Prayer is a gift—an invitation to talk with God. But prayer can also be a challenge. How do believers experience the joy and fullness of their prayers when they are so often accompanied by questions and mysteries? Can we find guidance in the Bible?
This spring, Lifeway Women is releasing the Bible study “When You Pray: A Study of Six Prayers in the Bible” to equip women with a better understanding of prayer and to offer an invitation to nearness with God through prayer.
“The prayers modeled for us in Scripture come from different voices. We see different ways of praying and expressing ourselves, our needs, our praise, our lament to God,” said Tina Boesch, manager of the Lifeway Women Bible study team. “So, we thought it would be interesting to hear different authors unpack different prayers in Scripture.”
In this seven-session study, releasing April 3, 2023, Bible teachers Kelly Minter, Jackie Hill Perry, Jen Wilkin, Jennifer Rothschild, Jada Edwards and Kristi McLelland help readers study prayers in the Bible that can inspire their own—whether they’re prayers of petition, thanksgiving, praise, lament or intercession.
“I hope that from the variety of prayers in Scripture, women understand there is nothing off limits for them to bring before the Lord,” said Lifeway Women content editor Laura Magness.
Beginning and ending with prayers of Jesus, this study walks women through six prayers in Scripture that serve as models for our prayers today. “May Jesus Himself teach us to pray,” Minter said.
Teach us to pray
As each author brought her own Bible study method into the work, Magness worked to weave each of the sessions together seamlessly. Magness said the authors saw themselves as a team in bringing this message together and had an amazing amount of camaraderie around the project.
“With the multi-contributor approach, it was fun to watch how the Lord raised up these threads throughout every woman’s study unbeknownst to the rest of them,” Magness said. “There are these amazing threads that evidence the way the Lord was working in a season for a purpose.”
Becky Loyd, director of Lifeway Women, said they filmed the video sessions for the study during a Lifeway Women Live event in August 2022. While the authors were together, Lifeway Women also videoed an interview with the authors talking about their relationship with prayer and their relationship to the Lord through prayer, Magness said.
“We hope women will draw near to the Lord, draw near to each other, and pray for unity within their churches in a way they never have before because of this study,” Boesch said.
While exploring different types of prayer modeled in Scripture, women will learn how to pray when they’re alone and when they’re gathered with other believers. Journeying through each session, women will come to an understanding that there is no one right way to pray. Instead, prayer is an opportunity to draw near to God, allowing Him to strengthen faith and unify hearts to Himself.
“This world needs women who follow Jesus’s example and pray through their pain so their healing can be a balm that comforts others,” Rothschild said.
Alongside this study, Lifeway Women created a group experience kit that includes not only the typical Bible study book and DVD set but also an expanded leader guide that gives leaders a range of ideas about how to use this study—whether in a traditional seven-week format or a weekend retreat. The kit also includes five prayer journals that complement the study, a highlighter set, a tote bag, and a tassel banner. Magness said this kit was designed to help leaders find a rhythm for their group and facilitate a more robust group experience.
“I hope this study will inspire women to pray—to pray more, feel comfortable praying prayers of lament and remember to pray prayers of thanksgiving,” Loyd said. “I hope it inspires women to pray because they know who God is, they know it will change them and they know God allows us to enter this relationship with Him that will shape who we are but also can change circumstances.”
In this fallen world, there are many struggles that hinder believers in their prayer lives. But as women studying “When You Pray” consider how Scripture teaches believers to pray, they will learn disciplines for overcoming struggles that keep them from talking to God.
“Prayer isn’t about saying what we think the Lord wants to hear from us,” McLelland said. “Prayer is an honest, intimate and intentional reaching for the Lord in truth, in reality, in the actuality of our lives as they are.”
During the month of April, each of the authors for this study will be on the Lifeway Women “MARKED” Podcast discussing the study on prayers.
“It’s fun to hear their interactions and hear them talk to each other about the experience,” Loyd said. “This is a great way to get a feel for the study.”
To learn more about Bible study and additional product offerings, visit lifeway.com/whenyoupray.
– by Marissa Postell Sullivan