"He will call upon me, and I will answer him . . . and show him my salvation" Psalm 91:15-16.
The time we spend with the Lord in prayer can release the most dynamic, history-changing Power this world has ever know. The Bible describes many different operations of prayer, but in this lesson we are going to look specifically at the prayer of the individual. Our prayer as a Body together can only be as strong as our personal time with the Lord.
- 1 THE SECRET PLACE
- 2 FIVE COMMANDS RELATED TO PRAYER
- 3 WHEN TO PRAY=
- 4 WHAT TO PRAY FOR
- 5 AID IN PRAYER
THE SECRET PLACE
"But when you pray, go into your most private room, and closing the door, pray to your Father Who is in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you in the open" Matthew 6:6 (Amp).
We have been invited into intimate prayer by none other than the Lord Himself. This kind of "secret" prayer presupposes and ensures: The right motives (Matthew 6:5).
A right relationship with God as Father (Luke 11:11-13).
A real trust in the Lord (Psalm 55:16-17; Matthew 6:8). A dispensing of false fronts (Mark 7:6-7; Luke 18:9-14).
As we express our feelings and burdens in conversation with God, it can be in the form of adoration (Psalm 34:1-4; Psalm 95:6; Rev 4:9-11), confession (1 John 1:9), request (Matthew 7:7; Matt 22:22) or thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:4, Eph 5:20; Hebrews 13:15).
FIVE COMMANDS RELATED TO PRAYER
WATCH AND PRAY ALWAYS
(Luke 21:36; Mark 13:35-37)
If our prayer-relationship with the Lord is as it should be, the day of the Lord's return will not take us by surprise (1 Thessalonians 5:4-8).
PRAY LEST YOU FALL INTO TEMPTATION
The Lord knows well, as does the enemy, that if we are regular - on a daily basis - in our prayer times, it won't be easy for us to succomb to temptation, because the Lord will reveal it for what it is (see 1 Corinthians 10:12-13).
PRAY FOR HARVESTERS
God's desire is for us to be one with Him in His burden for the souls of people around us (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
PRAY FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY
(1 Timothy 2:1-2)
Those in authority over us, whether right or wrong, a pastor or a tyrant, have a God given responsibility and are accountable before Him. It violates a principle in God's eyes to criticise those placed in leadership over us, but, if they are wrong or evil, we are urged to pray for them, and commit the rest to the Lord.
PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES
(Luke 6:28, Luke 6:36)
How can the Lord answer our prayers if we harbour resentment against others. Our attitudes, both in prayer and in daily living, must always be free from bitterness and unforgiveness (see also Romans 12:2, Rom 12:14, Rom 12:17-20).
WHEN TO PRAY=
The Bible gives many examples of people who prayed (1 Chronicles 4:10; 1 Chronicles 5:20). Many of the heroes of faith can be observed to have had regular times of the day set aside specifically for prayer, often three set periods a day - at morning, noon and evening. "As for me, l will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.
Evening, and morning, and noon, will I pray and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice" Psalm 55:16-17 (KJV) (see also Daniel 6:10; Acts 10:9, 30). The best example of a daily pattern of regular, whole-hearted prayer - prayer that was never just a meaningless rut - can be found in the Lord Jesus Himself: Early in the morning (Mark 1:35).
All night (Luke 6:12). Before each meal (Mark 6:41) (see also Acts 27:35).
WHAT TO PRAY FOR
"Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, 'Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.' And God granted his request" 1 Chronicles 4:10.
FOR ONE ANOTHER
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other . . . " James 5:16.
FOR THE MINISTRIES IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
"Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you" 2 Thessalonians 3:1.
FOR THE SICK AND DISTRAUGHT
"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray . . . Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up . . . pray for each other so that you may be healed . . . " James 5:14-16.
FOR THOSE ENSNARED BY SIN
"If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life . . . " 1 John 5:16.
AID IN PRAYER
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" Romans 8:26. Part of the Holy Spirit's purpose is to teach us (Luke 12:12) and guide us in prayer (Romans 8:27), and to help us in our faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).
The Holy Spirit will sometimes anoint a believer's prayer in a special way, and this is called "praying in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 1:20; Ephesians 6:18).
To help us in prayer, the Holy Spirit had also provided a special gift to the believer: the gift of tongues - speaking in an unknown language to the Lord in prayer (see 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 1 Corinthians 14:1-18). " . . . the prayer of the upright is his delight . . . he heareth the prayer of the righteous" Proverbs 15:8, Proverbs 15:29 (KJV).
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