GROWING IN THE GRACE OF THE LORD

(A study for new converts)

"PRAYING"

LESSON 7

INTRODUCTION:
  A. There is a universal tendency to pray.
  B. Praying is something that is depicted in almost every period of history.
  C. Paul, in the book of Acts, recognized the universal disposition to pray and worship.
 
DISCUSSION:
 
I. WHAT IS PRAYER?
  A. Prayer is man talking to God. It is an expression made to God. (Romans 10:1).
  B. Parts of a prayer.
    1. Supplication — an earnest plea.
    2. Petition — literally means "wishing towards" — asking God.
    3. Intercession — to ask on behalf of another.
    4. Thanksgiving — giving of thanks (I Timothy 2:1-2).
 
II. WHOSE PRAYER DOES GOD HEAR?
  A. Only God's children (Matthew 6:9).
  B. The basis of this Father-son relationship is Jesus Christ (John 14:6), established by His blood (Hebrews 2:9-11).
  C. Therefore, God hears only:
    1. The righteous (James 5:16; I Peter 3:12).
    2. The obedient (I John 3:22).
    3. His children who do His will (Matthew 6:9, I John 5:14).
 
III. PRAY IN THE NAME OF JESUS
  A. We are to pray in His name (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:24, 26).
  B. To ask in Jesus' name is not just a charm tacked to a prayer.
    1. It means I am praying "in Him".
    2. It means I am praying with His endorsement, backed by what He is, and I have a claim to all blessings He produced for us.
    3. Our prayers are not directed (addressed) to Jesus, but to the Father (John 16:23). The emphasis in John 16:23 is to be placed on the word "me." They were not to make known their requests to Him, but to the Father.
 
IV. MOTIVES IN PRAYING
  A. Not as a hypocrite, but truly and sincerely approaching God.
  B. We must avoid:
    1. Praying to seek men's praises (Matthew 6:5-8).
    2. Vain repetition (Matthew 6:7).
    3. Lengthy prayers of much speaking (Matthew 6:7; I Kings 18:26).
  C. We must:
    1. Trust God (Mark 11:23-24; 9:23).
    2. Pray privately (Matthew 6:6).
    3. Be confident (Hebrews 4:16).
  D. Learning to pray.
    1. Model prayer, not the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:9-15).
    2. Prayers are to be specific:
      1) Thanksgiving for food (I Timothy 4:3).
      2) Pray for the sick (James 5:13-15).
      3) Pray at the Lord's Table (I Corinthians 11:23-32).
      4) Intercessory prayers (pleading for another) (John 17:20-21, I Timothy 2:1, James 5:16).
  E. Hindrances to our prayers:
    1. Praying selfishly (James 4:3).
    2. Being unforgiving (Mark 11:25-26).
    3. Lack of faith (James 1:6-7).
    4. Sin (Isaiah 59:1-2, John 9:31).
 
V. PERTAINING TO CHRISTIANS PRAYING
  A. Pray all your life (Luke 18:1). Pray persistently (Luke 18:2-8).
  B. "Pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17). Never find yourself in a position where your prayers are hindered (see the section on hindrances above).
  C. Pray for government leaders (I Timothy 2:1-7).
  D. Pray for strength during temptation (Matthew 16:41).
 
  E. Pray for the saints and for the victory of the word in the lives of those who hear the gospel of Christ (Ephesians 6:18-19, Colossians 4:2-4, II Thessalonians 3:1-2).
  F. When your prayer seems to be unanswered, do not become discouraged. It is just that sometimes the answer is NO! (John 15:7). There are times when our prayers are not for the overall best. The prayer may be contrary to God's will (I John 5:14). It could be that God has something else in store for the one praying.
 
VI. CONCLUSION
  A. Our prayers are to be directed to God.
  B. They are to be prayed in the name of Christ.
  C. They are to be uttered in faith and understanding.
 
 
QUESTIONS FROM LESSON SEVEN
 
    1. What is prayer?
    2. What does John 9:31 teach?
    3. To whom do we pray (Matthew 6:9)?
    4. What part does Jesus have in our prayers?
    5. Why do we pray?
    6. What does the term "instant in prayer" mean (Romans 12:12)?
    7. What does "pray without ceasing" mean (I Thessalonians 5:17)? Does God answer all of our prayers?