Theme: How does prayer work?
Know: Prayer is an amazing God-given privilege we should exercise often.
Think: Maintain an attitude of prayer in assurance that God hears and will answer.
Do: Follow the biblical guidelines for prayer and make it a priority in Christian living.
- Matthew 7:7-11
- Romans 8:26-27
- Ephesians 6:18
- Jude 1:20
- John 14:13-14
Notes and Questions:
B1 From the book: What do you tell a child who has prayed for something and God doesn't answer with a pony?
B2 Give some examples from your prayer life that God answered, "Yes, No, or later."
B3 Some basics about prayer
C1 Prayer is talking with/to God.
C2 No one can manipulate God, so prayer tricks, methods, or special places to pray, have no bearing on God answering prayer. So the next time you read a book that claims to show you a method of prayer that will get more answers, throw it away.
C3 God wants us to pray (Philippians 4:6 and James 5:13).
C4 Prayer when in difficulty (Psalm 4:1 and Acts 12:5).
C5 Prayer for deliverance from enemies (2 Chronicles 14:11).
C6 Prayer for guidance (Genesis 24:12-14).
C7 Prayer for healing (2 Kings 20:1-11).
C8 Prayer to have children (1 Samuel 1:10-11).
C9 Prayer for protection (Esther 4:16).
C10 Prayer by the church to send off a person for the Lord's service (Acts 13:3).
C11 Prayer for God's mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16).
C12 Prayer in worship (Ephesians 5:19-20).
C13 Some methods to not use are praying for show (Matthew 6:5) or useless, repetitive phrases (Matthew 6:7-8).
C14 God does answer prayer(James 5:16). Sometimes it is yes; sometimes it is no; and sometimes it is wait.
C15 We don't have to word our prayers perfectly, so that God can understand them. He is very, very smart and knows. The Holy Spirit also helps us (Romans 8:26-28).
C16 Prayer for wisdom (James 1:5).
C17 Things that hinder prayer
D1 Sin (unconfessed and not repentance) Psalm 66:18.
D2 Rebellion, disobedience (Proverbs 28:9).
D3 Doubt, as in God can't or won't do it, (James 1:5-7).
D4 Bad motives for asking (James 4:3).
D5 Treat wife badly (1 Peter 3:7).
B4 What is God's motive for wanting us to pray?
B5 When should we stop praying about something? (Maybe death, circumstances have changed, conviction of sin, prayer was answered (yes, no, or other),
B6 Do we need special prayer language to impress God? (No, we talked to our earthly fathers or at least to respected persons in a normal language, so should we with God. Can you imagine talking to this person is some type of prayer language. "Dad, can I talk to you?" Sure son." "O, thou greatest of dads, your name is so ever special. May you be honored by all people. I plead and beg of you, O, greatest father I have, that I can have $10 to buy mother a birthday present.").
B7 Why should prayer be in Jesus's name? See John 14:13-14.
B8 Do we always receive the answer we want in prayer? But Jesus said so.
C1 Compare 1 John 5:14.
C2 Barnes notes on this verse:
That, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. This is the proper and the necessary limitation in all prayer. God has not promised to grant anything that shall be contrary to his will, and it could not be right that he should do it. We ought not to wish to receive anything that should be contrary to what he judges to be best. No man could hope for good who should esteem his own wishes to be a better guide than the will of God; and it is one of the most desirable of all arrangements that the promise of any blessing to be obtained by prayer should be limited and bounded by the will of God. The limitation here, "according to his will," probably implies the following things:
1. In accordance with what he has declared that he is willing to grant. Here the range is large, for there are many things which we know to be in accordance with his will, if they are sought in a proper manner as the forgiveness of sins, the sanctification of the soul, (1Thes 4:3,) comfort in trial, the needful supply of our wants, grace that we may do our duty, wisdom to direct and guide us, (Jas 1:5,) deliverance from the evils which beset us, the influences of his Spirit to promote the cause of religion in the world, and our final salvation. Here is a range of subjects of petition that may gratify the largest wishes of prayer.
2. The expression, "according to his will," must limit the answer to prayer to what he sees to be best for us. Of that we are not always good judges. We never perceive it as clearly as our Maker does, and in many things we might be wholly mistaken. Certainly we ought not to desire to be permitted to ask anything which God would judge not to be for our good.
3. The expression must limit the petition to what it will be consistent for God to bestow upon us. We cannot expect that he will work a miracle in answer to our prayers; we cannot ask him to bestow blessings in violation of any of the laws which he has ordained, or in any other way than that which he has appointed. It is better that the particular blessing should be withheld from us, than that the laws which he has appointed should be disregarded. It is better that an idle man should not have a harvest, though he should pray for it, than that God should violate the laws by which he has determined to bestow such favours as a reward of industry, and work a special miracle in answer to a lazy man's prayers.
4. The expression, "according to his will," must limit the promise to what will be for the good of the whole. God presides over the universe; and though in him there is an infinite fulness, and he regards the wants of every individual throughout his immense empire, yet the interests of the whole, as well as of the individual, are to be consulted and regarded. In a family, it is conceivable that a child might ask for some favour whose bestowment would interfere materially with the rights of others, or be inconsistent with the good of the whole, and in such a case a just father would of course withhold it. With these necessary limitation the range of the promise in prayer is ample; and, with these limitations, it is true beyond a question that he does hear and answer prayer.
C3 According to His will does not mean that we have to know His will first. We are to ask. He always hears our prayer, but He answers for what is our best and His will.
B9 Are we to be accepting of His answer? What if it is different than what we pray for?
B10 What is the most important prayer ever uttered from a human? (Answers differ for sure, but this has to be one of the top: "But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’ (Luke 18:13, GNB92).
B11 What are some important things for us to pray for?
B12 How long does a prayer have to be? (Varies, the Lord Jesus prayed all night ("At that time Jesus went up a hill to pray and spent the whole night there praying to God." (Luke 6:12, GNB92)), while Nehemiah only prayed a couple of seconds ("The emperor asked, “What is it that you want?” I prayed to the God of Heaven," (Nehemiah 2:4, GNB92)).
B13 What role does belief have?
B14 What role does obeying God's rules (New Testament for the Christian) have on prayer.
B15 Let's pray.
B16 Next week
C1 Glory forever.
C2 Theme: What is heaven really like?
C3 Scripture: Revelation 21:1-22:5, Genesis 1:26-30, and Genesis 2:15-25.