2023 Sept 13 | How to Pray: Just Show Up


Inward Prayer

Small Group Questions:

    1. Where is the easiest place for you to “show up” and pray?
    2. It’s true that we can pray anywhere and anytime, but what do you think the benefits are of choosing a place where you can go daily to pray?

    3. Why do you think Jesus encourages us to pray privately?

    4. If the Holy Spirit fills places and people, where in your life have you felt the presence of the Holy Spirit the most? Why do you think that is the case?

    5. Choose a thin place and make a commitment about how often you will go to that place this week, and check in next week.

Outward Prayer



Ninety-nine percent of prayer is often just showing up: making the effort to become consciously present to the God who is constantly present to us.


Mark 1:35, Matthew 6:6, Acts 2:1-4


The greatest person who ever lived was a man of prayer. Before launching out into his public ministry, Jesus fasted for more than a month in the wilderness. Before choosing his 12 disciples, he prayed all night. When he heard the devastating news that his cousin John had been executed, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. After feeding 5000 people, he was understandably tired but chose to climb a mountain and pray. When the pressures of fame threatened to crush him, Jesus prayed. When he was facing his death in the garden of Gethsemane, bleeding with fear, failed by his friends, he prayed. Even during his gruesome death on the cross, he cried out to the one who apparently forsaken him.

Jesus prayed and he prayed and he prayed.

In our main scripture, Acts chapter 2, we see the moment when Jesus’ followers are waiting for his promise of the Holy Spirit. They are all together in a room, with the door closed, and they are afraid of what life will be like with Jesus gone. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit first “filled the whole house where they were sitting” so that the disciples “saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” Moments later “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” Isn’t that an interesting progression? The Holy Spirit filled the place before he filled the people.

One of the amazing things about Christianity is the depth of history and experience that we can look back on. The ancient Celtic Christians understood very well that the Holy Spirit filled places as well as people, they described such sites as “thin places.” Your thin place may simply be a chair in your house, the walk to school, or the end of your bed. Just like the Israelites had the Tent of Meeting, where they would meet intimately with God, and Jesus had gardens, boats, and mountains. Where can you imagine your thin place to be? Where can you simply show up?

Thin places are the moments and spaces that we deliberately spend in prayer, enjoying God’s presence. Listening, talking, and spending time with our Heavenly Father. And because of the Holy Spirit, we can pray ANYWHERE at ANY TIME.


As you prepare the core of the message using personal story and questions keep in mind these points:

  • Even when you don’t really want to pray, a place of prayer can often make it easier. Merely by showing up, you make a declaration of intent. You say, in effect, “Lord I don’t want to be here, but I’m here!”
  • Prayer can sometimes be difficult and confusing, but really, as followers of Jesus, it should become one of the most natural things we do. Let’s begin by finding a certain place. Somewhere private and quiet.
  • Before we look at the “how to’s” of prayer, let’s begin by following Jesus’ example by choosing a certain place, and showing up.
  • “99% of prayer is often just showing up: making the effort to become consciously present to the God who is constantly present to us.” Pete Greig, 24/7 Prayer.


As you prepare the application, challenge and/or encouragement, keep in mind these points:

  • Because of the Holy Spirit, we can pray ANYWHERE at ANY TIME. But sometimes we forget or get too busy, or know that we can but don’t. Choose a location this week where you will privately pray. Show up every day and pray. Even if you can’t pray simply show up and say “God I’m here. Please speak to me.”
  • Set a reminder on your phone and have a friend you can be accountable to.