Lesson Five

Prayer

Some Questions About Prayer (Isaiah 65:24)

D. L. Moody said, "The two first and essential means of grace are the Word of God and prayer. By these come conversion; for we are born again by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever; and whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

By these also we grow; for we are exhorted to desire the sincere milk of the Word that we may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2), and we cannot grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) except we also speak to Him in prayer.

It is by the Word that the Father sanctifies us; but we are also bidden to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41).

These two means of grace must be used in their right proportion. If we read the Word and do not pray, we may become puffed up with knowledge, without the love that buildeth up. If we pray without reading the Word, we shall be ignorant of the mind and will of God, and become mystical and fanatical, and liable to be blown about by every wind of doctrine."

E. M. Bounds said, "Prayer is the contact of a living soul with God. In prayer, God stoops to kiss man, to bless man and to aid in everything that God can devise or man can need."

A.     Where are we to pray?
  1.   Everywhere (1 Timothy 2:8)
  2.   In the closet (Matthew 6:6)
  3.   In the temple (Luke 18:10; Acts 3; Psalms 26:12; 1 Kings 8:22-53)
B.     When are we to pray?
  1.   Always (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  2.   In the morning (Psalms 5:3)
  3.   At noon and in the evening (Psalms 55:17)
  4.   Daily (Psalms 86:3; Daniel 6:10)
  5.   Day and Night (Psalms 88:1)
C.     What are some things for which we ought to pray?
  1.   Pray for the return of Christ, the will of God to be done, daily provision, forgiveness, guidance, victory over temptation and sin (Matthew 6:9-13).
  2.   Pray for the sick and infirmed (James 5:13-16).
  3.   Pray for all men, for all in authority, for the salvation of the lost (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
  4.   Pray for long life (Isaiah 38:1-5).
  5.   Pray for personal safety and the safety of others (Daniel 6:18-23).
  6.   Pray for wisdom, knowledge and understanding (2 Chronicles 1:7-12; 1 Kings 3:5-9).
  7.   Pray for a prosperous journey (Romans 1:10).
  8.   Pray for the spiritual maturity of Christian brethren (Colossians 1:28).
  9.   Pray for those over you in your local church (1 Timothy 5:17).

Charles Spurgeon said, "To seek aid in time of distress from a supernatural Being is an instinct of human nature. I believe in the truthfulness of this instinct, and that man prays because there is something in prayer. As when the Creator gives His creature the power of thirst, it is because water exists to meet its thirst; and as when He creates hunger there is food to correspond to the appetite; so when He inclines men to pray, it is because prayer has a corresponding blessing connected with it."

Why Doesn't God Always Answer Our Prayers? (1 Samuel 14:37-38)

The paint can label reads, "Clean surface thoroughly. Remove dirt, grease, wax and oil. Scrape off any loose paint. Patch and prime large cracks. Do not apply if temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit." What would happen if you violated the instructions so clearly stated on the can of paint? Any painter, amateur or professional, who has at one time or another violated these instructions, know perfectly well what will probably happen. You'll have one big mess on your hands!

So it is with prayer.

Why is it that God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we would like Him to?

A.     God does not answer our prayers when we willingly violate His directive will and commandments.
    . . . . Our sin keeps God from answering our prayers (1 John 3:22; Psalms 66:18; John 9:31; Isaiah 59:2; Proverbs 28
B.     God does not answer our prayers when our requests contradict His intended means of chastisement in our lives.
    . . . . In the case of David, God could have spared the life of the child, but He determined that it would be more beneficial for David if the chastisement was complete (2 Samuel 12:16). By the way, God can change His mind as He did in the case of Nineveh (Jonah 3:10).
C.     God does not answer prayer when one prays to the wrong god (1 Kings 18:26; Acts 17:22-31).
D.     God does not always answer prayer immediately.
    . . . . In Nehemiah 1:1-11 and 2:1-6, four months pass between request and answer.
    . . . . Our timing is not always God's timing, and He teaches us faith and patience in just such circumstances where we must wait upon Him. time is not nearly as important to God as it is to us. God's "delays" are well thought out.
E.     God does not answer our prayers when we have improper interpersonal relationships.
  1.   Husband and wife (1 Peter 3:7)
  2.   Holding personal grudges (Ephesians 4:26; Mark 11:25-26; James 5:9)
  3.   Imagining evil against others (Zechariah 7:9-13)
F.     God does not answer prayer when prayer is pretense (Matthew 23:14. Insincere prayer is fruitless and worthless. It can even become sin (Psalms 109:7)
  1.   Fruit bearing is a prerequisite to answered prayer (John 15:16).
  2.   All talk, no action is pretense (Ecclesiastes 5:3).
  3.   Repetitious prayers are a pretense (Matthew 6:7).
G.     God does not answer prayer when it is used strictly for selfish reasons  (James 4:3).
H.     God does not answer prayer when He chooses not to answer.
    Sometimes the answer is "no."
    . .God does not act without purpose (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Matthew 26:39, 42, 44; 1 John 5:14-15; Romans 8:27).
I.     God does not answer prayer when we will not, in humility; assume our proper place before Him (Luke 18:10-14).

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