Christian Churches of God
Lesson on Prayer Part B
(Edition 2.0 20021230-20070122)
This lesson was developed using the paper Teach Us to Pray (No. 111) and it is to be used in conjunction with the Lesson on Prayer Part A Teacherís Guide (No. CB31).
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA
(Copyright ã 2002, 2007 Leslie and Russell Hilburn, Ed. Wade Cox)
This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisherís name and address and the copyright notice must be included. No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies. Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.
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Lesson on Prayer Part B
The need for prayer is often difficult for us to understand. We know that God is all-knowing, so why do we need to talk to Him about things that He already knows? And why would we need to ask Him for things, when Scripture tells us He already knows our needs?
The irony lies in the fact that it is only through the actual process of prayer that the answers become clear. When we begin to be consistent with our prayers on a daily basis, and the evidence of our answered prayers becomes clear, we can then begin to understand that prayer is a necessary tool that we can use to communicate with and offer praise to our loving Father, God.
Today we will answer six simple questions about prayer:
Why do we pray?
Whom do we pray to?
How do we prepare for prayer?
Where do we pray?
When do we pray?
What do we pray about?
Question 1: Why do we pray?
Read Psalm 94:11: "Ö He who teaches men knowledge, the LORD, knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath." (RSV unless otherwise noted.)
In this verse, the Bible tells us that God knows the thoughts of men. So, if He knows our thoughts, why do we need to pray?
In this Scripture the Bible teaches us that the reason God created us was for His glory. One way we can glorify God is though prayer. We need to pray in order to glorify God and establish a relationship with him through Jesus Christ.
Pay particular attention to the second word. Christ said when you pray, he did not say if you pray.
Jesus also teaches us that when we pray we ask in his name.
Question 2: Whom do we pray to?
Jesus Christ tells us that we are to ONLY worship God the Father. He was quoting from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:13: "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name."
Question 3: How do we prepare for prayer?
Here, in these two Scriptures, the Bible gives us clear instruction that we are to ask in faith.
Thus we see by putting all these Scriptures together that in order for our prayers to be effective, we must have faith and we must believe the following three things:
There is a God in Heaven.
God hears our prayers.
God answers our prayers.
We must also remember that sometimes Godís answer to our prayers isnít what we are looking for, or His timing is different from ours. Sometimes God makes us wait to learn patience and overcome sin or learn certain lessons. Or maybe He has something else in mind for us. We must remember that God will act in the best time for the purpose He has determined that and according to Romans 8:28: "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose." Prayer is not a matter of forcing God to do the things we ask, but coming to God in absolute faith that what we need will be given to us.
The Bible also teaches us that sin can interfere with our prayers. If we know that we all sin, then we can understand that this Scripture is showing us that we need to talk with God about our sins, say we are sorry, and ask God to help us repent. We do not want our sins to continually separate us from God.
This shows us how important Godís Law is, and how we need to strive to follow it continually.
If we want God to forgive us of our sins (and we just learned we need Him to), we must forgive other people who have wronged us.
We need to humble ourselves before we pray.
Question 4: Where do we pray?
This shows us that we are to pray in private.
What about praying together with your family or in Church? Does the Bible give us an example?
Here, a group of people were praying together, but like the example given by Christ, they were praying together in the privacy of a home.
Question 5: When do we pray?
Some translations say pray without ceasing. This does not mean we must pray all of the time, but rather that we should be in a proper attitude, ready for prayer at all times.
Danielís example is a good one for us. If we pray when we get up in the morning, sometime during the day, and at night before we go to bed, we have the opportunity to include God in all parts of our day. In the morning, by praying we are showing God that we recognize our need for Him every day and we are able to ask Him to guide us throughout the day. By praying some time during the middle of the day, we remember that God is more important than our physical day-to-day routine. By making time for God we remind ourselves that God is our number one priority. Finally, by taking the time to pray before we fall asleep, we are able to thank God for each and every day.
Question 6: What do we pray about?
Although there is no right or wrong answer for this question, the Bible does give us some guidelines for things to include in our prayers, and things that we should be thinking about when praying.
For some who have attended other churches, this prayer may be familiar. They may have memorized it, and repeated it often in large groups. However, we must look at what Jesus Christ was saying. He said, "Pray then LIKE this". He did not say to chant the words of this prayer repeatedly in meaningless repetition. This is a model and the structure of this prayer should be the pattern of our prayer.
This prayer includes some of the following elements:
Begin by worshipping God, glorifying Him and focusing on His goodness.
Our prayers must be in harmony with the will of God. We need to include God in our plans from the beginning and not start praying about something as a last resort. This helps remind us that we want to follow Godís will, and not our own.
Pray for our needs, both physical and spiritual. Let us look what Luke teaches: Have someone read Luke 11:13: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" We must ask God that His Holy Spirit would work with us. We know that it is only through repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands that we actually receive Godís Holy Spirit. However, it begins working with us long before baptism moving us toward God and His way of life.
Pray for forgiveness for our shortcomings. By asking for forgiveness from God we are acknowledging our sin against God. But this forgiveness comes only with a price; we must forgive others, so that we can be forgiven. Have one of the children read Matthew 6:14-15: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Pray for Godís protection. Remember, that God is our ultimate protector.
Here Paul is giving us instruction to pray for all of the saints, which are defined in Revelation 14:12 as "those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."
When we are not sure of what to pray for we are given assistance through the Holy Spirit. Godís Spirit will direct us to pray for things according to the will of God.
If we keep in mind the answers to these six questions, which include Why, Whom, How, Where, When, and What, we can begin our journey to a successful life, full of prayer. Always remember that the primary object and purpose of prayer should be to glorify God and to establish a relationship with Him. Prayer is more than just repeating words. It is the establishing of a vital contact between God and the self through Jesus Christ.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369 Woden, ACT 2606 Australia
E-mail: CCG Secretary
Copyright: The papers on this site may be freely copied and distributed provided they are copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisher's name and address and the copyright notice must be included. No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies. Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.
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