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The Perfect Mug

By March 27, 2022April 6th, 2022Audio, Discipleship, Home

Matthew Scott — The Perfect Mug — Sunday, March 27th

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In this session we con­tinue to learn about the way prayer – as a prac­tice we build into our lives – works for our for­ma­tion in Christ. Above all, praying the Scrip­tures – par­tic­u­larly the psalms, the prayer-book of Israel – is key. When we do we relin­quish our own words, our own voice, and take up the words gifted to us as Scrip­ture. Praying someone else’s words as our own, and doing this reg­u­larly, trans­forms us. We start the “see” our­selves, and the world, and God himself, as the psalmist does.

Read Psalm 13, verses 1 and 2. The honesty – and bold­ness – is strik­ing. This psalmist is unafraid of com­plain­ing to God, in the strongest of terms.

  1. How honest are your prayers? Are you able to com­plain to God? What would hold you back?

Over time, praying com­plaints from the psalms forms us to become more honest to God, more willing to name what is hard in hopes that he will hear us.

Read Psalm 13, verses 3 and 4. Here the psalmist turns his com­plaint into a prayer for God’s inter­ven­tion. He’s even able to remind God what might happen if He doesn’t answer!

2. What do you refuse to ask God for, and why?
3. How bold are you willing to be in seeking God’s inter­ven­tion? If “not very” is your answer, then why?
4. What would enable you to be more bold?

Over time, praying bold requests from the psalms forms us to become more bold with God.

Read Psalm 13, verses 5 and 6. Note the extra­or­di­nary shift in per­spec­tive: the sit­u­a­tion is past, God has inter­vened, the psalmist will now sing with thanks­giv­ing and praise. Many have won­dered what hap­pened in the temple when this – and many other psalms like it – were per­formed. Did the priests declare God’s coming? Did the musi­cians play an inter­lude? Did the glory fall?

5. What do you expect will happen when you voice a com­plaint and lay your request before God in prayer?
6. How is your expec­ta­tion reflected in the way you con­tinue to pray after doing so?

What­ever hap­pened his­tor­i­cally, the idea is that waiting is built into the struc­ture of prayer. Having pre­sented our com­plaints with honesty and our requests with bold­ness, it makes perfect sense to wait on the Lord who is present with us when we pray to see what He will do in response. Perfect sense – but do we wait?

7. Where does “waiting” figure in your prac­tice of prayer?
8. How could you build it into your way of praying?

When the Lord responds, the psalmist breaks out in thanks­giv­ing and song. This too is God’s gift of for­ma­tion as we pray Psalm 13 and the many others like it: we are formed as those who wait for the Lord, and who respond with praise and faith­ful tes­ti­mony when He shows Himself.

To finish, pray Psalm 13 together in its three move­ments. If you’re with others, have one person speak the first two verses, then give space for anyone to speak out the “how long?” of their own sit­u­a­tion. Have the reader read the third and fourth verses, then give space for anyone to speak out the “answer me, Lord, else …!” of their own sit­u­a­tion. Then wait quietly before the Lord for five minutes, to allow Him to respond to you. Finally, the reader reads the last two verses, and every­one speaks out their thanks­giv­ing and dec­la­ra­tions of faith. (If you’re on your own, you get to be both reader and responder!)

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