3
    • Q: What relationship does the writer use to illustrate God’s love?

Closing Prayer: ​Lord God, we thank you that in the midst of a time in which we can’t encounter each other as fully as we’d like, we can still encounter you. We thank you that you meet us, that you sent your Spirit into our lives to strengthen us, in order that we can grasp the love you have for us in Christ. We pray that all who hear this message would encounter you. We pray that they’d seek to encounter you, the One who sent Jesus for them, who gave up everything for them, and who longs to meet with them, in prayer. Lord, teach us to encounter you in prayer. We pray this in your Holy Name. Amen.

03.15.20 | How to Pray

by Pastor Marcus Lane

Text | Matthew 6:5-13

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

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Teach Us to Pray: How to Pray
Pastor Marcus Lane
March 15, 2020

Prayer: Pause for a few moments to go to the Lord in prayer. Ask that He would draw near to you in this time, and open your heart and mind to hear His Word.
Icebreaker: When was the first time you heard the Lord’s Prayer?
Reading: Matthew 6:5-13

I. Our Posture (v5-8)

a.The common theme between both negative examples of prayer in the text is pride.
b. We have nothing to offer God, but grace invites a posture of humility for prayer.

Q: What was wrong with the way the Pharisees and Gentiles were praying?

II. Our Content (v9-13).

a. Jesus’ teaching on prayer says that the central way we address God is as a father.
b. We are to pray to God as a child makes requests of their father, appealing to Him according to the promises He has made.

               Q: What does Jesus’ teaching to pray to a “Father” reveal about  the relationship God desires with us?

III. Our Lives (v14-15)

a. Jesus invites us to extend the same forgiveness we ask for to others.
b. We learn to forgive when we encounter the immense depth of God’s grace toward us.

Q: Why does Jesus insist on us forgiving those who have wronged us?

Reflection/Application Questions:

  1. Have you ever felt you weren’t “good enough” at prayer or didn’t know how to do it “right”?

  2. Which petition of the Lord’s Prayer resonates the most with you when you pray it?

  3. What promises do you ask God to be faithful to?

  4. Do you struggle to forgive others? What makes it so difficult?

  5. Where have you encountered the depth of God’s grace toward you?

Suggestions for further study:

  • Deuteronomy 7:1-11
    • Q: How is God’s faithfulness on display in this passage?
  • Psalm 103:1-14
    • Q:What words of this passage could be used in prayer, appealing to God’s nature and promises?
  • Matthew 18:21-35
    • Q: Have you ever acted like the unforgiving servant?

Closing Prayer:  ​Gracious God, we come to you solely because of your mercy. We come to yourecognizing there’s nothing we can ever offer you to have you hear our words. So Lord, we humbly ask to have you hear our prayers; that for the sake of your son Jesus you would hear us, that we would learn from you and from your Word how to pray rightly. Lord, as we pray and call upon you as our kind and merciful Father, work in us by the power of your Spirit to show mercy, extend forgiveness, give and be generous as you have. Lord, make us into a people that reflect to the world the kind of God you are in both our prayers and in our lives. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

03.08.20 | What to Pray

by Pastor Gabe Kasper

Text | James 5:13-18

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

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Teach Us to Pray: What to Pray
Pastor Gabe Kasper
March 8, 2020

Prayer: Pause for a few moments to go to the Lord in prayer. Ask that He would draw near to you in this time, and open your heart and mind to hear His Word.
Icebreaker: What’s the craziest thing you’ve asked God for?
Reading: James 5:13-18

I. Pray about everything going on in your life (v13).I. Pray about everything going on in your life (v13).

a. We’re called to turn all things, whether good or bad, into prayer to God.a. We’re called to turn all things, whether good or bad, into prayer to God.
b. Prayer continually sets your mind on the reality that Christ is the fundamental operating principle of your life.

Q: Is your first move in challenging situations to pray? What about celebrations?

II. Pray with and for others (v14-16).

a. As Christians, we’re meant to walk in prayer together.a. As Christians, we’re meant to walk in prayer together.
b. There’s power in praying for others, whether physical ailments or their spiritual walk.

Q: Do you have people in your life you pray with?

III. Pray for the world (v17-18).III. Pray for the world (v17-18).

a. God moves powerfully in the lives of people in response to prayer.a. God moves powerfully in the lives of people in response to prayer.
b. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God is running to meet you in prayer in any and all circumstances.

Q: Are there people in your life who don’t know Jesus that you can pray for?

Reflection/Application Questions:

  1. Do you struggle to find words to pray?
  2. Is it difficult for you to remember to pray during the good times?
  3. Are you living as if Christ is the fundamental operating principle of your life?
  4. Who are you walking with spiritually? How do you support each other?
  5. Have you ever felt skeptical in your prayers for the world? Do they really work?

Suggestions for further study:

  • Colossians 3:1-4
    • Q: Do you live as though Christ is your life?
  • Hebrews 4:14-16
    • Q: What’s your reaction to hearing that Jesus can sympathize with you?
  • Ephesians 6:10-20
    • Q: Do you regularly pray for other believers?

Closing Prayer:  ​Lord God, we thank You that you are a God that runs to us. That in Jesus, we have a great high priest who knows what it’s like, who has been tempted in every way that we are and yet was without sin, that we might know you. On His account, and because of what He has done for us, we are bold to pray to you. We come to you in any and every circumstance in our lives, and we know that you hear us. God, we pray on behalf of those who are sick and hurting, those who are suffering spiritual distress and feeling guilt and shame. We pray for our world, that those who are far from you would be brought near and that your Spirit would again renew and revive this place. We lift all these up to you Lord, and ask that you’d continue to teach us to pray. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

03.01.20 | Why Pray

by Pastor Gabe Kasper

Text | 1 John 5:13-15

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Sermon Study

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ULC Sermon Study Resource
Teach Us to Pray: Why Pray?
Pastor Gabe Kasper
March 1, 2020

Prayer: Pause for a few moments to go to the Lord in prayer. Ask that He would draw near to you in this time, and open your heart and mind to hear His Word.
Icebreaker: Did you have any prayer traditions growing up? Discuss!
Reading: 1 John 5:13-15

I. We pray because of who God is (v13)

a. Your image of God will determine the frequency, intimacy, and honesty of your prayers.
b. God’s fundamental disposition towards you is one of grace and love.

Q: When you think of God, what image comes to mind?

II. We pray because of what God promises (v14).

a. God promises to hear you when you pray.
b. When we pray, we aren’t talking to an impersonal force but a person. The way to get to know a person is by talking to them.

Q: Do you see prayer as a two-way conversation?

III. We pray because of what God does (v15).

a. Again and again throughout the scriptures, we see God answer prayers.
b. While God doesn’t always answer prayers how we think he should, he is always faithful.

Q: What prayers has God answered in your life?

Reflection/Application Questions:

  1. When/how do you usually pray?
  2. What is the most challenging thing about praying?
  3. Does God always answer prayers?
  4. Where do you listen/look for God’s responses when it seems like he is silent? Do you find him there?
  5. Think of a prayer it seems God did not answer. Looking back, can you identify a way God worked in response to the prayer that you missed before?

Suggestions for further study:

  • Genesis 18:22-33
    • Q: How did Abraham’s prayer affect God’s action in the world?
  • Mark 5:21-43
    • Q: What is Jesus’ response when Jairus prays for something seemingly impossible (raising his daughter from the dead)?
  • Acts 12:1-12
    • Q: Have you had a prayer answered at the “last second”?

Closing Prayer: “God, we thank you that you are a God who hears us and meets us as we pray. You’re not some impersonal life force, but our heavenly Father. You invite us to come to you as your sons and daughters and put our requests, gratitude, lives before you. We thank you that you’ve made that way for us by sending your son Jesus. Because of Him and His work on the cross nothing is in the way of us approaching you. We pray that we would pray what we’ve got, wherever we’re at. May we come to you, experience you, and meet you in prayer. Amen.”