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Biblical References: Luke 2:25-32; Luke 11:1-4; Luke 23:46

Luke places a greater emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit and prayer than any of the other synoptic gospels. Given his background and life story, why do you think Luke may have been especially interested in these two subjects?

1. Many of us have a mental picture of Jesus. Do we also have a mental of what God the Father looks like? How about the Holy Spirit? Is it a help or a hindrance to have such a mental picture?

2. John the Baptist announced Jesus, saying, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16). What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit? In my faith community, I hear much more about being baptized with water and less about baptism of the Holy Spirit. Why might that be the case?

3. After Jesus was baptized, he returned from the Jordan “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1). What does this mean? How does one become full of the Spirit? We should notice in Luke 11 that Jesus promises that our Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. Is it really that simple? Do we just say, “Father, I’d like the Holy Spirit,” and that’s it? We have the Holy Spirit? And if so, how should we expect our lives to change once this happens?

4. In Luke 4, Jesus begins his public ministry by quoting, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” Did Jesus need the Holy Spirit? Was he dependent on the Spirit, or did his power over demons, over sickness, and over death come from within his own being?

5. According to Luke 12, “anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” What does Jesus mean?

6. Luke records Jesus as praying at many of the key points in his ministry. He prays at his baptism, before choosing his 12 disciples, before his transfiguration, and in Gethsemane. He prayed for himself and for his disciples. Why did Jesus pray? What was accomplished through these prayers? Did Jesus need help? Did he need guidance? Did he need companionship with his Father? Did Jesus need to pray more or less than the average person?

7. In Luke 11:1-4, Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus responded with a model prayer. Reflect on his words. What part of this prayer seems especially significant to you? Are there elements of this prayer that seem to be neglected in Christianity today?

8. After giving this model prayer, Jesus emphasizes the need to be persistent and bold in prayer. Why is this necessary? Does a nagging God eventually encourage him to grant us our requests? And why did Jesus say, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you . . .” All of us have asked for things from God but not received them. Doesn’t this statement from Jesus set us up for disappointment?

9. Imagine someone who asks, “Why do you pray?” How would you respond?

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