PRAYERS OF PAUL- GOD’S WILL

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

On the final week of our Prayers of Paul sermon series, we’re looking at Paul’s prayer for the Colossian church. The church allowed false teaching that mixed Greek philosophy with Christian theology: they added to the requirements for salvation. Paul’s letter stated the case for Christ being the fullness of God, the all-sufficient Savior. And in his prayer, he asked that God would “fill” the Colossians with “the knowledge of His will”, which would give them a greater understanding of the supreme Savior.

SCRIPTURE

9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12

GROUP QUESTIONS

What is your IF/THEN? (If you could just have Jesus…AND… _____________, THEN…)

In this series we’ve already looked at three prayers. Read Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 3:17, and Philippians 1:9. What is Paul asking for in these prayers?

Read Colossians 1:9-12. The passage begins with “For this reason”. What is “this reason”?

List what Paul is requesting in this prayer:

Why is knowledge of God’s will and spiritual wisdom necessary for believers?

What can you learn from this prayer about finding God’s will for your life? (See also Romans 12:1-2.)

Are you REALLY interested in knowing God’s will for your life? Or are you afraid of what He might ask you to do? How can you overcome this fear and follow His will? (See Matthew 11:28-30.)

APPLICATION

Do you know God’s will for your life? If so, do it. If not, pray that you would be filled “with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives”.

Pick three people to pray for this week using the four prayers of Paul as a guide (Ephesians 1:17-19; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:9-12). Write an action plan for how you will accomplish this: When will you pray? How long will you pray for? Ask someone in your Fellowship group or a close Christian friend to hold you accountable to do this each day this week.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Compare Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12 to Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. What do you learn from the similarities and differences in these prayers?

Both Philippians and Colossians mention “fruit”. What do you learn about “fruit” from the following passages? How can you apply what you learn to your life?

  • Matthew 3:7-10
  • Matthew 7:15-21
  • John 15:1-16
  • Romans 7:4-6
  • Galatians 5:16-25
  • Ephesians 5:5-13
  • Hebrews 12:11
  • James 3:17-18
  • Hebrews 13:15

PRAYERS OF PAUL-ETERNITY

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

The Book of Philippians brims over with often quoted passages: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6), “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21), and “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (4:13). Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians in appreciation for all they had done for him. And though they were in the midst of persecution, they remained faithful and grew spiritually, which was a great encourage to Paul. He begins this letter with gratefulness, and then prays a prayer for them with eternity in mind.

SCRIPTURE

1To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:1-11

GROUP QUESTIONS

If God answered all of your prayers this week, what (outside of your own personal life) would change?

Read Philippians 1:1-11. What is the overall tone of this passage? What do you learn about how Paul feels about this church?

List what Paul prays for the Philippians in verses 9-11.

Commentators suggest that when Paul prayed “that your love may abound more and more” he was praying for a “continual overflowing increase of super abounding love”. How would this kind of love change your view of the world and your interaction with it?

What is the relationship between love and knowledge?

How do you define “discernment”? What is the relationship between knowing God and being able to discern what is best?

What is “the day of Christ”?

Paul prays that the Philippians would be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ”. What is this “fruit”?

Is this how you pray? If not, how will this passage motivate your prayer life?

APPLICATION

Each day this week, pray Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-11 for you. Also choose at least one other person to pray this prayer for.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

“The Day of Christ” is connected with “the Judgment Seat of Christ” and “the Day of the Lord”. Look up the following verses and write what you learn about this “day”.

  • Matthew 16:27
  • Acts 2:20
  • Acts 10:42
  • Romans 2:16
  • Romans 14:10
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10
  • Ephesians 6:8
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:2
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4
  • 2 Peter 3:10
  • Revelation 20:11-14

PRAYERS OF PAUL: LOVE

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

God, the Creator of heaven and earth, has all power and unlimited resources. He longs to pour His power and love into your life through His Spirit. As you continue to trust Him, your relationship with Him grows. In Ephesians 3, Paul is moved to pray that the power and love of God would be known fully by believers. God is able! Have you restricted this power in your life?

SCRIPTURE

14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21

GROUP QUESTIONS

  • What is your most fervent prayer?
  • Read Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul begins with “for this reason…”. What is the reason he is praying this prayer?
  • List what Paul prays for in this passage. What stands out to you?
  • The word “kneel” means to lay prostrate. In Paul’s time, Jews stood when they offered prayers. Only in extraordinary times or in unusual passion would they kneel/prostrate themselves. Why do you think Paul was so concerned about the Ephesians that he “knelt” in prayer for them? (See Revelation 2:1-7.)
  • Joe shared that the word “dwell” has the connotation of inviting Jesus to make Himself at home in your life. Does the thought of Christ living in your life in such a complete manner make you excited, or does it make you uncomfortable? Why?
  • What does it mean to be strengthened “with power through His Spirit in your inner being”?
  • Do you think it is truly possible to understand the full extent of God’s love? Why or why not?
  • How would you describe God’s love? What experiences have you had that inform your understanding of God’s love?
  • How do you expect to change as you become more confident of Christ’s love and more filled with His power?

APPLICATION

Do you feel like the power of God is pouring out of you? Or is it a slow trickle? Read through the three ways Joe shared that can restrict your access to the power of God and determine if there are any bottlenecks in your life:

* Your attitude toward God: Are you making decisions based on what you want rather than what would bring a smile to God’s face? Is God being squeezed out of your busy schedule? Are your priorities pushed to the limit and God is getting your leftovers? If so, surrender to Him. Physically prostrate yourself before Him, acknowledging that He is God.

* The inner man: When life gets tough do you give up? Question God? Are there areas of your life that you need to daily surrender to Jesus? Ask Jesus to make Himself at home in your life. Pray that He would give you the inner strength that pushes you towards seeing, thinking, and doing the right thing in every situation.

* Locked doors: Have you kept Jesus in certain areas of your life and out of others? Surrender the mess to Him…all the thoughts, actions, addictions, and pride. Let Him come into those areas of your life and painstakingly clean them up. Give Him access to the ugly parts of your life…and He will give you freedom like you’ve never experienced!

FOR FURTHER STUDY

How does the prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 compare to the prayer in Ephesians 1:17–21?

What do the following verses say about God’s power in relation to believers?

  • Acts 1:7-8
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • Colossians 1:28-29
  • 1 Corinthians 2:2-5
  • Ephesians 1:18-21
  • 2 Peter 1:2-4

PRAYERS OF PAUL- THE POWER OF GOD

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Do you believe prayer matters? That prayer makes some type of difference? As a church, we believe that God hears us when we pray, and that prayer actually makes a profound difference, both in our own personal life, and also in the world around us. Over the next four weeks, we will look at four powerful prayers of Paul and discover timeless truths about hope, love, righteousness, and God’s will.

SCRIPTURE

15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, 19and His incomparably great power for us who believe.

Ephesians 1:15-19a

GROUP QUESTIONS

Share with your group how you have seen prayer make a difference in your life.

Read Ephesians 1:15-19a. Paul mentions hearing about what two characteristics of the Ephesians Christians? Do you notice these things? If so, does it stir your heart to prayer?

Why do you think Paul was so appreciative of the faith of the Ephesians?

What word/phrase emphasizes the fact that this was not just a one-time prayer Paul prayed?

What do you think these four requests of Paul mean?

  • “give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation”
  • “that you may know Him better”
  • “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened”
  • “that you may know the hope to which He has called you”

Aaron mentioned the difference between “know” (gnosis*) and “know” (epignosis**). Paul uses the word “epignosis” in verse 18. How can you “know” (epignosis) God more?

Do you believe all prayer should be for spiritual things? Why or why not? (See Philippians 4:6.)

How often do you pray for health issues, protection, finances, etc.? How often do you pray that you or others may know God better?

Read Psalm 2:8. God is not short on power; we are short on faith to access His power. How will you access more of His power this year?

*gnosis = to have cognitive knowledge

**epignosis = to have experiential knowledge

APPLICATION

Pick up the journal at church and write it in daily.

Text 21PRAY to 797979 to sign up for daily prayer encouragements from Fellowship. As the texts arrive, spend time meditating on the words and Scripture that have been sent.

Pray this for yourself and at least one other person this week:

1) that God would give you/them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him better; 2) that the eyes of your/their heart would be enlightened; 3) that you/they would know the hope of His calling; 4) that you/they would know the riches of His glorious inheritance; and 5) that you/they would know His incomparable great power for those who believe.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

* Ephesians 1:18 speaks of the “hope to which He has called you”. When you think of the things you hope for, what are they?

* According to commentaries, “the word ‘Hope’ (elpis) expresses a desire of some good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope in Scripture is the absolute certainty of future good. Not ‘I hope so’ but strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in future. It is an expectation or confidence.” Read the following verses and write what you learn about our “hope”.

  • Colossians 1:27
  • 1 Timothy 1:1
  • Titus 2:11-14
  • 1 Peter 1:3

* Read Ephesians 1:3-14 and 2:6-7. List all of the things that could be considered “the riches of His glorious inheritance”