Route 19 - Prayer - Luke 11:1
While God speaks to us through His written word, prayer is our means of talking with God.  It expresses our thoughts
to God whether through supplication, intercession, or thanksgiving.  In this study we will address learning to pray,
the need for prayer, conditions that must be met for prayer to be acceptable before God, and who should pray.




Church of Christ
at
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                                                                       What is Prayer?

Prayer is not. . .
       - merely wishing something
       - merely thinking about something
       - reciting some memorized lines

Prayer is . . .
       - our means of talking to God
               - Romans 10:1, Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved
       - one way of finding out where our heart is

                                                                       Learning to Pray

19 - Luke 11:1
  - We are not born knowing how we ought to pray, but it is something we can learn to do.
  - We must recognize we need to be taught and we must desire to learn
  - We must be humble in order to be taught

                                                                  
Conditions for Proper Prayer

                                                                       With a prepared mind

19 - Matthew 5:23-24
  - We must approach God with a prepared mind
  - 1st Peter 3:7 - Not distracted by bad feelings or anger.
  -  Mark 1:35 - We may need to "make time" in an isolated spot so that we will not be distracted.

                                                                       
Without doubting

19 - James 1:5-8
  - We must not doubt that God will hear our prayer, and answer it according to what is best for us.
  - We must not be double minded.
       - It means, properly, one who has two souls; then one who is wavering or inconstant.  It is applicable to a man
         who has no settled principles; who is controlled by passion; who is influenced by popular feeling; who is now
         inclined to one opinion or course of conduct, and not to another (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database.  
         Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft).

                                                                       
With humility

19 - Luke 18:10-14
  - To please God, we must approach Him with a heart filled with humility.
  - Matthew 6:5

                                                                       
In spirit and truth

19 - John 4:24
  - Prayer is worship, and worship must be both in spirit (genuine) and truth (Biblical).

                                                                    
In the name of Christ

19 - Colossians 3:17
  - By whose authority are all of our actions to be conducted?  The Lord Jesus
  - Acts 4:7-8 and 10 - To act in another's name is to act according to his authority ("Stop in the name of the law.")

                                                                
With a desire to do God's will

19 - Mark 14:36
  - Whose desires must come before our own?  God's.

                                                                       
Types of Prayers

19 - Matthew 6:9-13

                                                                       Prayers of praise

  - Matthew 6:9-10
       - We often concentrate on our needs in prayer, but how did Jesus begin the prayer when teaching His
          disciples?  With praise.  Hallowed:   revered.
  - The Psalms and prophets help us with expressions of praise.
       - Psalms 8, Psalms 9, Isaiah 40, Jeremiah 32, Revelation 4

                                                                       
Prayers of dependence

  - Matthew 6:11
       - God wants us to "say it."  We may think He knows our hearts and doesn't need us to say it, but God has
         always instructed man to express in prayer what is in his heart.  See Matthew 6:31-32.

                                                                 
Supplications - asking for a need

  - Matthew 6:12
       - The gift of forgiveness is both ours to receive, and ours to give
       - Acts 8:22 - When Simon the sorcerer sinned, what was he told to do?  Repent and pray for forgiveness.
  - Matthew 6:13
       - For what need did Jesus teach His disciples to ask of God?  Help in time of temptation.

19 - Philippians 4:6
  - What should we do in times of discouragement?  Pray to God for help.  See 1st Peter 5:7.

19 - Matthew 24:20
  - What should we do when facing physical problems?  Pray for God's help.  See James 5:13.

19 - 2nd Thessalonians 3:1-2
  - Where may we go for protection and care throughout the day and night?  God in prayer.

                                            
Intercessions - Pleading with God on behalf of others

19 - Luke 22:32
  - For whom did Jesus pray and why?  For Peter, that his faith would not fail.  Jesus let Peter know He was praying
    for him.  How can that help us?  When we know others have our welfare in mind, it gives us courage, strength,
    and an awareness of their love for us.
  - Ephesians 1:15-16 - For whom did Paul give thanks?  The church in Ephesus.
  - Colossians 1:9 - For whom did Paul pray, and for what purpose?  The church in Colossae, for their spiritual
    growth and development.
  - James 5:16 - What should we do for those who are in sin?  Pray for them.
  - Matthew 5:44-46 - What prayer may we find it the most difficult to pray?  Prayer for our enemies.  But if we will,
    what effect will it have on us?  We will be sons of our Father in heaven who loves them as He loves us.
  - 2nd Thessalonians 3:1-2 - Who needs our prayers?  Those proclaiming the gospel.  Why?  Protection, boldness.

          
Thanksgiving - The true expression of our gratefulness to God for the blessings He gives us

19 - 1st Thessalonians 5:18
  - One of the most important things to express in our relationship with God is gratitude for the blessings He gives us
  - 1st Timothy 6:17 - The material blessing we have all came from God, and were not given to us because we are
    better than other brethren, but are given to us with the responsibility to do all the good we can with them to
    further His cause among men.  The U.S.A. as a general rule is not responding well to our material wealth, but
    proudly acting as if it is our own doing and we don't need God.  Teaching children gratitude is a very important
    lesson in building their character to please God.
  - 1st Timothy 2:1-2 - Those in power need our prayers for them to be able to rule wisely on our behalf.
  - Ephesians 1:3 - God is under no obligation to forgive us.  See John 3:16.
  - Romans 5:3-5 - Do we thank God for trials and hardships?  We should.  They can make us stronger if we will
    respond to them in the right way.
  - Philippians 4:6-7 - How would a prayer of thanksgiving help us deal with worry and anxiety?  By counting our
    blessings, we are reminded that God cares for us.  And it helps us keep our priorities straight.

                                                                               
Who should pray?

19 - Proverbs 15:29
  - Who will God hear?  The righteous.
  - 1st John 5:14 - On what condition will He hear?  Those who are willing to ask and accept according to God's will.

                                                                           
Who should not pray?

19 - John 9:31
  - Not those who are content to remain in their sinful and disobedient condition.
  - James 4:3 - Not those who ask for selfish reasons
  - 1st Timothy 2:8 and 12 - Not men with unholy hands, with anger, doubting God's care.  Not women in a mixed
    audience.

                                                                           How should we pray?

19 - 1st Thessalonians 5:17
  - Continually
  - James 5:16 - Fervently


Conclusion:
Although God has revealed His mind to us through the written Scriptures, the gift of prayer has been given to us so
that He may hear our supplications, intercessions on behalf of others, and expressions of thanksgiving for the
blessings He has bestowed on us.  We ought to go to Him with a prepared mind, without doubting, humbly, in spirit
and truth, in the name of His Son, fervently, and with a desire to do His will.
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