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9. Learning To Pray

Prayer is my spiritual lifeline.

Jesus is my mediator and High Priest. Through Jesus I have direct access to God.

1 Timothy 2:5 " For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
Prayer is an expression of my needs, and God invites me to ask even though He already knows what my needs are.

Luke 11:9 "… Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
It is also the time and way to fight Satan and his influence in my life and the lives of those I love.

Matthew 17:21 “However, this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.”
“Fasting” is when I devote the time I would normally spend eating to prayer instead. Most of the time this means a complete absence of eating, though some have “fasted” by giving up one favorite item (such as French Fries or all sugar) for a time. Some pick one day a week or a month to fast as a gift to God. Fasting gives extra power to my prayers and discipline to my life.

What do I pray about?

Everything.

God wants to be involved in every area of my life.

Philippians 4:6 "Be careful for nothing; ("Don't be worried about anything." Living Letters Bible) but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
I will be earnest and sincere as God knows and sees my heart before He hears my words.

Why Pray?

God designed the universe to respond to my prayers. The Bible is full of examples of God actually changing His mind when His people pray.

· When God was going to destroy Israel for their whining, Moses begged Him not to and He didn’t.

· When they ran out of wine at the wedding in Canaan, Mary asked Jesus to do something about it. He originally refused, but because of her faith and acts of obedience, He ended up creating wine for the celebration.

These are just two examples.

Prayer is a form of worship. As a child of God it is my privilege to go directly to God with my needs, my requests, and my Thanksgiving.

John 4:24 " God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

It develops a habit of close fellowship with God.

It preserves me from evil.

Matthew 6:13 " And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..."

It brings forgiveness.

1 John 1:9 " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…"

It secures me, strengthens me, and gives me personal guidance.

It can cause my loved ones to get saved. The Bible says that it is God’s will for everyone to be saved.

Jesus told His disciples to:

Matthew 9:38 “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

God has set up the universe so that the very elements are moved by the prayers of the saints. My prayers are powerful and DO change things.

Different kinds of Prayer

SINNER'S PRAYER

God is waiting and will always hear and answer the prayer of repentance from the heart of the sinner.

1 Timothy 2:4 " Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."

Acts 2:21 “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

 

PRAYER FOR HELP IN TROUBLE.

Psalm 22:11 "Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help."

Matthew 14:30 "But when he (Peter) saw the wind boisterous, (and that he was sinking in the waves) he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying 'Lord save me.'"
 

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING.

Ephesians 5:20 "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks..."
 

INTERCESSORY PRAYER-

Prayer on the behalf of others.

Christ prayed for his disciples.

John 17:9-10 “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.”
Abraham prayed for the righteous in Sodom, the wicked city. Geneses 18:20-32

Moses prayed for the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 9:18 “And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.”
The disciples and early church prayed for Peter while he was in prison.

Acts 12:5 “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”
 

LONG PRAYERS

Strength in prayer is better than length.

Matthew 6:7 warns "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
Long prayers are not required, but are ok if I feel I need to spend extra time in prayer with God.

Matthew 6:8 “… For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him."
 

PUBLIC PRAYERS

When I am asked to pray in public, I must remember that I am praying to God and leading others to His throne of grace.

 

INSINCERE OR SELFISH PRAYERS

Some prayers are not heard because of sin in my life.

Psalm 66:18 " If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."
Some prayers are unanswered because I've asked selfishly.

James 4:3 " Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
Some prayers, however, are answered, but God says “No,” or “Wait.” Since He knows everything and loves me, I must trust that these answers are the right ones for me and my life.

 

PRIVATE MATTERS.

Matthew 6:6 " But thou, when thou prayest enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in private; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly;"
 

UNSPOKEN PRAYERS.

1 Samuel 1:13 " Hannah prayed for a son, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard."

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is …. a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

How often do I pray?

If I love someone, I don’t ask, “How often should I talk with them.”

Luke 18:1 "...men ought always to pray and not to faint."

1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing."
I will try to at least begin and end my day with prayer.

How do I begin?

I will address my prayer to my Heavenly Father with respect and a proper title, even as Christ set the example for me.

Matthew 6:9 “Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name…”
Some titles might be:

Our Father,

My Heavenly Father,

Dear Heavenly Father,

Gracious Father in Heaven,

Our Loving God,

Dear God

Jesus, or even

Daddy Father (Abba Father);

Anything that shows respect and love for God. See the list of names for God in chapter 4 of this workbook.

What should my prayer include?

1. Adoration And Praise - Example; The Book of Psalms. Praising God is always appropriate, but especially before making requests. I can use the list of the names of God, quote praise Psalms, or just use my own words.

2. Thanksgiving and outpouring of gratitude to God because of His grace, mercy and loving kindness. Example; Psalms 103:1-2 "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: …”
3. Communion with God. Example; Luke 6:12 “And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”
1 John 1:3 “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
4. Confession of Sins and Wrongs. Example; Psalms 51 “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: …

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight:…

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me…. cleanse me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness. …

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise….”
5. Petitions (plea for personal help). Example; Romans 9:1-2 "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.”

Matthew 6:4 "That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.”

Philippians 4:6 " Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

6. Intercession. Example: Romans 10:1 " Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”
7. Submission. Example: Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

The sample prayer Jesus gave to us:

Matthew 6:9 “After this manner therefore pray ye (Not after the words necessarily. “In this way.”):
“Our Father which art in heaven, (I will acknowledge who I am talking to.)

Hallowed be thy name (I will praise Him).

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (I will pray for God’s will to be done, first of all in my home, then my block, neighborhood, town, state, country and the world. I will pray for my neighbors, friends and family by name. I will include my pastor and my president.)

Give us this day our daily bread (I will now ask for those things I and others need. I will keep a list of prayer requests [in my Daily Planner?] that I will go over every day. I don’t have to go on and on about these needs though. God knows them and I have faith in my prayers that He is answering them.).

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Sin creates a debt. I must ask God to forgive me for those sins I have committed. If I also truly forgive those who have sinned against me, who have harmed me, who have offended me, God WILL forgive my offenses against Him.).

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: (It is ok to ask to not be tempted by sin. I pray this for my children as well as myself regularly. I also pray that God lets me catch them when they do begin to sin and to have the wisdom to correct them in the most effective way to produce righteousness. )

For thine is the kingdom, and the glory, and power, for ever (I will acknowledge His power).

Amen (so be it).”

Conditions upon which prayer avails

· Prayer must be in faith. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Matthew 17:20 “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
Mark 11:23-24 “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
· Pray in the name (Authority) Of Jesus. John 14:13 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
· Prayer should be made under direction and dynamic of the Holy Spirit. Jude 1:20 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,”
· Sin must be confessed and renounced. Psalms 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”

Isaiah 59:1-2 “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

Sin separates us from God.

· I must have a forgiving heart. Mark 11:25-26 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

· My prayer should be in keeping with the will of God. 1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”

How do I close my prayer?

By giving recognition to Jesus Christ as our Father and Lord.

· In The Name (Authority) Of Jesus. John 14:13 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
God has given His Son authority.

Ephesians 1:22 “And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church.”
Sample: "Thank you for the answer, Father. Amen."

· Amen. This means “So be it.” It indicates our willingness to accept God’s answer whether yes or no.

Question: Should you close your prayer or continue in a mind of prayer all day?