Study Guide: Valleyfair Prayer

Sunday August 25, 2013 | Shawna Boren

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

In life, our emotions can be on a roller coaster, and our prayer life can follow this same pattern. In this sermon, Shawna shows us how we can find rest and a safe place in prayer with God, no matter our circumstances.

Extended Summary:

The dictionary definition of prayer is an invocation or calling out to a deity in hopes of creating a rapport. Prayer can include many things: worship, praying prayers, and requesting help/guidance from a deity. However, prayer can become quite stale in our lives. This is why God invites us to use our imagination during prayer, because our imagination causes us to have a much better prayer life.

At the core of our very being is a natural yearning to cry out for something more. We all seek for something bigger or larger than ourselves, for something better. But, we don’t have to be a larger than life person to pray. To be a person of prayer doesn’t require an extraordinary person, even though some biblical stories say otherwise. In the bible, we have stories such as Enoch and Paul, who prayed unceasingly and with joy all the time. This is hard to do day in and day out though.

Our prayer life sometimes resembles a roller coaster. It can be up for a period of time, and it can take a sudden drop as well. It’s ok that our prayer life consists of ups and downs. The world that we live in is messy and chaotic, and we live in this world, and our prayers reflect living in this world. But, regardless of what our prayer life looks like, we should remember that God is always at work in this world. When we pray, we are simply tapping into what God is already at work doing.

Our prayer life can thrive in the difficult situations in life in spite of feeling up and down like a roller coaster. When we feel stuck and feel that we can’t do anything, it can be a strong point in our prayer life. When we tell God that we got nothing and we need him, he can meet us there. This is the safe place in our lives. No matter how up and down we feel, we can always meet God in our prayers and be safe to reveal how we are feeling.

This safe place is a place of intimacy where we can be one on one with our Creator. Everything that we feel and think can be brought to the surface. This is where we can be true with God. We can be honest, truthful, and even let God know we’re ticked off at God. This is also the place where God can set us free to know who we are in God’s eyes. God can also take us a little deeper than we were thinking of going. Good surprises can come out of letting God work in our prayer life.

God also calls us to a place of rest through prayer. This doesn’t mean we’re lazy. This is where God places us in the eye of the storm. When the rest of our world is swirling around us at breakneck speed, we can join God in prayer to receive the calm that surpasses all understanding. But, many of us just don’t know how to rest. Resting sometimes just requires taking a breath and purposefully setting aside a time to be with Jesus.

The goal of rest is for you to just be you, and that will involve you being imperfect. The second part is letting God be God, who is perfectly perfect. And then, you can see what happens. You can see what happens when you invite the perfect God to love you, imperfections and all.

So, why do we pray? We pray because prayers can change the outcomes in our lives. We pray because even reluctant prayers can turn into passionate prayers when we turn them over to God. Finally, our prayers open pathways into our lives for love to grow. Without prayer, we lose the connection to love that we need to grow.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Have you ever felt like your life is like a roller coaster? When in your life was that time?
  2. What did your prayer life look like during that time?
  3. Why do you think most people have trouble trusting God to provide a safe place for rest in prayer? Why do we always seem to forget to pray during hectic times in our lives?
  4. What do you need to pray for at this moment?
  5. How does knowing, that your imperfections doesn’t make God love you less, allow you to be honest and open with God?