Digging Deeper Week Of Jan 22nd

January 21, 2024   /   First Baptist Church Elgin

Day 1

Read: Psalm 145

Background: King David wrote this psalm to praise and exalt God. It is considered one of the greatest psalms of praise in the Psalter. In beautiful poetic form, David emphasizes God’s graciousness, compassion, slowness to anger, and abounding love. He celebrates God’s protection and provision for all He has made. The psalm declares that God is near to all who call on Him in truth, satisfying their desires and hearing their cries.

Key words:

– Near (qarob) – to approach, come near

– Call (qara) – to call out, proclaim

Theological truths:

– God’s omnipresence means He is fully present everywhere (Grudem).

– God’s immanence means He is involved in the details of our lives (Grudem).

– God desires intimate relationship with His children through prayer (Expositor’s).

Questions for reflection:

  1. What attributes of God in this psalm inspire you to pray to Him?

  1. Have you ever struggled to believe that God hears your prayers? Why or why not?

  1. How does it make you feel knowing God is always near and ready to listen when you pray?

Apply it: Set aside 10 minutes today to sit in stillness and silence before God. Don’t bring any requests or thanksgiving to Him, just be with Him.

 

Day 2

Read: Mark 11:12-25

Background: On His way to Jerusalem one morning, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it had no fruit. Later, He drove money-changers from the temple courts. The next day, the disciples saw the fig tree withered. Jesus used the moment to teach them about the power of faith and prayer. He instructed them that if they have faith in God, they can pray effectively for miracles. But He also emphasized the importance of forgiveness in order for their own prayers to be heard.

Key Words:

– Believe (pisteuo) – to trust, have faith in

– Ask (aiteo) – to call, request 

Theological Truths:

– Prayer accomplishes God’s work and will in the world (Grudem).

– God responds to prayers of faith aligned with His will (Bible Knowledge Commentary).

– Faith in Christ gives believers confidence to make bold requests (Expositor’s).

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you fully believe your prayers have power when prayed in faith? Why or why not?

  1. What are some barriers that hinder your faith when you pray? How can you overcome them?

  1. How has your prayer life been impacted when you’ve prayed with bold faith?

Apply it: Pray boldly today for something only God can do. Believe He will answer.

Day 3

Read: Luke 18:1-8

Background: Jesus told a parable illustrating the importance of persistent prayer, even when answers are not immediate. He compared God to an unrighteous judge and a widow to one crying out for justice. Since the judge finally granted her request just to be rid of her, Jesus explained how much more God cares for His people and hears their prayers. Though He may wait, He promises justice for them speedily.

Key Words:

– Persist (enkakeó) – to be constant, persevere

– Justice (ekdíkēsis) – vindication, righteous judgment

Theological Truths: 

– Persistence in prayer demonstrates faith God hears and will answer (Grudem).

– God uses unanswered prayer to build dependence on Him (Expositor’s).

– Waiting on God’s timing proves trust in His perfect will (Bible Knowledge Commentary).

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you tend to pray persistently for extended periods or give up quickly? What causes this?

  1. Why do you think God wants us to be persistent in prayer when answers don’t seem to come?

  1. How can the widow’s perseverance encourage you to keep praying even when you don’t see results?

Apply it: Identify a request you’ve given up praying for. Commit to praying for it consistently this week.

Day 4

Read: Acts 16:16-34

Background: While ministering in Philippi, Paul and Silas were arrested, beaten and imprisoned for casting a spirit of divination out of a slave girl. Around midnight they were praying and singing hymns to God when a great earthquake shook the prison. All the prisoner’s chains fell off and the doors opened. But no one fled. Paul then led the jailer and his whole family to faith in Christ.

Key Words:

– Pray (proseuchomai) – to worship, make requests

– Hymns (humnos) – song of praise, exaltation

Theological Truths:

– Prayer is personal communication with God (Grudem). 

– Singing hymns is a form of worship and aligns us to God’s will (Expositor’s).

– God miraculously answered their urgent prayers (Bible Knowledge Commentary).

Questions for reflection:

  1. When have you earnestly prayed to God during a difficult circumstance? What happened?

  1. Do you think God always immediately answers urgent prayers? Why or why not?

  1. How can Paul and Silas’ example encourage you to pray faithfully in hard times?

Apply it: The next time you face hardship, follow Paul and Silas’ model – pray and worship God for who He is.

Day 5

Read: Philippians 4:4-9

Background: While under house arrest in Rome, Paul wrote this epistle to thank and encourage the Philippians for their love and support. In the letter, he urges them to rejoice always, be anxious for nothing, and bring all their cares and requests to God in prayer with thanksgiving. Paul knew from experience that God’s peace transcends all understanding and guards the hearts of those who seek Him.

Key Words:

– Anxious (merimnáō) – to be overly concerned

– Peace (eirḗnē) – harmony, security

Theological Truths:

– Prayer aligns our will to God’s perfect will and peace (Grudem).

– Thanksgiving prayer combats anxiety by focusing on God (Expositor’s). 

– The Holy Spirit guards believers’ hearts and minds in Christ (Bible Knowledge).

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you turn to prayer when you feel anxious or do something else? What tends to be more effective?

  1. How does prayer with thanksgiving help guard your heart and mind? Can you share an example?

  1. What prayers of thanksgiving can you offer to God today?

Apply it: The next time you feel anxious, stop and pray while thanking God for His presence and peace that surpasses understanding.

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