Word and Prayer (Discipleship Training)
Word and Prayer: Over the next several lessons, we will turn our attention to what have often been called the “ordinary means of grace.” When we talk about “means of grace,” we are talking about the means (ways, methods, instruments) that God uses to communicate his grace to us.
Then, when we talk about the “ordinary means of grace,” we are making a surprising statement. While God has worked in the past by great signs and wonders, he now communicates his grace through means that look quite ordinary, simple, and weak. Specifically, God has appointed his word, prayer, and the sacraments as the ordinary means by which he will communicate the benefits of Christ’s salvation to his people until Christ comes again.
In this section, we will discuss the word and prayer as effectual means of God’s grace to us, and in the future sections, we will explore the two Christian sacraments—baptism and the Lord’s Supper—and their role in communicating God’s grace to us.
To understand that the Lord has appointed his word and prayer as ordinary means of communicating his grace.
Read and discuss:
- John 16:23: We may pray in Jesus’ name.
- Acts 2:42–27: The early church devoted themselves from the very beginning to the ordinary means of grace.
- Romans 8:26: The Holy Spirit helps us to pray in our weakness.
- 1 Corinthians 2:1–4: Preaching is not proud, lofty speech, but the plain and (humanly) weak proclamation Jesus Christ and him crucified.
- 2 Corinthians 3:12–18: The word of God is the means by which we behold the glory of the Lord, and are transformed into the same image, from one degree of glory to another.
- Ephesians 6:18: We should pray at all times.
- Philippians 4:6: We should be anxious for nothing, but bring everything to the Lord in prayer.
- 1 Timothy 2:1–8: In every place, men should pray for all people, and for those in authority.
- 1 Timothy 4:13: Pastoral ministry must be devoted to the public reading of the Scriptures, exhortation, and teaching.
- 2 Timothy 3:16–4:5: Because all Scripture is profitable for Christians, pastors must preach the word, in season and out of season.
- Revelation 19:10; 22:8–9: We must not pray to angels or to human beings, but only to God.
Read and discuss:
- Why does God use “ordinary” means of grace, rather than extraordinary means of grace?
- How does God use his word to convert sinners to faith, and to build up his people in faith?
- How should we pray? What kinds of prayer does God command and promise to bless?
- Evaluate your own attitude toward God’s word. How might you take God’s word more seriously as the means he has appointed to communicate to you his grace?
- Evaluate your own attitude toward prayer. How might you take prayer more seriously as the means God has appointed to communicated to you his grace?
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