In this lesson we are going to talk about something very practical. We are going to talk about our relationship with God. All of us have physcial parents. We talk to them and listen to them. We have a relationship with them. In the same way, we can have a relationship with God. He wants to beour special friend.
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.
33 The whole town gathered at the door,
34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
36 Simon and his companions went to look for him,
37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"
38 Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come."
39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
What did Jesus do in the evening, according to v32-34? [He was healing many people with diseases]
He must have been very tired after that long evening of giving to other.
But accordingy to v35 what did He do the next morning? [He had his prayer time]
Let us look carefully at v35. When did Jesus get up to have his quiet time? [Before dark]
Where did he have it? [In a solitary place, where no one could disturb him]
After his prayer time, what did he do? [He went out to preach]
We can learn from this. Before we do our household work, we should get up to pray and read God's word. We should find a place where no one can disturb us. Perhaps you can go on a prayer walk. Or pray on the roof. But you should make the time first thing in the morning to pray. Now, we'll talk more about prayer.
13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Prayer is very important. If we are in trouble (v13), we should pray. If we are happy, we should sing songs of praise (you can sing while you pray).
If someone is sick, he should get others to pray for him (v14). The prayer offered in faith will heal people (v15).
If someone has sinned, we should pray for them (v16).
V16 says that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. If we are not in sin, and we pray, God will hear. That is amazing.
According to v17, what kind of man was Elijah? [Just like us]
What did he do? [He prayed for no rain and it did not rain for Three and half years. Then he prayed for rain and it rained]
Prayer is very important. It is God's solution to every problem. Let's see how.
5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 "This, then, is how you should pray: "'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 today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
V5 says that we should not pray in public, to be seen by men. Our quiet times are not something to try to show to others. There is nothing wrong, however, with praying together with someone. In fact, you can learn better how to pray by fixing a time to pray with someone else in the family group.
Where should we pray according to v6? [In our rooms with the doors closed]
Why should we close the doors? [So we have privacy and not are disturbed]
V6 says that God sees what is done in secret, and he will reward us. He is not looking for lots of words (v7). He already knows what we need (v8). But still he wants us to pray.
One important thing about prayer is given in v14-15.
What does it say here? [That we must forgive others, or God will not forgive you]
Will God hear our prayers when we have bad attitudes towards others? [No we must forgive them. We cannot come to God hating our brother or sister]
In v9-13, Jesus gives an example of prayer. He shows how we should have a pattern in our praying. One good struture to follow is A.C.T.S
Adoration : Praise and adore God (v9). Tell him how awesome he and Jesus are.
Confession : Confess your sins and ask God to change your character (v12-13). Pray for your daily needs, like food, health (v11)
Thanksgiving : Thank God for all the blessings he's given you, as well as prayers he has answered.
Supplication : Ask God to make his kingdom, the church, grow on earth(v10). Pray specifically about all your needs. Pray for your family, friends, o-workers, people in the family group.
It is not easy to pray for 30 minutes straight. But if you split your prayer into several 5-minute parts, it will help you pray longer time.
16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Here Jesus talks about fasting. Jesus expects us as disciples to fast. Fasting means going without food or certain kinds of food, or drink, in order to please God.
We can do it for 12 hours, one day, two days as long as we want. But all of us should fast sometimes.
2. Read the Bible
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee.
13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali--
Jesus was tempted in the desert. If he had wanted to, he could have turned the stones to bread and eaten them. No one would have known. He should have made a deal with the devil to gain great political power. But he did not. He stayed strong and he did not sin.
While Jesus was being tempted in the desert, what did he use to combat sin? [The word of God]
What does v4 say? [Man does not live on bread alone, but on God's word]
Reading the Bible is not just a ritual. We must put into practice in our lives, like Jesus did. Make a decision that you will read the Bible every day.
10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
What was the Bereans attitude towards reading the Bible? [They were eager]
Did they make excuses? [No]
Think about your attitude towards reading the Bible. Are you like the Bereans, eager to learn and find out the truth? Or are you lazy uninterested?
God has written us a "Prem Patra", a love letter, the Bible. Imagine how hurt he feels when we do not even read his love letter to us. Let's read the Bible every day and show God that we want to know him and that we appreciate his love.
3. Change your life
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
What does v22 say? [We shouldn't only listen to the word of God and so decieve ourselves]
You can fool yourself by only listening to the Bible. You think you are OK because you read the Bible and go to church. But if you do not obey it, your reading is worthless.
So many people go to church every week. They even read the Bible sometimes. But they do not follow it. This is hypocrisy.
What is the example he gives in v23-24? [A man looks in a mirror and immediately forgets what he looks like]
Imagine if in the morning you looked in the mirror and your face had a big mess on it. Your hair wasn't combed. Would you go out like that? [No]
But that is how sometimes we are with the Bible. We read it and then we forget it. We don't change our lives. This is wrong. We must look into the Bible and then apply to our lives.
If every day you pray, read and change your life, God will do amazing things through you. You will become more and more like Jesus. The people around you will be amazed. And many others will become Christians.
Have a great quiet time every day. Get up early in the morning and do it first thing. Your days will be so much more joyful and peaceful because you'll know that God is with you.