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  1. Q4. (22:43) Did Jesus get "special treatment" because he was the Son of God to have angels help and strengthen him in his spiritual struggle? Do we get that help, too? Jesus could have enlisted the aid of angels to help him through His struggle, but He consciously decided not to (Matt 26:53, 54), so He didn't get "special treatment". This is, of course, because He chose not to take advantage of it. Since we are also sons of God, and "joint heirs" (Romans 8:16-18), we can receive that help also.
  2. Q2. (22:42) Why did Jesus pray that the Father take the cup from him? According to Mark and Matthew, Jesus repeated this prayer three times. Why was he so intense about it? What did this mean? Why was Jesus resisting the Father's will? Or was he? Jesus' humanity was showing at this point. To say that He didn't look forward to the last hours of His life would be an understatement. He sweated drops of blood, which shows just how intense His prayer was and how much anguish He suffered as He wrestled with doing God's will. I think He was intense about it much as we would be in an unpleasant situation that we don't want to face. I don't think Jesus was resisting the Father's will. I believe that in each of the three times He asked for the cup to be taken from Him, He wanted to see if there were any other way possible to save humanity from God's punishment. Alas, there was none.
  3. Q3. (22:42) When Jesus prayed "not my will, but yours be done," was the Father pleased? Why is the Father not pleased when we are passive and uncaring and dispassionate in our prayers that his will be done? What is required for us to pray the prayer of submission with authenticity? The Father was most definitely pleased when Jesus prayed that the Father's will be done, not His. Too often, when we pray for direction, we tell God what our preference is (I'm very guilty of this), hoping that this will somehow influence God. I myself have been in this situation. God becomes displeased because we focus too much on our own desires rather than on His. We simply have to sacrifice our own feelings and pray with sincerity that God's will is done.
  4. Q1. (22:40-41, 45-46) Why did he ask his disciples to pray? What temptation did Jesus know they would be facing? What was the content of their prayer to be? Did they actually pray this prayer diligently? How does the Lord's Prayer word this kind of prayer? Why do you think Jesus wanted to be alone during his own prayer? Jesus asked His disciples to pray because He knew that each of them would be facing different temptations. He knew when He asked them to pray that He'd find them asleep when He returned from talking to the Father. He also knew that they would be tempted in various situations during their ministry after He gave the Great Commission before His ascension to heaven. That night, however, they were to pray that they would not give in to temptation, not that they wouldn't face temptation, an inevitable part of life. I would imagine that, due to the lateness of the hour, they were tired and simply wanted to go to sleep. Jesus found them asleep (hence His rebuke in verse 46), therefore, they were certainly not being diligent in their prayers. We know very well the line in the Lord's Prayer that says, "...and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..." I think Jesus wanted to be alone because He didn't want His disciples to see the angst He experienced as He grappled with the impending culmination of the work that He had come to do and the human tendency to shirk the most unpleasant fate that awaited Him.
  5. Q2. (1:7-11) What is the basis of Nehemiah's appeal? How does he argue his case before God? What do we learn from this about intercession? Nehemiah brings back to God's memory the promise He made to the Israelites: "Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.'" (1:8-9) Nehemiah reminds God of the promises He made to gather the Israelites from exile and then appeals to God for His servants. I think it helps to learn from Nehemiah's situation that when interceding for someone, one should be familiar with the Word. How can one know what God has promised if he hasn't read about them in the Word?
  6. Q4. (2:4) What danger is Nehemiah in? Why does he pray quickly and silently before he answers the king? How does this quick "arrow prayer" relate to the four months of prayer he has just finished? Nehemiah faces banishment from the king. He prays quickly and silently because he knows that the time for him to act is upon him. The "arrow prayer" was somewhat of a "post script" to all the praying he had done four months previously.
  7. Q3. (1:11) In what way does Daniel's situation compared to Esther's? Why does God place his people in strategic positions today in the community, in business, in the military, in government? What responsibilities do we have to God that can cause danger to our positions and our lives? Has this ever happened to you? How do you pray in situations like this? Both Daniel and Esther faced death if they chose to do what was right. They both won out and God allowed them to rise victoriously as a result of their willingness to lay aside their personal feelings and therefore take risks. God places people in strategic positions today to show Himself mighty and to see whether those He places in these position will maximize their opportunity to witness for Him or will simply make excuses and fail to do what He has placed them there for. We owe God our very lives and must obey Him even when a situation appears to threaten our very existence. Through obedience, we show that we trust God will take care of us and protect us. Just the other day, I heard a minister teach that through obedience, we are afforded the 5 P's: God's presence, His power, His protection, His provision and His promotion. I can't say that I have experienced anything like this, but I do hope that when the time comes, I will have the courage to respond in a way that would please God.
  8. Q1. (1:1-6) Why does Nehemiah pray day and night for four months? Why does he fast and weep? Isn't that excessive? Nehemiah truly emphathizes with the Israelites and wants very much to interecede for them. I don't believe his praying day and night for four months is excessive. On the contrary, I think this shows his commitment to the cause of the Israelites and how much he wanted them to be restored and put back in right standing with God.
  9. Q4. (9:15-19) What was Daniel's essential prayer? What are the various grounds of Daniel's appeal? How did God answer the prayer (see Daniel 9:20-23)? Daniel's essential prayer was one of intercession. He acknowledges and confesses the sins of Israel, takes the sins and confesses them as is own, and tells God that the punishment meted out was just. He then pleas for mercy and forgiveness. While Daniel was yet praying, Gabriel (presumably the one who announced to Mary that she would birth Jesus) appears and tells Daniel about the Seventy "Sevens" by which the Israelits will be allowed to return and rebuild Jerusalem.
  10. Q1. (9:1-3) What encourages Daniel to seek God for the forgiveness and restoration of Israel to its homeland? What trait on Daniel's part brings this encouragement to pass? Daniel seeks out God's forgiveness after learning of the punishment God dealt the Israelites for their sin. I think Daniel feels so bad for them that he is moved to intercede for them. He seems to feel compassion.
  11. Q3. (9:5) Since Daniel is such a righteous man in his generation, why does he identify himself with the sins of his people? He didn't commitment them. How does this compare to how Jesus sought forgiveness for his people? I think it was important that Daniel didn't "flaunt" his righteousness when he interceded for Israel. His identification of himself with the sins of the people took humility and a very acute awareness of God's holiness and righteousness, as well as His sense of justice. We must be very careful when approaching Almighty God that we don't make presumptions about being righteous. Humility is of utmost importance. Though Daniel was a righteous man, he probably commited sins also. Jesus, on the other hand, didn't sin, though He took the sins of the world upon Himself, thus obtaining forgiveness for all humanity.
  12. Q2. (9:3-4a) What is Daniel's demeanor as he prays? How does he prepare? Why is this so important in this case? In what ways might you and I prepare for intercession? Daniel's demeanor is that of humility as he prays. He does not approach God before researching the Scriptures. He also fasted and clothed himself in sackcloth and ashes. This was important because Daniel knew how terribly wrong the Israelites were and that they did indeed deserve to be punished for their sins against God. Daniel humbling himself paved the way for the Israelites to receive God's forgiveness and restoration. Today, we would probably ttake the same approach, only that instead of using sackcloth and ashes, God would only require a contrite, sincere heart as we made intercession for those in need of it.
  13. Q4. (139:23-24) Why is this prayer of surrender to God so difficult to pray? When was the first time you prayed this kind of prayer to God? What was the result? Can a person be a genuine disciple without praying this kind of prayer? It is human nature to want to be in control. Having to surrender control to God is difficult for most people, me included. I don't think a person can be a genuine disciple without praying this kind of prayer because a disciple is one who follows a particular teaching. If a person is unwilling to surrender and adapt Jesus' teachings, then he can't be considered to be a disciple.
  14. Q3. (139:13-16) How is an awareness of God's involvement in your prenatal development meant to encourage you? What might this mean to a young woman carrying a child? A young father-to-be? Why is such knowledge overwhelming to us? We should have comfort knowing the fact that God knew us before we were ever conceived. God's involvement in my prenatal development is encouraging because He is intimately familiar with me. A woman about to give birth can be comforted knowing that God's hand is there to protect her baby. A young father-to-be can be comforted in knowing that the baby he helped to create will be protected by God. We can be overwhelmed by this knowledge because to know that God is familiar with every detail of our creation means that nothing is hidden from Him and that no matter where we are, God is there and knows everything that is hidden.
  15. In verses 5 and 10, how does God's hand touch the psalmist? Have you ever felt God's hand on you in a special way? Was it for your good? What was it like? God used His hand for protection and guidance. David feels that there is no escape from God because there is no place on earth he could go away from Him. I'm reminded of the passage in the last part of Romans Chapter 8 that "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[ neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." If I were to really think back over my life, I'm quite sure I could cite several instances where God's hand was on me. They were mostly for my good.
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