Prayer is the Christians communication with God. Prayer is an absolute necessity Christian is to grow in grace. The believer’s praying expresses the fact that he is utterly dependent on God for his every need. The Christian who prays reveals his faith in God for his every need. The Christian who prays reveals his faith in God to supply all his needs.
The disciples of our Lord were men who desired to follow the Lord and to walk in fellowship with him. They had an intimate relationship with the Lord, and so they realized that there were times when he drew aside from his ministry to the multitudes to be alone in fellowship with His Father. At the disciples observed this action on the part of the Lord, they realized they lacked one same intimate fellowship. Therefore, in Luke 11:1 they voiced the cry of their hearts – “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
These men knew that to be true disciples of the Lord Jesus they needed to learn to pray. Anyone who desires to be a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ must exercise his responsibility of praying.
We read of those who were saved at Pentecost, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized… And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41, 42).
Those who gladly received His Word were steadfast in their praying. Those who have accepted Christ and thereby love the Lord will be faithful to pray. Yes, Acts 2:42 says they will be steadfast in prayers. These believers not only prayed but also were steadfast, or persistent, in their praying. Anyone who grows in grace will persistently and consistently pray.
We often hear someone say, “Please say a prayer for me.” Prayer is much more than just “saying” something to God. When these disciples asked the Lord to teach them to pray, they were asking for more than just mechanical ability to “say some prayer.” Prayer must involve the realization that God is sovereign, and we need to be willing to obey him as the sovereign in our lives. “And this is the confidence we have in him, that if we ask anything 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 desire of him” (1 John 5:14, 15). These verses teach us that we must pray according to the will of God. That means that one who prays scripturally is one whose heart is surrendered to God as a good servant surrenders to his master. Such a servant must never run ahead of his master but always be willing to wait for the master to direct and guide. Please note that the disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” That means they recognized him as their Master, and they desired to obey him as servants.
Prayer brings delight to the Father. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight” (Proverbs 15:8). Therefore, we need to pray with the disciples of the Lord, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
- It delights the father, as given in the verse above (Proverbs 15:8).
- God commands Christians to pray.
Luke 18:1 – “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that man ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”
- God invites Christians to pray.
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
- Prayer is God’s way to supply our needs.
Matthew 7:8, 9 – “For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?”
- Prayer is that which God uses to bring peace to the life of the believer.
Philippians 4:6, 7 – “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
- Prayerlessness is a sin.
1 Samuel 12:23 – “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.”
GOD’S PROMISES TO ANSWER PRAYER
In some of the verses quoted above, you will find promises God has given that He will answer prayer. The believer prays effectively is one who claims Bible promises that God answers prayer. It is wise to memorize some prayer promises that God answers prayer. There are many more in the Bible, and it would be well for you to note them as you read and study God’s Word.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. It ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” - John 14: 13, 14
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” - Matthew 21:21, 22
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, have faith in God. 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.” - Mark 11:22-24
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” - John 15:7
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” - Jeremiah 33:3
“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” - John 16:24
HINDRANCES TO ANSWERED PRAYER
- A love for sin in the life
Psalm 66:18 – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
- An unforgiving spirit
Mark 11:25, 26 – “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if you 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.”
- An Improper home life
1 Peter 3:27 – “ Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
- An indifference toward the Bible
Proverbs 28:9 – “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”
- Selfish prayer, requesting things for our own desires
James 4:3 – “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
TRUTHS TO KNOW IN ORDER TO HAVE OUR PRAYERS ANSWERED
- We must be saved.
1 Peter 3:12 – “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.”
Revelation 8:3 – “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”
- God’s Word must abide in us – John 15:7 (quoted previously).
- Sin must be confessed and forsaken – Psalm 66:18 (quoted previously).
- We must ask in the name of Jesus.
John 14:14 – “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
- We must ask in faith, believing.
James 1:5, 6 – “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
Mark 11:22-24 (quoted previously)
- We must pray according to God’s will – 1 John 5:14, 15.
- We must be living in obedience to God’s commandment.
1 John 3:22 – “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
THE QUIET TIME
We recommend that every believer have a daily quiet time or devotional time. During this time he should read the Word of God and then spend some time in prayer. If you want real blessing and growth in your life, this quiet time must become a regular daily habit. It is not enough for you just to attend church services on Sunday and hear the preaching of the Word of God. You must have time alone with God yourself in Bible reading and prayer.
We suggest you do the following:
- Set a definite time every day for you to meet with God. Personally, I find the best time is at the beginning of the day. I find, as many others have found, that it is good to start the day with God.
- Endeavor to keep the time as your appointment with God.
- Spend some time in reading and studying the Word and some time in prayer.
<< Lesson 4 – The Word of God – Assignments
Growing in Grace – Table of Contents
Lesson 5 – Prayer – Assignments >>
©2012 Mark Davis