Prayer

Praying Without Ceasing

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Q/A Friday: What Does the Bible Teach Us To Pray?

QuestionsPray that God would be glorified (Matt 6:9).

Pray that God’s kingdom will be extended beyond what it currently is (Matt 6:10).

Pray that God would meet our daily needs (Matt 6:11).

Pray for God’s forgiveness of sins (Matt 6:12).

Pray that you would resist temptation (Matt 6:13; 26:41).

Pray that God would send people to evangelize others (Matt 9:38; Rom 15:30-31).

Pray that God would increase your faith (Mark 9:24; Luke 22:32).

Pray that God would deliver those who are being tormented by demons (Mark 9:29).

Pray that the Holy Spirit will fill you (Luke 11:13).

Pray that God will vindicate those who have been persecuted (Luke 18:7).

Pray for unity among the church (John 18:20-21).

Pray for boldness to proclaim the Gospel (Acts 4:29; Eph 6:18-19).

Pray that God would raise up leaders in the church (Acts 14:23).

Pray that the Gospel will reach people (Rom 10:1; II Thess 3:1).

Pray for hope (Eph 1:16-18).

Pray that you might know the love of our Lord in a deeper way (Eph 3:14-15).

Pray that the Word will penetrate the hearts of men (Eph 6:17-18).

Pray for discernment (Phil 1:9-10).

Pray to know God’s will (Col 1:10).

Pray that God will help you produce fruit (Col 1:10).

Pray that God will help you be more enduring (Col 1:11).

Pray that those who lack something spiritually would be encouraged (I Thess 3:10).

Pray that God will help you validate your faith (II Thess 1:11).

Pray for wisdom (Jas 1:5).

Pray that God would heal those who are sick (Jas 5:14-15).

 

Q/A Friday: If God is Sovereign, Why Pray?

God is sovereign. God knows everything. God has planned and ordained all things to occur. And He does whatever He wants (Ps 139:4; Isa 46:9-11; Matt 6:8; I John 3:20). He is infinite in His knowledge. He knows all things perfectly that have occurred or will occur. He knows every possible outcome. He knows the future. He never learns or forgets. He is perfectly omniscient. There is nothing that will ever happen that He doesn’t already know about or planned in history.

Here are some reasons why we pray to a sovereign God.

#1 – God commands us to pray (Mat 6:9-13; Luke 5; Col 4:2; I Thess 4:6; 5:17). If prayer were so meaningless or pointless, why would God command us to do it? God doesn’t give us frivolous or worthless commands with no point. He commands us to do things because they are vital to our Christian growth and glorify Himself. God doesn’t command us to do things that don’t benefit us and glorify Himself.

#2 – Jesus, the Son of God, prayed (Mark 1:34-35; Luke 5:16). Consider this. This is Jesus who is equal to the Father. Jesus has divine power to create the world, heal diseases, walk on water, multiply bread and fish, turn water into wine, and read the hearts and minds of people around Him, and yet He knew He had to pray. He knew that prayer was not just an escape for Him but a special time of communion with the Father and a necessity for His life and following the Father’s will. He needed prayer to rejuvenate. He knew He was powerless without it (Luke 3:21; 6:12; 9:28; 11:1; 22:41).

#3 – God will respond to prayer (Exod 32:9-14; Ps 62:2; Dan 10:12; Luke 11:9-10; Jas 4:2; 5:16). God attends to prayer and He answers every prayer. You want a reason to pray? He is sovereign and able to respond.

#4 – Prayer helps accomplish God’s will (John 16:23; I John 5:14). God is all-powerful and can do whatever He pleases, whenever He pleases to whomever He pleases. And yet, He allows men and women to co-operate in the execution of His will. He uses us to accomplish His will in the preaching of the Gospel and in prayer.

#5 – God expects us to pray (Matt 6:5-8). God assumes a genuine child of God will pray. He says “when” you pray … do it in this manner. Despite the fact that He know what we are going to pray even before we do, He still expect it from us.

#6 – Prayer will change the one who is praying (II Kings 20; II Cor 12:7-9). Prayer does change God; it changes us. If you have never seen yourself change in this way, than it is quite possible you don’t pray nearly enough.

#7 – Knowing the eventual outcome didn’t stop some from praying in the Bible (Dan 9:1-19; John 17:11). There is never a good reason to not bring something before the Lord, even if the outcome is certain.

#8 – Prayer glorifies God (John 14:13). Prayer is an act of worship, because we are acknowledging our dependence upon God. We confirm His providence and sovereignty and this brings Him glory. If there is one thing God longs for with His children, it is intimate communion. Do you know how that communion begins? Through prayer.

God’s sovereignty and our responsibility to pray are not enemies or points of tension. There is no point to trying to reconcile these friends. They work together and are not uneasy neighbors.

Questions

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please it to charlesheck@cox.net or pose your question in the comments section of this post.

Andrew B. Davidson, Describing What It Means to Wait on God

Davidson AB“To wait is not merely to remain impassive. It is to expect–to look for with patience, and also with submission. It is to long for, but not impatiently; to look for, but not to fret at the delay; to watch for, but not restlessly; to feel that if he does not come, we will acquiesce, and yet to refuse to let the mind acquiesce in the feeling that he will not come.”

Andrew B. Davidson, Waiting on God

Justin Taylor Interviews Donald Whitney on Prayer

The Thursday feature of the Worldly Saints blog will be sharing of a media clip (audio or video) that has either educated, equipped, provoked or entertained us in some way.

 

Donald Whitney is one of my favorite contemporary authors. The three books that I continually dip into as discipleship resources and even personal encouragement are Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, and Spiritual Disciplines within the Church.

He has a recent book published by Crossway on the subject of prayer called Praying the Bible.

In the below interview, Justin Taylor, interviews Whitney on this latest book and why prayer is such a struggle for Christians of all maturity levels.

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2015/08/13/a-conversation-with-don-whitney-on-praying-the-bible/

Want Your Prayers Answered?

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.

In I John 3:1-3 we read, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”

John says that if we have assurance of our own salvation, we can come to God in prayer – with the same level of assurance – and petition God and then see those prayers answered. We can come without fear or intimidation and speak before the Creator of the universe and ask Him to use His omnipotence to answer our prayers.

Now, there are implications assumed here. God promises to answer our prayer requests and do what we ask if we are doing “what pleases him” (Ps 37:4; John 15:7), but the assumption is always this: if we are delighting in God, our prayers will not be self-motivated. They won’t be self-driven or for our own glory. Our prayerful petitions will be saturated for praying for the things God wants.

Thus, God will most certainly answer those prayers, won’t He? The man delighting in God, walking with Him, loving like Him, will have the assurance to petition God and will enjoy seeing His prayers answered! Now, I don’t know about you, but I can get behind that promise!

You want to have your prayers answered? How would you like to go through life or continue to go through life seeing your prayers answered often? John tells us of one way that can happen, but there are other issues that block our prayers being answered. Obedience may be an over-arching theme here of getting your prayers answered, but the Bible is more specific elsewhere. In his commentary on I John, John Stott[1] gives a list of conditions to be met to have prayers answered. I have adapted his list a bit and added a few and I want to share them with you.

  • If you want your prayers answered, offer them in Jesus’ name – “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24). This is not a magic formula we add to the end of a prayer to guarantee an answer; that is an unbiblical concept. To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray for the things He would pray for and on His authority. Because we’ve been given access to the Father as a result of the cross, we come boldly before His throne (Heb 4:14-16). To pray in Jesus’ name is not about words but about motives.
  • If you want your prayers answered, make sure God will be glorified by what you are asking – “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (Jas 4:2-3). Praying that God would give you that brand new car isn’t as certain that it would glorify God; praying that God would give you a faithful witness at work most certainly glorifies God. ­­
  • If you want your prayers answered, do not cherish sin in your heart – “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Ps 66:18). God will not hear the prayer of one living in sin; it will be as if our prayers are meaningless. This is one of the reasons Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount that we are not to approach His altar if we have a sin between us and our brother. We are never to enter any context of prayer or worship with sin.
  • If you want your prayers answered, be forgiving – “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). Going along with the previous point, don’t harbor a grudge or bitterness against another. If Christ has forgiven you and will hear your prayers, don’t assume you can hold back forgiveness on another and be heard.
  • If you want your prayers answered, have faith that God can do it – “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matt 21:22). Shame on us if we come to God thinking, “I wonder if God is able to do what I am about to ask Him.” This is the omnipotent, Creator of the universe who tells lightning bolts where to go and whales how to sing and birds how to fly.
  • If you want your prayers answered, do not refuse to help the helpless – “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered” (Prov 21:13). Solomon tells us if we refuse to help those in need when they cry out to us, God will refuse to help us in our needs when we cry out to him.

John wants us to have the assurance of having our prayers answered, and he knows that if we are walking faithfully before Him, all doubts will cease.

[1] The Letters of John, pg. 149

Charles Spurgeon on Humble Praying

The Friday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is all about quotes. No commentary from me, no reflection, etc. Just a provocative or informative quote from a saint in church history.

“We always pray best when we pray out of the depths; when the soul gets low enough she gets a leverage; she can then plead with God. … Oh some of you ungodly ones have tried to pray, but you have not bowed yourselves. Proud prayers may knock their heads on mercy’s lintel, but they can never pass through the portal. You cannot expect anything of God unless you put yourself in the right place, that is, as a beggar at his footstool; then will he hear you, and not until then.”

– Charles Spurgeon in a sermon entitled “Daniel: A Pattern for Pleaders”