Introduction: When I have an argument before a judge, I want to know
something about that judge. What kind of attitude does the judge have
towards lawyers? What kind of attitude does the judge have towards
my kind of case? What kind of relief is the judge likely to give my
client? This week our lesson is about prayer. What kind of God do we
approach? What kind of attitude does He have towards us? What kind of
relief is He likely to give us? What has He promised? Let’s dive in
and find out!

  1. God’s Attitude Towards Us

    1. Read Psalms 103:11. What is the underlying quality of
      God’s attitude towards us? (He has a great love for us.)

      1. Does God have the same love for everyone? (The Psalms
        tell us that God has a special love for those who
        fear Him.)

    2. Read Psalms 103:13. When I was a teen in academy, I had a
      Bible teacher who told me stories about people who turned
      to God as a result of terrible car accidents. It made me a
      bit worried about how God’s love might actually be played
      out in my life. What does this text teach parents about
      God’s attitude? (If you are a loving parent, then you can
      have confidence that God will treat you just as you treat
      your children. That gives me a great deal of comfort when
      I think back about the “car accidents” lessons.)

    3. Read Psalms 103:14. What is an important part of God’s
      compassion towards us? (He knows that we are human. Part
      of our compassion towards our children comes because we
      know they are weak and inexperienced.)

    4. Read Proverbs 3:11-12. What is included in God’s
      compassion towards us? (Discipline.)

      1. Why does God discipline us? (He loves us in the same
        way as a “father the son He delights in.”)

      2. Have you ever thought that God delighted in you?

      3. What is our obligation when it comes to being
        disciplined? (We need to have the right attitude
        about it. We need to remember that God does this out
        of His love for us. We should learn our lesson and
        not be resentful.)

    5. Read Romans 8:28. What is God’s goal for our life? (To
      work for our good.)

      1. What should be the goal of our life? (To love God and
        answer the “purpose” that He has for our life.)

    6. Read Romans 8:31-32. What past action of God gives us
      confidence in His love and His willingness to give us
      gifts? (God gave up His Son for us. That says volumes
      about His attitude toward us.)

      1. Stop a minute here. We just learned that God has a
        “Father/child” relationship with us. Consider what
        happened to His own Son. Should I go back to my
        worries about my Bible teacher’s “car accidents for
        salvation stories?”

  2. Jesus Our Intercessor

    1. Read Romans 8:33-34. Why did Jesus die for us? (The
      further answer here is that Jesus paid the penalty for our
      sins so that we would not have to pay that penalty.)

      1. What is Jesus role on our behalf? (He is our

      2. What is Satan’s role? (“Satan” is the unstated answer
        to the query “who is he who condemns?”)

        1. As you consider the role of God and the role of
          Satan, on whose side do you want to be?

    2. Romans 8:34 reveals that Jesus is at the right hand of God
      and is interceding for us. What does that teach us about
      our prayers? (We have a wonderful Agent who is working for
      us in approaching God.)

    3. Read Romans 8:35. What does God promise and what does God
      not promise to those who fear Him? (He promises that we
      shall not be separated from His love. However, I
      (unfortunately) note that the context for this statement
      is the possibility of “trouble, hardship, persecution,
      famine, nakedness, danger or sword!”)

      1. If we pray to have trouble, hardship, etc. removed,
        and it is not, does that mean Jesus does not love or
        care for us any more? ( Romans 8:35 suggests that
        enduring these problems does not separate us from
        Jesus’ love.)

    4. Read John 14:12-14. How should we pray? (Jesus tells us to
      pray “in His name.”)

      1. Over the years, I have been often asked to give the
        Christmas lunch prayer for the organization for which
        I work. Out of sensitivity for a dear Jewish co-worker, I have sometimes left Jesus’ name out of the
        prayer. Is it okay to leave Jesus’ name out of the
        prayer, and just pray to God, since I know that Jesus
        is God? (I have struggled with what to do, but I
        think this text is clear that I should always pray in
        Jesus’ name. 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us that there is but
        one mediator between God and man.)

  3. What To Pray

    1. Romans 8:35 suggests that we may endure problems even in
      the face of God’s love. John 14:14 is a promise straight
      from the mouth of Jesus that He will do “anything” we ask
      of Him. Why would we be enduring problems if Jesus
      promises that our prayers to Him will be granted?

      1. Have you prayed and prayed and not had your prayers
        answered? How can that be possible given the promise
        of John 14:14?

      2. Let’s examine the verses which lead up to this
        promise. Read John 14:11-13. What has Jesus “been
        doing?” (Miracles.)

        1. What is the purpose of those miracles? (To show
          the connection between Jesus and God.)

        2. What does Jesus promise us in John 14:12? (That
          with faith, we too can do miracles.)

        3. What reason does Jesus give in John 14:13 for
          granting our requests? (So that He may bring
          glory to God.)

        4. What does this context teach us about Jesus’
          promise to do “anything” we ask in prayer?
          (Jesus’ miracles were for the purpose of
          bringing glory to God, helping others and
          revealing that Jesus was God. Most of our
          prayers are for ourselves, and probably have
          more to do with giving us glory rather than

        5. Why don’t we see more miracles today? If Jesus
          promises that we can “do even greater things”
          than He did, why cannot we raise the dead and
          heal the sick? Why do we have to depend on
          prayer and modern medicine?

          1. Is part of the problem a failure to ask?

    2. Read 1 John 5:14-15. This repeats the phrase about praying
      to God for “whatever we ask.” But, it contains a limit on
      what we ask. What is that limit? (That we ask “according
      to His will.”)

      1. Is that limit implicit in Jesus’ promise in John
        14:14? (I think so. Otherwise, the only remaining
        possible answers to why we (I) have not been able to
        heal the sick without the aid of modern medicine are:
        a. A lack of faith; b. A failure of the promise; or
        c. The promise was given to the disciples and not

    3. Read Mark 14:35-36. Consider this series of texts. In John
      14:14 Jesus says “ask anything” in 1 John 5:14 we read
      “ask anything according to God’s will,” and in Mark 14:36
      Jesus prays “not what I will, but what You will.” Would a
      mature Christian always pray “God’s will, not mine?”

      1. Would maturity matter – because God is only going to
        do His will anyway? (We read stories in the Old
        Testament where God grants things which He says are
        against His will. For example, the 1 Samuel 8 story
        of Israel wanting, and getting, a king against the
        will of God.)

    4. You remember the story in Matthew 17 of the demon-possessed boy? The disciples tried to exorcize the demon,
      but could not. Jesus arrives and the father brings the boy
      to Jesus for healing. Read Matthew 17:17-20. What is the
      explanation for the failure of the disciples to heal? (Too
      little faith. The parallel version of this answer is found
      in Mark 9:28-29. Jesus says the problem is a lack of
      prayer. It seems the disciples relied too much on
      themselves and not enough on the power of God.)

      1. If not sufficiently relying on the power of God is a
        reason for our prayers not being answered, what does
        this have to do with deferring to God’s will in our
        prayers? (If we have absolute faith and trust in God,
        why would we pray anything other than for His will to
        be done? Whatever it was that Jesus promised to us
        in John 14:14, it seems foolish for us to ask
        anything that is outside the will of God.)

    5. Friend, the God who cares for us in the same way a parent
      loves a child, invites us to turn to Him for help. Will
      you trust Him by seeking His will through prayer?

  4. Next week: Lord of Our Relationships.