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SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2-1st Quarter 2024--Teach us to Pray

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Richard Myers:

1st Quarter  Lesson 2                                                                                                                                                                                        Jan 06 - Jan 12

Teach us to Pray

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

Richard Myers:
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study

Psalms 105:5 ; Colossians 3:16 ; James 5:13 ; Psalms 44:1-26 ; Psalms 22:1-31 ; Psalms 13:1-6 ; Psalms 60:1-5 .

    Memory Text:
    “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples’ ” (Luke 11:1 ).

A belief that only spontaneous, unlearned prayer is real prayer appears to be prevalent among some Christians. However, Jesus’ disciples were immensely rewarded when they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. God placed a prayer book, the Psalms, at the heart of the Bible, not simply to show us how God’s people of ancient times prayed but also to teach us how we can pray today.

From the earliest ages, the Psalms have shaped the prayers of God’s people, including Jesus’ prayers (1 Chronicles 16:7 ,9 ; Nehemiah 12:8 ; Matthew 27:46 ; Ephesians 5:19 ). This week we will look at the role the Psalms played in helping God’s people traverse their life journey and grow in their relationship with God. We should remember that the Psalms are prayers and, as such, are invaluable, not only for their theological insight but also for the ways they can enrich and transform our individual and communal prayers.

Praying the Psalms has helped many believers establish and maintain regular and fulfilling prayer lives.

This week we will continue to look at the Psalms, especially in the context of times when things are not going great for us.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, January 13.

Richard Myers:
Sunday    January 7
Fostering the Use of the Psalms in Prayer

Read Psalms 105:5 ; Colossians 3:16 ; James 5:13 . What is the place of the Psalms in the believer’s worship experience?

A simple way of introducing the Psalms into daily life is to devote time each day to the reading of a psalm, beginning with Psalms 1:1-6 , and following the order given in the psalter. Another way is to read the psalms that correspond to your present situation, whatever it happens to be: there are psalms of lament, the psalms of communal lament, the thanksgiving psalms, hymns, penitential psalms, the wisdom psalms (seeking God’s wisdom and guidance), historical psalms, psalms containing anger and rage, and pilgrimage psalms. Over the course of this quarter, we will be looking at many of them and studying these psalms in the context in which they appear.

How, then, are we to read the Psalms?

First read the psalm, engaging in simple reflection, and then pray. Ruminating over the psalm involves reflection on the various aspects of the psalm: the way the psalmist addresses God and the reasons for the prayer. Consider how your situation corresponds to the psalmist’s experience and how the psalm might be able to help you articulate your experience. You will be amazed at how often you will find yourself being able to resonate and relate to what you read there.

If something in the psalm challenges you, ponder, for example, whether the psalm corrects your present false hopes about something you are facing. Contemplate the psalm’s message in the light of Christ’s person and salvific work and the long-term hope Christ’s work offers us. As we know, or should know, it always helps to look at everything in the Bible in light of Christ and the Cross.

Also, look for new motives for prayer that the psalm supplies, and think about their importance for you, your church, and the world. Ask God to put His Word on your heart and mind. If the psalm corresponds to the situation of someone you know, intercede in prayer for that person. The point is, the Psalms cover so many aspects of life, and we can be enriched by reading and absorbing into our hearts what they are saying to us.

What does it mean to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16 )?

If we read the whole verse, it helps to better understand what is means. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." When we allow grace to come into the heart, we will sing praises to the Lord. It is by beholding His grace that we are transformed into His character (2 Cor. 3:18).

Why is reading the Bible the first and most crucial step for that experience?

Richard Myers:
Monday   January 8
Trust in Times of Trouble

All Christians know, and have experienced, times of despair and suffering, times when they have wondered what the Lord is doing, or why the Lord is allowing these things to happen to them. The psalmists themselves went through similar things. And, through divine inspiration, they recorded what they had experienced.

Read Psalms 44:1-26 .

1 We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.

2 How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.

3 For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

4 Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

5 Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

6 For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

7 But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

8 In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

9 But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.

10 Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves.

11 Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.

12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price.

13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.

14 Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.

15 My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,

16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger.

17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.

18 Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;

19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;

21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.

24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?

25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.

26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake.

What is it saying to us, and why is this relevant to believers in all ages?

This is a prayer for Israel who were not following the Lord. Is it true today for modern day Israel? Yes. How about for all ages? Much of the prayer is relevant for all.

The selectiveness of Psalms in church worship services often reflects the exclusiveness of moods and words that we express in our communal prayers. Such restrictiveness may be a sign of our inability or uneasiness to engage the dark realities of life. Though we may sometimes feel that God treats us unfairly when suffering hits us, we do not find it appropriate to express our thoughts in public worship or even in private prayer.

God is fair. He never treats one unfairly. We may not understand why God treats us in such a manner, but the Word teaches us that "all" things work for our good if we abide in Jesus.

This reluctance could cause us to miss the point of worship. The failure to express honestly and openly our feelings and views before God in prayer often leaves us in bondage to our own emotions. This also denies us confidence and trust in approaching God. Praying the Psalms gives an assurance that, when we pray and worship, we are not expected to censure or deny our experience.

Psalms 44:1-26 , for example, can help worshipers articulate their experience of innocent suffering freely and adequately. Praying the Psalms helps people experience freedom of speech in prayer. The Psalms give us words that we can neither find nor dare to speak. “Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from Your way; but You have severely broken us in the place of jackals, and covered us with the shadow of death” (Psalms 44:18-19 ).

Notice, however, how Psalms 44:1-26 begins. The writer is talking about how, in the past, God had done great things for His people. Hence, the author expresses his trust in God and not “in my bow” (Psalms 44:6 ).

Despite this, trouble has still come to God’s people. The list of woe and lament is long and painful. However, even amid all this, the psalmist cries out for God to deliver, to “redeem us for Your mercies’ sake” (Psalms 44:26 ). That is, even amid the trouble, he knows the reality of God and His love.

Amen! And we ought to also.

How can drawing on past times, when God’s presence felt very real, help you deal with the times in which troubles make you think that God is far away?

God is never far away for those who are seeking truth. God is very far away from those who have harden the heart past being made new. Trials are to bring us closer to
God and are not only to glorify Him, but for our good also. From Romans 5:

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Richard Myers:
Tuesday   January 9
A Psalm of Despair

Praying the Psalms does more than enable worshipers to articulate their prayers freely. The Psalms supervise their experience according to God’s standards and make it bearable by introducing hope and reassurance of God’s presence.

Read Psalms 22:1-31 .

1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

2 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.

5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.

10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.

11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

23 Ye that fear

the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.

24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.

26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

28 For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations.

29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.

30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

What can we learn from this psalm about trust in God amid great suffering?

The lamenting words of Psalms 22:1 may help suffering people express their grief and sense of loneliness: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?” (NKJV).

These words, of course, have become famous among Christians because they were the same words that Jesus Himself, while on the cross, uttered, showing us how central to Christ’s experience the Psalms were (see Matthew 27:46 ).

However, even amid the suffering and trials, these words also are expressed: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You” (Psalms 22:22 ).

In other words, though these exact feelings may not coincide with the author’s present dilemma, the psalmist was still expressing his faith in God and declaring that, no matter what, he would still praise God.

The point is, by giving us words to pray, the Psalms teach us to look beyond our current situation and, by faith, to see the time when our life will be restored by God’s grace.

Praying the Psalms thus takes worshipers to new spiritual horizons. The Psalms let worshipers express their feelings and understandings, but they are not left where they presently are. The worshipers are led to abandon their burdens of pain, disappointment, anger, and despair before God and to trust in Him, whatever their circumstances.

The movement from lament to praise observed in many psalms is suggestive of the spiritual transformation that the believers experience when they receive divine grace and comfort in prayer.

How can we learn to see beyond our immediate trials and, thus, trust in God’s goodness, whatever we face now?

When filled with the Holy Spirit (converted) we will by study understand that trials are for our good and God's glory. Jesus gave us an example of what trials will not only for us as we abide in Jesus, but glorify our God.


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