Practice Discipline of Prayer

Practice Discipline Of Prayer

Chapter One

Practice Discipline Of Prayer
Prayer – The Primary Thing 12 A House Of Prayer 20
Intercessory Prayer 14 Problems? Try Prayer And Praise 22
Expectant Prayer 16 What Is A Prophet And A Priest? 23
Praying Is Getting Hold Of God 18 Discussion Questions 25

2 Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 6:5-13

Prayer – The Primary Thing

Prayer is very important to the Christian. It is not, as some folks think, talking into the air when no one is there. Deuteronomy 4:7 tells us that God is near us when we pray.

There are important promises made to Israel about prayer. They too, may have asked, ‘How shall we pray?’ In 2 Chronicles 7, God said, ‘Pray toward this place.’ It seems we all need to know where God is. For Israel, He was “in His holy temple.” For us, He is in heaven, as Jesus said, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father who art in Heaven”‘.

There was and is one more stipulation to being heard when we pray. The Psalmist says, “Let every one who is godly pray.” Here it is more than a privilege; it is an obligation. (Psalms 32:6) This is true because prayer is a two way street. We ask, He answers. He asks, we answer.

Then we are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. It is the place in which and out of which God’s work is done. (Psalms 122:6) The same may be said of the church. Many arguments and misunderstandings would dissipate if we would let God settle them. In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus tells his disciples the same as God told King Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:24. Do not come bragging about yourself, praying loudly in public, but humble yourself in privacy.

We are also not to come to God seeking revenge against our enemies, saying, ‘Lord, get him.’ Rather we are to pray for those who persecute us. In Luke 18:1, Jesus told his disciples a parable to show that they ought always to pray and not to give up. A widow kept returning to a judge, pleading that he would grant her justice against her adversary. She never wearied with being refused, but returned time after time with the same persistent request. The ungodly judge finally answered, not out of caring but out of his weariness of being asked. Jesus says God is not like that, but he desires to hear and answer the prayers of His own children who cry out to Him.

Finally, we have the greatest example how we should pray, that given by Jesus to his disciples in Matthew 6:9-13. We are to begin not by begging for something, but by asking that His will be done and that His kingdom come; even on earth as it is in Heaven. We must be in line with His will before we may ask anything. Jesus wants us to know that God wills to do things for us when we ask. He wants to give us what we need when we ask.

Probably most importantly, God wants to forgive our sins. In doing this, He wants us to become like him, that is, we can have the power, strength and humility to forgive those who sin against us.

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 12


In Jesus’ last statement, it should not be supposed that God might ‘lead us into temptation.’ It is simply the negative side of delivering us from the Evil One, which our heavenly Father always desires to do, if we will let Him.

In conclusion, we should understand that God wants us to talk with Him. He wants us to sit down and take the time to talk where He is.

We must come in holiness, desiring His will and being willing to forgive others also. We must believe He is the Great One or prayer makes no sense. But if He is, He can and will answer whatsoever we ask.

“Father, through prayer, make me what you want me to be.”

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Prayer changes things!

– William Drewer –

NOTES:

Type notes into your program such as Word, Notepad, TextEdit, etc.

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 13


Luke 11:5-13; Galatians 6:2

Intercessory Prayer

One of the great privileges and responsibilities of a Christian is to pray in behalf of others. This includes family, friends, neighbors, city, state, nation and world. Such praying requires perception, persistence and patience. But most of all it asks for a concerned and caring heart.

I knew a woman who prayed for a friend’s salvation for some twenty-five years. The two women first met in an international boarding school in India. One was the daughter of missionaries and the other daughter of the Danish Ambassador to India. While students together the missionaries’ daughter prayed for her roommate. Later, she went to college in the United States while her friend took a job in Denmark. Some years went by with faithful prayer being made for a friend. The Danish woman wrote her acquaintance, who was now married, that she planned a trip to the States and requested a visit. Not only was the visit arranged, but the hostess accompanied her friend to several places throughout the nation and Canada. While on these trips she gently witnessed, but got no response. Undeterred she continued to pray. As the years went by the Christian woman began to wonder if her friend, with whom she regularly corresponded, would ever turn to Christ. You can imagine her joy when she received a letter describing how God had used a women’s conference to bring her friend to Himself!

The caring Christian prays not only for the salvation of others, but for many other needs as well. This is especially true for fellow Christians. When we walk alongside in prayer we “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” What a joy it is to ask someone, “How can I pray for you this week?” My wife and I have found this to be a practice which often opens up opportunities to listen, comfort, counsel and pray.

When you pray for pastors, superintendents, evangelists, missionaries and other church leaders you are also sharing in the ministry of the Word. Certainly you should pray for the church, the Body of Christ on earth. Besides regular intercessory prayer for family members – my wife and I pray daily for our six children, eleven grandchildren and our mothers – you can participate with Christ in the redemption of the world. Somehow, as mysterious as it seems you can have a part in putting together a broken, hurting world. There are many troubled spots where people are starving, suffering and dying. They need prayers in their behalf, because they may be unable to pray for themselves.

The prophet Samuel declared to the people of his nations, “far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.” (1 Samuel 12:23) May those of us who love the Lord be able to say the same thing.

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 14


“Lord God, you have given me the awesome privilege of coming before your throne in behalf of others. Help me not to take intercessory prayer lightly. Grant me a compassionate heart and sensitive spirit for this eternal work. In Your Name, Amen.”

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will be alert to the needs of others and faithful in intercessory prayer for them.

– Robert A. Crandall –

NOTES:

Type notes into your program such as Word, Notepad, TextEdit, etc.

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 15


Matthew 6:6-8; Thessalonians 5:17-18

Expectant Prayer

Have you recently had one of those spiritual insights that changed your thinking? You know, a “eureka!” experience where you can declare, “I see it now!” The light bulb in your soul goes on when this kind of truth is revealed. Well, I had that happen to me a few months ago. I was reading The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard where he refers to several scientific studies which indicate that profound changes are made in persons for good (such as healing) with, “the appropriate exercise of thought, will and desire.” This happens both in the person who prays for self and the person who prays for others.

For years my parents had in their home a plaque which read, “Prayer Changes Things.” Indeed it does, and I believed it, but somehow as I read these lines from Willard I received new insights into the prayer that changes things and people. This means first of all, that when I am praying for myself or others, I can expect something to happen! Prayer is the expectant exercise of faith. God wants to answer prayer. He wills the best for his children.

I must also focus the energy of thought, will and desire upon my request. I am not just saying words, or “babbling” as Jesus called it. My whole being is involved. I am in earnest to see this prayer answered. Without such concentration of effort I am in danger of purposeless and powerless prayer.

Anytime I “appropriately exercise my thought, will and desire” for something I am praying, I trust God to bring it about. Prayer is not limited to the prayer meeting or the prayer closet! Prayer is appropriate anytime, anywhere. In fact, the ideal is to be in an attitude of prayer at all times, so that it will be as natural as breathing. In that manner I can fulfill the admonition to “pray continually” or “without ceasing.”

In such praying, thanksgiving must be prominent. In Philippians 4:6 we read, “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Not only are we to be thankful for any answered prayer, but for the petitions we present to God, believing that he will answer for our good and his glory. The grateful heart knows how to pray “appropriately.” Appropriate prayer is neither selfish nor prideful, but rather sincere and in simple trust. Such a heart can be thankful in all circumstances knowing that, “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

“Dear Lord, like your disciples, I plead, ‘Teach me to pray.’ There is so much I don’t know about prayer. Even though I may have prayed for years I still feel like a neophyte. You have reminded me again today that I must pray as if everything depended upon you. Continue to guide my prayer life as I seek to be your faithful follower. In Jesus’

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 16


Name. Amen.”

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will seek to pray as Jesus taught me and the Holy Spirit continues to teach me.

– Robert A. Crandall –

NOTES:

Type notes into your program such as Word, Notepad, TextEdit, etc.

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 17


1 Thessalonians 5:17

Praying Is Getting Hold Of God

A little chorus I used to love to sing stated, “God answers prayer in the morning, God answers prayer at noon, God answers prayer in the evening, so keep your heart in tune.”

Is the answer to our prayers the most important reason to pray? Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer. This concept is foreign to our shallow habit of praying.

Many of us pray only at mealtime, morning, noon and night. Then it is just a quick mumble, meaning probably what my older brother used to say, “Here’s the bread and there’s the meat. Now, bless your soul, dig in and eat.”

Ask a small child to pray at mealtime and the hot food may become cold and the cold food may become hot before he finishes. He praises God and petitions God for everyone he knows, name by name, sometimes even the cat and dog. Then when he finishes, he smiles in satisfaction, knowing he has communicated with his loving Father.

Paul says that we should pray without ceasing. How can we do that in our hectic world of rush hour traffic and demanding schedules? If more people would learn the secret of relentless prayer while driving, there would be less road rage. I saw a highway sign the other day that said, “Drive kindly.” When someone cuts in front of you, rather than cursing him, why not pray that God would give that driver peace of heart and a clear head?

When you become irritated at yourself that you snapped at a family member this morning, rather than ridiculing yourself, why not confess it to your forgiving Father and ask for grace to ask forgiveness when you get home?

When your thoughts turn to worry about situations at work, why not ask God to intervene and make you gracious in all your dealings? Then, as difficulties arise during the day, quietly breathe a prayer, thanking God that you know he is in control.

George Mueller was known as a man of prayer, trusting God daily to provide for his orphans. Many times the boys sat down to an empty table and George Mueller would pray, thanking God for the food they would receive. Then a knock would come at the door and bread would be delivered. The story is told that a little boy hid under the master’s bed, seeking to learn the secrets of this great man’s prayer. However, Mueller did not kneel beside the bed, besieging God to hear him hours on end. He simply stepped out of his slippers, pulled his legs under the cover and said, “Good night, Lord.” He had

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 18


been communicating with God all day.

Have you ever prayed, “Not what I will, but what you will”? How can we know God’s will? Sometimes are we really saying, “I hope that you agree with what I want, Lord, with my plans, and the way I want to do them.” God’s ways are not always our ways, and the direction He might lead his child may disrupt schedules. Many times God puts us in situations that He might show the glory of God in our lives.

“Thank you, Father, that you are with us and hear us pray at any time in any place.”

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I pray that I may be more like the Master and thus I strive to know Him better.

– Laura Drewer –

NOTES:

Type notes into your program such as Word, Notepad, TextEdit, etc.

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 19


Matthew 21:12-16

A House Of Prayer

Everyone appeared to love Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem on a white donkey. They threw their garments on the ground before Him and waved palm branches as they shouted, “Hosanna, God save us!” They were actually expecting Jesus to become their king and lift them from the bondage of the Roman government.

However, the scene and the people’s attitude changed quickly when they saw what he did in the temple.

Jesus made a cord of rope and drove out the moneychangers and overturned their tables. His explanation was simply, “My Father’s house shall be known as a house of prayer and you have made it a den of thieves.”

Our pastor recently asked the congregation, “Is our church known as a house of prayer? Are we known as a place of fellowship? Are we known for our preaching? Are we known as a missionary church?”

Jesus stated that His Father’s church shall be known as a house of prayer. A beginning prayer and a closing prayer is not enough We need to pray for one another. There are many hurting people who attend our church every Sunday. Each one of us has needs that God can answer. We need to be concerned about one another.

Our pastor instituted a time within the service when we would turn and join in a circle of prayer of three or four people. He asked us each to state our name and one prayer request, then to take time praying. I have been absolutely amazed at the very personal requests from people I had not known before. The greatest number of requests are for salvation for friends and family members. Other requests express great concern for broken relationships in the family, in the neighborhood and in the workplace.

Some people have complained that they are not comfortable doing this, but our pastor wants our church to become a house of prayer. He has been preaching a series of messages from the book of Acts. He stated that Acts gives us a blueprint for the church today.

Knowing someone who prays or listening to public prayers from the pulpit is not the same as personally lifting our voices in prayer. Many of the praise songs we sing in our services today are really prayers. Some are taken directly from scripture. Our thoughts and voices are lifted together, praising God for who He is and declaring our desire to worship Him.

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 20


However, when I leave the church on Sunday, is praise through prayer a part of my daily life? Do I pray for God’s will to be done in my life? Do I ask God to cleanse me and use me as a vessel for His glory?

When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray, he gave them the model we now call the Lord’s Prayer. Most of us have memorized it and can quote it without being concerned about the meaning. Read it again and scrutinize the different components: praise and recognition of who God is, petition for daily needs and guidance, a forgiving heart, protection from the Evil One, then back to praise for God again.

If I will pray my prayers according to this pattern daily in humility and expectation, I know God will hear and answer my prayers. In the process, I will become more like my Savior.

“Father, teach me to pray so I experience your holiness and love for me. Teach me to pray in humility, accepting your will and receiving your approval.”

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: To know God is to desire to fellowship with Him in prayer.

– Laura Drewer –

NOTES:

Type notes into your program such as Word, Notepad, TextEdit, etc.

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 21


Psalms 13:1-6

Problems? Try Prayer And Praise

“Troubles are often the tools by ‘which God fashions us for better things.”

H. W. Beecher

The words, distress, affliction and trouble, or forms of the words appear over 500 times in the Bible. This signifies that being a Christian does not exclude you from problems. Believers, throughout all ages, have experienced distress, affliction, and problems.

Psalms 13:1 & 2. PROBLEMS. David could have written what we call “Problems a Plenty”. On seven occasions, David cried out, “How long O Lord, how long? Will you forever forget me”? The prophet Habakkuk uttered the same words. As we read God’s Word we learn that many saints had their Problems a Plenty. They learned that God’s seeming ‘departures’ from them were neither final nor intended to harass. God always has a reason for His actions. His delays have Divine purpose. “He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” Psalms 103:14, NIV. He knows how much we can bear.

Psalms 13: 3 & 4. PRAYER. James 5:16 “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” David cried out, “Look on me and answer, oh Lord my God”. David knew only God could help him face his foes and problems. Prayer was his first response, not his last resort! David states in Psalms 6:9, “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy: the Lord accepts my prayer.” A quote from Mme. Chiang Kai-shek: “I used to pray that God would do this or that. Now I pray that God will make His will known to me.” These are both examples of effectual fervent praying.

Psalms 13: 5 & 6. PRAISE. After David took his problems to God in prayer, he sang praises to Him. “I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” Philippians 4:6 says: – – “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” – – We are the ones who need to praise. Praise enhances our lives. True praise comes from the heart before the answer comes.

“Lord, teach me the joy of effectual, fervent prayer. Teach me to praise, as I petition.”

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Today, as I give my problems to God, I will offer ‘the sacrifice of praise’ even before God answers my prayers!

– Lowell Weller –

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 22


Luke 9:18-19; Hebrews 4:14-16

What Is A Prophet And A Priest?

In the scriptures Jesus Christ is presented in various roles and given numerous names of precious significance for the Christian. People who knew Him when He walked the roads of Palestine recognized His greatness and uniqueness.

Dr. H. Orton Wiley wrote of His offices: “As Mediator, the work of Christ is resolved into the threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King. Into these offices He was inducted at His baptism, and by a specific anointing with the Holy Spirit became officially the Mediator between God and man.” – (Introduction to Christian Theology, p. 214)

“Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.'” A true prophet tells forth a message from God. Jesus in His brief public ministry had been recognized as a prophet – perhaps like one of old, now risen, proclaiming God’s message.

The author of Hebrews sets aside a section (4:14 – 7:28) to convince the reader of the superiority of Christ as priest over all previous priests. We note: “…we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God…” (4:14). Louis H. Evans, Jr. in The Communicator’s Commentary, Hebrews, makes the following observation on this verse: “The summation of the great truth of Christ’s sharing our earthly experience is the foundation of our holding fast our confession. The reasoning is simple and touching; our priest is not so lofty or separated that He is incapable of understanding our human situation. Rather He is one who is totally familiar with it, having been tempted at every turn of life’s foibles and pain because He has been through it all, yet without falling before any of it. Because we know that such a Priest and Prince is on the throne of grace disbursing favor far beyond what we deserve, we can approach without fear or cowering, walking erect and receiving whatever resources we need to live life victoriously, overcoming every obstacle” (pp. 104, 105).

Corrie ten Boom writes of her work among children with learning disabilities. She asked, “What is a prophet and what is a priest?” A little girl answered, “They are both messengers between God and man.” Corrie continued, “Then they are the same – a prophet and a priest?” The girl thought awhile and then answered, “No, a prophet has his back to God and his face to us, and a priest has his face to God and his back to us.” Corrie says, “I wasn’t sure if she had learned that by heart, so I asked her, “Well, what was I today?” She said, “You were both – you told us about God and you were a prophet. Then you prayed. You didn’t pray for yourself, but you prayed for us – then you were a priest.”

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 23


What a beautiful observation! Christ is both Prophet and Priest, and in some measure we can also serve these two offices in our lives – as a prophet, telling people of Christ; as a priest, talking with God about people.

“Our Heavenly Father, there are so many people who need the Gospel. Enable me to be a teller of the Good News. So many people are in need of someone to intercede for them. Enable me to pray sincerely with them. Amen.”

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: My heart and mind shall be so attuned to God and others that I will serve as a prophet and priest as He so orders.

– Floyd Cooper –

NOTES:

Type notes into your program such as Word, Notepad, TextEdit, etc.

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 24


 

Discussion Questions

  1. Tell to what extent you agree (or disagree) with the following statements: “Prayer is a ‘two way street’. We ask, God answers. God asks, we answer.”
  2. According to Matthew 6:5-8, what must the ‘attitude’ and ‘approach’ be if one expects God to hear and to respond to his prayer?
  3. Share an experience in your own life when you believed that prayer actually changed things.
  4. Do you believe that intercessory prayer is your opportunity to participate with Christ in the ‘redemption’ and ‘transformation’- of the world?
  5. According to 1 Samuel 12:23, what is the consequence when a believer fails to pray for another ‘needy person’?
  6. When you wholeheartedly exercise your “thought, will, and desire” upon a person (or a circumstance) in your prayers, what can you expect to happen?
  7. Tell to what extent you agree (or disagree) with the following statement: “Appropriate prayer is neither selfish or prideful, but rather sincere and in simple trust.”
  8. Give your interpretation of the following statement: “Pray as if everything depended upon you, and believe as if everything depended upon God.”
  9. Tell to what extent you agree (or disagree) with the following statement: “Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prays, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.”
  10. When difficulties arise during your daily work and routine, do you quickly and quietly breathe a prayer, thanking God that you know that He is in control of your life and of the world around you?
  11. What do you think it means for a Christian to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)?
  12. From your own personal life (or from your observation of the life of a ‘fellow Christian’) give an illustration which demonstrates the truth of the following statements: “God’s ways are not always our ways, and the direction He may lead his child may disrupt schedules. Many times God puts us in situations that He might show the glory of God in our lives.”

    Web Design GroupBack To Top

    Page 25


     

  13. Is your church known as “a house of prayer”? Share the ‘activities’ and ‘programs’ and ‘projects’ in your local church which emphasize the importance and the practice of prayer.
  14. Which of the following ‘components’ in the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) mean the most to you? (a) Praise and recognition of who God is; (b) Petition for daily needs and guidance; (c) Request for personal forgiveness; (d) Request for a forgiving heart; (e) Protection from the Evil One; (f) Recognition of God’s greatness and power and glory.
  15. Share an experience from your own life which demonstrates the truth of the following statement: “Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things” ‘(Henry Ward Beecher).
  16. Have you learned, as a result of your many adversities and hardships, that God’s seeming ‘departures’ were neither final nor intended to harass? How does the truth regarding God’s ‘nature’, as recorded in Psalm 103:14, give you comfort amidst your trials?
  17. Should you (as a believer) pray that God will “do this or that” (specifically) for you, or should you simply pray that God will make His ‘will’ known to you? Do you think that God’s “will” (at times) is “adaptable” and “flexible”, and that God will therefore “accommodate” His will to fulfill the desires of your personal requests?
  18. Why is it vitally important for a believer to “praise” God, even when he does not receive the answer to his prayers which he greatly desired?
  19. According to Hebrews 4:14-16, what is the ‘basis’ of a Christian’s confidence in coming “boldly unto the throne of grace”?
  20. How do you distinguish between the ‘work’ (‘function’) of a ‘prophet’ and a ‘priest’, and in what ways did Jesus fulfill the ministry of both prophet and priest? In what ways can you (as a believer) fulfill both of these ‘functions’?

Web Design GroupBack To Top

Page 26


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s