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HOME FELLOWSHIP MINISTRY LESSON OUTLINE FROM GROWING DEEP IN GOD

INTRODUCTION - BROAD LESSON STRUCTURE 1. REFERENCE i. These lesson notes have been prepared based on the book Growing Deep In God by Edmund Chan. ii. As far as possible, these notes have been prepared chronologically in accordance to the chapters of the book. Where common themes run across certain chapters, these chapters in question have been integrated as a single lesson. The chapter reference will be included for each lesson, to facilitate referencing to the book. iii. Certain chapters of the book have been omitted from the lesson notes, for reason that these chapters are more personal and testimonial in nature to the author. KEY QUOTES i. This section contains salient quotations that are the embodiment of the chapter (s) concerned. KEY TRUTHS i. This section is intended to encourage participants to identify scriptural principles that can be gleaned from each weeks study materials. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS i. This section is the companion tool provided from the book for a deeper understanding into the principles gleaned from each chapter. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS TOWARDS GROWING DEEPER IN GOD AND PRAYER i. There will be various practical prayer applications introduced throughout this 13-week series that will encourage the participants to respond to the call of God towards a deeper life of prayer. Details of these will be released as the lesson progresses.

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LESSON 1 (BOOK CHAPTER 1) THEOLOGY AND PRAYER PART 1

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KEY QUOTES FROM CHAPTER Page 16 Edmund teaches us that prayer is essentially a work of the Holy Spirit, not only leading us into what we are to pray, but more importantly, revealing the One to whom we pray. In beholding Him, the Holy Spirit gradually transforms us into Gods likeness. The deep joy of prayer is thus beholding Him, becoming more like Him, experiencing His intimate friendship and seeing God doing exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think to build His Church among the nations.

Page 18 Prayer is an absolutely essential curriculum in the arena of disciple making. Crucial to both authentic discipleship and intentional disciple making, prayer is fundamentally vital for developing spiritually qualified labourers for the Kingdom of God. Yet regrettably, prayer has been grossly neglected in many ministries today. We impart knowledge and we develop ministry skills. But the cultivation of a consecrated piety through a deep prayer life is often sorely overlooked in disciple making. It is indeed a legitimate concern that the evangelical church is producing disciples who are exceedingly busy in ministry, but evidently weak in prayer. I am totally convinced that the key to world evangelisation lies in multiplying spiritually qualified labourers who would rise up and pray. People who would grow deep in God and who would lead others to grow deep in Him. This is the greatest need of the hour multiplying authentic disciples who are praying Kingdom prayers to ignite Kingdom action for Kingdom advance! We need people who know God. For indeed, the people who know their God will display strength and take action. (Daniel 11.32)

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KEY TRUTHS (Adapted from Growing Deep In God) # 1 THE GOD OF HOW MUCH MORE a. Prayer is essentially a work of the Holy Spirit. He will not only lead us into what we are to pray but more importantly, He reveals the One to whom we pray. The Holy Spirit desires to reveal to us, in full measure, a continued revelation of who God is. Understanding who God is, is key to an intimate relationship with God and a deeper prayer life in Him.

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Right theology produces right prayer. In Luke 11.1-13, Jesus gives us a glimpse of God. Here is the big picture of Luke 11. The disciples were watching Jesus pray. They felt they were on holy ground. They went up to Jesus and said in effect, We dont know what you were praying Lord, but there must be a formula. Teach us to pray as John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. Give us a formula to recite in our prayers. So Jesus acceded to their request and gave them a simple prayer that we have come to know as the Lords Prayer. But He did not stop there. There was something else more important for His disciples to grasp. So He told them a parable in order to explain to them a dynamic principle of prayer. In His reply, He gave them 3 things;

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An approved pattern Jesus gave them a blueprint of prayer contained in the Lords Prayer, a prayer that we are still called to follow today.

ii. An astounding parable More than just a prescribed formula to prayer, Jesus also gave them something that is beyond. It is often said that this parable teaches about perseverance. So we presume that in Luke 11.5-8, Jesus was teaching His disciples about persistence in prayer. On the surface, it is true that Jesus was pointing to the fact that we must have persistence in prayer. However, while persistence in prayer is a good principle, we will totally miss what Jesus was talking about if we think this was the parables primary emphasis. If we understand this parable to be primarily about persistence, it gives us a warped theology and an entirely erroneous picture of God. We wrongly assume that God is like the friend who refused to get up because He was already asleep! This is wrong theology. The Bible says in Psalm 121 that God neither slumbers nor sleeps. Furthermore, it wrongly assumes that God is like the sleeping friend who is not only asleep, but is most reluctant to get up until we persistently bang at His door. We would be embracing an entirely wrong theology of a reluctant God, as a result of which, we would end up with an entirely wrong theology of prayer! We subconsciously see prayer as twisting the arm of a reluctant God until He says, Okay, I give up. Stop pestering me. Ill bless you! This is a totally misguided picture of the fatherly heart of a generous God. If we base our prayers on such a weak theology of a reluctant God, our prayers become a difficult duty rather than a grateful delight. Jesus was talking about something totally opposite. God is not reluctant to bless He is exceedingly ready and desirous to bless! This is something absolutely radical.

You see, when Jesus told this parable, He set it up in such a way that He was using the Jewish pedagogy of contrast, which the Jewish teachers often used. No doubt His disciples would be familiar with it. So essentially at verse 9, Jesus was in fact saying But God is not like that! Therefore, I say to you, ask, and it How do we know that this is the meaning of the parable? Because of its context. Immediately after the parable, Jesus gave the principle, which is the key to unlocking the meaning of the parable itself! His point was because God is not like the reluctant friend but is more than ready to give, therefore, ask and it shall be given.

iii. An abiding principle In verses 11-13, Jesus shed light on the abiding principle of prayer. It is no longer just gritting your teeth and pressing on to persevere in prayer. It is no longer having to keep asking and not letting up your efforts. Suddenly prayer is no longer a right formula, a performance that we must get right in order to pray effectively. Rather, the entire emphasis of prayer is on who God is, not our technique or choice of words. For now, we have a glorious picture before us, of the kind of God we call Father. He is the God of the how much more! Prayer is coming boldly in the name of Jesus to the God of the how much more who is just waiting to bless. Finally, we are getting our theology right. Finally, we have a sound theology of prayer. We are no longer deceived by the flawed notion of a reluctant God who folds His arms and says, Sorry, I will only answer if you are good enough, if you perform correctly, if you say the right words and if you keep repeating them. We are no longer labouring under the delusion that we pray to a God who shouts, You can do better than that! Rather, we are moved to see the God who truly wants to bless. The God who wants to bless His children over and above what we ask or imagine how much more! Finally, we are integrating right theology with prayer. Richard C. Trench said, Prayer is not overcoming Gods reluctance; it is laying hold of His highest willingness. When we understand this, we become very God-centered in our prayers.

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The point to the abovementioned parable is therefore, NOT that God will hear us because of our repeated asking, but rather, because of our boldness and our faith in Him. Such efficacy in prayer is the direct result of understanding the character and ways of God. Do not miss the most important thing. Prayer is not about you prayer is all about God! It is not about how deep or how great your prayer is, or how long or eloquent your prayer is. Prayer is all about who God is! Jesus was essentially saying this in effect to His disciples, You have missed the picture altogether. You dont understand because youre thinking of prayer entirely in relation to yourself your initiative, your action, your performance and your words! The significance of the parable is that parable is not about what we say or do prayer is entirely about who God is. Prayer and theology must be integrated because prayer is entirely contingent upon who God is!

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When we see this, our faith is deepened, our prayers are empowered and our lives are transformed. For to those who ask, it shall most readily be given. By those who seek, He shall most readily be found. And to those who knock, it shall most readily be opened. Herein lies theology and prayer integrated and inseparable.

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS a. b. c. If you could ask Jesus one question about prayer, what would that be? What have you learnt about the basic disposition of God toward answering your answers? Study Hebrews 4.14-16. How does the priesthood of Jesus contribute to your concept of God? How does this affect your walk with God? Some believe in the myth that prayer is overcoming the reluctance of God. List two other myths about prayer that you are sometimes tripped up by.

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