“Prayer: Does it Make any Difference?”
Chapter 2: View from Above
Page 23: Philip states, “It occurs to me, thinking about prayer, that most of the time I get the direction wrong. I start downstream with my own concerns and bring them to God. I inform God, as if God did not already know. I plead with God as if hoping to change God’s mind and overcome divine reluctance. Instead I should start upstream where the flow begins.”
1. What does it mean on page 23 to join the stream?
2. Explain “Grace, like water descends to the lowest part. Streams of mercy flow.” (p.23) Can you see a place in your life where this might apply?
3. Are you standing on the bank of that stream? Pleading with God?
4. As we contemplate jumping in the stream, we might visualize that sometimes streams can be calm and peaceful, and other times they can really bump you around. But God tells us in 1st Corinthians 10:13 that “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
a. If God is faithful to you, can you be faithful to God?
Page 26: Philip writes about “taking a break,” “let God be God,” “I must uncreate the world I have carefully fashioned to further my ends and advance my cause.” Along with these actions, Philip challenges us with the notion of being still. (Psalms 46:10)
1. Is being still even possible? Can you see yourself being still? Even for a minute?
2. Reflect back through your experiences and think of a time when you were calm, standing in a calm, still, beautiful place. How did that help clear your head? When you left that place, were you able to face decisions with a little more confidence?
3. On page 29, Philip talks about prayer becoming a “realignment of everything.” As a follower of Christ, what are the prayers you would pray with God if you were standing side by side.
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