"Pray without ceasing"
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Scripture tells us to pray "without ceasing... at all times... in everything... continually." 1
We are to "Walk by the Spirit." 2
So... in our time together, we will listen prayerfully, read scripture prayerfully and discuss scripture prayerfully. We will pray the scriptures. When we pray scripture, we pray the heart of God.
The four steps are:
- Opening Prayers
- Read Prayerfully
- Discuss Prayerfully
- Closing Prayers
Each step builds progressively on the previous step. Please do not skip any part of any step...
There are two versions of the Four Step Bible Study. To see Version 2 of the Four Step Bible Study, click here.
Here is the agenda for Version 1...
Step 1) Opening Prayers
Read a scripture about prayer. Click here for suggestions.
Offer silent prayers of agreement as the Group Leader opens the meeting with audible prayers of praise and requests for understanding.
(If you don't know what to pray, look halfway down the page for "What Can I Pray?" )
Step 2) Read Prayerfully
a) Read Today's Scripture silently.
(Look at the Group Leader when finished. Subchapter 7.5 has reading selections.)
b) Read the Context Scripture to God.
(Group Leader only. Offer praise while reading.)
c) Read the Focus Scripture Silently.
(Leader encourages members to read to God. This may be awkward at first, as new things often are. As an alternative, Leader may encourage members to read, seeking the heart of the passage. Look at the Group Leader when finished.)
Step 3) Discuss Prayerfully
a) What does the Focus Scripture say about Man? (Which Verse?)
b) What does it say about God?
c) What does it say that we can Pray?
(Praise & Requests)
(Members silently ask God for revelation as they audibly discuss a-c.)
Step 4) Closing Prayers
What to Pray:
- Pray the prayers discussed in Step 3
- Pray Scripture (Read some verses to God)
- Pray specific needs audibly*
* Prayer needs are injected into the prayer time without talking about them first. So, instead of sharing before praying, you share by praying.
How to Pray:
The Group Leader chooses one of the following group prayer styles:
- One at a Time
- All Audibly
- Silent Left
Style 1: One at a Time
One person at a time prays audibly with all others praying silently and simultaneously in agreement. Pray clockwise, ending with the Leader. Or pray spontaneously on a volunteer basis. If none of the members Pray Scripture to God, the Leader should do so.
Style 2: All Audibly
All pray audibly at the same time.
Style 3: Silent Left
All members pray the prayers discussed in Step 3 for the person on their left for a few minutes (silently). Then, on a volunteer basis, various members will pray their specific prayer needs audibly. Others will pray silent prayers of agreement as needs are prayed audibly.
Philippians Prayer Model: PPP
This prayer model may be used in any of the three prayer styles. It comes from Philippians 4:6-8. PPP stands for:
We tell God the Problem, Pray a request regarding that problem, then Praise Him... Its PPP. There is much evil, pain and suffering in this current age. If we dwell on those things in our personal thought life or in conversations with others, peace and joy are lost. But, in PPP, peace and continuous joy are received (Philippians 4:4-8).
So, one member will briefly mention a single problem to God with prayer and praise. Then that member will pause. Then another member will do the same. Then another and another. Each member may do PPP one or many times in the meeting. In this process, a habit is established regarding what Christians do when a problem appears. We present the Problem to God, Pray and Praise.
By God's power and grace, the PPP in the Philippian Prayer Model can change attitudes and lives. For a more detailed explanation, read about it in subchapter 4.14 titled, "How to Lead a Prayer Meeting" or click here.
Hint: For explanations for any step click the arrow at the top right to open the Leader's Guide.
Step 5) Live Prayerfully... Walk by the Spirit!
This step extends beyond the time of today's meeting.
Scripture tells us that we should pray "without ceasing... at all times... in everything... continually."1 So, it should be no surprise that we are to live prayerfully.
The most important step in my quest to walk by the Spirit was this: To read scripture in an intimate way. Reading God's words to God is the best way for me to do that at this time.
You can have a joyful intimate time with God every day. Click here to use the Four Step Bible Study in your personal daily devotion.
The scriptures have shown us what to pray in every occasion. See the section below titled "What Can I Pray?" You will see twenty-five prayers which are endorsed by scripture. If you will prayerfully meditate on those prayer scriptures for many months... until the Holy Spirit has woven those scriptural prayers into your daily life, then you see what it means to "walk by the Spirit."
Prayer is a critical ingredient if you want to walk by the Spirit. Why? We hear the Spirit by prayer (prayers for wisdom, revelation, knowledge of God's will and etc.). We also obey the Spirit by prayer (prayers for greater love, faith, obedience, and etc.). Since it is by prayer that we hear and obey the Spirit, it is by prayer that we "walk by the Spirit." To hear and obey the Spirit is to "walk by the Spirit" (subchapter 4.7).
Many of the things which the Holy Spirit does are listed below under the title "Works of the Holy Spirit." Consider these as you meditate prayerfully on the scriptural prayers in "What Can I Pray?" below. You will see that many of the works of the Holy Spirit are God's answers to your scriptural prayers.
What Can I Pray?
Scripture reveals specific things that we can pray. Below are twenty-five examples. The subchapter where each prayer is explained is shown in parenthesis:
Knowledge of God's will (4.2c),
Enlightened eyesight and revelation (4.2d),
Spiritual Gifts (4.6d)
Words for witnessing (4.2b)
Intimacy with God (4.3j,d)
Escape from temptation (4.3h)
Deliverance from spiritual weakness (4.3k)
Open doors for the Gospel (4.4c)
God's word would spread rapidly (4.4h)
More workers in God's kingdom (4.4a)
Blessing on enemies (4.4g)
Help in time of war (4.6c)
"For this cause, we also, since the day we heard this, don't cease praying and making requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects," (Colossians 1:9-10).
EXAMPLE OF PRAYING SCRIPTURE:
"My Lord, Your apostle Paul prayed repeatedly to You, asking that You fill the members of the Colossian church with knowledge of Your will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, that they may walk worthily of You, to please You in all respects. I praise You, that You will reveal Your will to us as we ask for it. I praise You, that we can know Your will sufficiently, to please You in all respects. I ask that You fill all of us with knowledge of Your will... all for your glory."
MORE ABOUT PRAYING SCRIPTURE
Now you have seen one example of praying scripture, using Colossians 1:9-10. If you would like to experience another example praying scripture, turn to subchapter 7.4, "Lets Pray Scripture Together." You can also learn more about praying scripture in subchapter 1.2. It's titled "PRAY the Scriptures."
Walk by the Spirit
"Walk by the Spirit" is a scriptural term. We see it only in Galatians 5:16 and 5:25. It is the same thing as certain other scriptural terms you may be familiar with. For example: , "Abide in me" or "Remain in me" (John 15:7), "following the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4), "walk in the light" (1John 1:7) and "Fellowship with God"(1 John 1:3 and 2 Corinthians 13:14). All of these terms are synonymous with "Walk by the Spirit". Walking by the Spirit is explained in detail from the scriptures in subchapter 4.7.
Works of the Holy Spirit
Scripture reveals tiers of spiritual authority in the invisible spiritual realm. There is an authority structure in God's kingdom and in the fallen angelic realm as well. Scripture also reveals how the two realms interact. Within God's realm, Jesus was conceived, led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Holy Spirit spoke only what the Father commanded them to speak. Authority within the Trinity has changed over time according to the will of the Father. After Pentecost, the Father caused the Holy Spirit to dwell within believers at the request of the Son, Jesus . These truths are revealed from the scriptures in subchapter 3.1.
The Holy Spirit prophesies, preaches, teaches, speaks through us, provides words for witnessing, testifies, convicts unbelievers, reminds us of scripture, leads, warns and intercedes. He can be resisted and lied to. These truths were revealed from the scriptures in subchapter 3.3.
The Holy Spirit provides power to hope, comprehend, witness and guard the Gospel (subchapter 3.4).
The Holy Spirit regenerates, renews, sanctifies, gives life, seals, brings joy, peace and true confession. He is a gift and a conduit for gifts of God's love (subchapter 3.5)
In Step 1 you prayed silently during a conversation. So, you have experienced watching in prayer (Colossians 4:2-3). In Step 2 you engaged directly with God who is within you as you read God's words to God. In Step 3 you searched scripture for prayers to pray and prayed those prayers. In Step 4 you prayed the scripture. You prayed the heart of God and the will of God. You have had an intimate time with your Lord.
The section titled "Pray Scripture" provided examples of praying the scriptures.
"What Can I Pray?" revealed twenty-five scriptural prayers.
In Step 5 you were admonished to live prayerfully, praying scriptural prayers... to Walk by the Spirit. When you walk by the Spirit, you walk in the light, abide in Christ and have fellowship with God.
For More Information
Additional guidance is in the Leader's Guide, subchapter 7.2. Just click the arrow at the top right of this page to open it. You can move back and forth through each of five subchapters on the Four Step Bible Study by clicking the arrows at the top left and top right of each page.
1) 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6 and Hebrews 13:15, as presented in subchapter 4.12.
2) Galatians 5:16, 25. See subchapter 4.7, "Walk by the Spirit."