Questions every Christians should be able to answer Part III
“Understanding what prayer is and why we pray”
Synopsis of Bible study 07/15/09
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Many often say they don’t know how to pray. Often what we see in church (people praying) is very different from what God intended prayer to be. When we see people pray in church using these eloquent King James phrases, it can be intimidating to someone that is either new to the church or unfamiliar with praying out loud. When you really understand what prayer is, you will com realize that God has made it where we all can go to God in prayer.
Prayer is personal communication with God involving talking and listening to him. It is the channel of communication between the believer and God, whereby God’s power is released into the earth realm through a combination of our faith and the word of God. It is the personal communication with God whereby you are both talking to him and listing to him. In other words we are in the presence of God and we hear his voice. It may not necessarily be audibly, you will be surprised how God talks to us. He may send someone, he may put it in your spirit, or he may allow you to receive a message by him. No matter what, if you are sensitive to it, God will speak to you.
When we pray, we are after the power of God coming into our situation. We are saying we need what God has. Remember Jesus says in his model prayer,”thou kingdom come, thou will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
What are some hindrances to prayer?
1. If we hold on to sin, or refuse to make conscience changes in our life, or simply refuse to let God work on us, this becomes a hindrance to our breakthrough. Holding on to iniquity means you think God is powerless to change your situation. Psalm 66:18: 18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
2. Selfish motives – James 4:3:3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.-Selfish motives will hinder your prayer because of your motivation for prayer. You can’t pray with selfish motives.
3. People come to the altar but they have an issue that is unresolved. If you have an issue, you need reconcile it with your brother first, before you come to the altar and pray. Matthew 5:23-24:23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice[a] at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.-We need too much from God to let our issues prevent our breakthrough. There are many of us who are thinking of the last thing that somebody did to us even as we speak. We have to let this stuff go if we expect our prayers to be answered.
4. A proper relationship between husband and wife can cause our prayers not to be heard. Remember in a marriage, two have come together and become one flesh. 1 Peter 3:7: Husbands7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.
Why should you pray?
1. God commands us to pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17: 17Pray without ceasing. Some of us don’t have to be using our computer to be on line. Some of us have service that allows us to stay connected to the internet all day. If we want to get on the internet, all we have to do is click an icon and we are on. Prayer without ceasing means the same thing. We are connected all time. Al we have to do is pray to be connected to God. – Ephesians 6:18: 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere
2. Prayer always glorifies God. John 14:13:13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. -When you ask for something in Jesus name, it always glorifies God. He is our source and provider. The idea that you will go to him and ask him for what you want glorifies him. Ex-When you go to Kroger’s you glorify them, because you acknowledge they have what you need. Just like this, every time you let somebody know that you pray to make it through your issue, brings glory to God.
3. Prayer prepares our hearts to obey and glorify God. We ought to open up every day with prayer. At the end of the day, we ought to thank him for the day. Many of us slip up, because we are not prayed up. Statistics say the average Christian only prays about 3 times a week outside of blessing their food. We need to be prayed up.
4. Prayer benefits us. It allows us to be intimate with God. Matthew 6:5-6: 5And 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. 6But 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.-Back in the day, many people prayed with the same kind prayer over and over and they used the same prayer format. Many of them would start out with the phrase, “f-a-t-h-e-r, I thank you that my bed wasn’t my cooling board” and the Deacons or Mothers used to say, “Pray servant!” This sounds good, but there is no intimacy in this. We have created colorful prayers and it intimidates others from even trying. People don’t need people to pray for them that simply sound good. They need somebody that can really get into contact with God. Real prayer is about going to your secret closet or that personal place and turning off the TV and talking to God. This thing we are dealing with is more than we can handle. Why you are in your secret closet praying, God is working it out and when you come out he will reward you openly.
5. God answers prayer. Matthew 9:38: 38Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.-God answers prayer. When you pray for a thing in God’s will, he will do it. This bible has to be like a menu in a restaurant for you. You have a right to ask for anything on the menu. Sometimes you can even supersize your order!
What did Jesus say about prayer?
1. If Jesus thought prayer was important for him, shouldn’t we feel it to be important as well? Luke 11:1-13: 1And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3Give us day by day our daily bread. 4And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil,
Matthew 7:7-11: 7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?,
Luke 18:1-14: Parable of the Persistent Widow-1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” 6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man[a] returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector-9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[b]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”,
Luke 9:29: 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white.
2. Jesus prayed early in the morning. Mark 1:35: 35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
3. Jesus often slipped away to pray. Luke 5:15-16: 15 But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. – Many of us are very busy and as a result we forget to pray. There is a book by Bill Hybells named “Too busy not to pray” that talks about how we get so busy that our pray life takes a back seat. We have to take the time to pray. ( can be downloaded at http://www.iamplify.com/beliefnet/product_details/Christian-Audio/Too-Busy-Not-to-Pray—Bill-Hybels/product_id/4844 or click on the author’s name to hear him discuss the book on you tube)
4. Jesus spent one night praying all night long. Luke 6:12-13:12 One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. 13 At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:
5. Jesus even prayed the night before his crucifixion. Luke 22:32:32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
10 steps to get answers to your prayers
1. Know that God wants to answer you.
1. 2 Decide what you want and find the scripture that says you can have it. If you have the word lining up with what you want, then you can pray for it.
2. 3 Ask the father in Jesus name and believe that you will receive what you prayed for. Many people end their prayer with the phrase “for Jesus sake, Amen…” This is not correct. It is not for Jesus sake that we pray for things. It is for our sake. However, we do seal the prayer be ending it with “in Jesus name”. Not ending your prayer with in Jesus name is like sending a letter without a stamp.
3. Control your thought life in agreement with what you believe you will receive. In other words you can pray thinking you won’t receive it.
4. Develop a faith confession in agreement with what you believe you will receive. We can write it down according to scripture and believe that it is going to happen.
5. Avoid confrontation with those who are not in agreement with what you are believing God for. Avoid people that don’t have the faith you have that argue that what you are believing God for is wrong.
6. Think and see yourself with the promise of God already manifested. Don’t get mad when you get in your hooptie. You got to see yourself in the car that you are asking God for.
7. Think constantly of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Know that the devil will always try to discourage you.
8. Expect God to deliver a plan to fulfill your desire. When we pray for a thing, God may deliver us plans to make what we asked for materialize. You can’t pray and be lazy. God will deliver you a plan, but you may have to do things to make it happen. God will do what you can’t do if you do what you can do. For example if you ask God for the opportunity to go back to school, God may open up opportunities and show you ways to get scholarship money. It will be up to you to fill the scholarship information out
9. Hold a steady course of faith. Don’t be swayed by circumstance. Though it might not look like it is going to happen, you have to believe that it will happen.
How do we pray?
ACTS is an acronym we use to make sure that we have the elements that are found in the model prayer that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:10-14. Out of this acronym we get the following:
1. Adoration: This derives from the root word Adore. We should express our adoration in our prayer to God. We praise God for who is and what he is like first when we pray in any form or fashion. When Jesus prayed “our father who is in heaven hallowed be thou name …” he was giving us model to go by. In other words he was showing us how our prayer should flow. Our prayers should contain the same elements that are found in Jesus’ model prayer. We want to thank him before we ask him for anything. You got to adore God. You have to be in awe of God. We talk to God sometimes like we know God on a first name basis which is ok, but we have to be careful not to get so comfortable that we disrespect his reverence.
2. Confession: We have to agree with God about our sin. We are guilty of being sinners (all of us). 1 John 1:9: 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness – Confession involves repentance. We know we have done something wrong and we acknowledge it when we pray. David had some issues if you look back at his stories, but God still called him one after his own heart. Think about all you have done wrong and that would be enough confession to fill a whole prayer by itself. It is important to understand where we are theologically. Confession is between you and God. We don’t have to confess to man, because no one is a in a moral position to judge our confession. We are yet sinners ourselves yet saved. This is why God removed the veil. He allowed us to be able to go directly to him and not depend on a priest to carry our confessions to him.
3. Thanksgiving: We express appreciation to God for what he has done. 1 Thessalonians 5:18:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. -When we pray, even if we are not where we think we are supposed to be, we have to thank God. Before we ask for anything, we thank God for life. Before adding up you problems count your blessings. No matter how little you think you have, God gave you something
4. Supplication: Supplication is making a request. It is like being specific on what you want. God will give you the desires of your heart. Philippians 4:6-7: 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. –We must be specific in our request and do it with thanksgiving. Ever had somebody ask you something and they really didn’t know how to ask you for it? It is nerve wrecking to hear them go all around the block instead of getting to the point. Jesus is on the main line, tell him what you want!
Prayer of faith
1. When we pray, we must do so in faith. Without the word, there is no faith. Though our circumstances might not look like it, we have to believe it will happen.
2. In crises, you need the prayer of faith prayed over you. We do not need people to pray for us that are full of fear. James 5:15: 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven
3. Prayer of agreement- Matthew 18:19-20: 19 “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, [a] I am there among them -This is the power of agreement. By the power of touching and agreement you can literally run the devil out of town. You have to have people who can get a prayer through pray for you. When people say they are praying for you, you might want to ask what they are praying, because they may not be on the same page as you. For example, if you lost your job and they are praying for you, are they praying? Are they praying that you get your job back or are they praying that you find another job? You might not want that job back. God might have removed that job for a reason. It really makes a difference.
4. Pray with Expectation- John 14:13-14: 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! -We wish we could give a time frame for phrases in the bible like until or shall. For example it shall come to pass or wait until… How long is until or shall? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that God’s word will not return void. You know when people are expecting God to deliver something, because these are the people that sit on the edge of their seats when they are at church. If you pray and you have done what you are supposed to, you should come expecting God to answer your prayers.
- growintheword on You got to go through it!, Sermon 04/24/13
- angereda haynes on You got to go through it!, Sermon 04/24/13
- Bettye Dodson on Genesis IV, Bible Study 11/30/16
- growintheword on How To Study Pray & Win Part 2, Bible Study 9/7/16
- Bettye Dodson on How To Study Pray & Win Part 2, Bible Study 9/7/16