Father, we enter Your gates with thanksgiving in our hearts, and with praise. Please allow us to enter Your court in Jesus’ name. We lift up Your holy Name. Jesus, teach us to pray as God desire us to pray. Please bless our prayers not to be selfish, but giving You all the glory, all the praises, and all the honor, because we know all power is Yours and only Yours. Bless this study on prayer to enable us to pray more effectively as Prayer Warriors should. This we pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN
Subject: “The Lord’s Prayer” (Introduction)
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:5-17
Anyone who speaks or writes on the Lord’s Prayer has entered a field of controversy because of the two extreme interpretations of the Prayer—the ultra-liberal and the super-conservative. Any exposition on this prayer comes into the range of the heavy artillery of one or both of these groups. My purpose in examining it is not to enter the field of apologetics or logistics, but to strengthen the deep desire for reality in prayer in these days of superficiality. The only excuse for studying the Prayer is to lay upon the heart of God’s people the urgency for knocking on His door, the necessity for asking, and the importunity for seeking. Nevertheless, in our zeal and enthusiasm we have stressed the importance of knocking at the right door, asking in the proper way, and seeking in the correct direction. This message is sent out with the prayer that it may stimulate God’s people to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
There is always a question about prayer:
What is Prayer?
The most basic definition of prayer is “talking to God.” Prayer is not meditation or passive reflection; it is direct address to God. It is the communication of the human soul with the Lord who created the soul. Prayer is the primary way for the believer in Jesus Christ to communicate his emotions and desires with God and to fellowship with God.
Prayer can be audible or silent, private or public, formal or informal. All prayer must be offered in faith (James 1:6), in the name of the Lord Jesus (John 16:23), and in the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). As the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia puts it, “Christian prayer in its full New Testament meaning is prayer addressed to God as Father, in the name of Christ as Mediator, and through the enabling grace of the indwelling Spirit.” The wicked have no desire to pray (Psalm 10:4), but the children of God have a natural desire to pray (Luke 11:1).
Prayer is described in the Bible as seeking God’s favor (Exodus 32:11), pouring out one’s soul to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:15), crying out to heaven (2 Chronicles 32:20), drawing near to God (Psalm 73:28, KJV), and kneeling before the Father (Ephesians 3:14).
Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7). Worry about nothing; pray about everything.
Everything? Yes, God wants us to talk with Him about everything. How often should we pray? The biblical answer is “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We should keep a running conversation going with God all day long. Some find the ACTS formula of prayer helpful, but there is really no special formula for how to pray in the Bible. We should just do it. We can pray under any and all circumstances. Prayer develops our relationship with God and demonstrates our trust and utter dependence upon Him.
Prayer is the Christian’s way of communicating with God. We pray to praise God and thank Him and tell Him how much we love Him. We pray to enjoy His presence and tell Him what is going on in our lives. We pray to make requests and seek guidance and ask for wisdom. God loves this exchange with His children, just as we love the exchange we have with our children. Fellowship with God is the heart of prayer. Too often we lose sight of how simple prayer is really supposed to be.
When we make petitions to God, we let God know exactly where we stand and what we would like to see happen. In our prayers, we must admit that God is greater than we are and ultimately knows what is best in any given situation (Romans 11:33–36). God is good and asks us to trust Him. In prayer, we say, essentially, “Not my will, but your will be done.” The key to answered prayer is praying according to the will of God and in accordance with His Word. Prayer is not seeking our own will but seeking to align ourselves with the will of God more fully (1 John 5:14–15; James 4:3).
The Bible contains many examples of prayer and plenty of exhortations to pray (see Luke 18:1; Romans 12:12; and Ephesians 6:18). God’s house is to be a house of prayer (Mark 11:17), and God’s people are to be people of prayer: “Dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude 1:20–21).
Weekly Pattern: Praise
Prayers from the Bible: Moses
1). How often do you pray?
2). How do you pray? (What is your outline?)
a. Does your sequence of prayer mirror the Lord’s Prayer?
b. How is it different?
c. How can you change your prayer structure to be more like Christ’s example for prayer?
3). How often do you pray the Lord’s Prayer on your own (excluding during a worship service)?
4). Why do you think that many believers do not follow the Lord’s Prayer in their personal devotions?
a. Why is prayer important?
b. What happens to us when we neglect to pray?
5). Read Matthew 6:7-8.
a. What are “vain repetitions”?
b. Do you ever find yourself repeating the same prayer over and over without any real meaning behind the words?
c. Why do the heathen repeat over and over?
d. Do your prayers ever compare to those of the heathen or the hypocrites?
6). Where do you pray most frequently?
a. How comfortable are you in leading public prayers in a group?
b. How comfortable are you in your private prayers, expressing your most personal needs to God?
c. Why is there pressure to sound “religious” when praying in public?
d. When praying in public, what is your focus if you are concerned about how you sound to others?
7). What is the most basic definition for prayer?
8). Explain how prayer can be presented to God.
9). To the best of your knowledge explain (Romans 8:26).
10). How often should we pray?
11). When we pray what should be our focus?
Week # 1
Weekly Reading Assignment: (Acts 1-2)