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 (Essential Biblical Doctrines)
Prayers
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Prayers

Prayers can be likened to spiritual respiration for a Christian. Prayer maintains a Christian’s spiritual strength and improves spiritual
character. Thus, a life of prayer is vital in order to receive God’s power.

I.       THE PURPOSE OF PRAYER

A.     To Praise the True God

1.        Because God gives all things to humanity (1 Chr 29:10–13; Ps 103:1, 2, 5).

2.        Because he heals all our diseases (Ps 103:3; Isa 38:9–20).

3.        Because he forgives all our iniquities (Ps 103:3; Rev 5:8–10).

4.        Because he extends his providential care to us every day (Ps 103:4, 121:7, 8).

5.        We praise him for his bountiful grace (Ps 103:1, 2; 1 Thess 5:18).

B.     To Have Spiritual Communion with God

1.        As the deer pants for streams of water, so should Christians long for God (Ps 42:1, 2).

2.        Christians who are fully filled with the Holy Spirit have reached a profound level of spiritual communication with God (Acts 10:9, 10; 1 Cor 14:2, 4; Jude 20).

3.        Communicate with the Lord through meditation (Ps 104:34).

4.        Meditate on all of God’s work (Ps 77:12).

5.        Meditate on the glorious splendor of God’s majesty (Ps 145:5).

6.        Meditate on God’s precepts  (Ps 119:15).

C.     To Make Our Requests Known to God

1.        Request that everyone hallow God’s holy name (Mt 6:9; 1 Tim 2:1–6).

2.        Request God to strengthen his work:

 a.      To choose more laborers (Mt 9:38).

 b.      To open the door for the word (Col 4:3).

 c.      To increase the number of God’s children (Isa 26:15).

3.        Request God to enhance the spirituality of his children

 a.      For oneself (Ps 19:12–14, 119:35–37).

 b.      For one’s children (1 Chr 29:19; Lk 23:28).

 c.      For God’s workers (1 Sam 12:23; Eph 6:18, 19).

4.        Request God to care for our everyday life

 a.      For our daily food (Prov 30:8, 9; Mt 6:11).

 b.      For our diseases to be healed (Jas 5:14–16; cf. 2 Chr 16:12).

 c.      For security and protection (Ezra 8:21–23; Acts 12:1–5).

 d.      In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let all requests be made known to God (Phil 4:6).

D.     To Confess Our Sins Before God

1.        Simon the sorcerer requested Peter intercede, on his behalf, to God for the forgiveness of his transgression (Acts 8:20–24).

2.        Before requesting the Lord’s healing, you should confess your sins to one another, and also pray for one another (Jas 5:14–16).

3.        The Holy Spirit urges the churches everywhere to repent (Rev 2:4, 5, 3:2, 3, 15–19).

4.        The Lord will not hear the prayers and requests of those who do not confess their sins and repent (Ps 66:18; Isa 59:1–3).

II.    How To Pray

A.     In the Name of Jesus Christ

1.        “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (Jn 14:13, 15:16).

2.        “Always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father” (Eph 5:20; Col 3:17).

B.     To Whom Do We Pray

1.        The heavenly Father (Mt 6:9; Phil 4:6).

2.        The Savior Lord Jesus (Acts 7:59; 2 Cor 12:8, 9). The Lord Jesus is one with the Father (Isa 9:6; Jn 10:30). And when we make prayers to Jesus, we pray to the Father (1 Jn 2:23).

C.     Languages of Prayer

1.        Prayer with understanding—namely, prayer with intelligible words (cf. 1 Cor 14:15).

2.        Prayer in spiritual tongues—the mysterious, unknown tongue through the Holy Spirit’s movement (1 Cor 14:2, 4, 14, 15; Rom 8:26, 27).

3.        Prayer in spirit and meditation (Neh 2:4; Jn 4:24).

D.     Prayer Positions

1.        Kneeling (Lk 22:41; Acts 20:36).

2.        Prostrate (Num 16:22; Rev 4:9, 10).

3.        Standing (Ps 135:2; Mk 11:25).

E.     Prayer Times

1.        In the morning (Ps 5:3; Mk 1:35).

2.        At noon (Ps 55:17; Acts 10:9).

3.        At night (Ps 77:2; Lk 6:12).

4.        Before work (Prov 3:5, 6; Mt 4:1).

5.        After work (Mt 14:13, 23; Jn 6:15).

6.        During the busy hours (Mk 6:31; Lk 5:15, 16).

7.        Before meals (Mt 14:19; Acts 27:35).

8.        Before death (Lk 23:46; Acts 7:59).

9.        Constantly (Ps 71:8; Dan 6:10; 1 Thess 5:17).

F.      Places of Prayer

1.        In the house of God (Mt 21:13; Acts 3:1).

2.        In one’s secret chamber (Mt 6:6; Acts 9:40).

3.        In the field or on the mountain (Lk 5:16, 9:28).

4.        Everywhere (Jn 4:21–23; 1 Tim 2:8).

III. The Effects Of Prayers

A.     Prayer’s Effect on Nature

1.        In answer to Moses’ prayers, God divided the Red Sea (Ex 14:15, 16).

2.        In answer to Joshua’s prayers, God made the sun and the moon stand still (Josh 10:12–14).

3.        In answer to Elijah’s prayers, God ceased the rain for three years and six months (1 Kgs 18:37–45; Jas 5:17, 18).

B.     Prayer’s Effect on People

1.        Diseases can be cured

 a.      Because of Hezekiah’s sober request, God added fifteen years to his life (Isa 38:1–8).

 b.      The blind Bartimaeus received his sight by the Lord Jesus through his earnest petition (Mk 10:46–52).

 c.      Paul prayed for the father of Publius whose sickness was eventually healed by God (Acts 28:7–9).

2.        Exorcism

 a.      Because of the great faith of the Canaanite woman, Jesus cast the devil out of her daughter (Mt 15:21–28).

 b.      Jesus cast the dumb spirit out of a child (Mk 9:17–29).

 c.      Paul cast the devil out of a girl in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:16–18).

3.        The dead can be raised

 a.      Elijah prayed to God and raised the dead son of the widow at Zarephath to life (1 Kgs 17:17–24).

 b.      Elisha prayed to God and raised the Shunammite’s dead son to life (2 Kgs 4:18–37).

 c.      Peter prayed to God and raised Tabitha to life (Acts 9:36–42).

C.     Prayer’s Effect on Other Things

1.        Ezra fasted and beseeched God to allow the safe return of the Israelites to Palestine (Ezra 7:8, 9, 8:21, 23).

2.        Through the unceasing and earnest prayers of the early church, Peter was rescued out of the prison (Acts 12:1–10).

3.        The Lord Jesus prayed for Peter so that his faith might not fail (Lk 22:31–34, 60–62).

4.        Through one’s fervent and incessant prayers for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, one can overcome one’s fleshly desires and the devil’s temptations (Rom 8:13; Phil 4:13).

IV.  Elements Of Effective Prayers

A.     Faith (Mt 21:22)

1.        Believe in God and that he rewards those who diligently seek him (Heb 11:6).

2.        Believe in the power of the Almighty God. The woman with hemorrhage for twelve years was cured through her faith (Mk 5:25–34).

3.        Believe that God will fulfill his promises (Rom 4:20, 21).

4.        The cripple at Lystra was cured because of his faith (Acts 14:8–10).

B.     Sincerity (Jn 4:24)

1.        Pray out of a sincere faith (2 Tim 1:3–5).

2.        Prayers should be made in truth and in spirit. Do not make long prayers out of pretense or impure motives (Mt 6:5, 6; Mk 12:40).

3.        Do not let your fasting be known to others, but pray to God in order to subdue the flesh (Mt 6:16–18).

4.        God extends his powerful hand to help those who are blameless and truthful to him (2 Chr 16:9; Ps 145:18, 19).

C.     Humility (Jas 4:6)

1.        Humble yourself, and know that you are unworthy to request anything from God (1 Chr 29:13, 14; Ps 142:3).

2.        Know your weaknesses, and do not pray with arrogance (Lk 18:9–14).

3.        Manasseh humbled himself in his affliction and prayed to God, and God restored his throne (2 Chr 33:10–13).

4.        ‑God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5).

D.     Love (1 Jn 3:22, 23)

1.        Those who practice love and make peace with others will receive the efficacy of prayers (Mt 5:23, 24, 18:35).

2.        God grants the request of those who take care of the poor and the needy (Ps 41:1; Prov 21:13).

3.        The prayers of love offered by the believers made Dorcas come to life (Acts 9:36–41).

4.        Love exists in the form of harmony. Prayers of one heart will be accepted by the Lord (Ex 17:8–13; Mt 18:19; Acts 1:14; Jas 1:6–8).

E.     Righteousness (Jas 5:16)

1.        God is delighted with the prayer of the righteous (Prov 15:8, 29).

2.        The eyes of God are upon the righteous, and his ears are inclined to their cry (Ps 34:15).

3.        God does not hear the prayers of sinners (Prov 28:9; Jn 9:31).

4.        God will fulfill the desire of those who abide by his words (Zech 7:13; Jn 15:7).

F.      Pray With a Steadfast Heart (Rom 12:12)

1.        Importunity (Lk 11:8; Rom 15:30–32).

2.        Elijah prayed continuously for the rain (1 Kgs 18:42–45).

3.        Those who pray with importunity, in God’s will, receive their requests (Lk 18:1–8; Jas 4:3).

4.        In the days of his flesh, the Lord Jesus offered prayers and supplications with strong cries and tears in the Garden of Gethsemane (Heb 5:7).

V.     Fasting Prayer

A.     To Receive Power from Above

1.        The Lord Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights before his ministry (Mt 4:1, 2).

2.        The apostles fasted and prayed with one accord before sending out sacred workers (Acts 13:1–3).

3.        Healing and casting out the devil should be carried out through fasting and prayers (Mt 17:19–21).

B.     To Request God’s Help

1.        Ezra fasted and prayed for God’s protection (Ezra 8:21–23).

2.        Esther fasted for three days and nights before she ran the risk of seeing the king (Est 4:16).

3.        Nehemiah fasted and prayed before God to request his merciful grace (Neh 1:4–11).

C.     To Understand the Truth

1.        Daniel fasted for the revelation of the things to come (Dan 10:2–12).

2.        Moses fasted for forty days and forty nights on Mount Sinai before he received the Ten Commandments of God (Ex 34:27, 28).

3.        The apostles fasted for God’s revelation of the right path to follow (Acts 13:1, 2).

D.     To Confess, Repent, and Request Forgiveness of Sins

1.        The people of Nineveh fasted and repented, and so God forgave them (Jon 3:5–10).

2.        The Israelites fasted, confessed their sins, and turned to God (1 Sam 7:3–6).

3.        The Israelites fasted and confessed their sins for God’s mercy (Neh 9:1–4).

E.     Things to Remember When Fasting

1.        Do not intentionally let others know that you are fasting (Mt 6:16–18).

2.        We do not fast for profit, nor for evil doings (Isa 58:3–5).

3.        Fasting is for doing good works and for helping the poor (Isa 58:6–9).

4.        Fasting is for offering up prayers with totality of mind and spirit; therefore one ought to constantly pray to God when one fasts (Ps 62:8; Dan 10:12; Acts 13:3).

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