PRAYER

    DEFINITIONPrayer is talking to God and with God, whether it be spoken or silent conversation.  Prayer is a direct line to Heaven, allowing you to communicate with God.  It includes praise and worship, petition, confession, repentance, and intercession.

    FACTS ABOUT PRAYER:

    The greatest prayer.  The greatest prayer is the prayer asking forgiveness for sin and accepting Christ as Savior  (Luke 18:13).

    Prayer is described as calling upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:8); crying unto God (Psalms 27:7; 34:6); drawing near to God (Psalms 73:28; Hebrews 10:22); looking up (Psalms 5:3); lifting up the soul (Psalms 25:1); lifting up the heart (Lamentations 3:41); pouring out the heart (Psalms 62:8); pouring out the soul (1 Samuel 1:15); crying to Heaven (2 Chronicles 32:20); beseeching the Lord (Exodus 32:11); seeking God (Job 8:5); seeking the face of the Lord (Psalms 27:8); making supplication (Job 8:5; Jeremiah 36:7).

    There are three levels of intensity in prayer.  Asking, seeking, and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8).  Asking is the first level of prayer.  It is simply presenting a request to God and receiving an immediate answer. Seeking is a deeper level of prayer where answers are not as immediate as at the asking level.  Knocking is prayer that persists when answers are longer in coming.

    Believers have great power in prayer.  Through prayer, you have power over the enemy (Luke 9:1); power over sin (John 20:23); power to extend the gospel (Matthew 9:37); and power to bind and loose spiritual forces (Matthew 12:28-29; 16:19).  Your prayers are powerful because of the name of Jesus (John 16:23-24) and His blood that secured your victory (Hebrews 10:19-23).

    The Bible reveals that prayer is answered immediately at times (Isaiah 65:24; Daniel 9:21-23); delayed at times (Luke 18:7); different from your desires (2 Corinthians 12:8-9); and beyond your expectations (Jeremiah 33:3; Ephesians 3:20).

    Organizing for prayer.  Prayer can be made on an individual basis (Matthew 6:6); with two people praying together (Matthew 18:19); and in small groups (Matthew 18:20).

    DEALING WITH  PRAYER:

    Never condemn a person or feel condemned for lack of prayer.  Prayer is a wonderful opportunity, not an obligation that must be fulfilled.  View prayer as something you might be missing rather than something you should be doing.  It is not a burden, but an opportunity.

    Set a special time and place to pray to God each day.  You can pray anytime as you go throughout the day–and you should–but you should also have a set time and place to devote yourself solely to prayer.  You plan for dinner, recreation, work, and others things.  Plan for prayer!

    Open your heart to receive God’s guidance when you pray.   Let Him know that you want to change, and invite Him to guide you in living a Spirit-filled life and being a better person. Give thanks for both good and bad circumstances in your life, as both carry lessons to teach you the right and wrong ways to approach life.  Use your prayer time to ask God for help and to give thanks, confess your sins, and seek comfort  and guidance.

    Use the model prayer in Mathew 6:9-13  as a format for your prayer.  Each phrase can be used as an outline point through which you can worship God, pray for His Kingdom around the world, pray that His will be done in your life and the lives of others, ask for and extend forgiveness, ask for provision in every area of life, and intercede for protection from temptation and the evil powers of Satan.  The prayer includes an appeal for “daily bread”, so it assumes that you will talk to God each day on a regular basis.

    Listen for God to speak to you  Prayer is communication, and a one-way conversation does not last long. When you pray, expect God to speak to you.  Most often He will do this through His written Word or by a “still small voice” that seems to speak to your heart. Sometimes He will give you a vision, a prophetic word, or interpret back to your spirit what you have prayed in your heavenly prayer language.

    Align your life with the purposes and priorities of God.  Pray for wisdom concerning every area of your life and the forthcoming day (James 4:2).   God will show you the things that need to be done and how to do things better.  He will help you discern what is and is not important, and how to use your time to accomplish His priorities and purposes.

    WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT PRAYER:

    Biblical guidelines for prayer. Study the following references in your Bible.

    -Prayer is to be made to God:  Psalms 5:2

    -Quality rather than quantity is stressed:  Matthew 6:7

    -Empty repetition is forbidden, but sincere repetition is not:  Daniel 6:10; Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8

    -Pray with understanding (in a known tongue):  Ephesians 6:18

    -Pray in the Spirit in tongues:   Romans 8:26; Jude 20

    -Intercede according to the will of God:  1 John 5:14-15

    -Pray in secret:   Matthew 6:6

    -Pray always:  Luke 21:36; Ephesians 6:18

    -Pray continually without ceasing:   Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17

    -Intercede to the Father in the name of Jesus:  John 14:13-14

    -Pray with a watchful attitude:  1 Peter 4:7

    -Pray using the example of the model prayer: Matthew 6:9-13

    -Pray with a forgiving spirit:  Mark 11:25

    -Pray with humility:  Matthew 6:7

    -Accompany prayer with fasting: Matthew 17:21

    -Intercede fervently:  James 5:16; Colossians 4:12

    -Pray with submission to God:   Luke 22:42

    -Use the strategies of binding and loosing: Matthew 16:19

    What to pray for.  Study the following Biblical references which reveal what you are to intercede for:

     -The peace of Jerusalem:  Psalms 122:6

    -Laborers in the harvest: Matthew 9:38; Luke 10:2

    -That you enter not into temptation: Luke 22:40-46;

    -Those who despitefully use you (your enemies):   Luke 6:28

    -All the saints:   Ephesians 6:18

    -The sick:  James 5:14

    -For others (bearing others burdens):    James 5:16;1 Samuel 12:23

    -For all men, kings, and those in authority:  1 Timothy 2:1-4

    -For daily needs:  Matthew 6:11

    -For wisdom:  James 1:5

    -For healing: James 5:14-15

    -For forgiveness:  Matthew 6:12

    -For God’s will and Kingdom to be established: Matthew 6:10

    -For relief from affliction: James 5:13

    -For unity in the Body of Christ:  John 17

    -For the persecuted church around the world: Hebrews 13:3

     

    Hindrances to effective prayer.  Identifying hindrances to your prayer life is not enough.  You must also ask God to help you to eliminate them. Also remember that what seems to be unanswered prayer does not mean there are spiritual hindrances in your prayer life. Answers to prayer may be delayed (Luke 18:7) or answered differently from your desires (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).  Here are some common hindrances to effective prayer.

     

    -Sin of any kind:  Isaiah 59:1-2; Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15; Proverbs 28:9

    -Idols in the heart:  Ezekiel 14:1-3

    -An unforgiving spirit:  Mark 11:25; Matthew 5:23

    -Selfishness, wrong motives: Proverbs 21:13; James 4:3

    -Power hungry, manipulative prayers:  James 4:2-3

    -Wrong treatment of marriage partner:  1 Peter 3:7

    -Self-righteousness:   Luke 18:10-14

    -Unbelief:  James 1:6-7

    -Not abiding in Christ and His Word: John 15:7

    -Lack of compassion:   Proverbs 21:13

    -Hypocrisy, pride, meaningless repetition: Matthew 6:5; Job 35:12-13

    -Not asking according to the will of God:  James 4:2-3

    -Not asking in Jesus’ name:  John 16:24

    -Satanic demonic hindrances: Daniel 10:10-13; Ephesians 6:12

    -Not seeking first the Kingdom:  Matthew 6:33

    When you don’t know how to pray, allow the Holy Spirit pray through you: Romans 8:26

    Study Christ’s prayer for you.  John 17

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