Think of a list of spiritual practices and close to the top you’ll usually find prayer. Prayer is foundational—even expected on a checklist of spiritual behaviors. But anyone honestly experimenting with prayer has found it difficult, rewarding and even confusing. Try praying and you’ll likely be met with God’s generous answers as well as His deafening silence at times. It’s not enough just to ask how we should pray. You might find it helpful to also ask why we should pray in the first place.

What are your earliest memories of talking to God in prayer? What were those prayers like?

Jesus modeled all kinds of behaviors. Read Luke 11:1. What did the disciples ask Jesus to teach them? Why would the disciples have asked Jesus to instruct them on prayer? How are you “learning” to pray?

Jesus continues in Luke (11:2-4) by giving us the sample content of our prayers. We know this as the Lord’s Prayer. How is this content a kind of conversation with God? Why are some people afraid to pray (or at least intimidated to pray)?

How might you explain the fact that some of our prayers get answered and some do not? Can you think of any of your prayers that God answered? How about prayers God seemed to ignore?

Jesus had a special affinity for children. Read Mark 10:13-16. What does it mean for us to approach God with a child-like attitude? How can we pray in child-like ways?

Philippians 4:6-7 is packed with wise advice. What do you notice about prayer in these two verses? Carefully meditate on these verses and summarize your insights.

The most profound question related to prayer may be: “What is the purpose of prayer?” How would you answer that question? Why do you pray?