Concerning Prayer (Part 5)By Pastor Boffey on Saturday, September 11, 2010.
Concerning Prayer I. Instruction is needed concerning prayer. LUK 11:1; MAR 11:17; ROM 8:26. A. Without proper instruction, people may assume that God could not possibly stoop to hear their request. JOB 15:15-16; 9:16, 32-33 ct/w HEB 4:15-16; 1JO 2:1. B. Without proper instruction, people may assume that God will automatically grant any request. MAT 7:7; 18:19 ct/w PRO 1:21, 28; 2CO 12:7-9. C. Without proper instruction, people may pray for things that they ought not to pray for. JAM 4:3. D. Without proper instruction, people may pray for people that they ought not to pray for. 1JO 5:16; JER 7:16; JOH 17:15. E. Without proper instruction, prayers may go unanswered, leading people to doubt God's existence, His love or His ability to answer. PSA 77:9; LAM 3:8-10; LUK 18:7-8 ct/w 2PE 3:3-4. II. A person must be first regenerated and accounted righteous before his prayer will be heard (answered) by God. 1PE 3:12; ROM 3:10-11 ct/w EPH 5:9. A. At times it appears that God is hearkening to the prayers of the ungodly but closer examination reveals that they are merely receiving the benefits of God's faithfulness to His own promises and will. MAT 5:45 c/w GEN 8:22. B. God's government of this world is with an eye towards His people; there are spillovers of benefits to the rest. GEN 30:27; 39:5; MAR 13:20; 7:27-28; PRO 17:2; ISA 10:12; 1CO 7:14. C. God will hear the prayer of a righteous man on behalf of the unrighteous sometimes. 2CH 30:18-20; GEN 20:7; JOB 42:8. D. God at times alters His will at the request of the righteous. NUM 11:1-2; EXO 32:9-14; 2KI 20:1, 5-6. E. A child of God must be living a life well-pleasing to God or his prayer will not be heard. ISA 59:2; PRO 15:8, 29 ct/w 1JO 3:22; ACT 10:1-4, 34-35. III. Prayer offered in conformity to God's instructions can have dramatic influence in this life. JAM 5:16-18. A. Effectual: That produces its intended effect, or adequately answers its purpose. B. Fervent: Hot, burning, glowing, boiling. Of persons, their passions, dispositions, or actions: Ardent, intensely earnest. C. Righteous: Of persons: Just, upright, virtuous; guiltless; sinless; conforming to the standard of the divine or the moral law; acting rightly or justly. D. Effectual prayer is hard work. COL 4:12; HEB 5:7; LUK 22:44. E. God will be found of those who put in sincere effort. JER 29:12-13; HEB 11:6. IV. There are numerous criteria which should regulate our prayer life so that our prayers may indeed be effectual. A. We must humble ourselves before God. 1PE 5:6; LUK 18:9-14. B. We must acknowledge our sins, confess them and ask forgiveness. MAT 6:12; 2CH 7:14; DAN 9:3-10, 17-20. C. We should magnify and glorify God. MAT 6:9; 1CH 29:11-12. 1. Glorify God for His salvation. 1SAM 2:1; PSA 20:5; REV 7:10. 2. Delight in HIM! PSA 37:4 c/w ISA 58:13-14. Concerning Prayer 8-8-10 Page 1 D. E. F. G. H. I. J. K. L. M. N. O. 3. Bless the Lord even in tribulation. JOB 1:21; 1TH 5:18. 4. Remind God of His promises and faithfulness. 2CH 20:6-9. We should always remember to be thankful. 1TI 2:1; PHIL 4:6; COL 4:2; 1TI 4:4. 1. “SURELY the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name...” (PSA 140:13). 2. Ingratitude is a sign of an apostate, ungodly people. ROM 1:21; 2TI 3:2. 3. God is more kind than men are thankful. LUK 6:35. We should pray according to God's will. MAT 6:10; 1JO 5:14-15; PSA 119:170. 1. Jesus always prayed in God's will. JOH 8:29; MAT 26:39-44. 2. We have special help from God in this regard. ROM 8:26-27. We must pray in faith. MAR 11:24; JUDE 1:20. 1. We can only come boldly unto God's throne if we do so in full confidence and faith. HEB 4:16 c/w HEB 11:6. 2. Waverers need not expect their prayers to be answered. JAM 1:5-7; 1TI 2:8. We must make an effort to retain Scripture. JOH 15:7; 1JO 3:22. We should pray in Jesus' name. JOH 14:13-14; COL 3:17. Pray without malice. MAR 11:25; LUK 17:3-4; JOB 42:10. Consider occasional fasting. DAN 9:3; 1CO 7:5; ACT 10:4, 30. Continue stedfast in prayer; be patient. 1TH 5:17; EPH 6:18. 1. Praying without ceasing does not mean that you should never cease from uttering prayer, but rather that you should not give up praying. LUK 11:1; 18:1-8; ACT 6:4. 2. Brethren, especially ministers, should be especially mindful of this towards each other. ROM 1:9; EPH 1:16; 1SAM 12:23. 3. We should pray frequently. PSA 55:17; DAN 6:10. 4. Circumstances should not pressure us out of praying. JON 2:1; ACT 16:25. Prayers don't have to be long in order to be effectual. MAT 23:14; 6:7; 1KI 18:25-38. We should not be embarrassed to assume a humble posture when praying. 1TI 2:8; PSA 141:2. 1. Kneeling is justified both privately and publicly. LUK 22:41; 1KI 8:54; ACT 20:36. 2. This does not mean that God does not hear prayers uttered in other postures. 1SAM 1:26; MAT 26:39; PSA 6:6. Prayer may be offered in solitude. MAT 6:6, 14:23; ACT 10:9. Prayer may be offered publicly. NEH 9:5; ACT 1:24. 1. The church is particularly blessed when its members unite in public, corporate prayer. ACT 4:31; 12:5. 2. God looks with special favor on prayers offered up in His house. 1KI 9:3; 2CH 7:15; MAT 21:13. V. The following are some things which are effectual in hindering prayer: A. Hypocrisy. MAT 6:5-6; 15:8; 23:14. B. Vain repetition. MAT 6:7. C. Pride and self-righteousness. LUK 18:9-14; PRO 30:12-13. D. Unforsaken sin. PRO 28:13; ISA 59:2. E. Forsaking the hearing of the word. PRO 28:9; HEB 10:25-26. F. Idolatry. ISA 44:17; 45:20 c/w 1CO 10:7 c/w EXO 32:5-6; COL 3:5. G. Covetousness. JAM 4:2-3 c/w PSA 78:18-19; 106:15. H. Poor marital relations. 1PE 3:7. Concerning Prayer 8-8-10 Page 2 I. J. K. Inappropriate hair length. 1CO 11:4-5. Ignorance of the truth. ROM 15:16. Many other items could be added to this list, but in summation, any sin hampers the effectuality of prayer, especially willful, presumptuous sins. JAM 4:17 c/w LUK 12:47-48. VI. As already seen, prayer should be in conformity with the revealed will of God. Here is a list of things that you can be assured God will answer in His own good time and manner, providing it is offered up in the prescribed fashion: A. Sustenance. MAT 6:11; PRO 30:8-9. 1. Petitioning God for your daily bread does not excuse you from your responsibility to take measures to secure the same by working. 2TH 3:10-11. 2. Stress spiritual concerns more than fleshly concerns. Do not let the needs of the flesh be all-consuming. MAT 6:25-34; ROM 8:5. 3. Be content with the sustenance that God gives. 1TI 6:7-9; HEB 13:5. B. Pray for wisdom. 2CH 1:10-12; JAM 1:5. C. Pray for peace. PSA 122:6; 1TI 2:2; JER 29:7. 1. Peace should never be desired at the expense of righteousness. JAM 3:17-18; PSA 85:10. 2. When prayers are kept in proper perspective, peace is a result. PHIL 4:6-7. D. Pray for those in authority. 1TI 2:1-2; JER 29:7. 1. Kings, governors, magistrates, other civil powers, employers, pastors, teachers, husbands, fathers, mothers and even children all have their limited, God-ordained authority. Prayer should be made for the godly exercise of the power that is in each of these authorities. 2. Pray for righteous powers. PRO 28:16, 28; 29:2. E. Pray for family. JOB 1:5. 1. Where applicable, pray that you might have children. 1SAM 1:27; PSA 127:3. 2. Pray that your children might be God-fearing. PRO 8:17 c/w LAM 3:26-27; PSA 144:11-12. 3. Pray that your children would embrace the truth and walk in it. 2JO 1:4. 4. Pray for God's direction in seeking a right way for your children. EZR 8:21. F. Pray for evangelism. 2TH 3:1; COL 4:3; MAT 9:38. G. Pray for your brethren (EPH 6:18). Pray for their 1. understanding. COL 1:9; EPH 1:16-18. 2. faith. LUK 22:32 c/w ROM 15:13. 3. fellowship. ROM 1:9-12; PHIL 1:4-5. 4. conversion. JAM 5:19-20; 1JO 5:16. 5. health. JAM 5:13-16. 6. spiritual strength. EPH 3:16. 7. abundant love. 1TH 3:12-13; PHIL 1:9-10. 8. worthy walk. 2TH 1:11. 9. likemindedness. ROM 15:5-6. 10. joy, peace and hope. ROM 15:13. 11. doing no evil. 2CO 13:7. 12. deliverance. MAT 6:13; ACT 12:5. H. Pray for your pastor. 1TH 5:25; HEB 13:18; PHIL 1:19; 2CO 1:11; 2TH 3:1; COL 4:3; EPH 6:19. Concerning Prayer 8-8-10 Page 3 Pray that your pastor would exercise godly and wise government of the church. 1TI 1:3; 2TI 2:16, 20-21; 4:14-15; JOH 10:12-13. 2. Pray that your pastor not betray his conscience. 1TI 1:18-19. 3. Pray that your pastor not discredit his office or name by scandal. ECC 10:1; 1TI 5:22; 1CO 9:27. Pray for those who do you wrong. MAT 5:44; JOB 42:10. 1. In general, pray for their forgiveness. ACT 7:60; 2TI 4:16; 1PE 3:9. 2. At times, prayer for their judgment is justified. 2TI 4:14; GAL 5:12. Pray for deliverance from the wicked. 2TH 3:2; ROM 15:30-31. Pray for deliverance from temptation. MAT 6:13; 26:41. Pray for protection from peril. PSA 91:9-15 c/w HEB 1:14. Pray for the return of the Savior. ROM 8:23; HEB 9:28; REV 22:20. 1. I. J. K. L. M. VII. Avoid trying God's patience or tempting Him by praying for things which are contrary to His will. MAT 4:7; 1SAM 12:19 c/w HOS 13:11; NUM 11:18-33 c/w PSA 78:29-31; 106:15. A. God will answer according to the idols in one's heart. EZE 14:4-5. B. One of the worst judgments from God is when He grants a petition that is persistently made for the wrong thing. VIII. Jesus taught us not only to ask, but also to seek and knock. LUK 11:9-10. A. Seek: To go in search or quest of; to try to find, look for... B. We are not to only ask God for things but also seek those things by the means that He makes available to us. C. Prayer demands actions which accord with its desires. 1. Jacob prayed and acted to be delivered from Esau. GEN 32:6-20. 2. David prayed and acted to defeat Ahithophel's counsel. 2SAM 15:31-37. 3. Nehemiah prayed and acted to secure favor of the king. NEH 1:11-2:8. D. If we ask for understanding, we must also study His word by which understanding comes. PSA 119:104. E. If we ask to not be lead into temptation, we must also seek to avoid making provision for temptation to overpower us. ROM 13:14. F. If we pray for daily bread, we must also work for it. 2TH 3:10. G. “...knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” 1. Knocking suggests a closed door, an obstacle to be passed. 2. Remember that EPH 6:18 and 1TH 5:17 teach perseverance in prayer which means continuing stedfast in prayer despite obstacles. IX. Remember that “...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (JAM 5:16). A. If we would be effective in prayer, fervency is critical. B. As noted earlier, effectual prayer is hard work. COL 4:12; HEB 5:7; LUK 22:44. C. Jacob wrestled with God for a blessing. GEN 32:24-30. 1. Wrestle: To strive with strength and skill to throw a person to the ground...fig. To strive or labour (esp. to obtain the mastery, superiority, or advantage) with or against difficulties, circumstances, forces, personal feelings, etc....To strive earnestly (with God) in prayer. With allusion to Gen. xxxii. 24–26. 2. Jacob's experience serves a model for our prayerful interfacing with God for His blessings. a. God will test our resolve and sincerity in prayer by His resistance. Will we Concerning Prayer 8-8-10 Page 4 abandon prayer because of it or continue instant (urgent) in prayer in spite of it? ROM 12:12. b. Wrestling preceded Jacob's petition for blessing. Let not our variance with God deter us from boldly pressing Him in prayer. HEB 4:16. c. God afflicted Jacob prior to Jacob's praying. God prepares us for prayer by weakness and affliction. 2KI 20:1-2; PSA 30:5-7. d. Though God had afflicted Jacob, Jacob would not let Him go until His petition was granted. Believers should not let God's discouragements deter them from seeking His blessing. MAT 15:21-28; LUK 18:38-43. e. Jacob's unwillingness to let God go speaks of persistence. c/w HOS 12:3-6; LUK 18:7. f. Jacob received the blessing for which he pleaded (GEN 32:29) but he was left with a limp. (1) Have you ever begged God for His favor and found that His grant comes with a limp? (2) If we would receive great blessing from God, we may expect that it could be tempered in order to keep us humble. 2CO 12:7-10. g. Jacob's fervency obtained the victory. How much effort are we expending in prayer? Consider various examples of fervency working effectual prayer. 1. Fervency can be noted in persevering. GEN 18:23-32 c/w GEN 19:29; LUK 18:7-8. 2. Fervency can be noted in begging. NUM 14:17-20. a. Beseech: To beg earnestly for, entreat (a thing). b. Avoid the prideful reluctancy of the unjust steward. LUK 16:3. 3. Fervency can be noted in humility and fasting. DEU 9:18-20. 4. Fervency can be noted in pleading or entreating. GEN 25:21. a. Entreat: To intercede, plead for a person, To sue, plead for a concession or favour. To ask earnestly for a thing. To make an earnest prayer or request to; to beseech, implore. b. Implore: To beg or pray for (aid, favour, pardon, etc.) with tearful or touching entreaties. c. Emotion does play a role in fervent prayer and therefore should not be trivialized. (1) As noted above, to entreat is to make an earnest prayer. (2) Earnest: Of persons: Serious, as opposed to trifling; usually in emphatic sense, intensely serious, gravely impassioned, in any purpose, feeling, conviction, or action; sincerely zealous. Of feelings, convictions, etc.: Intense, ardent. Of actions or words: Proceeding from or implying intensity of feeling or conviction. (3) See 2KI 20:3; PSA 6:8. (4) Jesus Christ is the measure of a perfect man (EPH 4:13) and He prayed with strong crying and tears (HEB 5:7). It is not, therefore, unmanly to weep when petitioning God. 5. Fervency can be noted in the tone of one's voice, as when one calls upon God or cries unto Him. a. Call: To shout, utter loudly, cry out, summon. To utter one's voice loudly, D. Concerning Prayer 8-8-10 Page 5 forcibly, and distinctly, so as to be heard at a distance; to shout, cry; often emphasized by out, to cry out. b. Cry: To entreat, beg, beseech, implore, in a loud and emoved or excited voice. c. See 2SAM 22:7-8. d. The righteous who thus call and cry shall be saved. PSA 34:6; ROM 10:13. Fervency can also be noted in quiet, heartfelt prayer. 1SAM 1:10-15. Fervency in prayer may be public or private. ACT 4:24-31; MAT 6:6. 6. 7. X. The Lord Jesus recommended a model of prayer for disciples. MAT 6:9-13. A. Manner: The way in which something is done or takes place; method of action; mode of procedure. 1. Christ is not teaching that this is an exclusive requisite scripted prayer. 2. Christ prayed differently than this at times and advised His disciples of other prayers. MAT 9:38; 24:20. 3. Christ even altered this prayer's form in LUK 11:2-4. 4. This manner of prayer juxtaposes the unacceptable manners of prayer in vs. 5-8. a. Two things are condemned in vs. 5-8: vain-glory and vain repetition. b. Hypocrites pray for show and for men's approval. c/w MAT 23:5; JOH 12:43. c. Hypocrites and heathen think quantity and formula superior to sincerity. c/w 1KI 18:26; MAT 23:14. d. This does not condemn all repetition or lengthy prayer. (1) Christ repeated His words of prayer in the garden. MAT 26:44. (2) Christ once prayed all night. LUK 6:12. (3) It is vain repetition that presumes to move deity by monotony and it is pretentious length that are condemned. B. “...Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (v. 9). 1. God is the Father of all things in a creative sense (1CO 8:5-6; ACT 17:28) but rabbits and reprobates cannot make acceptable prayer, as seen earlier. 2. Christ was here teaching His disciples (MAT 5:1-2) which implies a spiritual relationship to God by grace and covenant which is not shared by all men. EPH 1:3-6 ct/w JOH 8:44. a. His elect cry unto Him. LUK 18:7. b. By the spirit of adoption we cry, “Abba, Father.” ROM 8:15; GAL 4:6. 3. God deals with His elect in a special fatherly sense. 2CO 6:17-18. a. As a Father, He is concerned with our needs (MAT 6:31-32) and gives good gifts to those who approach Him on His terms. MAT 7:7-11; HEB 11:6. b. As a Father, He chastens us as needed. HEB 12:6-7. c. As a Father, He pities us. PSA 103:13-14. d. As a Father, He spares His faithful children. MAL 3:16-17. e. He is to believers much more than a Creator and fearful Judge! 4. He is in heaven. a. We pray to Him there without concern to a “father” in Rome. MAT 23:9. b. That He is our heavenly father admits to His sovereignty over all things, including ourselves and our wills. PSA 115:3; PHIL 2:12-13. Concerning Prayer 8-8-10 Page 6 That He is in heaven reinforces Christ's warnings against pretentious, long prayers. ECC 5:1-2. 5. “Hallowed (sanctified, blessed) be thy name” is an expression of desire and worship. a. In our prayers we ought to seek the glory of the Father's name as did Christ. JOH 12:28. b. It is His name that is blessed and reverenced (PSA 111:9) and should never be taken in vain. EXO 20:7. c. Those who call upon His name should make mention that his name is exalted. ISA 12:4. “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (v. 10). 1. “Thy kingdom come” is the imperative voice, subjunctive mood (an idiomatic supplication expressing a state of desirability or necessity). a. Kingdom: Kingly function, authority, or power; sovereignty, supreme rule; the position or rank of a king, kingship. b. We should desire and pray for the kingdom of God. (1) Pray for the church which is His kingdom in this world. MAT 16:18-19. (2) Seek His kingdom and its character above all else. ROM 14:17 c/w MAT 6:33. (3) Pray for the eternal, heavenly kingdom's arrival. 2PE 1:11; 3:13. 2. “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” a. God's will in heaven is absolute. DAN 4:35. b. The angels worship Him and do His bidding, even warring against evil spirits. PSA 103:19-21; DAN 10:20. c. The redeemed worship Him also and are told to rest. REV 7:9-10; 6:11. d. These are core elements of the submitted believer's life now in the church: worship, obedience, warfare, rest. These we ought to desire from God. e. Above all else, God's will is to be desired above our own, as Christ showed us (MAT 26:39) and we should be satisfied with His management. 2CO 12:7-10. “Give us this day our daily bread” (v. 11). 1. This plea admits that all belongs to God and we are beholding to Him for supply. 1CH 29:11-12. 2. “...THIS day...” shows us that we should not fret about future needs, especially to the neglect of spiritual values. MAT 6:31-34. 3. “...our daily bread” reminds us that simple fare is sufficient; we need not fare sumptuously every day (LUK 16:19). Remember PRO 30:8-9; 15:17; 17:1. 4. “We ask for our bread; that teaches us honesty and industry: we do not ask for the bread out of other people's mouths, not the bread of deceit (Pro 20:17), not the bread of idleness (Pro 31:27), but the bread honestly gotten.” (Matthew Henry) “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (v. 12). 1. The debt here is a debt owed to the law of God for sin. c/w LUK 11:4. 2. God's fatherly, temporal forgiveness of our sins is affected by our treatment of others who sin against us and repent. MAT 6:14-15; 18:21-35; JAM 2:13. 3. Christ's mercy in forgiving us is our incentive and pattern. EPH 4:32. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (v. 13). C. c. D. E. F. Concerning Prayer 8-8-10 Page 7 1. This is a prayer that is based upon a correct understanding of God. a. God will never lead someone into temptation in the sense of alluring them to do evil. JAM 1:12-14. b. God will lead us into temptation in the sense of putting us in a position of testing. GEN 22:1, 12 c/w HEB 11:17; MAT 4:1; 1PE 1:6-7. Temptations should be expected and defended against by prayer. MAT 26:41; PSA 19:13; 119:33. Temptations are not unique, irresistible or without a way of escape. 1CO 10:13. God knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations: a. by exhorting them to put on Christ and avoid making provision for the flesh. ROM 13:14. b. by instructing them to submit to Him and resist the Devil by faith. JAM 4:7 c/w 1PE 5:8-9. c. by direct interruption of their folly if necessary. 2PE 2:7-9 c/w GEN 19:16. God does not promise to rapture us from this world and its temptations prior to Christ's return but He does promise to honor faithful desire for holiness. JOH 17:15; 1JO 2:14; 5:4, 18. “...For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” a. The expectation of victorious living is based upon the sovereign rule of God over Satan. JOB 1:12. b. The wicked can do no more than God allows. PRO 21:1 c/w JOB 38:11. c. God's kingdom, power and glory has been given to Christ because of His victory over death (MAT 28:18; 1PE 1:21; HEB 2:9) which victory is the basis for our victory over this world. ROM 6:9-11. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.