The Object of Our Prayer
The Point: A right view of God fuels how we pray.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Begin by sharing this news item:
During the days in mid-September, when Hurricane Florence was churning across the Atlantic headed for the east coast of the United States, cameras in space provided a high-definition birds-eye-view of what was taking place. Transmitting pictures to Earth from a camera mounted outside the International Space Station, NASA described the storm images as “stark” and “sobering.” Astronaut Alexander Gerst shared hurricane photos on his Twitter account, with the caption “Watch out, America! #HurricaneFlorence is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the @Space_Station, 400 km directly above the eye.”
Say: Images taken from space truly are a birds-eye view of activity here on Earth.
Then call attention to Question #1 (What’s something you’d like to have a birds-eye view of?) and invite the group to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
Use the following information to supplement Question #4.
Share this news story:
When Ronnie Neal met James Price, 24-year-old Price was homeless and living under a bridge near Corbin, Kentucky. Neal was loading sheet metal on a truck when Price walked by. Thinking maybe the man would pay him, Price stopped and asked Neal if he needed help.
“James kind of reminded me a lot of me when I was young,” Neal said. “The only reason I wasn’t homeless after my parents divorced is that my sister married into a family who took me in and let me stay with them when I was a teenager…. I could have very well been under a bridge myself.” Following those early years of struggle, Neal had married, gone on to a successful career in business, and grown close in his relationship with God.
Neal hired Price to work that day. And after he heard Price’s story, he invited the young man to come home with him. “He looked at me and said, ‘There isn’t any man working for me going to live under a bridge,” Price recalled. “He said, ‘Go get your stuff because you’re going home with me.’ I broke down right there. I had never had anyone be so kind to me.” Price’s parents had died when he was a teenager. He had quit school and been living on his own working odd jobs since he was 16. He had been in trouble with the law.
Living with the Neals meant going to church with them too. And on September 1, Price was baptized at West Corbin Baptist Church. Neal admits that story of Price’s life to this point is heartbreaking, but says, “I’m not going to give up on him.” Neal does not see what he’s done as special — “The Lord could have sent anybody James’ way,” he said. “I just happened to be the one.”
Say: God expressed His compassion for James Price when He brought Ronnie Neal into James’ life.
Then call attention to Question #4 (How has God expressed his compassion in your life?).
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Study the Bible (Optional Activity)
Display these pictures of people being rescued: https://www.bustle.com/p/24-texas-rescue-photos-that-are-the-epitome-of-courage-compassion-after-hurricane-harvey-79419
Ask: What do these pictures say about our need for prayer? Guide group members to compare the images of the rescuers with what we have learned about God in this session. Say: The moment of rescue forms a unique respect and a trusting relationship. God saved us from sin. We can trust Him who has rescued us powerfully from this bondage. We can focus our hearts and attention on God because of what He has done. (This option is from the KJV Adult Leader Guide, page 96).
- What do you remember praying for as a child?
- Who is someone in another state or city that you keep in touch with on a regular basis? Why is it important to keep that connection strong?
- Who has been instrumental in teaching you the importance of prayer?
Matthew 6:9a; Psalm 103:1-5
- How does the description of God given in Psalm 103:1-5 compare to the way you hear people describe God in our modern-day context?
- How have you experienced what David expressed in Psalm 103:1-5?
- What do we stand to gain from a consistent prayer life?
- How has God expressed His compassion in your life?
- When you read this passage, what phrase or description of God stands out to you the most?
- Who in your life needs to hear or be reminded of God’s unlimited love this week?
- What do you typically do to express praise to God?
- How did the psalmist describe God in these verses?
- What steps can you take to intentionally place your focus on God’s character when you pray?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: How to Pray, Session 1.
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.