Lesson Five

Prayer

How important is prayer in my life

Someone once said that a Christian is only as strong as his prayer life. There is a great deal of truth in this because prayer is simply your direct communication with God. When you read the Bible, God speaks to you; when you pray, you speak to God. Your personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ cannot grow without proper communication.

The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint the individual with the basics of proper prayer life so that these lines of communication can be open and effective in his life. If you have not done so already, at the onset of this lesson begin to keep a list of your prayer requests and answers to those prayers in you own "prayer book."

What Can Be Accomplished Through Prayer?

(Philippians 4:6-7; James 5:16)

  Leonard Ravenhill wrote, "Poverty stricken as the Church is today in many things, she is most stricken here, in the place of prayer. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, but few prayers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, but few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere."
A.     Prayer changes us (Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 4:7; Romans 8:26-28).
B.     Through prayer we fight the spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:11-18; Luke 22:31-32; 1Thessalonians 1:2).
C.     Through prayer we acknowledge our submission to the will and way of God.
  Prayer places the believer in an attitude of expectancy. The individual who does not pray tends to depend upon human invention, circumstances and expediency to make decisions. The praying Christian is "spiritually sensitized." "Coincidence" and "accident" are words foreign to his vocabulary (Ephesians 3:20-21).
D.     Through prayer God demonstrates His presence and power in our daily lives (Hebrews 4:12-16).
E.     Prayer serves as a spiritual watchdog against temptation (Mark 14:38; 2 Corinthians 13:7; 1 Corinthians 10:13). You are cognizant of the fact that there is a "way of escape" or grace to bear up under the trial.
F.     Prayer is simply pleasing to God (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4; Proverbs 15:8).

What Are the Necessary Ingredients of Prayer? (Luke 11:1ff)

A.     Worship, Adoration and Praise
      More often than not our prayers are characterized by selfishness. the real objective of our prayers becomes our personal fulfillment and well being. If we worship God, we "must worship him in spirit and it truth" (John 4:24). We must recognize God for who He is. Primarily, we must worship Him in His holiness (Daniel 9:3-4; Isaiah 6:1-3).
B.     Confession
      In our own righteousness, none of us are worthy to approach the throne of God. Yet, because of our position in Christ, we have been instructed to boldly approach god in Hebrews 4:16. Although in Christ our sins have been purged, confession reminds us of God's mercy and helps us to assume a humble posture before Him. See David's prayer in Psalms 51 and Daniel's prayer in Daniel 9:3-19.
  Thomas Fuller wrote, "man's owning his weakness is the only stock for God thereon to graft the grace of his acceptance".
C.     Restitution
      Our willingness to make restitution where it is possible is the proof of genuine, sincere, repentant confession. Restitution also reaffirms our faith in God and His provision for our life. Zacchaeus, righteousness and holiness of Jesus that he covenanted to make restitution for his errors (Luke 19:8)
D.     Thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6; Hebrews 13:15)
      Gurnall said, "Evil and Unthankful are twins that live and die together; as any one ceaseth to be evil, he begins to be thankful."
E.     Forgiveness (Matthew 6:12-15)
F.     Unity (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
      One of the marks of the early Church was unity (Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13).
G.     Faith (James 1:5-8)
      These verses suggest, as does the whole book of James, that we show our faith by our works. "Asking in Faith" does not mean that one must conjure up within himself a positive assurance that what he has asked for will take place if he believes hard enough. The text suggests we should have a single eye and that our walk should be consistent with our talk (James 2:18).
H.     Petition (Matthew 7:7-8)
      "Ask, seek and knock" suggest that we not only make our request known to God, but that we ought to be persistent in our prayer requests. Jesus illustrates this principle in Luke 11:8 where He said, "..Because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth."
I     Submission: "Thy will be done" (Matthew 26:42)

D. L. Moody said, "I would a thousand times rather that God's will should be done than my own. I cannot see into the future as God can; therefore, it is a good deal better to let Him choose for me than to choose for myself...when it comes to temporal matters...what I ask for may not be God's purpose concerning me."

C. H. Spurgeon said, "Faith has no design to have its own will, when that will is not in accordance with the mind of God; for such a desire would at bottom be the impulse of an unbelief which did not rely upon God's judgment as our best guide. Faith knows that God's will is the highest good..."

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