Wednesday: Prayer
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Along with studying the Bible, prayer is indispensable in order for us to abide in Christ and grow spiritually. Even Jesus Himself needed prayer to be united with the Father. He left us an example of a life of prayer. Prayer marked the crucial moments of His life. He prayed when He was baptized. He often prayed in solitary places before daylight or on the mountain after sunset. Sometimes He spent the whole night praying, such as when He chose the Twelve Apostles. He prayed to resurrect Lazarus. Not even the Cross deterred Him from praying.

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

If the “Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:8, NKJV), why do we need to present Him our needs in prayer? Because through prayer, we learn to empty ourselves of ourselves and become more dependent upon Him.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” is Jesus’ promise (Matt. 7:7, NKJV). Although we do not need to impress Him by endless prayers of vain repetitions (Matt. 6:5-9), we need to persevere in prayer, clinging to His promises (John 15:7, John 16:24) no matter what.

How can the different parts of the Lord’s Prayer help us to grow in Christ? See Matt. 6:9-13.

Jesus is our Mediator in Heaven. Therefore, He instructed us to address our prayers to the Father in His name. “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:23, NKJV). Christ taught that there are certain conditions in order for this wonderful promise to be fulfilled. We need to believe that God can answer us (Matt. 21:22). An attitude of forgiveness toward our neighbor is required (Mark 11:25). Most important, our will should always be subordinated to the Father’s will (Matt. 6:10, Luke 22:42). And any delay in the answer should not discourage us; on the contrary, we need to always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).

“Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1) is always a relevant request, no matter how long ago we accepted Christ as our Savior. In what aspect of your prayer life do you still need to grow by the grace of God?

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Wednesday: Prayer — 23 Comments

  1. Indeed the lesson writer was well inspired especially when writting about Gods will being first then ours after a prayer.The fact is that God answers our prayer in 4 ways:yes and He gives you immediately, yes but wait, yes but not in the way think then no because what you are asking is not good for you.

    Like(40)
  2. Prayer is also our response to what the Holy Spirit brings us to. We interact with others all the time and sometimes we may offend them, this helps us see our spiritual condition. So do we need to spend much time in prayer? We need constantly to ask for grace and forgiveness and strength to overcome our bad character traits.

    Like(5)
  3. If Jesus, who had no sin, knew how to petition the Father's throne daily, what about us sinful human beings? Prayer should be our constant, consistent lifeline to our heavenly Father.
    Let us keep the lifeline connected that we will be sustained, God will be glorified, and His will be done in our lives.

    Like(12)
  4. The first part of the model prayer in Matthew 6 shows me just how special I am to God; I am His child, He is my Father. He is in heaven and is above all else and should be that in our lives. Hallowed be thy name demonstrates that even though He is my Father and He invites me into His presence I should approach him with awe and reverence. This can only be achieved when we truly have a committed relationship with Him and get to know who God really is

    Like(16)
    • Well said Miriam! So many of us as Christians harbor viewpoints of God that are completely contrary to His nature, especially as Father. It's so refreshing to know that each day grants us the opportunity to get to know Him better as such.

      Like(4)
  5. As prayer is our daily link to heaven, let us strive daily so that we may seek God's grace and favour as we continue to live in this sinful world. Prayer is Power.

    Like(8)
  6. I think Gods' answer is always yes but at times the yes is a NO to the one praying because his/her thoughts are conditioned in a particular way he/she thinks is the best. God is too clever to err. He knows what is best for you and me, why don't we give Him chance to answer our prayers in his own way?

    Like(5)
  7. I believe that prayer is the method used in us having a close connection with GOD.We should never be selfish in praying to GOD,telling HIM what to do,instead we must say THY WILL BE DONE in each situation.

    Like(3)
  8. In the book 40 Days: Prayers and Devotions to prepare for the Second Coming by Dennis Smith, we are presented with chapter 16, page 54 entitled Praying God's Promises in the Spirit. In this chapter, he shows us the ABC's of prayer: asking, believing and knocking as the course of action we must take in claiming God's promises when confronted with problems. Also, we are given a wonderful prayer model of this by King Jehoshaphat in chapter 20 of 2 Chronicles. Here, the king gets news of an approaching army and although fearful, he petitions the Lord first and not trying to devise a solution himself. The model below reveal the king's prayer.

    1. Praising God. This way we remind ourselves of God's greatness and sovereignty, despite the situation.

    2. Past victories. This reminds us of how God has been faithful to us in the past and assures us of His continual faithfulness.

    3. Promises. With this, we claim God's promises of His provision for us when facing life's challenges.

    4. Problem. This is where the situation is presented, and in brief, since God already knows.

    5. Praise. Once again, we acknowledge the Lord's goodness, thanking Him for His mercy, power, and grace before we see any evidence of anything. This is what the king had done followed by victory afterwards. So the key thing to always bear in mind is focusing on God's attributes and not on the problem right away.

    Some of us may already know this from the book, and of course, the model can be followed in the Bible.

    Like(11)
  9. as you said pray is indispensable matter for growth of Christianity which bring and makes the heaven and earth become one,so that live the life of prayer.

    Like(2)
  10. Ver true Raymond. Jesus said that when a child of its father for bread he would not give it a stone instead (Matt7:9), despite being evil. But what happens when we go before our righteous heavenly Father and ask for a stone that we would eat it (metaphorically speaking)? Because He is righteous and because He loves us, He will surely deny that request.

    Like(2)
  11. We are talking about prayer as a powerful means to communicate with God. The bible teaches us that Our Father knows everything before we request Him. Others can have a question why should we submit our requistion whilst is already aware?
    The reason is to show whom we trust that He is our helper and where our faith is.

    Someone can say that, I have been praying for many times but up to date God didn't respond my prayers? Indeed many of us we meet with those problems but the bible is asking us to seek the Kingdom of God first everything will be given to us ( Matthews 6 ).
    Furthermore many of us, our prayers are fond of earthly riches that can move us on the eyes of God thats why He knows and make plans of our life before we were here.

    We should request the Holyspirit first for Him to open our hearts and make decisions that will give us eternal life.

    Like(3)
  12. Scientific studies on the blood flow in the brain while praying shows an increase of blood in several specific areas especially the frontal lobe and the language center. The frontal lobes have important functions including that of discrimination, long range planning, decision making including choosing between good and bad or better and best, etc. The power of moral and social choices reside in the frontal lobes. It is interesting that studies show that the meditation of an atheist does not increase the frontal lobe blood flow. The study of Neurotheology (the study of the relationship of religion and the brain) is a very new science and I don't want to make too much of it or use it to prove the need for prayer but it is interesting to note some of the findings so far.

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    • Trying to add a scientific label to something that is essentially spiritual is often not helpful. I seriously doubt that these "scientific" studies have the backing of appropriately reviewed methodologies. Nor do I think they are necessary. Prayer is a communication activity between us and God and has real spiritual benefits. Most of us spend insufficient time in prayer and would benefit spiritually from not only increasing our prayer time, but thinking seriously about how we pray and what we pray for. Science cannot measure everything, and to try and bend science to measure spiritual things is unnecessary.

      Like(1)
    • James,
      Interesting observation. Still let me support Maurice here. It is one thing when an atheist meditates without believing (in deity), but what happens when one prays to a fellow human, a lower order animal, or some inanimate object, and believe? Are scientists measuring God's activity or simply the natural brain function?

      What makes prayer special is not what originates in man, but what comes from God. The caution here is if one leans on the support of science, then when science breaks down, as it sometimes does, one's faith may collapse with it. The faith which depends on science will rise no higher than science can lift it.

      The faith we are called to transcends calculations and is measured by a standard not found in laboratories.

      Like(2)
  13. I think that this lesson is indeed one of the best that I have seen in this series, and is, as mentioned by others in previous comments, truly inspired. I believe that it is in our attitude to and understanding of prayer that the true nature of our relationship with the Father is revealed. I consider that the wealth of example and instruction provided by Jesus on this matter is what keeps it untainted from man-made philosophies.
    Regardless of tradition and other restrictions upon our understanding, when Christians pray we talk to the Father: We make petitions to the Father in Jesus' name, as he taught us and as he himself showed us. There is no confusion of equality here. No merging of three into one. We make no requests of Jesus. We ask no favours of the Holy Spirit. All our needs come from the Father, and He gives graciously to all, both good and bad (Matthew 5:45). He gives to those who acknowledge His existence as well as to those who do not. Even Jesus and the Holy Spirit are gifts of love from Him (John 3:16, Luke 11:13). Finally, it is to the Father that we will ultimately answer (Revelation 20:13).

    Like(4)
    • Lowel, I appreciate what you are saying and to an extent I think you are right but I am personally not comfortable pushing what you say too far.

      First, to the Jews God was one God who resides in Heaven. They had trouble conceiving of three separate persons of that one deity. To further complicate things in order to stop premature persecution Jesus of necessity had to hide His true identity in figurative language until close to the end of His ministry and even then they really didn’t understand that Jesus really was God. We see this in Martha’s and Mary’s response to Jesus after the death of Lazarus which was close to the end of Jesus’ ministry. Please notice how Martha frames what she says and the point Jesus was making:

      Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." (Jn 11:21-27 NKJV).

      This dialog is something we tend to see on the surface and home in on the resurrection but a closer inspection reveals the thinking of His disciples. To them there was a dichotomy between Jesus and God. They seemed to view Jesus as merely a special person (the Messiah) sent to earth by God much like an apostle is sent forth. This same kind of thinking is still alive today in such groups as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who really don’t consider Jesus as God but a created son instead.

      It is interesting that Martha used the generic Greek word Theos (God) rather than “Father.” Jesus in response told her that He was “the resurrection and the life” not some other being. Some time earlier we see Jesus saying such things as, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (Jn 5:22-23 NKJV). Furthermore, when John wrote his gospel it was probably at least thirty years after the resurrection of Jesus and by then he had formed a complete Christology that made Jesus equal to the Father in every way except that during Jesus’ time on earth He voluntarily placed Himself under the direction and authority of the Father as a matter of condescension as expressed by Paul in Phil 2. John also said, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn 5:12 NKJV).

      Secondly, we have a very mistaken notion about what it means to pray in Jesus name. To us a name is just a label we put on someone for identity purposes and in many instances we are more interested in how the name sounds than anything else. To the ancient Jews names had meaning and were not just some label. We see that in statements like:

      "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us" (Mat 1:21-23 NKJV).

      Those names were compound words commonly used in that day and age. For instance, Jesus literally means, "Jehovah is salvation." This can also be seen in other names like Daniel, "God is my judge" where the ending “el” was one of the divine names for God. Or look at Cain which means "possession" or Abel, "breath" or Seth, "compensation." You can do this with most Hebrew names in the Bible. So when we pray to God we do so with a particular meaning and faith as a matter of believing a promise through what the name means.

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      • I think that John 14:6 may have some bearing on the discussion. Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through Me." Also Matt 11:27."Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son." As I understand, the Holy Spirit is involved also. Romans 8:26, "We do not know what we should pray for".

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      • Paul, there is a lot I don’t understand about the Godhead so I choose not to be so dogmatic on who has priority even though I believe that the Father is the coordinator in the Godhead. I think to the Christian Jesus is everything after all didn’t Paul (the apostle) say, “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God-- and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-- that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD” (1 Cor 1:30-31 NKJV) and “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2 NKJV). Besides the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus was the active one in creation (Jn 1:3; Eph 3:9; Col 1:16) and the one who upholds everything (Heb 1:3). And there is no question that He is our redeemer and our resurrection.

        It is also interesting that Jesus said, “For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mat 12:8 NKJV) and according to Ellen White that means that He also was the law giver at Sinai. Besides, Jesus did say that, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (Jn 5:39 NKJV). And while on the road to Emmaus, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Lk 24:27 NKJV). According to Paul that means that Jesus was the God of the Hebrews as he said, “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:1-4 NKJV).

        Even with all of this I do think Lowel makes a point but I don’t think it is something we need to cling to fanatically.

        Like(1)
    • Hi Paul,
      I appreciate your inciteful reply that pertains directly to the comment that I had made. The texts which you chose are appropriate ones. I am not sure if it was your intention, but they can be understood to support the point that I was trying to make: Ultimately we petition the Father as the supporter of our needs.

      In John 14:6 Jesus can be seen to point out that it is the Father that we need to get to, but we get there only through him. In Matthew 11:27 Jesus can be understood to say that the Father is whom we should seek, but He will only be revealed by Jesus. Using the words of George Froom (http://ssnet.org/blog/monday-gods-initiative/comment-page-1/#comment-61484), “The Father is the destination and Jesus is the route to get there.”

      In Romans 8:26, Paul seems to tells us that the “Spirit” intercedes for us when we are too weak to speak for ourselves. Here again the destination of our communication is the Father, interceded by the “Spirit” on our behalf.

      In conclusion I would like to reiterate that finally, all will stand before the Father as was shown to Daniel (Daniel 7:9-10), even Jesus, though his reason for standing before the Father is different from ours (Daniel 7:13).

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      • Lowel,
        You make a meaningful observation. Again and again Scriptures show the Son deferring to the Father and directing others to Him. Even when calling people to look to Him Jesus was still acting as a channel. It is not that the Son (or the Holy Spirit) is not worthy. Jesus (like the Spirit) accepts worship and retains authority to forgive sins and answer prayers, and is able to do anything divine.

        However there is voluntary functional hierarchy at work in Heaven, and Jesus (again like the Spirit) is ever mindful to acknowledge, respect and support it. The need for submission to God's order is of such import that the Godhead first models it, and then invites the creation to accept same.

        By following the straight testimony of Jesus' teachings, including in the matter of prayer, we not only do the Lord's will, but we learn more about the principles of the Kingdom of God.

        Like(1)
    • Guys, I am really not disagreeing with Lowel but I do think if we aren’t careful we can easily end up like some that have made one point a central doctrine to the point of fanaticism. Consider, for instance, what the tongues movement did to the gifts of the spirit.

      I think we should generally follow the formula given in scripture but there are noted exceptions two of which are:

      1. The thief on the cross didn’t pray to the Father for salvation but instead said, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." (Lk 23:42 NKJV). To that Jesus promised that he would be there.

      2. Peter when he was sinking didn’t say, “Father, save me, in Jesus name” but rather said, "Lord, save me!" (Mat 14:30 NKJV) and Jesus complied.

      So God hears the groans and yearnings of the heart and doesn’t deny requests because we don’t phrase our petitions in a certain way or because we don’t pronounce the word “Jehovah” correctly as some say we should.

      To me the Godhead is a team on a mission and their concern is that everyone who is safe to save ends up saved and quite frankly I don’t think God much cares how that is done as long as it isn’t forced. I even believe there will people in Heaven that address God as The Great Spirit or Allah or El or any other means they know of. If that is not so then how could a good Jew be saved or even drawn to Jesus before the first century – or even during it. Should we assume that Cornelius prayed to the Father in Jesus’ name before he met Peter? For not only was God working with him through a vision but even while Peter had barely begun preaching the Gospel to him and his family the Spirit fell on his household (Acts 10:44). Or how could Paul say what He does concerning the Gentiles (Rom 2:13-16) that even though they didn’t have the written law as the Jews or Christians did God will justify them anyway because the law is written on their hearts. The same could also be said about the good Catholic praying to Mary who even though he does that he also does the will of God in his life and therefore will be saved. So I am not about to enforce a particular way of praying. If you want to, that’s fine, go ahead but personally I am not going to do that.

      Like(1)
  14. The model prayer begins with, "Our Father who art in heaven". Because this was given in answer to the request,"teach us to pray", I would have to think it is still a valid example. Jesus glorified the Father throughout His entire ministry. That should be enough to guide us in our relationship with the Father. Reverence, respect, honor, and glory are characteristics that should be basic components of our communication with the Father.

    Like(3)

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