Sunday School Notes 7-26-2015

Praying for others

Ephesians 6:18-20

Opening Questions

  • What are some instances when we pray for other people?
    • When they are sick, going through some difficult times, are travelling, moving, or when we want them to know Christ?
  • Why do we pray for other people?
    • Do we pray so that God’s mind is changed or so our hearts will be shaped to God’s will?

Ephesians 6:10-20 (HCSB)

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is God’s word.

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.

Paul challenges the believers in Ephesus to put on the full armor of God. According to this passage, how do we put on that armor?

  • We dress ourselves with truth and right action
  • We take the Gospel with us wherever we go
    • What is the Gospel and how do we take it with us?
  • We place our trust in God. This is what it means to have faith.
  • We find our security in the fact that God has saved us.
  • We strive to live according to God’s Word, always going back to it as our authority.

Why does this passage say that we dress ourselves in the full armor of God?

  • So that we will be able to stand our ground when evil comes against us.
  • Do you think that we can serve a good God without resisting evil?
    • In any sport, we can’t play for our team if we keep trying to score points for the opposing team.

As part of our resistance against evil, Paul mentions prayer. What does he say about prayer?

  • Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request.
  • Stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

Notice that intercession (praying for others) is listed as a way that we can guard ourselves against evil.

  • When we pray for others, does God change in any way?
    • Does He change His mind?
    • Does He change His character?
    • Does He change His plan?
    • Does He love people more or less?
    • God does not depend on our prayers to determine His action.
    • As we learned last time, God does care to hear from us, seriously considers our prayer and yearns to answer positively.
  • Why, then, is it important for us to pray for others?
    • Does it help us to defend against evil in some way?
    • Does God use our intercessory prayers to shape our hearts according to His will?
    • Does He use our intercessory prayer to conform us more to the image of Christ? (the answer is yes)

In our lives, then, we should:

  • Pray continuously
  • Pray for other believers
  • Pray for the Gospel to move forward
  • As God works in our lives, He will use us more and more in His Kingdom on this earth.
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