Riding the Waves - Part 2 "Troubleshooting Tips"
Getting to Know You
What did you find uplifting, informative, or challenging about Sunday’s lesson?
Just for fun, who in your family is a “list-maker” and who is a “free-spirit?” Which one better describes you?
If you haven’t already, please pray through Psalm 19. “Praying through” a passage means that you read it aloud, stopping every so often to speak your own thoughts in prayer to God.
Psalm 19 (NCV)
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the skies announce what his hands have made.
2 Day after day they tell the story;
night after night they tell it again.
3 They have no speech or words;
they have no voice to be heard.
4 But their message goes out through all the world;
their words go everywhere on earth.
The sky is like a home for the sun.
5 The sun comes out like a bridegroom from his bedroom.
It rejoices like an athlete eager to run a race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the sky
and follows its path to the other end.
Nothing hides from its heat.
7 The teachings of the Lord are perfect;
they give new strength.
The rules of the Lord can be trusted;
they make plain people wise.
8 The orders of the Lord are right;
they make people happy.
The commands of the Lord are pure;
they light up the way.
9 Respect for the Lord is good;
it will last forever.
The judgments of the Lord are true;
they are completely right.
10 They are worth more than gold,
even the purest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
even the finest honey.
11 By them your servant is warned.
Keeping them brings great reward.
12 People cannot see their own mistakes.
Forgive me for my secret sins.
13 Keep me from the sins of pride;
don’t let them rule me.
Then I can be pure
and innocent of the greatest of sins.
14 I hope my words and thoughts please you.
Lord, you are my Rock, the one who saves me.
What thoughts do you have after praying this prayer? What emotion(s) do you feel after praying this prayer?
In the lesson Sunday, we learned that the problems in our prayers are relational not mechanical. This means that it’s not the formulas of prayer that trip us up; it’s not the posture, the phrases, the outline, etc. What trips us up is being relationally distant from God. Please read the following passage and underline examples of behaviors that make us distant from God.
Mark 7:1-13 (NLT)
One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. 2 They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. 3 (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. 4 Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
6 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’
8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
9 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. 10 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ 11 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’12 In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. 13 And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”
What were some of the things you noticed that make people relationally distant from God?
Are there any other things you can think of that make people relationally distant from God?
It’s important to note that not all formulas are bad. It’s certainly a good idea to wash your hands before you eat! The problem was that the Pharisees judged a person’s morality by this mechanical, formulaic standard.
Can you think of any good formulas, or traditions, within the Christian faith? Are there any habits or patterns in your own prayer life that could be described as formulaic? Please share.
Bringing it Home
What would you like to apply from this week’s study?
In our study Sunday, we learned that we should confess our sins to one another and pray for one another. Are there any sins that you need to confess with your Family Group that you can all pray about? Please be wise about sharing anything sexual or anything that would expose someone else without their consent. These things are better confessed in smaller groups or one on one with a close friend and advisor.