Bible Truths

 
 
 
Lesson 7 - Prayer

Right throughout scripture God promises to answer theprayers of believers and fulfil His promises in their lives ( Psa 34:15-17;145:18-19; Pr 15:8,29; Mt 7:7-11; 18:19; 21:21-22; Mk 11:22-24; Jn 14:13-14;15:7; 16:23-26; Eph 3:20; He 11:6; Jas 1:5-8; 1Pe 3:12; 1Jn 3:21-22; 5:14-15).According to the power that worketh in us in Eph 3:20 means by, or as aconsequence of, God's power at work within us. We need to be in total agreementwith what these scriptures teach, otherwise we will have little chance of everhaving any of our prayers answered. We learn from the scriptures that there areno limitations whatever on what we may ask of God in line with His will - Hisword, the Bible. What we know of God's word, the Bible, is what we know of Hiswill, and what we know of His will determines the success of our prayer life.It is imperative that believers are thoroughly acquainted with God's word, anddo it, for their prayers to be answered ( Josh 1:8). This is the guaranteedsecret of success in our Christian walk: being grounded in God's word ( Psa1:1-3). It is as much God's will for us to prosper materially as it is for usto prosper spiritually if we are abiding in His word. The closer we live to Christthrough His word abiding in us as Jn 15:7 teaches, the more effective ourprayers will be.

Christ's word abides in us in the measure it governs ourlives, and in the measure we act upon it. That is what John means when he saidin 1Jn 3:21-22, "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then we haveconfidence toward God and whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keepHis commandments, and do those things that are right in His sight." Andalso when he said in 1Jn 5:14-15, "and this is the confidence that we havein Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and ifwe know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitionsthat we desired of Him." Believers walking in fellowship with the wordwill never ask for anything outside of God's will, and this ensures that theanswer will always be yes ( 2Cor 1:19-20). Every one of God's promises arestill valid for today. There is not one promise that is no to a believer inChrist in line with His word. God is glorified in His promises being fulfilledin our lives. That is what V20 teaches. Providing we abide in Him and His wordabides in us there are no limitations on what we may ask for: salvation for ourfamilies and others; our own good health, and healing for others; our financialneeds to be met, etc. We can ask what we will and it will be done for us, orelse scriptures are meaningless. If our prayers are not being answered we needto know why and remedy it immediately. The fault lies with us, not God. He doesnot capriciously stop answering prayer - we ourselves are the problem. We arenot complying with the conditions God has laid down; there are no promises inthe Bible without conditions applying.

We cannot plead ignorance of the word - scriptures do not allowfor that. After all, we have been commanded to study it day and night in Josh1:8 and if we have not been studying it we are in sin for disobeying God.Scriptures clearly teach that unanswered prayer is the result of some form ofsin in our life. Anything not of faith even is sin ( Psa 66:18; Ro 14:23b; 1Cor11:27-32; 2Cor 13:5; He 11:6). This is not said to condemn but to challenge usto look to ourselves. It is never God who is at fault, but us ( Ro 3:3-4). Somemight say but what about Job and Paul- They were not in sin yet their prayerswere not answered. Firstly, Job's prayers were only ever to complain about hiscircumstances, and to seek relief from them. He did not pray to be healed ( Job7:11-21; 9:15-10:22; 14:13-22; 17:1-15; 23:1-17). Job accepted all thecalamities that befell him in the mistaken belief that they were from Godanyway. He did not know it was the devil afflicting him, and because he did nothave a complete revelation of God, Job made two statements about God at theonset of his trials that have been perpetuated by most Christians ever since,yet both are incorrect ( Job 1:13-22; 2:7-10). What a stark contrast these areto the real revelation of God ( Jas 1:17). Job's statements about God are usedby many to illustrate how God chastens His children. A lot of Christiansbelieve it, and because they do, they do not look to themselves for the reasonwhy their prayers are not being answered. They think God is chastening themlike Job whereas Job really illustrates the New Testament truth that believersundergoing persecution and fiery trials must remain steadfast in faith ( Jas1:2-4; 1Pe 5:8-10). Job's patience and steadfastness enabled God's purpose toprevail over Satan and that is the main teaching in the book of Job ( Jas5:10-11).

Now, about Paul. Paul had a thorn in the flesh, but it wasnot sickness as so many Christians believe. It was a messenger from Satan - ademon - sent to buffet him, lest he be overtaken by pride because of what hehad seen and heard in heaven. The demon caused hardships virtually beyondendurance to befall Paul, but Paul was not sick. Nowhere in the Bible does itteach that Paul was ever sick. He knew the empowering he had in Christ oversickness ( Ac 28:1-10). Sickness had no power over Paul, and he never everprayed to be healed of sickness. He prayed that God would remove the demon fromhim, but of course God would not because He had instigated its presence in thefirst place ( 2Cor 12:1-10 with 2Cor 11:21-31). How could Paul labour moreabundantly than the false teachers he had to contend with at Corinth if he wasalways sick, as so many believe ( 2Cor 11:23). The argument that Paul was sickand that God would not heal him causes believers to abandon the very promisesof God that are meant to give us faith that it is God's will to heal us, and itmeans that faith does not come by the word of God alone as scriptures teach (Ro 10:17), but that it comes by praying until a special revelation comes to usthat it is God's will to heal us. Paul's thorn did not hinder the faith ofPublius or the others on the Island of Melita from getting healed, and neithershould we let it hinder ours. That should settle the question of Paul's thornin the flesh for us, but we still need to understand that God cannot answer ourprayers if we are not complying with His word, so whatever it is that hindersour prayers, it must be effectively dealt with and our life re-ordered in God.

As this study progresses some of the hindrances to answeredprayer will be highlighted, which should encourage us all to determine to knowGod even better than we do now for His perfect will to be done in our lives (1Th 5:17). To pray without ceasing does not mean we have to abstain fromeverything else and be praying in unbroken continuity, but it means we are tobe in a constant attitude of dependence upon God and pray whenever anopportunity presents itself; do not let the opportunity to pray go past us. Italso does not mean we have to keep bringing the same petition before God overand over again, persisting with it until the answer has manifested itself, asmany believers think scriptures teach ( Lu 18:1-8).

This is the parable we know as the unjust judge and thepersistent widow. This is one of the parables used by some in the Church toteach that when we bring a petition before God we should persist in praying forit like the widow persisted with the judge, until God answers us, like thejudge answered the widow. That is not what the parable teaches at all. If itdoes then we are putting a just and a holy God in the same category as anunjust and an unholy judge. The parable does not compare the two, it contraststhem. The parable does not teach about prayer in general, but prayer pertainingto the Lord's second coming - intercessory prayer. It is the concluding part ofa fairly long discourse by Jesus about His second coming in Luke 17. It is acall to believers to persevere in prayer against the works of the devil untilJesus comes back ( Lu 17:20-18:8). The widow's adversary in the lawsuit beforethe judge is the equivalent to our adversary the devil in the earth. Theparable teaches us that we are not to be passive spectators in the kingdom ofGod but to persist in faith and persevere in prayer for God's will to be doneon earth in spite of continued opposition and rejection, which is what theunjust judge portrays in the parable. This is what Jesus means when He saysthat men ought always to pray and not faint. He wants us to keep praying thekingdom in and not give up, even though His second coming may not be immediate.That is why He questions whether the Christians then remaining when He doescome back will still be faithfully pressing in for the things of the kingdomand persevering in prayer, as portrayed by the widow in the parable, or willthey have given up hope and lost their faith. Jesus then contrasts theunwilling and uncaring judge's tardiness in vindicating the widow, to God'swillingness and readiness to vindicate His children ( Lu 11:1-10).

Here we have the Lord's prayer and the parable of the friendat midnight. This parable is also used to teach the necessity of persisting inprayer for a request to be granted but once again that is not what the parableteaches at all. In the Lord's prayer Jesus is teaching the disciples to pray,and He then illustrates for them by the parable of the friend at midnight thatthey can expect their prayers to be answered. The man in the parable got whathe asked for because although it was midnight, he boldly and unashamedly wentto his friend, knocked on his door and asked for it. In V9-10 Jesus promisesthat we can do the same with God. All we have to do is what the man in theparable did: ask, seek and knock. The word importunity in this parable meansshamelessness, boldness, impudence, audacity. It does not mean persistence, asso many teach. It might be used to mean persistence in other settings, but nothere, and this is the only place in the Bible where it is used. To summarisethis parable, it teaches quite simply that, as the man who shamelessly dared toask his friend got his request, so those who through prayer shamelessly ask,seek and knock will also get their requests from God ( Mk 11:12-14, 20-24).

Notice here that Jesus only spoke to the fig tree once andit withered up and died. Then He tells us that if we have faith in God we cando the same thing. He goes on to say that all we have to do is believe thatwhat we say or pray will come to pass, and it will ( Php 4:6-7). We only haveto make our requests known to God once, and if we have asked in faith, doubtingnothing but believing we have what we ask for then we can rest assured that Godhas granted our request, and from then on we just keep thanking Him until theanswer manifests itself ( Jn 14:12-14). This teaches us that God is glorifiedin answered prayer. That is why every promise of God is yea and amen in Christas we learned earlier in 2Cor 1:19-20. While we do not have to persist inpraying for the same need over and over, we do have to persist in faith, andkeep believing that God will meet our needs, and as they arise keep onpetitioning Him for them, even though the answer may not immediately manifestitself ( Nu 23:19; Psa 89:34; Isa 46:9-11).

Do not give up on God. He cannot, and He will not refuse tofulfil His own word. We have the absolute assurance of that in those scriptures( 1Ki 8:56). Not one of God's promises has ever failed ( Ro 3:3-4; 2Ti 2:13).This is the measure of God's faithfulness. Even if we do not believe God, Hispromises are still in place waiting to be appropriated so we need to restatehere that the only hindrance to prayers being answered is ourself ( Mk11:25-26). We cannot afford to harbour unforgiveness in our heart toward anyoneat all, regardless of the reason, if we want our prayers answered. God will notanswer our prayers, and worse still neither will He forgive us our sins, so weare in grave danger of forfeiting our salvation if we do not forgive others.Jesus teaches us here that God's forgiveness, though freely given to repentantsinners, nevertheless remains conditional, according to their willingness toforgive others ( Mt 6:14-15; 18:21-22). Unforgiveness, anger, bitterness,jealousy, envy, backbiting, murmuring, hatred and murder are all related sins,and unless dealt with, will not only stop our prayers being answered but will,as with all other unconfessed or unrepented sins damn us for eternity ( Mt18:21-22; Eph 4:31-32; He 12:14-15; Jas 3:6; 1Pe 3:8-12). When Jesus told Peterin Mt 18:21-22 that he had to forgive others 490 times Jesus was simplyunderlining the fact that believers cannot ever afford not to forgive others,irrespective of how many times they offend ( Mt 18:23-35). This says it all.The judgement the king pronounced on the unforgiving servant is the equivalentof eternal damnation upon unforgiving believers, because the servant couldnever repay his debt to the king just as believers can never repay their debtto God. It is a sobering thought is it not? But it is one we all need to know (1Ti 2:1-4).

Believers are to pray for all men - even those who misuse usand insult us ( Lu 6:28). We are to pray for those in Government and other highplaces and all positions of authority notwithstanding that they may enact orenforce laws that directly oppose God's law. We can refuse to obey laws thatoppose God's law, but we must still pray for the lawmakers, and thoseauthorised to enforce the laws ( Ga 6:2-5). At first glance here V2 and V5appear to contradict each other. In V2 we are told to bear each other's burdenwhilst in V5 we are told that every man shall bear his own burden. There is nocontradiction however. These verses are referring to two different burdens. Theburden of V2 is a spiritual burden: a heavy burdensome weight pressing on theheart as a consequence of sin whereas in V5 the burden is one's ownresponsibility toward God and our fellow man; it is our individualresponsibility or duty which we are not to shirk. Bearing one another's burdenmeans helping a fallen brother or sister come back to their place in God. In sodoing we will be fulfilling Christ's law of love for each other. We are notcondoning what they have done, but we do not browbeat or condemn them. Wesympathise with them and show them mercy and love, and pray them back into thekingdom ( Jas 5:14-18).

Here again we see that if there has been any sin committedit needs to be confessed for prayers to be answered and healing to take place.Then when the prayer of faith is prayed and the name of Jesus Christ invoked,the Lord will raise up the sick and forgive them their sins. We also learn herethat effective, accurate prayer is characterised by earnestness, fervency andenergy (fervency is zeal, enthusiasm). James illustrates for us the power offervent prayer by a righteous man. He uses Elijah as an example to teach usthat all righteous men are equal before God, and to encourage us to pray formiracles and expect them, as Elijah did ( 1Ki 17:1; 18:1, 41-46). We can do allElijah did in those scriptures if we are earnest and fervent in prayer, whetherit be for healing, or stopping and starting up rain. This is anotherconfirmation of God's precious promises to answer the prayers of His childrenand we should never sit under any teaching that could undermine our faith inthese promises ( Psa 34:15-17). This is what Peter quoted in 1Pe 3:12, but ifwe read from V7 in 1Pe 3 we will find fifteen commands concerning Christianrelationships that must be first observed to ensure answered prayers ( 1Pe3:7-12).

The prayer of a righteous man also draws him near to God (He 7:25); opens the way to a spirit filled life ( Lu 11:13; Ac 1:14); bringshim the Holy Spirit's empowering for service ( Ac 1:8; 4:31; Eph 3:20); buildshim up spiritually ( Jude 20); helps him overcome Satan ( Eph 6:12-13, 18);clarifies the will of God for him ( Psa 32:6-8); enables him to receivespiritual gifts ( 1Cor 12:31; 14:1); brings him into fellowship with God ( Jn7:37); brings him grace, mercy and peace ( Php 4:6-7; He 4:16); brings himdeliverance from trouble ( Psa 34:4-7). There are many more accomplishmentsfrom prayer in scripture, but these will suffice for now.

God watches over His word to perform it. If we hold His wordup to Him in prayer - if we confess His word over our situation - He will bringit to pass ( Isa 55:10-11; Jer 1:12). God has given unto us the right to bringHim to remembrance of His word ( Isa 43:26; 45:11). But as with all Hispromises, it is only to the extent that God's word lives in us that we are ableto bring Him to remembrance of His word and have Him perform it in our lives.We learned that earlier on in Jn 15:7: if we abide in Him and His word abidesin us we can ask what we will and He will do it for us, because God isglorified in His word being fulfilled in our lives ( Jn 15:7-8; 2Cor 1:19-20).That is why it is so important to encourage new Christians and those weak inthe faith to thoroughly immerse themselves in the word. It is only prayer basedon His word that will prevail with God. We learned this earlier on too ( 1Jn5:14-15) but it does us no harm to go back to scriptures - that is the only waythey can end up abiding in us. It is only by constantly meditating on, andhearing the word that faith builds up in our hearts to energise our prayers,and make them fervent before God ( Mt 12:34-37). Out of the abundance of theheart the mouth speaks, and if our hearts are filled with faith then ourprayers will be faith filled and assured of God's answer.

We must never forget that the law of sowing and reapingapplies to every aspect of our Christian walk, and especially our prayer life (Php 4:19). It is important that we understand the correct teaching behind thisverse. It is often taken out of context in the belief that it is God's promiseto unconditionally meet the needs of every professing Christian, but that isnot correct. It only applies to those who give into the work of God, as thePhilippian Church did ( V15-19). The Philippian Church had supported Paulfinancially when he started up the Church in Thessalonica and Paul was assuringthem that as they gave so liberally to fulfil his need so God would also giveliberally to fulfil theirs. This illustrates for us the law of sowing andreaping which is highlighted right throughout scripture. We need to know someof these scriptures ( Psa 41:1-3; Pr 21:13).

God has a special concern for the weak and the helpless.They are very important in God's plan of redemption and He blesses those whohelp them. If we share God's pity for those in need, we can confidently expectGod to deliver us if ever we are in trouble ourselves ( Pr 19:17). There is noclearer evidence in scripture than this of how God identifies with the plightof poor people. The help we give them becomes God's own debt to us. We shouldconsider this the greatest privilege in life: to be able to lend to God ( Pr22:9; 11:24-25). God blesses those who are generous, whether it be in theirfinances or in the giving of themselves. We are all stewards of God's gifts andwe must use them for His cause, and for the benefit of those in need. Pr 11:24-25teaches us that what you give you gain, and what you keep you lose ( Ecc11:1-6).

We must always be willing to be generous and helpful, andnot withhold from anyone for nobody knows when they may need help themselves.V3 illustrates the certainty of blessing - just as surely as nature isunfailing, so then whoever helps others in need will themselves be blessed indue course. V6 is a similar teaching to Ga 6:9 ( Ga 6:9). God's law of sowingand reaping dictates that blessings will always be returned for generosity ( Lu6:38). Notice here that Jesus first said "Give, " then He said"and it will be given unto you." It clarifies for us how giving andreceiving go together in God's order. If we do not give we will not receive,yet many Christians expect to receive the kingdom benefits without givinganything into the kingdom. How can God bless us with all the fullness of Hisblessings for giving if we do not obey His command to give in the first place,and how can His kingdom be extended if Christians do not support itfinancially. Giving in the Old Testament was to support the Leviticalpriesthood and the work of God in general. Giving in the New Testament is tosupport those who minister the word to us and to extend God's kingdom on earth( 1Cor 9:1-14). Paul was pointing out to the Corinthian Church that while hewas entitled to be kept by them, it was his choice not to. The point is madethough that it is the responsibility of the Church to ensure that those whominister the word live off the word. Once a Church is established the onespastoring the Church should not have to work outside the Church for a living (Ga 6:6-10). Just as surely as everything in nature reproduces after its ownkind, so everyone will reap what they sow and be responsible for their owneternal destiny. Withholding from God is meanness, and the awful finality ofmeanness is the judgement of God upon those who practise it ( Mt 25:31-46).

We need to know these scriptures so we can share them withthose who do not know them. There are a great many Christians who do not knowthat their prayers are not being answered and God's promises are not beingfulfilled in their lives because they are defaulting on their financialobligations in the kingdom. Isa 55:10-11 teaches us that the power and theeffect of God's word can never be cancelled or rendered void. We also learnedthat in Nu 23:19, 1Ki 8:56, Ro 3:3-4 and 2Ti 2:13. God cannot lie: He has saidit, and He will do it. He is faithful to His word even though we might notbelieve in Him. His word will bring all the salvation benefits Jesus purchasedwith His blood for those who accept it, or a just judgement upon those whoreject it. God's faithfulness is a comfort for those who remain loyal to Him,but a solemn warning for those who depart from the faith. Every time we go tothe word we should pray first for God to open the eyes of our understanding ofwhat God has in place for us, like Paul prayed for the Ephesian Church ( Eph1:15-23). We can come believing to the throne of grace and obtain mercy andfind grace to help in time of need any time of the day or night without fear ortrepidation while ever we keep God's commandments and pray in accordance withHis word ( Eph 6:11-18).

Putting on the whole armour of God is not meant to be adaily ritual or routine as so many Christians believe. We do not have to put iton first thing every morning. To put on the whole armour of God simply meansthat we are to be in a constant state of readiness, clothed with all that Godprovides us with for offence or defence against the forces of Satan in ourdaily walk. Put on is from the same Greek word translated endued in Lu 24 ( Lu24:49). This is referring to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Once we arebaptized in the Spirit we do not have to be re-baptized every day. We simplypray for further infilling, and we get it, which is what Paul tells us to do inV18 in Eph 6. It does not mean that we are to pray to the Holy Spirit but inthe spirit. The literal English rendering of Eph 6:11-18 according to Kenneth Wuest'sWord Studies in the Greek New Testament is:

"Clothe yourselves with the full armour of God to theend that you will be able to hold your ground against the stratagems of thedevil, because our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, againstspirit - forces of perniciousness in the heavenly places. On this account, taketo yourself at once, and once for all, the complete armour of God in order thatyou may be able to resist in the day the pernicious one, and having achievedall things, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins in the sphereof truth, and having clothed yourself with the breast plate of righteousness,and having sandalled your feet with a firm foundation of the glad tidings ofpeace; in addition to all these, taking to yourself the shield of faith bymeans of which you will be able to quench all the fiery arrows of thepernicious one, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spiritwhich is the word of God, through the instrumentality of every prayer andsupplication for need, praying at all seasons by means of the Spirit, andmaintaining a constant alertness in the same, with every kind of unremittingcare and supplication for all the saints."

Supplication simply means a humble and earnest prayer. Itcan be a prayer of intercession - concerning someone else - or it can be apetition for a particular need of our own. It is only another name in scripturefor a prayer ( Ro 8:26-27). Here we learn that the Holy Spirit knows ourweakness in regard to knowing what we ought to pray for at times, and when wepray in tongues He takes hold with us and helps us pray as we should, andtherefore makes our weak prayers effective. It is a joint effort on both ourparts. He does not take over from us and pray in our stead, as some teach. Theword helpeth means to take hold of together with ( Jas 4:1-3)."Lusts" here refers to all forms of self indulgences andself-gratifying desires. These lead to double-mindedness and spiritual adulteryand will eventually cause those who desire them to backslide and destroy theirfellowship with God, and will ultimately even lead to their eternal damnation,because they will come to love those things more than the things of God. Thatis what James is warning us about here ( V4-10). Believers are in grave dangerof forfeiting their salvation if the reasons for their prayers not beinganswered are not acknowledged and dealt with. We must never be deluded intobelieving that we are still in God's will while our prayers remain unanswered (Eze 33:12-20).

This scripture underlines the importance of having a dailyrelationship with God. It emphasises the danger of having any unconfessed orunrepented sin in our life ( 1Cor 11:31-32; 2Cor 13:5). We need to examineourselves every day to ensure that we are where we should be in God and judgeourselves for any sins we may have committed that day, and if we have sinned,repent and confess them before God. He will forgive us our sins, and ourfellowship with Him will be immediately restored ( Eph 3:14-21). V20 teaches usthat God will do for us not only more than we desire and ask in prayer, buteven more than our imagination can perceive, but it is conditional and dependentupon the degree of the Holy Spirit's presence, power and grace outworking inour lives. The word power here refers to our faith. Faith is the power of Godwithin us to enable us to reign in life and to receive answers to prayer. Theword worketh refers to the exercising of our faith to believe God to do it.Faith makes prayers work - it is not prayers that makes faith work ( Eph1:15-23). Paul's prayers all reflect God's highest desire for believers; thatthey might receive more wisdom and revelation concerning God's plan for them,and experience a greater abundance of Holy Spirit power in their lives. Thisshould also be our prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ. The spirit ofwisdom and revelation here is not referring to the Holy Spirit, but to our ownspirit - the element of life within us. God wants our spirit to be full ofwisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Of course that can only come aswe become more immersed in Him. We can also pray these prayers for ourselves (Php 1:3-11). As we read earlier in Php 4, the Philippian Church was the onlyChurch that supported Paul financially when he started up the ThessalonianChurch, and here he offers up thanks unto God for their fellowship andprovision for him in his defence of the gospel. He prays for their continuingmoral conviction and discernment in their Christian walk ( Col 1:9-14).

As well as being able to personalise these prayers forourselves, we also learn from them how to pray for others - our children,friends, other believers, missionaries, Church leaders, etc. We can pray thatthey may understand God's will, gain spiritual wisdom, live a holy lifepleasing to the Lord, bear fruit for Christ, be grateful to the Father,continue in the hope of heaven, experience the nearness of Christ, know thelove of Christ, be filled with the fullness of God, show love and kindness toothers, discern evil, be sincere and blameless, eagerly await the return of theLord, and last, but by no means least, pray that God would always count themworthy of His calling and that Christ would be glorified in everything they do( 2Th 1:11-12). Jesus Himself is the key to that personal relationship with Godthat is central to prayer ( Jn 14:13; 15:16). It is only through Jesus, andbecause of the cross, that we can come to the throne of God confident that wewill receive mercy and find grace in our time of need ( He 4:14-16; 10:19-22).It is only in the context of a living relationship with the Lord that prayerfinds its place. Prayer is a continuous expression of that relationship, and isa meaningless exercise without it. Unless we meet the conditions God has laiddown for prayer, our prayers will not be answered.

To summarise this study we learn that prayer essentially iscommunion with God - a desire to enter into conscious and intimate relationshipwith Him who has saved us from death and has given unto us eternal life ( Psa40:1-3; 63:1-8; 73:25-26). Prayer is also adoration - the praise of God for Hisgreatness and goodness and for who He is ( Psa 9:1-12; 33:1-9). Prayer is alsothanksgiving - the outpouring of gratitude to God for His grace, mercy andloving-kindness ( Psa 30:1-12; 65:1-3). Prayer is confession - theacknowledgement of sinning against God, and seeking His forgiveness ( Psa 51:1-17;1Jn 1:7-10). Prayer is petition - a plea for personal needs to be met ( Mt6:9-15; Php 4:6). Prayer is intercession - an appeal to God on behalf of others( Ro 10:1; Eph 1:15-19; Php 1:9-11; Col 4:1-4, 1Ti 2:1-4). Finally, prayer issubmission - the abandonment of self-gratifying desires to allow God's purposeto be fulfilled in our lives ( Lu 22:42; 2Ti 2:19-21; He 12:1-11; Jas 4:6-10).

We also learn that for prayers to be answered there areconditions to be complied with. Prayer avails only as sin has been confessedand renounced by the one praying ( Psa 32:1-7; 66:18; Pr 28:9; Isa 59:1-2; 1Jn1:5-10). Prayer avails only as it comes from a forgiving heart ( Mt 6:12-15;18:21-35; Mk 11:25-26). Prayer avails only as it is made in a context ofharmonious human relationships ( Mt 5:23-24; Eph 4:31-32; He 12:14-15; 1Pe3:1-12). Prayer avails only as it accords with God's will ( 1Jn 3:19-22;5:14-15). Prayer avails only as it is made in faith ( Mt 17:20; Mk 11:22-24; He11:6; Jas 1:5-7; 5:14-15). In conclusion, Christians must never think that theyhave outgrown the need for prayer - the Bible makes it quite clear why: prayeris commanded by God ( 1Chr 16:11; Psa 32:1-6; 105:1-4; Isa 55:6; Amos 5:4-6; Mt26:41; Eph 6:17-18; Col 4:2; 1Th 5:17). Prayer is the major outworking of God'sredemptive plan from the human standpoint ( Mt 9:37-38 (Lu 10:1-2); 1 Ti2:1-4). If we neglect to pray or are indolent in prayer then we sin against God( 1Sam 12:23).

These Studies by Dr.B.S.Warwal may be downloaded and freelydistributed but not sold for profit.