Prayer is as old as man, as universal as religion is, and as instinctive as breathing (Gen. 4:26 OT). All men of all faiths practice it in some form. Prayer springs from the heart with a need – a need greater than man’s ability to encounter. Prayer is man’s acknowledgement of a being higher than he is.
Most men try to pray, yet so few know how. There are two kinds of prayers: the prayer that does not reach God and the prayer that does reach God. This is illustrated by our Lord in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14). Both men went to the same place, at the same time, for the same purpose – to pray.
The Pharisee prayed in his religious pride, expecting God to answer because he thought himself worthy. He informed God of his own goodness, that he was better than others were. He boasted of his good works. He said, “I fast; I gave.” This is the kind of prayer that does not reach God. It is self-righteous prayer.
Now look at the publican and his prayer. He came to God in great humility, conscious of his unworthiness, confessing himself a sinner, and begging for mercy. This is the kind of prayer that does reach God. This is righteous prayer.
It is a rare privilege to pray; because it brings you into close fellowship with God, admitting your need for Him and your utter dependence upon Him.
1) What is Prayer Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking (Matt. 7:7-11) 7) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8) “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9) “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10) “Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11) “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Prayer is asking and receiving; it is talking with God. It is making your request known to Him in faith. The above Scripture is so simple on the surface that we are in danger of failing to recognize its immensity. Our Lord instructs the believer to ask, see, and knock; because these three works cover the whole spectrum of prayer.
2) Why Pray? The Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1) Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to prayer and not lose heart.
3) How to Pray (Matt. 6:9-13) 9) “In this manner, therefore, pray; 10) Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11) Give us this day or daily bread. 12) And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13) And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and glory forever. Amen.
“In this manner, therefore pray.” Our Lord gave this as a model prayer after one of His disciples said unto Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).
This model prayer is brief, to the point, and not repetitious. It is the perfect prayer.
4) Where to Pray Peter Freed from Prison (Acts 12:5) Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
There was a remarkable change in the prayer life of the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus, and it is noted again after Pentecost. Before the death of Jesus, the disciples slept while Jesus prayed in the Garden (Matt. 26:36-46). But, after His death and resurrection:
It is great joy to be able to talk with God, any time, any place, under any condition, and to know that He will hear and answer.
5) Hindrances to Prayer A Word to Husbands (1 Peter 3:7) Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
When prayers are not answered, you should examine yourself in the light of God’s Word. If you find anything not pleasing to God, confess it, believing God for forgiveness that you prayers may be answered (1 John 1:9)
When you pray, go to God in all humility. Ask Him to reveal anything in your life that is not pleasing to Him. Then judge it; confess it, calling it by name and forsake it. Pray in all simplicity and earnestness, believing, and God will hear and answer.
6) Does God Answer All Prayers? (John 15:7) ”If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
The Bible is filled with answered prayers from Genesis to Revelation. You are command to pray, and God has promised to answer (Jer. 33:3 OT). In the above Scripture, there are two requirements for answers to prayer. First you are to abide in Him; that is, to continue in Him. It means to remain in His perfect will at all cost (Rom. 12:1-2). Second, His words are to abide in you; they are to become a vital part of you life. You are to be filled with and guided by His words (Col. 3:16-17). Meet these two requirements, and your prayers will be answered.