PART 5 PRAYER
PART 5 PRAYER
My desire is to provide for you an overview of what has been covered in this study. Hopefully, you will undertake not only the reading of it, but in condensing it even further for your own spiritual benefit.
What Is the Basis Or Condition for God Hearing and Answering Prayer in the Church Age?
While we answered this question in relation to other dispensations, we will restate here the answer which pertains to us, the New Testament saints. The components of the condition for God hearing and answering our prayers are:
- To repent (acknowledge one’s sins) to God the Father and believe in his son Jesus Christ. The result of which is in the receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
- To learn about what sin (mental, speech, actions) is and confess (by admitting oneself guilty) it to God the Father.
- To learn about, memorize, and meditate upon the spiritual realties which have taken place in our life at salvation.
By the way, these spiritual realities that have taken place in our life are:
~ We are quickened by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2:4-5
~ Our old man is crucified with Christ. Romans 6:6
~ We are sealed with the Holy Spirit, the seal signifying:
- A finished transaction John 17:4
- Ownership 2 Timothy 2:19
- Security59. Ephesians 4:30
~ We are baptized into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:13
~ We have been made an heir through God. Galatians 4:6-7
~ We are given eternal life. John 5:11
~ We are seated together with Christ in heavenly places. Ephesians 2:6
~ We are God’s handiwork. Ephesians 2:10
~ We are fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. Ephesians 2:19
~ We are complete in Him. Colossians 2:10
~ We are sanctified. Hebrews 2:9, 11
~ We are known by the Lord. 2 Timothy 2:19
~ We are reconciled to God the Father. 2 Corinthians 5:18
~ We are translated into the kingdom of His Son. Colossians 1:13
- To learn about, memorize, and meditate upon God’s divine perspective in regards to any area of weakness.
Let’s say we have a weakness in regards to being jealous. The word jealous means to have a feeling of resentment against someone because of that person's rivalry, success, or advantages60. How can we overcome this? We can overcome this by finding out how God would have us to think in this regard? A verse that provides us with the divine perspective in this area of weakness is found in the book of Hebrews. It says that we are to be content (depending on God’s providence; happy; satisfied) with what God has given us. We should memorize and meditate upon this verse so that when a situation arises where jealous thoughts try to creep in we can apply these thoughts in their stead.
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)
- To be filled with the Spirit, thus evidencing His spiritual qualities to others.
The Spirit fills us with himself so that we can express the nature of the Spirit filled life.
…but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:18)
When the Spirit fill us with himself, we are able to evidence his spiritual qualities of:
~ Love - (self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved).
~ Joy - (inner rejoicing which does not depend on circumstances, because it rests in God’s sovereign control of all things61).
~ Peace - [restoration of right relationships between people62; the calm, quiet, and order, which takes place in the justified soul, instead of the doubts, fears, alarms, and dreadful forebodings63 (a strong inner feeling or notion of a future misfortune, evil64, etc.)].
~ Longsuffering - (patient endurance of wrong under ill-treatment, without anger or thought of revenge.65)
~ Gentleness - (unruffled disposition, to treat all with politeness, makes others around us as happy as possible).
~ Goodness - (gracious giving, no strings attached).
~ Faith - (faithful to one’s word and promises; faithful to God’s promises).
~ Meekness - (humility; submissiveness of spirit to God and man).
~ Temperance - (being able to say no to one’s own desires; mastery of one’s own desires and impulses).
When, How Often, and for How Long Should We Pray?
A summary of the scripture sections that were looked at in respect to this question are contained here. After which, a more simpler explanation or conclusion will be generated.
~ Jesus prayed alone at a mountain during the evening. He was there for at least 9 hours. We don’t know how much of this time was relegated to prayer. Matthew 14:13-25
~ Jesus prayed essentially the same brief prayer three times during the evening in Gethsemane. Matthew 26:36-45
~ While on the cross Jesus prayed in the morning a short prayer to God the Father. Luke 23:33-46
~ Jesus prayed either in the morning or afternoon briefly while he was being baptized by John the Baptist. Matthew 3:1-11
~ Jesus went up into a mountain and prayed all night to the Father. Luke 6:1-12
~ The Jewish Christians observed the custom of praying three times a day in the courtyard of the temple. They also met in homes or other places with their fellow Christians for teaching, fellowship, communion, shared meals, and prayers. Eventually, there would be friction between the two faiths whereby Christians would be seen as enemies by the Jewish hierarchy. Acts 2:42, 46
~ The apostles engaged in prayer: three times a day according to the custom of the Jews, with the Christian assembly, and individually. Hebrews 6:1-6
~ The apostle Peter was facing a death sentence. Members of the Christian assembly met at various homes for group prayer. On the last day, the day before Peter’s possible execution, a group met at Mary’s house and prayed all night. Acts 12:1-23
~ As Christians, we should try to maintain a devotional state of mind throughout our day so we may be in fellowship with God the Father as much as possible. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
~ The apostle Paul prayed for Timothy, his friend and fellow laborer in the Lord, by recalling something to his mind about him throughout the day. 2 Timothy 1:1-5
~ Paul along with some disciples and their family prayed on a beach before he was about to depart by ship heading toward Jerusalem. Acts 21:5
Here is a condensed summary of the answers to: when, how often, and for how long should we pray?
- Prayer can occur anywhere (e.g. home, mountain, beach, etc.).
- Prayer can be exercised individually or with a group.
- While the Jews did and still do pray three times a day a Christian is not obligated to follow a format. However, if they want to pray at certain times throughout their day they can.
- Prayer was as an important part when Christians got together for teaching, fellowship, communion, and shared meals. However, it should not be something that is mandated.
- Each believer should decide how long they want to pray for. Prayer could last for a brief moment or it could be something that is engaged in all night individually or with a group depending on the seriousness of the situation.
- Praying for someone in particular could take place on a number of different occasions throughout the day.
- Special times and places for prayer can be scheduled for someone, who needs divine intervention, where their life is at stake.
What Should Be the Focus of Prayer?
The key aspect of prayer is not what we pray for, but whether our mental attitude, speech, or actions are godly. Before you pray to God the Father you should simply be self-reflective of your thoughts, words, and actions. If you are aware that you have been occupied with worldly thoughts or have engaged in carnal speech or have committed an ungodly action toward someone, then confess (admit wrong) to God the Father. For any inappropriate action toward someone, you should also confess this fault to the person you have offended. As we build ourselves up according to God’s perspective of us, our prayers will be motivated and empowered by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, (Jude 20)
What Should We Pray For?
Now, that we are rightly related to God, our prayers could be similar to Jesus’ prayers depending on God’s plan for our life.
~ Jesus prayed to the Father in Gethsemane for assistance in this intense spiritual battle, whose design was to impact Him both mentally and physically so that he would be unable to go forward in the Father’s plan. His request was answered in the form of an angel, who arrived on the scene and provided him with divine refreshment. Matthew 26:36-45
~ Jesus prayed to God the Father to forgive (to give up a debt; to not impute sin so as to exact punishment) those, who were guilty, albeit in ignorance, of not knowing who He was, in putting Him to death. Luke 23:33-46
~ Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith fail not regardless of the soon to be decision by him to betray Him three times. He encouraged him by letting him know that he will eventually be restored and be used by Him to strengthen (stablish) the brethren. Luke 22:31-32
~ Jesus was instructing his disciples letting them know that the time will come when they will be unjustly accused or persecuted in a court of law for their faith. When this happens, they should pray not only to God the Father that He not punish them, but that also the attackers might return to a right mind so that they might respond favorably to the salvation offered. Matthew 5:44
~ Jesus was asking those, who are being sent out to make known His coming and kingdom to those people residing in the city and everywhere else, to pray to the Father for more laborers to join them. Luke 10:1-2
~ Jesus prayer to God the Father for the apostles was twofold. First, that they might have His joy (which comes from transformation, answered prayer, and the word) realized in their life. Second, that He would give them grace (assistance; divine strength) so that they would be able to: endure trials and be sustained amidst them; resist temptation; remain faithful and not apostatize; trust in your protection while they witness for me; stand against the influences of the evil one, the Devil. Luke 10:1-2
When we pray, we can pray for ourselves, for a fellow believer, or for a group of believers that God the Father:
~ Would give us wisdom (revealed truth; spiritual realities) and revelation (of apprehending the revealed - of perceiving the drift and meaning of what God makes known66 by the Holy Spirit) so that we would get to know Jesus personally and intimately. (Ephesians 1:15-20)
~ Would fully equip us with a knowledge of Christ’s design, purpose, plan, and intention for our lives, which would be according to wisdom (knowledge of divine things) and understanding [spiritual insight which discriminates between the false and the true; of clear analysis and decision-making in applying this knowledge (of diving things) to various problems67]. (Colossians 1:9)
~ Would help us to not waver, but stand firm by maintaining our fully instructed and enlightened condition, and in being fully persuaded of the truth of those doctrines which have been taught to us as the revealed will of God68. (Colossians 4:12)
~ Would consider us worthy of our calling (that our life will come up to the standard expected of those who have been called of God to live in a very special way69) by turning all of our good intentions into actions in which there would be perfected in us contentment and satisfaction so that everything thing we did would be motivated by faith in God and accomplished with His power.
~ Would keep us safe from unbelievers, who reside in a particular place. (Romans 15:30-31)
~ Would deliver us from opposition in our attempts to spread the gospel. This opposition would be from those who: will not listen to arguments, not being under discipline; do not have the right view of things; act agreeably to the disorderly and unreasonable impulse of their own minds having bad aims and purposes; have not the Christian faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2)
~ Would open up a door of occasion, opportunity, or entrance, for the doctrine of the Gospel70 to be able to be declared. (Colossians 4:2-4)
~ Would put on our heart to make supplications (something definite is asked; petitions having to do with one's personal needs as they are related to the government under which he lives71), prayers (the general word for prayer), intercessions (for conversions; prayers offered for another), and to express gratitude for blessings or benefits, for all men, for kings, and all that are in authority so that we may lead a life which is quiet (freedom from outward disturbance or persecutions) and peaceable (freedom within; calmness) showing great devotion and reverence (or, respect) for God, and behaving in a right and proper way before other people72. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
~ Would put on our heart to pray always (in adversity as well as prosperity; in every temptation and spiritual conflict73) by means of any kind of prayer (formal, silent, vocal, secret, etc.) with supplications (to ask for God’s help; strong and incessant pleadings, until the evil is averted, or the good communicated74; an imploring request filled with heavenward longings and aspirations75) while being directed and empowered by the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:18)
~ Would give us His perspective and power to see things through, when we are afflicted (suffering in difficult circumstances). (James 5:10-13)
This doesn’t mean that we can’t ask God to help us in finding a job or finding the right mate, but make sure we are rightly related to Him first.
It has been truly my pleasure in writing this study. I hope that you have been enlightened as to the topic of prayer. As I say in all of my writings, we should know the “WHY” behind what we believe.
My prayer for you is that you will:
Hide away in your heart some of the thoughts expressed here.
Do your own study to see if what has been said is true.
Share this study with your fellow believers.
75Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown.
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