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6.  Prayer



When Jesus died on the cross the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). That area of intimacy to God was limited to one high priest. Jesus’ death opened the way into a deeper relationship with the Father allowing us to be recognized by God through the perfection of Jesus. Hebrews 10:19-22 encourages us by stating, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”  Hebrews 4:15, 16 says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 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 an important aspect of our relationship with God. He desires to here from us.
 

What prayer is not


It’s not reading words

It’s not repeating words

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  (Matt. 6:7)

It’s not re-directing God’s will

 

What prayer is


Communication
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jer. 33:3)

Confession
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Connection
Hebrews 10:19-22 (see above)



Types of prayer

Be careful for nothing; but in ever thing 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. (Phil. 4:6, 7)


Adoration (worship)

Petition (request)

Thanksgiving (in everything)

Intercession

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Ezek. 22:30

 

How to pray

Recognize whom you’re addressing:

 

Humility:
2 Chron. 7:14
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


Submission:
Luke 22:422 Chron. 7:14
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


Without ceasing:
1 Thess. 5:17
“Pray without ceasing.”


Assistance provided:
Rom. 8:26
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

 

What to pray for


Salvation:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter. 3:9)

Sickness:
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: (James 5:14)

Strength:
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  (Eph. 5:18)

Sensitivity to gifts:
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. (1 Cor. 14:1)

Service to the Lord:
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: (Mat. 3:8)

 

Unanswered Prayer


Incorrect actions:
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Peter 3:7

Sin:
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psalm 66:18)

Doubt:
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. James 1:6

Wrong motives:
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:3)

 

God’s perfect timing


Psa 13:1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

Psa 40:17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

Psa 69:3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Joh 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Joh 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

 

Positions for prayer

Our physical position is merely an inward expression of the condition of our hearts.

Kneeling:
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, (Luke 22:41)

And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. (1 Kings 8:54)

Spreading of hands:
Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle. (Psalm 28:2)

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (1 Tim. 2:8)

Falling prostrate:
And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matt. 26:39)

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Rom 8:26

Standing:
“And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.” (1 Sam. 1:26)

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25)

Hidden:
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matt. 6:5, 6)

 

What’s your attitude?



Many people believe that prayer is a way of getting what they want from God. They have a I want, I need, give me, give me, give me mentality towards prayer. A popularly misquoted verse is John 14:13-14 which reads, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”  However, read within context you’ll find that this statement is being made towards those whose lives are completely devoted to Christ. Then what should our attitude be?


Humility vs. Pride:
2Ch 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Whole-hearted vs. Lazy:
Jer 29:13 “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Faith vs. Doubt:
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Righteousness vs. Sinfulness:
Jam 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Obedience vs. Disobedience:
1Jo 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.”

God’s will vs. My will:
1Jo 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”


Approach Him with;

Boldness:
Heb 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.”

Heb 10:19 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”

Humility:
2Ch 34:27 “Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.”

Dan 10:12 “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”

Reverence:
Gen 22:12 “And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”

Exo 18:21 “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:”

Act 10:1-4 “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”

 

In Conclusion


God’s desire is for us to communicate with Him. To ask His will for us. To appreciate who He is and all He has done for us. The Holy Spirit will help us in our prayer life. Just continue and watch your relationship with the Lord blossom. Remember, when a child goes to their parent, they are not criticized for not fully understanding the language. In the same respect, a child who doesn’t fully understand the language can still make their needs known. Just pray!


Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.  Ephesians 3:20, 21

 

Food for thought


What have you learned about prayer that you may not have already known?
Can you think of a time when you exercised the different prayer types?
When was the last time you saw prayer come to pass?