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Prayer:
Luke 11:1

I. INTRODUCTION

A. There are about 650 different prayers in the Bible

B. Prayer defined in the Bible is:

1. A lifting up our soul to God: Ps 25:1; 143:8

2. A pouring out our heart to God: Ps 62:8

3. A crying out to God: Ps 86:3

4. Spiritual incense to God: Rev 5:8

5. Coming before the throne of grace: Ps 84:1-2; Heb 4:16

6. Prayer is a spiritual sacrifice & the fruit of our lips: Heb 13:15

7. Drawing close to God in friendship, fellowship and trust: Jas 4:8

C. Prayer defined in poetic terms of men is:

1. Communion and communication.

2. The oil of that kept the evangelistic engines of the first century Christians running.

3. The effort of man to reach God.

4. An audience with the Father.

5. A sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ.

6. The breathing process of the Christian's soul.

7. Bringing our current emotional state into the presence of God.

8. "We must live for God out of the closet if we would meet God in the closet. We must listen to God in public if we would have God listen to us in private." (Bounds)

9. William Temple's reply to mocking that "answered prayer was a mere coincidence" was, "That may be true, but I've noticed that when I pray coincidences happen and when I don't, they don't"

10. Answered prayer is a coincidence is where God prefers to remain anonymous.

11. The best way to fight sin is on your knees.

12. The most powerful force accessible to man.

13. The spectacle of a nation praying is more awe-inspiring than explosion of A bomb (J.E. Hover)

14. Answered prayer is God bending down to kiss his children.

D. Faithless objections to prayer:

1. Only benefit is psychological: If true then heathen would receive same by praying to a fence post.

2. Why pray when God already knows what we need before? God, as a Father, wants us to ask.

3. Miracles have ceased therefore God won't answer prayer.

E. We prove our love and faith in God by the time we spend in prayer

F. Prayerlessness is sin: 1 Sam 12:23

G. Prayer characterized Jesus, apostles, early Christians, great men from OT

H. Prayer gives us strength in every area of our walk

1. Boldness in outreach: "up-reach, in-reach, then out-reach"

2. High spirited singing within the assemblies

3. Child-magic carefree happiness and joy throughout the week.

4. Courage to bear up in difficult times

I. Two different types of prayer

1. Closet prayers: Jesus in Gethsemene

2. Arrow prayers: Neh 2:4

J. We don't get God's attention with flowery words, but with a humble & contrite heart

K. We learn to swim by swimming. ride a bike by riding. how to pray by... praying.

II. A.C.T.S. OF PRAYER (types of prayer)

A. ADORATION & PRAISE: 2 Cor 9:15

1. "Putting into words the gratitude that ought to swell up in our hearts whenever we review all that God has done for us."

2. Passages: Ps 89:7-9; 99:1-5; 111:9; Angels: Lk 2:14; Rev 4:8,11

B. CONFESSION: 1 Jn 1:9

1. You cannot enter the presence of God in prayer without confessing: Isa 6:1-5

2. Great men who confessed their sin:

a) Daniel

(1) Daniel 9:5 acknowledged sin in 7 different ways

(2) V 18-19 "not our merits but your compassion"

(3) v20-22 while in "extreme weariness", while praying Gabriel was sent

b) Nehemiah: 1:5-11

3. God won't answer our prayers when there is sin in our lives:

a) Ps 139:23-24; 66:18; Pr 28:9,13; Isa 59:1

4. God won't forgive us unless we forgive others too: Mt 6:14-15

5. Consequences of not confessing our sins to God:

a) We make God a liar: 1 Jn 1:9-10

b) We are in the "bond of iniquity" Acts 8:22-23

c) It has a big effect upon our physical health too: Ps 32:3-7

C. THANKSGIVING: Phil 4:6

1. Adoration/praise & thanksgiving defined:

a) Adoration is for what God is

b) Thanksgiving is for what God has done

2. Passages:

a) Isa 25:1; 1 Th 5:17-18; Phil 4:6; Col 4:2; Eph 5:20

b) Song, "count your many blessings name them one by one"

3. Ingratitude is sin:

a) Lk 17:11-19 "where are the nine lepers who were cleansed"

b) Rom 1:21 "neither did they give thanks"

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D. SUPPLICATION

1. Petitions for a personal request: Phil 4:6

a) wisdom: Jas 1:5-8

b) Health: 2 Cor 12:7-9

c) Daily needs: Mt 6:33

d) Resting temptation: Mt 26:41

2. Intercessions for others:

a) Intercession: lit, "to soften the face by stroking" as a child does to parent to change mind

b) Christ intercedes for us: Isa 53:12; Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25; 9:24; 1 Ti 2:5-6

c) The Holy Spirit intercedes for us as we pray: Rom 8:26-27; Jude 20; Eph 6:18

d) We should intercede for other men:

(1) Jas 5:16; Acts 8:24; 2 Ti 2:1; Ex 32:11; Gen 18:23-33

e) "Talking to men for God is great, but talking to God for man is greater." (Bounds)

III. WHEN, WHO, HOW OF PRAYER

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A. Who has the right to pray?

1. God will answer the prayers of:

a) His children: Mt 6:6; 26:39,42; 7:7-11

b) The righteous: Prov 15:29; 1 Pe 3:12

c) The obedient: Jn 15:7; 1 Jn 3:21-22

d) Holy men: 1 Ti 2:8 (characterized by godly living)

e) Devout persons who are seeking God: Acts 10:2,30-31

f) Those who turn away from their wicked ways: 2 Chro 7:14; Acts 8:22

2. God will not answer the prayers of those who:

a) Disobedient to God's law: Prov 28:9; 1:24-30; Ps 66:18-20; Isa 1:15-17; 1 Jn 5:17; 1 Pe 3:12

b) Are unforgiving towards others: Mk 11:25; Jas 2:13

c) Have unforgiven sin in their life: Isa 59:1-2; Jn 9:31

d) Mistreat their spouse: 1 Pe 3:7

e) Self righteous: Lk 18:9-14

B. When to pray?

1. Day and night: Lk 2:37; 1 Th 3:10

2. All night: Lk 6:12

3. Continue steadfastly, devoted: Acts 2:42; Rom 12:12; Col 4:2

4. Unceasingly: 1 Th 5:17

5. All times: Lk 21:36; Eph 6:18; Col 1:3; 1 Th 1:3

6. If we are too busy to pray...we're too busy!

 

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING...
A group of ministers had assembled for the discussion of difficult questions. Among other, it was asked how the command to "pray without ceasing" could be complied with. Various explanations were given. It was finally agreed that one was appointed to write a lengthily essay on it which would be read at the next meeting.

The entire discussion was overheard by a young woman who had been serving the tea. She said, "What? A whole month to tell the meaning of that text? Why it is one of easiest and best texts in the Bible!"

"Well, well, Mary", said an old minister, "what can you say about it? Let us know how you understand it. Can you pray all the time without ceasing?"

"Oh yes, sir!" "What?" the old minister coughed back, "when you have so many things to do?" "Why, sir, the more I have to do, the more I can pray!" "Indeed", he replied, "Well Mary, let us know how it is. Most of us think the answer is otherwise."

"Well, sir", she said, "when I first open my eyes in the morning, I pray 'Lord, open the eyes of my understanding'; and while I am dressing, I pray that I may be clothed with the robes of righteousness; when I wash, I ask for the washing of regeneration; as I work, I pray that I may have the strength equal to my day; as I sweep out the house, I pray the my heart may be cleansed from all impurities; while preparing and eating of breakfast, I pray to be fed with the hidden manna and the sincere milk of the Word; as I am busy with the little children, I ask God to make me become as a child; and so on, all day. Everything I do furnishes me with a thought for prayer."

"Enough, enough", cried the old minister, "these things are revealed to babes and his from the wise and prudent. Go on , Mary, pray without ceasing. May we all do the same!"

 

 

 

No Time For Prayer:

I woke up late, no time to pray, I hurried off to school.

I failed to take advantage of this important tool.

Throughout the day I ran about, I had no time to kneel.

When dinner came, I failed again, to thank God for my meal.

When day was done, I went to bed, to get the rest I needed.

But once again the Bible's call for prayer was left unheeded.

One busy day my soul was called, to answer for my deeds;

And as I stood, I realized I had denied its needs.

My name was called, and I stepped up to hear my sentence quote;

Yet all I got, to my surprise, was a little paper note;

And on this parchment God had written a message, oh, so true.

"You always failed to talk to me, why should I speak to you?"

Anonymous

 

 

C. Who to pray for:

1. The lost: Rom 10:1; Mt 9:36-38

2. Rulers: 1 Ti 2:2; 1 Pe 2:13-17

3. The sick: Jas 5:13-15; Acts 28:8

4. Our enemies: Mt 5:43-48 Lk 6:27-28; Rom 12:20-21 (You cannot harbor ill feelings towards those you pray for every day.)

5. Christians: Eph 1:16; 6:18; 2 Ti 1:3; Col 1:3; 1 Cor 1:4; 1 Th 1:2

6. Proclaimers of the gospel: 2 Th 3:1-2; Col 4:2-4; Acts 4:29; 12:5; 13:3

7. Jesus example in who to pray for: Jn 17

a) Pray for self...Jesus did: 1-5 "Glorify me Now father"

b) Pray for saved: 6-19 "These you have given me"

c) Pray for lost: 20-26 "that the world may believe"

D. How to pray:

1. Pray fervently like the world depends upon it: Col 4:12; Acts 9:9-11; 1 Th 3:10; Jas 5:16-18

2. With bold confidence: Heb 4:16 (boldly, not brashly)

3. With reverence: Isa 66:2; Ps 111:9; 89:7

4. With sincerity and selfless intent: Mt 6:5-8

5. With humility: Lk 18:9-14; Jas 4:6,10; 1 Pe 5:6-7; 2 Chro 7:14; 34:27; Isa 57:15

6. Keeping alert (don't let mind drift): Col 4:2; Lk 21:26

7. In Jesus' name: Jn 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:24,26; Col 3:17 (an attitude that we pray by the authority of Jesus, not merely saying the words, "In Jesus name, Amen")

8. Be devoted (make it a habit): Col 4:2; Rom 12:12; Acts 6:4

9. Have an attitude of thanksgiving: Col 4:2

10. With a forgiving spirit: Mt 6:12-15; Mt 18:21-35; Eph 4:32

11. With perseverance/persistence: Lk 11:5-9; Eph 6:18

12. Don't lose heart: Lk 18:1

13. Be specific: When at restaurant we don't say "bring food" but "med-rare, potato w/sour cream"

14. Pray expecting to receive: Mk 11:24; 2 Sam 22:7; Jas 1:5-8 Ps 5:1-3

a) Acts 12:5,12-16 tragic they rejected answer to what they had been praying for

b) Some pray for a bushel, then carry a cup

c) Don't expect a thousand dollar answer to a 10 cent prayer

E. Praying within our public assemblies:

1. Men are to lead the prayers: 1 Tim 2:8

a) "holy hands" hands that have done no evil, but practice righteousness

b) "without wrath/anger" bearing no grudge or anger towards another person: Mt 5:21-22

c) "without dissentions" no strife and discord towards another: Mt 5:23-24

2. Women are forbidden to pray or preach: 1 Ti 2:9-15

F. Prayer posture:

1. The following postures are recorded in the Bible:

a) Fell on face: Mt 26:39; Mk 14:35

b) Lifting up hands: 1 Ti 2:8

c) Kneeling down: Lk 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40; 20:36; 21:5; Eph 3:14; 2 Chro 6:13; Dan 6:10

d) Standing: Mk 11:25

e) Sitting: 2 Sam 7:18

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F. Why Pray?

Pray? Why Pray? What can praying do?

Prayer really changes things, arranges life anew.

It's good for your digestion, gives peaceful sleep at night,

And fills the grayest days with rays of glowing light.

It puts a smile upon your face, a love note in your tone.

It makes you fit to live with others, and fit to live alone.

Pray? Why Pray? What can praying do?

It brings God down from heaven to live and work in you!

 

IV. GOD'S RESPONSES TO OUR PRAYERS:

A. YES

1. Speedy reply: Parable of unjust judge: Lk 18:1-8

2. God knows what we need: Mt 7:11

3. Prayer is answered but we don't see result

B. NO

1. Sin in our lives

a) Our prayers can be hindered if we mistreat our wife (or husband): 1 Pe 3:7

b) "If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear." Ps 66:18; Jn 9:31

2. Wrong attitude or motives:

a) Why was the Pharisee's prayer was not answered, but the Publican's was: Lk 18:9-15

b) Ask out of selfishness: Jas 4:3

c) An outward show for others to praise your "spirituality": Mt 6:5

3. We ask for something that violates God's revealed will.

4. Within our own ability to answer: Jas 2:14-16

5. We simply don't ask: Jas 4:2

6. God as a father determines it is not in our best interest for reasons only a father understands.

7. We are using vain repetition: Mt 6:7

8. Prayers God cannot answer:

a) Unoffered prayers: Jas 4:2

b) Hit 'n run prayers: Lk 18:1-8

c) Wavering prayers: Jas 1:6-7

d) Show-off prayers: Mt 6:5

e) Repetitive, wordy prayers: Mt 6:7

f) Selfish prayers: Jas 4:3

g) Misdirected prayers: 1 Ki 18:26-29

h) Faithless prayers: Mt 17:19-20

C. WAIT: Lam 3:25; Ps 37:7; Ps 10:1 (David had to wait for God's deliverance)

1. Sometimes we are not yet able to receive what we ask: Jn 16:12-13

2. God as a father determines it is in our best interest to wait.

3. Example: Pray for a marriage partner but may not be ready for marriage

4. We are impatient but: "a day to the Lord is as a thousand years"

5. A woman telephone the manager of a large opera house and told him she had lost a valuable diamond pin the night before at the concert. The man told her to hold the phone line while a search was made. Before long the brooch was found, but when he got to the phone, the woman had hung up. He waited for her to call again, and even put a notice in the paper, but he heard nothing further. What a strange and foolish person, we might say, but isn't that the very way some of us pray? We tell the Lord of our needs, but then "fail to hold the line".

D. SOMETHING ELSE:

1. Like a baby, we cry to God for something, but don't know what it is: Rom 8:26-27

2. Acts 16:7 Instead of preaching in Bithynia they preached in Macedonia v. 9

3. Poem on answered prayer:

"He was a Christian, and he prayed,

He asked for strength that he might do greater things,

but he was given infirmity to do better things.

He asked for riches that he might be happy;

he was given poverty that he might be wise.

He asked for power that he might have the praise of men;

he was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.

He asked for all things that he might enjoy life;

he was given life that he might enjoy all things.

He had received nothing that he asked for;

But all that he hoped for.

His prayer is answered, he is most blessed,"

V. Prayer Warriors: Examples Of Great Prayer

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  1. Abraham: Rom 4:16-23; Heb 11:19
  2. Moses- Intercession (10X) Deut 9:16-21 (Longsuffering with sinners)
  3. Hezekiah: 2 Ki 20:1-11 (extended life, when told about terminal illness)
  4. Nehemiah: 1:5-11 (Resolve a "joy robbing" problem)
  5. Gideon: Judg 6:17,36-40 (evidence of God's direction in personal life)
  6. Eleazar: Gen 24:12-14 (evidence of God's direction in personal life and thanksgiving when prayer answered)
  7. Elijah 1 Ki 18:24, 36-37, 41f ; Jas 5:17 (make God's people evident to unbelievers; show the world the advantages of being a Christian)
  8. Hannah: 1 Sa 1:9-12,18 (The barter prayer, similar to but distinct from, a fox hole prayer; make sure you keep what you vow)
  9. Daniel: 6:10; 9:5-22 (prayer of confession of sin; to answered because of God's grace, not our holiness or merit cf. v18)
  10. Jonah's prayer for deliverance from sea monster: Jonah 2:1-10 (prayer of repentance after God has chastened you for your sin, cf. Heb 12:4-12)
  11. Jesus great example: Lk6:12;9:18;Mk 1:35;Lk 5:15-16;11:1
  12. Jesus: Jn 11:41-42 Lazarus raised (Answered prayer, not on the basis of our holiness, but because it will cause faith in unbelievers)
  13. Jesus: Jn 17 (intensity of prayer: sweat like blood: Luke 22:44)
  14. Christians for Peter's release from prison: Acts 12:5-17 (The great prayer meeting where they didn't believe even after God answered the prayer!)
  15. Apostles prayer for boldness protection against enemies: Acts 4:24-31 (Prayer for boldness based upon the fact that Christians are suffering servants, whereas the world is not)

 

VI. THE PRAYER OF FAITH

A. Defining faith

1. Heb 11:1 Substance/assurance/confidence in those things we hope for and the conviction/evidence/testimony concerning things not seen.

2. Faith is based upon the testimony of God (Rom 10:17) not upon:

a) feelings and emotions

b) something we think the Holy Spirit has whispered in our ears

c) human experience

d) scientific conclusions

3. Faith lets us:

a) See the invisible: Heb 11:27

b) Do the impossible: Mt 21:21

c) Believe the unbelievable: Rom 4:18-19

4. Poem on prayer:

DO I REALLY PRAY?

I often say my prayers,

But do I ever pray;

And do the wishes of my heart,

Go with the words I say?

I may as well kneel down,

And worship gods of stone;

As offer to the living God,

A prayer of words alone.

For words without the heart,

The Lord will never hear;

Nor will He those lips attend,

Whose prayers are not sincere.

B. Three common denominators in prayer:

1. Extent: All things

2. Faith: Ask believing you have already received them

3. Positive promise: God will answer 2 Chron 6:4

C. Passages which speak of the extent of things we can pray for:

1. Mt 21:33; Mk 11:24; Jn 14:24; 1 Jn 5:14-15

VII. JESUS THE EXAMPLE IN PRAYER

"We must not only follow in the footprints of Jesus, but in the knee prints as well."

A. They only asked Jesus to teach them one thing:

1. not to be great preachers, eloquent or outstanding soul winners

2. They asked Jesus how to pray: Lk 11:1

B. The ministry of Jesus was characterized by prayer:

1. Began ministry praying: Lk 3:21

2. Prayed thoughout ministry:

a) All night: Lk 6:12

b) Alone: Lk 9:18

c) Before light of day: Mk 1:35

C. Jesus always found time for prayer:

1. Jesus was sometimes too busy to: Eat: Jn 4:31; Sleep: Lk 6:12

2. Jesus was never too busy to pray although many demanded his time: Lk 5:15

D. Examining the Lord's model prayer:

 

 

Our Father who is in heaven

Address Jehovah God as the one you are talking to

Hallowed be Your name

Adoration & praise with emphasis on honor

Your kingdom come (Kingdom came in 33AD)

Spiritual requests: save the lost, wisdom, harmony in church

Your will be done

Selflessly acknowledge God as supreme,

Give us this day our daily bread

Physical requests: food, job, health

Forgive us of our debts as we forgive others

Confession of sin and request for forgiveness

Lead not into temptation, deliver from evil

Expectation of God's providential guidance

Yours is the kingdom, power and glory

Adoration & praise with emphasis on being all in all

Amen

Close of prayer: Literally, "so be it".

 

 

VIII. THE GOD WHO ANSWERS PRAYER: PS 65:2

A. God answers prayer: Ps 34:17; 20:6

B. Nothing God can't do: Jer 32:17

1. Notice Jesus reply to "If you can do anything..." Mk 9:22-23

C. God is a loving Father: Acts 17:25; Heb 12:9; Ps 103:13; 27:10

1. A Father to nation Israel: Ezek 16:4-6,9-10

2. We are children of adoption: Gal 3:26-27; Rom 8:14-15

D. God will supply all our needs: Phil 4:19

1. He did not spare His son, how much more...Rom 8:32

2. How much more than physical fathers: Mt 7:11

IX. TIPS ON PRAYER:

A. Be brief

B. Make it the first thing in the day

C. Set aside some time each day like Daniel did: Dan 6:10

D. Use a prayer list unless you have a perfect memory

E. Use cue cards as you pray for each A.C.T.S. category of prayer

1. Write out several verses on 3x5 cue cards from each category

2. Select a cue card from each category & place them in order you choose

3. Begin praying & read each of the four cue cards at the appropriate time.

F. Paul placed great emphasis on praying for people.

G. Don't let your mind wander, prayer is work: Col 4:12

H. Get away from distractions: Mt 14:23; 6:6

1. If it's not the phone ringing, the door knocking, the bird chirping, the cat meowing, the kids crying, then it's your mind wandering over all the things you have to do or didn't do.

I. Pray out loud- it will become conversational & coherent

J. Chose a posture that will keep you alert: (laying down/soft chair can make you drowsy)

K. Pray using the "prayer chain method" with one or more Christians:

1. Every one gives their prayer requests which are divided up by those leading the prayers

2. Different individuals are assigned a different element of the A.C.T.S of prayer

3. When each is finished they don't close prayer with amen, but name the next one to pray.

4. In this way it is one continuous prayer rather than many separate prayers.

X. Identify Why You Fail To Pray Steadfastly

  1. Pride (We don't think we need God)
  2. Lack of faith
  3. Lack of personal discipline
  4. Failure to love God:

Out of the Mouths of Babes

This was written by an 8 year old, Danny Dutton of Chula Vista, CA, for his third grade homework assignment. The assignment was to explain God.

Explanation Of God

"One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way He doesn't have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers."

"God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off."

"God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting His time by going over your Mom and Dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have."

"Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church."

"Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind, like His Father and He told His Father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K."

"His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important."

"You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time."

"You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God. Don't skip church or do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway."

"If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids."

"But...you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases. And...that's why I believe in God."

Danny Dutton

 

Steve Rudd

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