Introduction: Have you noticed that you acquire attitudes and habits
from your friends and co-workers? If you are wise, you just
appropriate those which are good. Sometimes it is just a small thing
you adopt, but it makes you a better person. For about twenty years,
Rex Reed was my boss. One day I saw Rex pick up some trash laying on
the floor of the office bathroom. We paid people to clean the
bathroom. Probably it was some slob who threw the trash on the
floor. Why should the Executive Vice-President of the company pick
up bathroom trash? Guess what? Since then I’ve been picking up
trash in the bathroom – even though that is not part of my job
description! What if we looked to Jesus as our example in life?
What wonderful changes might occur then? Maybe it would help us to
toss out some of the trash in our life and bring in some new
righteous habits. Let’s explore that idea by diving into our Bible
study about Jesus as our partner in life!
- Prayer Priorities
- Read Mark 1:32-37. Why do you think “everyone” was
looking for Jesus? (They wanted to be healed of diseases
- Step back a minute. How much of a difference would
it make in your life to have Jesus heal you of a
disease or to cast out the demons that ruin your
- What choice did Jesus make in this story? (He chose
between healing people and going off by Himself to
- Is Jesus being selfish?
- What lesson do we find in Jesus’ example for
our prayer life? (No matter how busy we are, no
matter how great and important our work, we
must set aside time for solitary prayer and
- Read Matthew 6:6. Should we follow Jesus’ example of
being homeless? (This is encouraging. He expects us to
have at least a room with a door on it!)
- Read Matthew 6:7. How do you organize your prayer? Do you
repeat the same things over and over again? If you are a
“babbler,” you know the order of your prayer!
- What does Jesus say about mindless babbling?
- Ask yourself if you would like to be the one
listening to your own prayers?
- If you were the listener, would you think your
prayers were sincere?
- Read Matthew 6:8. Now the secret is out! God already
knows my needs. What should I conclude from this? That
if He knows, why am I taking my time to verbalize my
- Is Jesus teaching us that we do not need to spend
prayer time asking for things?
- Read Matthew 6:9. How does Jesus teach us to structure
our prayer? (We start by giving glory to God. We do not
start with our list of needs.)
- Read Matthew 6:10. What should be the next subject
covered in our prayers? (That Jesus will reign over both
heaven and earth. We want Him to come again to earth to
be in charge. We want Him to reign now in our life.)
- Read Matthew 6:11. What does this teach us about
verbalizing our needs? (It is third in order of
importance, but Jesus recommends that we verbalize our
needs to God. He knows our needs, but He wants us to
share them with Him.)
- Read Matthew 6:12. Why is sin forgiveness so low in the
order of prayer priorities?
- On what is our forgiveness conditioned?
- How are you doing in the “forgiving others”
- Does this “forgive to be forgiven” requirement make
any common sense to you? (A study in the Journal of
Behavioral Medicine found that lower stress, heart
rate and blood pressure were associated with
forgiveness. It blesses you to forgive.)
- Compare what you have to forgive others with what
Jesus is forgiving you. Your sins were part of the
cause of Jesus’ painful death!
- Read Matthew 6:13. On what note does Jesus recommend that
we end our prayers? (A note of encouragement to avoid
temptation and give us deliverance from future sin.
Barnes’ Notes explains that the word translated
“temptation” can also mean “trial,” “affliction” or
anything that “tests” our virtue. This adds the concept
of asking God to save us from suffering and trials.)
- Church Priority
- Read Luke 4:16. What was Jesus custom regarding church
attendance? (He attended a synagogue each Sabbath.)
- Read Hebrews 10:24-25 and Revelation 5:11-13. What is one
of the main reasons to attend church? (We encourage each
other in our Christian walk. We join in the universal
praise to God. Remember that the first element of prayer
is praise. Praise should be an important part of our
- How important to your spiritual life is your church
attendance? (I have spent decades defending the religious
liberty of employees. In each of these cases, I must
prove the religious sincerity of my client. Based on my
experience, I now have a rule that I will no longer
represent religious objectors who are not part of some
local group of believers. Why? Because there are too many
sincerity problems with those are not part of a regular
body of believers.)
- Service Priority
- Read Proverbs 11:24-25. Is there a relationship between
generosity and mental health? (The Bible says that the
person who “refreshes others” will himself be
- How do you feel after you have helped someone else?
- Have you ever tried to make an effort to be kind and
friendly to everyone you meet that day? If so, what
was the result? (One day this week I was in an
office where people did not know me and I did not
know most of them. When I was friendly and kind to
these strangers, they were friendly and kind to me.
My kindness to them refreshed my attitude.)
- Read Matthew 25:34-36. Why doesn’t Jesus say, “Come,
enter into the kingdom of heaven because I died for your
- Read John 5:24. Why doesn’t this text say something
about service before you cross over into life?
- Read 1 Timothy 5:9-12 and Ephesians 2:8-9. Are Jesus
and Paul in conflict?
- What is Jesus asking us to do when He asks us
to believe? (He is asking us to choose Him and
His will for our life. That means we must have
an attitude of service towards those around us.
( Matthew 22:37-40.) Sometimes being of service
to those around us means we say “no,” or at
least we say, “I’ve got a better idea.”)
- Closing Philosophy
- Read Romans 12:12-13. What gives us joy in life? (The
hope of our salvation! The pleasure of a life lived in
step with God’s plan for us.)
- What attitudes does this text suggest are critical
to positive emotions? (Patience in affliction –
because we know it will end. Faithfulness in prayer
– something we discussed above. Helping others.)
- Friend, we have spent weeks discussing what the Bible
teaches us about human emotion. Will you decide today to
accept these principles into your life?
- Next week: Garments of Grace: Clothing Imagery in the Bible.