What we Believe
Foundations for Christian Life
No.3 - Prayer
Study verse: Philippians 4:6-7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in
everthing, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to
God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
WHAT IS PRAYER?
We are God's children and need to learn to communicate
with Him. This means talking to God and Him talking to us, because
communication is a two way thing. When we are babies we let our parents know we
need something because we cry. As we grow up we learn to speak and can
communicate our needs or even answer questions. It is the same with prayer, we
must learn not only to talk to God but also how to hear God.
- Prayer is talking to god (see Jesus' prayer John
- Prayer is an exercise of faith (Heb. 11:6,
Matt.21:22, James 1:5-8).
- Prayer is having communion with God (1 John
- Prayer is admitting our need ( Luke 18:9-14).
If the bible, the word of God, is food for our souls,
then prayer is the oxygen our souls need. Like all children if we eat and
breath we will grow in God.
WHO SHOULD PRAY?
Col.4:2 - "Devote yourselves to prayer, being
watchful and thankful"
Matt.6:5 - "When you pray..."
- "..by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your
1 Pet.4:7 - "Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled
so that you can pray."
Matt.26:41 - "Watch and pray so that you will
not fall into temptation."
1 Tim.2:8 - "...men everywhere to lift up
holy hands in prayer..."
EVERY DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST SHOULD PRAY. Jesus
said, "...and when you pray..."(Matt.6:5) not if you pray.
WHY SHOULD WE PRAY? We should pray because it shows our obedience to Christ but
there are also some very practical reasons to pray. For instance, prayer
demonstrates faith in God; by prayer we obtained our salvation; by prayer we
grow, and by prayer we explore and possess the promises of God. The following
scriptures give some examples.
Matt.26:41 "Pray so that you will not fall into
Matt.9:38 "...ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send out workers."
Rom.15:30-31 "Join me in my struggle by
praying to God for me."
James 5:13 "Is any one of you in trouble? He
James 5:15 "And the prayer offered in faith will make
the sick person well."
Prayer involves two aspects: James 4:7 says,
"Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you."
a) SUBMISSION TO GOD - humbling ourselves before him,
seeking of him a right and a straight way. See 2 Chron.7:14, Ezra 8:23 and Acts
b) RESISTING THE DEVIL - praying against his kingdom
structures, releasing the power of God's word, praying for the saints of God
and the work of God. See Matt.9:38, Rom.15:30-31, Mark 9:29 and Matt.6:13.
Opposition to our praying will arise in three areas:
SELF - The self-life (we sometimes call it 'the old nature'). Rom.7:18-25.
SIN - separates us from God and breaks our communion with him. 1 John
1:7-9 is the remedy.
SATAN - He will always oppose our praying - Eph.6:12.
Read Matthew 26:36-46. Think about the opposition in that story.
HOW SHOULD WE PRAY?
Luke 11:1-4 tells us
that Jesus' disciples came to him and asked him to teach them to pray and how
he answered them. In Matthew 6:5-14, the picture is made even clearer with four
do nots and four dos.
verse 5 DO NOT be like the hypocrites
verse 7 DO
NOT keep on babbling
verse 8 DO NOT be like the pagans
verse 15 DO
NOT be unforgiving But when you pray
verse 6 DO go to your room
verse 6 DO close the
verse 14 DO be forgiving
verse 6 DO pray to your Father in
According to Jesus, our prayers should be simple and
uncomplicated. We don't need to speak in 1611 English or use flowery religious
language. He just wants us to spend time with him alone in secret.
WHY PRAY TOGETHER?
A father responds much
more to his children when they have got together and agreed on what they want
before they come to him. God is our Father, and he doesn't just want to bless
us as individuals but to bless us together as his family, his body, his church.
The promises in the gospels are nearly all given to people praying together,
see Matthew 18:19-20, "Again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree
about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For
where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." The
practice in Acts is nearly always of people praying together. See Acts 1:14,
2:42-47, 4:24, 8:15, 12:5. There are added advantages of praying together:
1. It turns prayer into a school. There is nothing
like listening to other people pray for teaching you how to pray yourself. For
others' prayers look at - Matt.6:9-15, John 17:1-26, Eph.3:14-21.
turns prayer into a fire place. Martin Luther said, "At home in my own house
there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is
gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks through." J.
Oswald Sanders said, "Faith is infectious and infection spreads where numbers
congregate. Only with great difficulty can a fire be kindled with a single
stick." It has been said that the neglect of prayer is sinful, see Jer.2:32, 1
Sam.12:23, James 4:17, Psalm 10:4.
3. It turns prayer into a power house.
One common factor for all churches which grow rapidly is that they all have
groups of Christians meeting together regularly to pray for non-Christians by
There can be some practical problems with praying
together; however these can be overcome by perseverance.Here are some of the
problems you could come up against.
- The problem of those who remain silent.
- The problem of those who are inaudible.
- The problem of lengthy prayers.
- The problem of stereotyped prayers.
- The problem of praying 'personal' prayers in
- The problem of disconnected prayers.
REMEMBER - PROBLEMS ARE TO BE OVERCOME NOT GIVEN