Of all the privileges the child of God receives from the Father, one of the greatest and most wonderful is the privilege of “Prayer.” The ability to pray lies within the grasp of every single believer, therefore, every believer needs to pray. When we are troubled, the door of prayer is always open. When we have a need, God is always there waiting to hear from us and to grant our requests. The Lord invites us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). We can truly say that many great and wonderful blessings await the child of God who will simply pray.
It has been said that a Christian is only as strong as his prayer life; that no Christian’s spiritual life will ever rise above the level of his praying; and for a Christian to be prepared in this life, he must first be “pre-prayered.” Each one of these statements is true because “Prayer” involves the direct communication that exists between God and the believer. When we read the Bible, God speaks to us, and when we pray, we speak to God. One’s personal relationship with the Lord cannot grow and develop properly unless these two important lines of communication are open. In order for the believer to open these two lines of communication between himself and the Lord, he must read and study the Word of God, and he must learn to pray.
The purpose of this lesson is to give you a basic understanding concerning the meaning, the method, and the mandate of “Prayer” in the life of the Christian.
I. THE MEANING OF PRAYER.
A. The Scriptural Definition Of Prayer.
1. In the Bible, the word prayer simply means asking.
a. About thirty times in the New Testament the word “ask” is used to describe prayer.
b. Some books written about prayer define prayer as praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and confession. While it is true that these things may be associated with prayer, these things are not prayer, for prayer is asking.
c. Since prayer is asking, in order for a Christian to pray Scripturally, he must__________God for something.
2. There are seven different Greek words for prayer in the New Testament, and each of these have as their common ingredient the idea of asking.
a. Matthew 9:37-38...Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. (“deomai” - to petition, or make request)
b. Matthew 26:53...Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angles? (“parakaleo” - to beseech, or to entreat, or to ask earnestly)
c. 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. (“proseuchomai” - to ask humbly and earnestly)
d. John 14:16...And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. (“erotao” - to request, or to ask)
e. Hebrews 5:7...Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; (“hiketeria” - to make entreaty, or to approach for a favor)
f. Hebrews 7:25...Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (“entugchano” - asking in behalf of someone else)
g. James 1:5...If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (“aiteo” - conveys the idea that the one asking is always in a lesser position than the one being asked)
B. The Sovereign Design of Prayer
1. God’s pattern throughout the Bible is answered prayer, not unanswered prayer.
a. There are 667 recorded prayers in the Bible, and 454 recorded answers to those prayers. (approximately 70%)
b. Some of those prayers were probably answered, yet the answers were not recorded in Scripture. And some of those prayers will be answered sometime in the future.
c. Can we expect God to answer our prayers?
2. God promises to answer the prayers of His children.
a. “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his __________are open unto their cry.” (Psalm 34:15)
b. “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the_________of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29)
c. “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will__________unto you” (Jeremiah 29:12)
d. “Ask, and it shall be__________you; seek, and ye shall__________; knock, and it shall be__________unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)
e. “If ye shall__________any thing in my name, I__________do it.” (John 14:14)
f. “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name:__________and ye shall__________.” (John 16:24)
II. THE METHOD OF PRAYER.
A. How Should We Pray?
1. Prayer is to be addressed to God the Father.
a. “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy__________which is in secret...” (Matthew 6:6)
b. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our__________which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9)
2. Prayer is to be offered in the name of the Son.
a. “And whatsoever ye shall ask__________, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing__________I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)
b. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father___________, he will give it you. (John 16:23)
3. Prayer is to be energized by the power of the Spirit.
a. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication___________.” (Ephesians 6:18)
b. “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying__________.” (Jude 20)
B. Hindrances To Prayer.
1. Every Christian should know that certain things will hinder his prayers from being answered.
a. The Bible says we are to pray and expect God to answer our prayers. If we meet the conditions of prayer as set forth in God’s word, God will answer our prayers.
b. However, if we do not meet those conditions our prayers will be hindered.
2. Look up the following verses and write down the things which hinder our prayers from being answered.
a. (Psalm 66:18)
b. (Matthew 6:5)
c. (Matthew 21:22)
d. (Mark 11:25)
e. (Galatians 6:9)
f. (Philippians 4:6)
g. (James 4:3)
h. (I Peter 3:7)
i. (I John 5: 14-15)
III. THE MANDATE OF PRAYER.
A. Why Should We Pray?
1. God commands Christians to pray.
a. “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men out always to________, and not to _________.” (Luke 18:1)
b. “Pray without________.” (I Thessalonians 5:17)
2. Prayerlessness is sin.
a. “God forbid that I should__________against the LORD in__________to pray for you.” (I Samuel 12: 23)
b. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do__________, and doeth it not, to him it is__________.” (James 4:17)
3. Prayer pleases the Father.
a. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the__________of the upright is his__________.” (Proverbs 15:8)
b. Do you have the desire to please God?
4. Prayer is God’s way for the believer to obtain things.
a. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give__________to them that__________him? (Matthew 7:11)
b. What does James 4:2 say is the reason that Christians do not have the things they desire?
5. Prayer is God’s way of bringing peace and joy into the life of the believer.
a. In Philippians 4:6-7, what does God promise to give to those who pray?
b. In John 16:24, Jesus said to pray so that you could have fullness of what?
6. Prayer is God’s way for the believer to be victorious in the Christian life.
a. Prayer is absolutely essential in our fight against whom? (Ephesians 6:10-18)
b. It has been said that the Devil trembles when he sees even the weakest Christian on his knees in prayer.
B. When Should we Pray.
1. People in the Bible prayed at various times. When did the following people pray?
a. David – (Psalm 55:17)
b. Daniel – (Daniel 6:10)
c. Jesus – (Mark 1:35)
d. Peter and John – (Acts 3:1)
2. Every Christian should have a daily quiet time.
a. This time should be spent alone with the Lord for the purpose of prayer, and the reading of God’s Word.
b. Find a time that works best for you, and then endeavor to keep that time as your appointment with God.
C. Where Should We Pray.
1. We can pray anywhere and everywhere.
a. The church is a good place to pray, but it is not the only place to pray.
b. Solomon prayed in the temple, Moses prayed in the wilderness, Jesus prayed on a mountain, Paul prayed in prison, Jonah prayed in the belly of the whale.
2. We can pray anywhere and at anytime.
a. The important thing is not where we pray, or when we pray, but that we pray. Prayer does not need proof, prayer needs practice.
b. The problem with Christians today is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer. We simply do not pray.
Conclusion: The Lord graciously invites you to come to Him in Prayer for anything. I trust that you will endeavor to make your life a life of prayer. (Memorize: Jeremiah 33:3)