I.The Bible encourages us to pray. Prayer is very important to the Christian life and our spiritual well being and the well being of others.
- The book of Psalms is full of David’s prayers. Ps. 109:4b
- The Lord delights in the prayers of the upright. Proverbs 15:8
II. We have many recorded prayers in the Bible from people such as: Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Jonah, Manasseh, Jabez, Paul, and Jesus.
- Jesus told us to pray. Matthew 9:38; Luke 18:1; Luke 21:36
- The apostles encouraged prayer. Acts 6:4; I Tim. 2:8; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16; I Peter 4:7
- God hears and answers prayer. Ps. 65;2; 86:7; I Peter 3:12a
- We are called to pray for everyone.
I Timothy 2:1-4 – “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
III. God has given us authority in Christ.
- God gave Adam and Eve authority over every living thing. Gen. 1:26,27
- Christ gave us authority over the earth.
Matt. 16:19 – “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Why don’t we always see this when we pray?
It may be because we are not asking in Christ’s name and for His glory. Jesus name is not some magical wand that makes things miraculously happen. It is us coming before our Father God, and saying that Jesus told me this or said this. If Jesus didn’t tell you to pray that way, then you are praying in vain or in ignorance. God is not angry with us when we do this if done in humility and faith. He understands that we lack understanding or insight. He just simply replies, no, I will not do this because it is not my will. When the Bible tells us to ask in His name, it is saying that we are to pray according to the will of Christ. Prayer in Jesus name is declaring what God has already confirmed, and collaborating with God’s plan. It is for this reason that we need the help of the Holy Spirit when we pray.
John 16:13 – “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
IV. The Lord’s teaches us how to pray in Luke 11:2-4.
Here we see the basics of prayer.
1. We are to address our Father in heaven. Jesus showed them the Father and son relationship in prayer.
2. Hallowed be your name. Hallowed means to make holy, to purify, to consecrate, to regard with respect or reverence, to appreciate, to hold dear. Jesus is teaching them, even though God is our Father, we are to come before Him humbly, with respect and in an honorable way. Also, Jesus is saying to come to Him in a spirit of worship and praise.
3. Your kingdom come.
What is most important to God?
It is that His kingdom be established. In other words, intercessory prayer is for the purpose of establishing Christ’s kingdom, not our own agenda. It is important to see here that the word “come” here in the Greek is “ercomehe” which means to come from over there to over here”. Jesus is saying, call those things that be not as though they were. Jesus is saying, ask that God’s kingdom come from heaven and be established on earth. We pray that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Why must we ask God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven? He doesn’t need our permission.
Yet, he chooses to use us to accomplish His will on earth. By doing this, we align ourselves to God’s will. One definition of prayer is that prayer is taking a situation before the Lord, hearing His answer, and speaking forth God’s will into the situation. In this way we bring heaven to earth.
V. Remember what or who we are fighting. This will guide us in our prayer.
Ephesians 6:12 – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Our focus is not on the people or situation that is disrupting our lives, but on that which is behind it.
VI. Sometimes we must persist in prayer.
- Paul taught that we are to persevere. Eph. 6:18
- Jesus taught persistence. Luke 11:5-8
- Jesus taught us not to lose heart but pray day and night. Luke 8:1,7,8
- We do not always see the results to our prayer immediately. Why?
1)The answer may be a, no.
2) It may not be God’s timing.
3) There may be some kind of hindrance.
4) God may be testing us.
5) God may be teaching us and others through the delay.
VII. There can be some hindrances to our prayers, brought on ourselves.
- Our unbelief hinders God’s answer to our prayers. James 1:5-7
- Others unbelief can hinder God’s purposes and our prayers.
Matt. 13:54-58; Mark 5:39-42
- Lack of knowledge or understanding of the will of God.
- Pride. Luke 18:9-14
- Holding someone in our hearts because we have not forgiven them. Matthew 5:23,24; Mark 11:25-26
- Not being in right relationship with your wife. I Peter 3:7
- Sin breaks the line of communication. Psalms 66:8
Matthew 21:21 – “Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”
VIII. You are able to pray with faith and confidence when we declare God’s Word and His promises.
Isaiah 55:11 – “so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.