Thursday, October 2, 2014

What is Prayer?


What is Prayer?

Prayer is communication with God; a desire to enter into conscious and intimate relationship with the God who is our life. One example in the Psalms:

Psalm 73:25, 26 “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

It is speaking to God and listening for His answer; an intimacy that we share with Him. God actually hungers for our fellowship.

Rev. 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

Prayer is adoration; the praise of God because of His greatness and goodness.

Psalm 145:3 “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable”.

Prayer is thanksgiving; the outpouring of gratitude to God because of His grace, mercy, and lovingkindness. You will see this exemplified in the Psalms.

Psalm 103:1,2,8,10-12 “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases….the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy….He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us…..For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”

Prayer is confession; as sinful man acknowledges his guilty disobedience of his creator.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

David’s penitent prayer in Psalm 51 is a wonderful example of man’s petition for forgiveness.
Prayer is petition; a seeking for personal help as is exemplified in the Lord’s Prayer in Matt. 6: 9-15. Under the pressure of need, man asks God for some specific favor. Petition implies continually bringing the need before God until an answer is received. An example is Daniels’s prayer for 21 days, Daniel 10:12,13.
Prayer is intercession; petition on behalf of another. A Biblical example is Paul’s burden for Israel.

Rom. 10:1 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”

Prayer is submission. As man abandons his own desires, he surrenders his will to God’s will. This is prayer at its highest level. The supreme illustration of surrender is our Lord Jesus Christ, who after His Gethsemane struggle could say in Luke:

Luke 22:42 “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.“

How to pray

Your time of prayer is a time to humble yourself before the Lord and acknowledge your need of Him. The following is a sample format that will help you to begin your life of prayer. It is not a mandate, only information for you to use if you so choose.

James 5:16b “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”.

The following format may be used in preparing yourself for prayer. You may find it helpful to follow this pattern until you become comfortable with your prayer life.
1. Clear your mind of all outside influences. To help you to do this you can quote Corinthians.

2 Cor. 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

2. Daily commit your life and your prayer time to Him.

Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass.”

3. Begin with thanksgiving for all your blessings.
4. Acknowledge His character and sufficiency. (El Shaddai, God Almighty, the all-sufficient God.)
5. Praise Him for His goodness.
6. Worship Him. Sing to Him.
7. Ask for forgiveness for your shortcomings.

“Matt. 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

8. Submit your will to His and seek His will in all matters.
9. Now begin your petitions/requests for yourself and others.

Matt. 6:11 “give us this day our daily bread”

10. Listen for God’s response, and/or direction.
11. Thank Him for the answered prayer.
12. End in worship.

Matt. 6:13b “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

If you are a new believer, don’t worry about how much time you spend in prayer. Start out with about ten minutes and then build to at least half an hour; but be sure to set aside time to pray daily and you will become more comfortable each day.
Remember you can call on Him at any time throughout your day.
The word of God is very powerful for prayer. In the book of Ephesians 1:17, 18 Paul prays for the spiritual wisdom of his flock.

Eph. 1:17,18 “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling…..”).

If you substitute the word “you” with the name of the person for which you are praying, your prayer becomes a prayer of power.
Another avenue of prayer is corporate prayer. When your church gathers together for prayer, be a part. People will pray for you and you can see the needs in the body of Christ and pray for them.

Matt. 21:13 Jesus says, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer….”

Heb. 10:25 says, “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together….

Positions of prayer

There are many different positions in prayer that you can experience. You can stand, sit, kneel or lay prostrate before the Lord. Your hands can be folded or raised. You can have your eyes opened or closed.
Whatever position you choose is perfectly fine. The main thing is that you communicate with the Lord on a daily basis. You will find that after a while you will commune with Him constantly, always acknowledging His presence. By that time you will probably be comfortable with every position mentioned.

1. Which of the following are not in the lesson in answer to the question, “what is prayer”?

       a) Prayer is adoration       b) Prayer is thanksgiving       c) Prayer is Self focused       d) Prayer is communication with God

2. In the explanations of prayer, which one says “the praise of God because of His greatness and goodness”.

       a) Thanksgiving        b) Adoration        c) Communication        d) Confession

3. In the explanations of prayer, which one says, “a desire to enter into conscious and intimate relationship with the God who is our life.”

       a) Confession       b) Intercession       c) Communication       d) Submission

4. Of the different types of prayer, which one is “prayer at its highest level”?

       a) Confession        b) Intercession       c) Communication       d) Submission

5. Complete this scripture: James 5:16b “The effective ________ prayer of a righteous man avails much”

       a) holy       b) fervent       c) spoken       d) written

6. What is the first thing to do before beginning prayer?

       a) Find a comfortable spot       b) Go to your closet       c) Get down on your knees       d) Clear your mind of all outside influences

7. Complete this scripture: Matt 6:14 "For if ye ________, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:"

       a) are righteous       b) do not offend men       c) try to be good       d) forgive men their trespasses

8. In the text examples of prayer, which categories are repeated in your prayer time?

       a) Praise       b) Worship       c) Thanksgiving       d) b & c       e) All of the above

9. Corporate prayer is important because:

       a) You can fellowship with other believers       b) People will pray for you and you for them       c) You can be aware of the needs of the church body       d) All of the above

10. Complete this scripture: Matt. 21:13 Jesus says, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of ________….”

       a) love        b) prayer        c) fellowship       d) volunteers 

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