Session 5: Pray to God


Read this before your meet-up. It will give you some great background information to help make the most of your time together.

At the most basic level, prayer is speaking with God. That sounds like a wonderful activity, but for many Christians, prayer can be a frustrating experience. We know that we should pray, and most of us want to pray more, but we’re often stuck, distracted, or bored.

So how do we pray? You can use the acronym P.R.A.Y. to help keep your prayers focused and fresh.


The most important thing to pray about is God himself. He is worthy of endless praise and he delights in our simple, private worship.

  • What is something incredible about God himself that you can celebrate?
  • Has God done anything that you can thank him for?


We can bring our sins to God with great confidence, because God promises that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

  • How have you lived to serve yourself instead of serving God or others?
  • Is there a command from Scripture that you are struggling to obey?
  • Ask God to help you follow him.


God invites us to cast all of our cares on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). God cares about the things that burden you and longs for you to bring them to him.

  • Do you have any needs? God is able to provide for you. Ask for his help.
  • Who do you know that is suffering now? Ask God to help them.
  • What needs have our missionaries shared? Ask God to support them.
  • Who are you sharing your faith with? Ask God to save them.


We pray, not because we are in control, but because God is. We trust his plan to answer our prayers however he sees fit.

  • Is there an area of your life that you are struggling to trust God? Ask him to help you.
  • Be willing to follow God wherever, saying “not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 26:39).

Even with a framework like P.R.A.Y., prayer can still be challenging. Here are a few more practical tips to aid your prayer life:

  • Make a plan. Winston Churchill said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” Make a plan about when, where, and how you will pray. For example, “I will wake up 30 minutes early every day this week and spend 30 minutes in prayer, using the P.R.A.Y. framework.”
  • Pray Scripture. Often, we get bored in prayer, because we pray the same things about the same things. Instead of intimate communication with God, we feel like we are trudging through a rut. You can bring freshness to your prayer life by praying Scripture. The best place to get started with this is in the Psalms, which are a collection of 150 prayers. Simply read the psalm, phrase-by-phrase, stopping after each phrase and praying whatever comes to your mind.
  • Pray Specifically. Sometimes we try to be vague with our prayers, because we don’t really believe he’s going to act and we want to let him off the hook. But God invites us to bring specific requests before him. This can bring vibrancy and focus to our prayer lives.

Jesus said in John 15:4–5, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

We can’t do anything without God. And so we pray.

God is mighty and invites us close through the death and resurrection of his Son. And so we pray.

Seeing the Kindness of God

The center of the Christian worldview is the kindness and mercy of God, which is seen supremely in the work of Christ (Exodus 34:6–7, 1 Corinthians 2:2), so every session will include a reminder of how this topic points us to God’s unfailing kindness.

God invites us to pray. He promises to hear. We don’t need to earn his ear, he freely invites us to cast all of our cares onto him.

Every command to pray in Scripture is an invitation from God (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Matthew 7:7, Philippians 4:16, Colossians 4:2, Luke 18:1). Why would God give us these commands if he didn’t want us to obey? Instead of hearing commands to pray with guilt, we should see the wonder of God’s grace. He is not rebuking your foolishness for neglecting prayer, he is gently inviting you to come to him with all of your burdens, fears, worries, and sins.

Reflection Questions
Answer these before your meet-up.
  1. Look at the four components of P.R.A.Y. Which of these four come the easiest to you? Which is the most difficult?
  2. What are some obstacles that you have faced in your prayer life?
  3. Why is it important to praise God in our prayer life and not just rush to ask for his help?
  4. What are 1–2 things that you are currently praying for? Are these requests specific or vague?
  5. Who is one non-Christian that you are reading the Bible with? (Or who could you ask to read the Bible with you?) Write a short prayer for them

Meet-Up Guide

review your action step
From your last meetup
  1. Were you able to share God’s Word with other Christians? What happened?
  2. What was challenging about sharing God’s Word with other Christians? Was it rewarding?
  3. What non-Christian are you discipling (or hope to disciple)? How is it going?
review the pre-reading
Answer these questions
  1. How can a framework like P.R.A.Y. be helpful for your prayer life?
  2. Look at the four components of P.R.A.Y. Which of these four come the easiest to you? Which is the most difficult?
  3. Why is it important to remember that God invites us to pray?
Matthew 6:5-15

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: 

      “Our Father in heaven, 

      hallowed be your name. 

      10 Your kingdom come, 

      your will be done, 

      on earth as it is in heaven. 

      11 Give us this day our daily bread, 

      12 and forgive us our debts, 

      as we also have forgiven our debtors. 

      13 And lead us not into temptation, 

      but deliver us from evil. 

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

study questions
Answer these questions in your meet-up
  • What do you know about the context of this passage? Who is speaking? Where?
  • What does this passage teach about how NOT to pray?
  • What does this passage teach about how we should pray?
  • Why should prayer be private, according to this passage?
  • Read the prayer slowly, phrase-by-phrase. What do each of these phrases mean?
  • What are some examples of how we can pray for these requests today? (Remember to be specific!)
  • How does this prayer express complete dependence on God?
application questions
Answer these questions in your meet-up
  • We don’t need to heap up a lot of words, because God loves to hear our prayers. Why does feeling guilty keep us from prayer? What is the right response to that feeling?
  • The Lord’s Prayer starts with several requests related to God’s glory. Why should God’s glory be the center of our prayer life?
  • What are some specific requests for God’s glory that you can pray about?
  • The Lord’s Prayer expresses complete dependence on God. What keeps you from depending on God fully? How can prayer help you?
  • What are 2–3 specific requests that came to your mind while studying this passage, that you hope to start regularly praying for?
Create an action step
Choose one of the following categories to grow your prayer life:
  • Praying more frequently (if you are praying three days each week, start praying every day; if you aren’t praying at all, start praying for five minutes each day).
  • Praying more (if you typically pray for five minutes each day, set a timer and challenge yourself to pray for 15 minutes each day).
  • Praying for others (if you don’t have a habit of praying for others, choose one person in our church to pray for three times each week).
  • Praying Scripture (if you often don’t know what to say when praying, try to pray one psalm each day).
action step:

 I will pray ______________.

Pray together
Pray together to close the meeting

Try praying Psalm 23 together so that the disciple(s) can see what it is like.