JUL 31 / Sunday – Acts 12:1-17
Overview: We pray, but do we really expect God to answer? And what happens when He does?
01 / Mon – Astonished | Read Acts 12:11-16
Peter had been thrown in prison, awaiting trial, and guarded by four squads of soldiers. Meanwhile, the church was earnestly praying for him. The night before his trial, an angel of the Lord physically brought him out of the prison. When Peter showed up at Mary’s door and a servant announced his presence, how did those prayer warriors react? Ever been astonished by how God answered one of your prayers? Was it because you didn’t think it would really happen?
02 / Tue – Undeserving | Read Jonah 3:4-10 and 4:1-2, 11
Revisit Jonah’s story and look at the events from the Ninevites’ point of view. How did the king and his people respond to Jonah’s message (v. 6-9)? How did God answer their prayers? What was the problem with that, according to Jonah? What was God’s response to Jonah’s complaints? Have you known someone whose prayers were answered but you didn’t think they deserved it? What was your reaction? Has God changed your perspective or are you still mad about it? If so, why?
03 / Wed – Unexpected | Read Exodus 16:1-3
If you could have a conversation with a former Israelite slave in Egypt, he might tell you how they prayed many years for relief and deliverance. And then God answered. After the euphoria wore off, they found that freedom looked different than they had imagined. Have you experienced similar circumstances when God answered a prayer you had been praying for a long time? Was it what you expected? Why or why not?
04 / Thu – Friends | Read Isaiah 41:8 / James 2:23
When kids are little, they spend a lot of time asking their parents for things or grumbling when they don’t like the answers. But after they grow up, relationships change. Many see the wisdom their parents have and will ask for advice. Some parent/child relationships even grow into a friendship. In the beginning, prayer can often be simply requests, which isn’t bad, but as you mature, prayer will become more of a dialogue talking about many things. Where are you in this process?
05 / Fri – Impossible | Read Daniel 2:12-23, 46-49
The wise men of Babylon, including Daniel, served Nebuchadnezzar. The king asked the impossible of them, on threat of death – tell me what I dreamed (I can’t remember) and its meaning…or else! Daniel had spent every day of his captivity, talking with God three times a day. He knew God would hear him. Read his prayer for mercy and his thanks when the mystery was revealed. It can be easy to forget that part once a problem has been resolved. What helps you remember?
06 / Sat – Where to start | Read Matthew 6:9-13 (King James version)
The Lord’s Prayer is well-known and often repeated. It is the model prayer Jesus gave his disciples (and us). Read through it again and look closely at each section. What is the progression? Notice what Jesus prays first before asking anything? Pray this prayer in your own words. Personalize it. When you are specific, it will be easier to recognize when the answers come. Watch for unusual ways he may choose to answer.
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