02 May 2009

LORD, Teach Me How to Pray

There are few subjects in the Christian life more puzzling to more of God’s people than prayer. Many Christians today are often confused by prayer and usually ask:
1. What is Prayer?
2. Does prayer change things or does prayer merely change the one who is praying?
3. How should we pray?
4. What should we pray for?
5. Can we be sure that God always hears prayer?
6. Can we be confident that He will answer our prayers?
A. Prayer is to express our submission to the Sovereignty of God and our trust in His faithfulness.
B. Prayer is a means by which we express all that is in our hearts to our loving and wise Father.
C. Prayer is not to give God information because God knows everything.
D. Prayer brings us into reverent communion with God, worshipping Him and acknowledging Him as the Giver of all things.
E. Prayer is our way to Communicate, humble ourselves by acknowledging that without Him we can do nothing .
Prayer is also a command to Christian’s "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Phil 4:6. You must ask by prayer and supplication without this He has not promised to help you. Jesus said "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matt 7:7. We must ask, seek and knock for Him to hear our prayers. He demands obedience. If we are not asking, or seeking Him through prayer then we are not breathing. I think Martin Luther hits the nail on the head when he said "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." To go further Corrie Ten Boom said "Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" Jude half brother of Jesus said in his letter “it’s very hard to stumble when you’re on your knees” (v24). Remember when one of Jesus' disciples said "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." Turn to Luke 11:1-4. This is the standard, the basis in how you and I are to treat prayer Look at how Jesus starts off His prayer “Hallowed” or “sanctified” (which really means I separate everything by):
1. Treasuring “Your Name Lord”
2. Reverencing “ “
3. Honouring “ “
4. Glorifying “ “
5. Cherishing “ “
6. Esteeming “ “
7. Praising “ “
8. Magnifying” “

All born again Believers WILL desire to pray with a heart of adoration to a God who is infinitely wonderful and glorious!

Pray to God ......................................... Our Father who is in Heaven
Exalt Him saying .................................. Hallowed be thy name
Submit to Him seeking ............................ Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
Look to Him pleading ............................ Our daily bread (sustenance)
Confess to Him pleading .......................... Forgive us our debts (sins)
Depend on Him asking .............................. Lead us not into temptation
Trust in Him requesting ........................... Deliver us from evil

(Ps 27:7) Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; Be gracious to me and answer me! This is the confidence to every believer that is walking in the will of the Father who is in Heaven. Our hearts must plead to God for our everyday strength, and for those who are perishing. Pleading your petition to a holy God that He will answer your prayer for someone or many you know. Charles H. Spurgeon says "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for." Keep yourselves in the love of God. By holy lives and prayer, not in your own strength, but "in the love of God”. John Piper says “prayer is the Christian’s vital breath. If you do not treasure breath, you do not treasure life. If you don’t treasure prayer, you don’t treasure eternal life. If you don’t love prayer, you don’t love GOD”. How do I keep myself from that kind of behaviour? Listen to Jude, he said “ keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 21. But what happens when we treat prayer like a ritual or a way to win favour with a holy God? Jesus gave a clear warning "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matt 6:7-8. What Jesus was saying is, Do not pray like the world!
1. Hypocrites (Job 27:8-9) “for what is the hope of the hypocrite”
2. Self righteous (Luke 18:11-12) “God I thank You that I am not like other men”
3. Proud (Job 35:12-13) “they cry out, but He does not answer...”
4. Idolaters (Rom 1:23) “and changed the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man...”
5. Cult worshippers (1 Kings 18:26) “as the worshippers of Baal” and of Diana of Ephesus

(1) Prayer is an Action
Ÿ Kneeling (Eph 3:14)
Ÿ Looking up (Ps 5:3)
Ÿ Lifting up the soul (Lam 3:41)
Ÿ Lifting up your heart and hands (Ps 62:8)
Ÿ Pouring out the soul (1Sam 1:15)

(2) Prayer is Dedication all the Time
Ÿ All the time (1Thess 5:17)
Ÿ In everything (1Tim 2:8)
Ÿ In the morning (Ps 119:147)
Ÿ Response to chastening for sin (Isa 26-26)
Ÿ Suffering and joyful times (James 5:13)

(3) Whom will God Answer?
Ÿ Those who seek God with all their heart (Ps 34:4)
Ÿ Those who what upon God for Him to answer (Ps 40:1)
Ÿ Those who ask according to His will (1 John 5:14)
Ÿ Those who pray in most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20)

Oswald Chambers says "Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men." Prayer can be hard work. But that should not keep us from praying, even if it requires us to sacrifice:
A. T.V time
B. Social life or functions
C. Your comfort zone
Prayer is vital to our sanctification remember when Jesus selected His 12 apostles “In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, He called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:” Luke 6:12-13.
Ask yourself:
1. Am I willing to pray all night long for something so important?
2. Do I really believe that my prayer will change anything?
3. Do I believe by faith, He will answer?
4. Have I been experiencing a quiet, peaceable, godly and morally honest life because of the quality of my prayer life?
5. Have you specifically been praying for those in authority over you (church leaders, our government)?
The only way to answer these questions is to do it. If you find it to hard, here is something that might help you as it did me. I found this help when I was being discipled from the book ‘ The Fundamentals of the Faith' by John MacArthur. When I was first saved I really didn't know how to pray as the disciples did when they asked Jesus. "Lord, teach us to pray ...”Luke 11:1. John gives us 4 Important areas to concentrate on when we come to Him in prayer, John calls it "the ACTS of prayer".

Adoration: Reflect on God Himself. Praise Him for His attributes, His majesty, His gift of Christ.

Confession: Admit to God you have sinned. Be honest and humble. Remember, He knows you and loves you.

Thanksgiving: Tell God how grateful you are for everything He has given you, even the unpleasant things. Your thankfulness will help you see His purposes.

Supplication: Make specific requests. Pray for others first, then for yourself

Please stop trying so hard, or holding your breath and pray to a God who loves you and desires to hear from His children crying out to Him with adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and with our supplications to Him. Why? Because He deserves our obedience and love and most of all because He is the reason we breathe each and every breath through the gift of prayer!

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