Prayer can feel mysteriously difficult, boringly perfunctory, and frustratingly out of our control. Often prayer brings us comfort, but sometimes, especially when there aren’t easy resolutions or prayers go unanswered, it intensifies and focuses our sense of longing, pain and care.
Prayer is all about coming before God to face life head-on, with all its jagged edges of mystery, joy, longing and agony. In fact, says pastor Matt Woodley, prayer is actually a real encounter with the untamable God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore our experience of it should reflect the power, mystery, and even risk of entering into relationship with the Lord of the universe.
Woodley strips away all the religious-speak and presuppositions we have about prayer, distilling it to the essence of wholehearted engagement with the living God. Exploring an earthy, unadorned, jargon-free approach to prayer, Woodley unpacks a host of fresh synonyms for God-encounters, including prayer as desperation, invocation, mystery, astonishment, groaning and even absence.
This 8-session group Bible study is based on The Folly of Prayer: Practicing the Presence and Absence of God by Matthew Woodley. It’s best used as an accompaniment to the book. It includes:
Introduction for Group Leaders
Study #1 - Prayer as Guttural Groaning
(Based on Chapter 1)
Study #2 - Prayer as Desperation
(Based on Chapter 3)
Study #3 – Prayer as Mystery
(Based on Chapter 4)
Study #4 - Prayer as Absence
(Based on Chapter 5)
Study #5 – Prayer as a Long, Slow Journey
(Based on Chapter 7)
Study #6 – Prayer as a Dangerous Activity
(Based on Chapter 8)
Study #7 – Prayer as Paying Attention
(Based on Chapter 9)
Study #8 – Prayer as Feeling God’s Heartbeat
(Based on Chapter 10)
Total number of pages—20