The Bible And Prayer

  1. INTRODUCTION:

    1. THE TOPIC IS PRAYER AND THE SOURCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT IT IS THE BIBLE.
      1. Prayer is talking to God.
      2. Prayer is like a "river by whose bank many come and die of thirst – while others kneel and drink".
      3. The source of all that we have regarding prayer comes from God’s Word the Bible.
    2. BUT WHAT IS PRAYER?
      1. The word we know as "prayer" comes from the Latin word "PREX" and means: "A petition, a request, or an entreaty".
      2. Man is dependent upon God and prayer is that means by which he is able to have access Him in behalf of Divine assistance. We are told in , Acts 17:28 = "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; …"
      3. Thanksgiving (a part of prayer) comes forth from a deep appreciation of that which God has done for us; Is doing for us; And has promised to do for us.
      4. Prayer is an earnest desire of the heart expressed to God. Paul said in Romans 10:1 = "Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved."
    3. LET US TURN TO GOD’S INSPIRED WORD FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF PRAYER.

  2. DISCUSSION:

    1. WHO CAN PRAY?
    2. COMMENT: The question is often asked, Is prayer something everyone can do, or is it limited to certain ones? This is a difficult question for many to answer but God’s word does:

      1. God does not hear an alien sinner.
        1. Prayer and it’s answer is a spiritual blessing, and all spiritual blessings are in Christ. 
          Ephesians 1:3
          = "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"
        2. If we are to enjoy spiritual blessings we must first get into Christ, and the only way is to be baptized into Him.
          John 3:5 = "Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
          Romans 6:3 = "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?"
        3. When we are born into the family of God;, we become children of God, having a right to go to God the Father in prayer for favors. Paul said in, Galatians 3:26-27 = "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
        4. We are told in I Peter 3:12 = "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."
        5. The Bible sums all of this up in one verse of scripture and in it states the guidelines of what God uses in regards to His hearing prayers. John 9:31 = "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth."
          NOTE The two qualifiers:
          1. Is the one praying a worshipper of God?
          2. Is the one praying a doer of His will?
      2. God does hear the Christian – child of God.
        1. Christ taught His disciples to pray, [Matthew 6:9-13]. In verse 9, Christ began with: "After this manner therefore pray ye: …"
        2. Paul said in writing to the Ephesians. Ephesians 3:8-12 = "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus sour Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with the confidence by the faith of him.
          Comment: "Access"
          = means "having an approach unto; A way of means of going unto …"
        3. The prayers and supplications only being done in the Spirit:
        4. Ephesians 6:18 = "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."

          Jude 20 = "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit." (ASV)

          Hebrews 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."

        5. Paul said in his letter to the Thessalonians. I Thessalonians 5:17-18 = "Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
        6. James 5:16 = "… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
        7. Paul said to the Philippian brethren. Philippians 4:6 = "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
    3. EXAMPLES OF PRAYERS ANSWERED:
    4. COMMENT: Many people have wondered and asked : Does prayer really work? The answer is a 
      simple "YES". The Scriptures give us several examples of answered prayers:

      1. Old Testament Examples:
        1. Elijah: James 5:17-18 = "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." [See I Kings 17 and I Kings 18].
          1. Elijah prayed that it not rain = It did not rain for 3 years.
          2. When Elijah prayed for rain = It started to rain again.
        2. Hezekiah prayed and God sent His angel and destroyed 185,000 soldiers in the Assyrian camp. 
          [II Kings 19:1-37]. [Parallel passage in II Chronicles 32].
          1. (II Kings 19:15) = "And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of 
            Israel, …"
          2. (II Kings 19:20) = "Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, thus saith the Lord God of Israel, that which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard." (II Kings 19:34-35) = "For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses."
        3. Daniel prayed unto God and God gave him power to interpret the King’s dream and to be raised to high honor in the Babylonian empire. Daniel 2:17-23 = "Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then was 
          the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, blessed the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and he changed the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: he revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.
          "
      2. New Testament Examples:
        1. Jesus prayed in Gethsemane and an angel came and strengthened Him. 
          Luke 22:39-43
          = "And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an
          angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
          "
        2. The church prayed for Peter, who had been cast into prison following the killing of James the brother of John with the sword of Herod, and an angel was sent to deliver him. 
          Acts 12:5
          = "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for Him.Acts 12:7 = "And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and alight shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands."
        3. Paul and Silas prayed while in prison and God rocked the prison with an earthquake and their bands and the prison doors were opened. [Acts 16:25-26].
      3. Yes, prayers are answered.
        1. However, we must pray acceptably unto God.
        2. This is the greatest reason why prayers are not answered.
        3. Consider with me what the Bible says is acceptable prayer?
    5. GOD ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS IF:
      1. We ask in faith:
        1. Hebrews 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."
        2. James 1:6 = "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."
        3. Matthew 21:22 = "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
      2. We ask in humility:
        1. James 4:10 = "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall life you up."
        2. Luke 18:10-14 = There was no humility on the part of the of the Pharisee, but was on the part 
          of the publican.
          1. Pharisee: "I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican" (Luke 18:11).
          2. Publican: "would not life up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, god be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).
          3. The Lord said, concerning the Publican: "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 18:14).
      3. We are submissive to God’s Will:
        1. I John 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
          .
          "
        2. I John 5:14-15 = "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
        3. We have the right motive:

        James 4:3 = "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."

      4. We abide in Christ: John 15:7 = "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
      5. We ask in the name of the Christ:
        1. John 14:13-14 = "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 anything in my name, I will do it."
        2. Acts 4:11-12 = "This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

  3. CONCLUSION:

    1. IT IS VERY EVIDENT:
      1. That prayer is a privilege God grants to His children.
      2. That prayer is to be made according to the conditions of God if it is to be receive; or done in 
        submission to His will.
    2. THE FAITHFUL AND OBEDIENT WILL HAVE THEIR PRAYERS ANSWERED.
    3. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE THREE POSSIBLE ANSWERS TO EVERY
      PRAYER:
      1. Yes!
      2. No!
      3. Wait, or not now!
    4. IN DETERMINING WHAT YOUR ANSWER WILL BE FROM GOD; WHAT WILL YOUR 
      ANSWER TO BE TO HIM?
      1. Invitation.
      2. Sing: "What Shall It Be?" Or "What Will Your Answer Be?"

 

PRAYER

Dear Lord, I thank Thee for the privilege of prayer,
And the comfort to know Thou art ever there;
Be it in time of plenty or in great need,
That when I pray Thou wilt give heed.

I study the Bible – Thy message for me,
For in it is contained salvation’s plea.
In prayer I place my petition before Thee,
That which rests upon my heart so heavily.

There is so much for which I am thankful,
And how Thou has blest us all so bountiful;
May I ever be mindful of Thy love for man,
And that we need to show our love to Thee as a Christian.

I pray not for myself alone, but for all of mankind,
And would that they all would one day be Thine.
I Thank Thee for Thy kingdom and in it being a citizen,
And pray that all I do will be genuine.

Prayer brings me closer to God each day,
And the closer I am, the more difficult to be pulled away.
Prayer helps keep my mind on an even keel,
And only before Thee, O Lord, will I be found to kneel.

We are so thankful, dear God, for Thy Son on the cross,
For without His sacrifice, we’d miss heaven, such a loss;
Christ is our only access to Thee,
It’s through Him we must go, if in heaven we want to be.

J.H. Blackman, Jr

 

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