The Privilege of Prayer
Lesson 8

There is no greater privilege granted to man than that of prayer. In the providence of God, prayer is the means of our success; it has been made the avenue through which blessings may be obtained that would not otherwise be received. Appeals, petitions, and entreaties between man and man, move men, and act a part in controlling the affairs of nations, but prayer moves heaven.

1. What is the basic condition to answered prayer?

Hebrews 11:6
Hebrews 11:6

Note: Prayer is the key that, in the hand of faith, opens to us the unlimited resources of heaven. God is willing to reveal Himself to us in a remarkable manner. The reason, however, that we do not see greater evidence of His power is that we lack faith. Were God to answer some of our faithless prayers, it would astonish us. When we go to God in earnest, blending faith with our perseverance in presenting our petitions, answers will come.

2. What is the Lord’s promise to those who come to Him in prayer?

Psalm 102:17
Psalm 102:17

3. What evidence has God given that He will answer our prayers?

Romans 8:32
Romans 8:32

Note: God’s estimate of the value of the human soul can be seen in the value of the sacrifice made at Calvary. Having given such a demonstration of His interest in our salvation, we may be confident in His willingness to attend to our lesser needs. See Matthew 6:26–33; Psalm 34:10; 37:4.

4. Do we always know what to pray for?

Romans 8:26
Romans 8:26

Note: Every petition that is presented to God in faith and with a true heart, will be answered. Such prayer is never lost; but to claim that it will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption. God is too wise to make a mistake, and loves us too much to give us anything that is not for our best good. Our prayers will be answered if they are sent up in faith, but nothing hurtful will be given. If we have, in the honesty of our hearts, asked anything that God sees will not be good for us, He may withhold the thing desired, but in its place give us the blessing we most need. “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

If the answer to our prayers does not come just when we expect it, we must not distrust God; for that will bring darkness. God knows the end from the beginning. He is acquainted with the hearts of all men and the circumstances that surround each. For this reason we are to commit our desires to our all-wise heavenly Father, and then, in perfect confidence, trust all to Him. To press our requests without a submissive spirit is not right; our prayers must take the form, not of a command, but of a petition.

5. What is said of the prayer of the righteous man?

James 5:16
James 5:16

Note: If we do His will, if we walk in truth, then we may ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us. While we earnestly endeavor to be obedient, God will hear our petitions; but He will not bless us in disobedience.

6. What should be our attitude when we pray?

Psalm 95:6
Psalm 95:6

Note: True reverence for God is inspired by a sense of His infinite greatness and a realization of His presence. Jesus, our Example, "kneeled down, and prayed.’’ Luke 22:41. Of the disciples it is recorded that they, too, "kneeled down, and prayed.’’ See Acts 9:40; 20:36; 21:5. In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. See Ezra 9:5. Daniel, a man beloved and greatly honored by God, "kneeled down on his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God.’’ Daniel 6:10. Both in public and in private worship, it is our privilege to bow on our knees before the Lord when we offer our prayers to Him.

7. What was the apostle’s counsel to the believers at Thessalonica?

1 Thessalonians 5:17
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Note: Wherever we are, whatever duties we may be attending to, our hearts are to be uplifted to God in prayer. We need not always wait until we can bow upon our knees, before we pray. Though the Christian cannot always be in the position of prayer, his thoughts and desires can always be upward. There is no time or place where it is inappropriate for the Christian to turn his thoughts to God in prayer.

8. What principle did Jesus give for obtaining answers to prayer?

Luke 11:5–9
Luke 11:5–9

Note: Often God delays to answer our prayers in order to try our faith or test the genuineness of our desire. Having asked according to His Word, we should believe His promise and press our petitions with a determination that will not be denied. The persistent asking brings us into a more earnest attitude, increasing our desire for the thing requested. Prayer does not change God, but it changes us, bringing us into harmony with Him.

9. What is another condition given for receiving answers to prayer?

Psalm 37:5
Psalm 37:5

10. What is to be our attitude when our prayers are not immediately answered?

James 1:5–8
James 1:5–8

Note: A deep sense of our need and a great desire for the things for which we ask, must characterize our prayers, else they will not be heard. We are not, however, to become weary and cease our petitions because the answer is not immediately received. Here is where many make a mistake. When the answer does not come immediately, they waver from their purpose, and their faith fails. This is the reason why they receive nothing from the Lord.

11. What is the fourth condition for receiving answers to prayer?

1 John 5:14
1 John 5:14

Note: We must want God’s will to be done. This is a matter of faith. Even Jesus, in His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, submitted His prayers to His Father to be answered according to the Father’s will. See Luke 22:42.

12. What can prevent God from answering our prayer?

Proverbs 28:9
Proverbs 28:9

Note: Those who receive answers to their prayers are those who walk in the light of God’s commandments. If we do His will, if we walk in truth, then we may ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us. How strange it would be for us to ask Him to regard our wishes and desires when we disregard His.

13. What is the fifth condition to answered prayer?

Philippians 4:6
Philippians 4:6

Note: If the loving-kindness of God called forth more thanksgiving and praise, we would have far more power in prayer. We would abound more and more in the love of God and receive more for which to be thankful. When we consider His goodness and mercies we find that He will consider our wants. See also Colossians 4:2.

14. Upon what conditions does God hear our prayers for forgiveness?

Mark 11:25–26
Mark 11:25–26

15. To whom did Jesus teach us to present our requests?

Matthew 6:9
Matthew 6:9

16. In whose name and by whose authority are we to pray?

John 15:16
John 15:16

17. Why is this so?

1 Timothy 2:5
1 Timothy 2:5

18. What does Christ become to those who come to Him for help?

1 John 2:1
1 John 2:1

Note: In His intercession as our Advocate, Christ stands as our Representative. He came to this world as man’s Substitute and Surety, and He is fully able to save all who repent and return to their allegiance. Christ is the only Sin Bearer, the only Sin-offering. Prayer and confession are effective only when offered through Him.

19. What reason is given as assurance to us that God will hear and respond to our prayers?

James 5:11
James 5:11

Note: We cannot burden our heavenly Father, nor can we weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of our heads is not indifferent to the wants of His children. See also Psalm 103:8; 116:5.

When we approach our heavenly Father, feeling our need, and in confidence open our hearts to Him, we are assured He will hear us. When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions would be heard, is assurance also to us.

 

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