Summary: Even though we refer to thanksgiving and adoration as "higher" prayers and petition as "lower" prayers, we need to realize that God wants us to bring our personal needs to him. In fact, God may cause us to be needy to drive us to him. So we need to petition him faithfully.
Open (5 minutes)
1. Have you or anyone you know of ever signed a petition? Do you think petitions are very effective? Why?
Dig (20-25 minutes) (1 Sam 1:4-11, 19-20)
2. What causes Hanna to come to God in prayer? What part did God play, if any, in Hanna coming to him in prayer?
3. How does it make you feel to know that God cause Hanna to be childless? Would you be comfortable in saying God causes pain? Why? (See 2 Cor 12:7-10)
4. Why do you suppose the story, which begins the kingdom years of Israel, has so many details about an obscure woman and her personal concerns? What does this say about God? (Note 2:1-10 and who God is concerned for)
5. Is Hannah's prayer selfish? Why?
6. When is it okay and not okay to ask God something for yourself in prayer? (Note the Lord's prayer in Matt 6:9-13 and how much of it is petition)
Apply (20-25 minutes)
7. If it appears God is not granting a request you are praying fervently for, what could be the problem?
8. Is ending a prayer with "your will be done" a cop out because you have difficulty believing God will act on your behalf, or is it a statement of faith? How can you know which it is for yourself?
9. How specific are you in your petitions to God? Why?
10. In what way do you need improvement in your prayer life?
11. What can you do to help you improve?
Don't' forget the empty chair Don't forget to invite your friends