Session 8: The Power of Prayer

Follow up resources for participants

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS TO REFLECT ON:

 

8A:

  • Have you ever prayed or gone to a religious service? What was it like?
  • If you pray: Why do you pray? What’s your usual way of praying?
  • If you don’t pray: What holds you back?
  • What other ideas or questions strike you from this part of the film?

 

8B:

  • Do you think that prayer can make a difference to people’s lives?
  • Do you know other people who pray? Do you know why or how they pray?
  • If God is all powerful, why do you think he sometimes seems to ignore our prayers?
  • What other ideas or questions strike you from this part of the film?

 

8C:

  • Why do you think many people find it hard to pray?
  • What do you think about the idea that God is listening to us and wants to answer our prayers?
  • What do you think about the idea of praying with other people?
  • What other ideas or questions strike you from this part of the film?

 

OTHER READINGS TO REFLECT ON:

KEY PASSAGES FROM THE FILM

8A – “What is prayer?”

A traditional definition of prayer goes like this: Prayer is “raising up the mind and the heart to God”. We need to stretch out to God, to look up and to look beyond. This is part of prayer. But you could also say that prayer is “opening the mind and the heart to God”, because he is not just “up there”, he is present with us here, whether we are praying or not.

There are so many different ways of praying.

If you listen carefully you’ll hear that nearly every Christian prayer finishes with the words “in the name of Jesus” or “through Christ our Lord” or something similar. We never pray alone. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. He unites us with Jesus, the Saviour, who brings our prayer to God the Father.

8B – “Does prayer make a difference?”

Sometimes, when we pray, we feel very close to God. There is an experience of peace and joy and consolation.

At other times, when we pray, we can feel very empty and alone. We can be full of doubts or distractions or disappointment or anger. Or we’re just tired.

Sometimes we need to learn that God is beyond us. We can’t put him in a box. There is darkness and mystery and silence.

The difficulties help us to go deeper, to be faithful. They teach us to be patient and humble. God is God; he is not in our control. Sometimes we have to wait.

8C – “How to pray”

All that matters at the beginning is that you begin. And in fact one of my favourite sayings about prayer is this: the secret of prayer is to pray. You just have to start; to take a first step.

And another saying I often share with people is this: pray as you can, not as you can’t. In other words, find a way of praying that is helpful for you, that works. There is no pressure. Prayer is not a competition.

But if you don’t know where to start, let me give you two suggestions. First, find a quiet space, maybe in your room at the beginning or end of the day, and simply talk to God in your own words.

My second suggestion, after personal prayer, is for you to go to your local church and join in their Sunday worship. It will help you to have a much bigger experience of prayer: of the Christian community coming together in praise and worship and song.