Community Guide for the Week of Jan 3, 2021
Prayer Part 1: Fixed Hour Prayer
The Community Guide below is based on Sunday’s teaching beginning our 31 Days of Prayer. As your whole Community gathers (online or socially distanced), use the Community Guide below to give shape to your night together.
Begin by Practicing the Lord’s Supper Together (5 minutes)
Begin your night by partaking of the bread and the cup together. Have each person bring their own Communion elements. To facilitate your time, you can either ask a member of your Community to come ready with a short prayer, liturgy, or scripture reading, or assign someone to read the scripture passage and liturgy we’ve provided below:
King Jesus, our lives are lived to be with you, to become like you, and to do what you did.
And so, in light of that, we pray as you taught your disciples to pray:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.
And with that we eat and drink, as you also taught your disciples to do, in remembrance of you. Let’s eat and drink.
Emotional Health Check-in (20 Minutes)
Take a few minutes to do an emotional health check-in with your Community, creating space for each person to answer the questions below:
- What was a high and what was a low from the holidays?
- Where did you see/sense/feel/hear/experience God in that time?
Spend a few minutes praying for God’s voice to be clear in each other’s lives. Specifically pray and ask that God would allow each person to see/sense/feel/hear/experience God’s presence where they need to this week.
Scripture Reading (5 Minutes)
Assign one reader to read Luke 11v1-13 aloud for your Community. After reading, spend 30–60 seconds in silence.
Read this Overview (2 Mins)
If most of us are honest, prayer is a part of our apprenticeship to Jesus that we wish was better. Most of us don’t really enjoy prayer. We feel bad, even guilty, about how little we pray. When we finally do make time to pray, we often don’t know what to say. Or we’re so distracted we can’t focus.
Yet for Jesus, prayer was central to life with God. Most people define prayer as simply, “Talking with God.” Prayer is a back and forth conversation that comes out of a depth of relationship. But at an even more basic level, prayer is a junk drawer word for all of our relationship to the Father.
That’s why prayer was such a huge part of Jesus’ life. We read that he “often withdrew into lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5v16) And for Jesus, prayer wasn’t a drag or a duty. He seems to genuinely enjoy his Father’s company. We think that’s why the disciples asked Jesus in Luke 11v1, “Teach us to pray.” Jesus’ answer was what we now call the Lord’s prayer. He did not so much give it as a liturgy to recite, as he did as a template to follow when we pray.
Looking at the Lord’s Prayer, we learn that God is our Father, that God is close, that the goal of prayer is enjoyment of God, and that prayer makes a difference.
With these truths in mind, Bridgetown’s 31 Days of Prayer will begin with a simple rhythm: praying a Psalm in the morning and praying the Lord’s Prayer at Noon each day. This may feel like a lot, but give it a try, if even just for a week. The main point this week is just to get into the rhythm of daily prayer.
Debrief this Sunday’s Teaching (15 Minutes)
With that in mind, work through the following discussion questions as a Community:
- How does everybody feel about the 31 Days of Prayer that Bridgetown is doing this month? What areas of prayer are you hoping to learn more about, biblically or practically?
- Does the idea of prayer as more than just asking for stuff but as “life with God” ring true in your life, or no? If so, how? If not, do you think it’s possible?
- What do you think your greatest challenge will be with this practice?
Prayer (10 Minutes)
Spend a few minutes praying for God’s grace over each other, that we might be a people who lean into our Father and who yearn to hear his voice. Ask that God would stir up within us a desire to be with him in prayer.
Practice For The Week Ahead: Fixed Hour Prayer (5 Minutes)
This week practice fixed hour prayer morning and noon (we’ll add evening next week). Take a few minutes and listen to the podcast on Fixed Hour Prayer. The idea is to practice these short prayer times each morning, noon, and evening.
Psalm in the Morning: Decide what time and place you are going to pray. The goal for this time is to have just a few moments of silence to connect with God by slowly reading and praying a Psalm. You could start at Psalm 1 and work your way through one a day, or pick a favorite like Psalm 23 and just focus on it each day.
Read the Psalm slowly and out loud if possible, and look for lines that really connect with you, make them your prayers. You may want to write down a line or two that really speak to you and use those as a starting point for more prayer.
Lord’s Prayer at Noon: Set an alarm on your phone or calendar for noon each day this week. Simply pause whatever it is you are doing and pray through the Lord’s Prayer. Matthew’s version in Matthew 6 is probably the most familiar. Use this time to reconnect with God, and recenter your day with Him. Remember your Heavenly Father is good, he is close to you, and he is for you!
Bonus: Pick a time to attend one of our weekly Prayer Gatherings as a Community, choosing between Monday & Wednesday at Noon and Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday at 8 AM.