CBN TEACHING SHEETS
The effective prayer
of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16)
When a baby
is born, there is a suspenseful moment when all those in attendance watch eagerly
for the newborn baby to begin breathing. In the same way, when a person is born
again, be begins to sustain a spiritual life through prayer. A wise man, Rowland
Hill, once said, "Prayer is the breath of a newborn soul, and there can be no
life without it."
Accordingly, when people speak of having a "prayer life"
they should realize that prayer is not just a feature of spiritual life, but the
thing that keeps spiritual life going. In prayer, you are talking to your Father-God
in heaven, thanking Him, praising Him, blessing Him, loving Him, and asking His
help for others and yourself in times of need. Meanwhile, He desires to speak
love and encouragement to you. But sometimes it's hard to know that God hears
your prayers or that you can really hear His replies. The following keys to vital
prayer will help you know that your prayers are heard and answered.
Prayer is a two-way conversation with God. It is the most intimate
relationship with the Creator you can have. In prayer, the depths of your spirit
are in communion with the depths of the Spirit of God. Out of this can come instruction,
guidance, and suggestions for new focal points in your prayers.
When Jesus' disciples asked Him how to pray, He gave them what
we know as "The Lord's Prayer" (Matthew 6:9-13). As you meditate on each
phrase, you'll see how The Lord's Prayer touches on each facet of our lives and
God's character. It is a wonderfully complete outline for our prayers and is a
good model to build on. As we pray The Lord's Prayer, we begin by acknowledging
God's sovereign fatherhood when we say, "Our Father, who art in heaven."
we adore His name. Because His name represents His nature, we praise His very
being when we say the next phrase, "Hallowed be Thy name."
Next, we must be
concerned about the extension of His kingdom. We must care that people should
come to know Him and submit to Him, so we say, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be
done, on earth as it is in heaven."
Then we turn to our personal concerns and
ask God for our daily bread -- not only literal bread, but whatever we need to
carry out His work. This prayer is for His daily provision for our immediate needs,
and so we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread."
Next comes a prayer of
release from sin and guilt, the prayer of confession, repentance, and forgiveness:
"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Here we are
asking God for His grace in our relationships with other people, because His forgiveness
of us and our forgiveness of others go hand in hand. If we are going to expect
answered prayer, we must be willing to forgive other people, even as God is willing
to forgive us.
Finally, we seek God's protection from temptation and evil:
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." We ask Him to keep
us walking in His way, so that we might be covered by His power and anointing
and might not be susceptible to evil influences.
Another way to pray is to
organize your prayer time according to the different modes of prayer. The first
part should be praise for our heavenly Father, followed by intercession for the
needs of others. Then, in prayers of petition, you ask for your own needs to be
met. All prayer should close with praise and thanksgiving to our Father, who out
of His love for us provides answers to our prayers.
Conclude prayer with praise,
like Jesus concluded The Lord's Prayer, saying, "For Thine is the kingdom and
the power and the glory, forever, Amen." (Matthew 6:13b)
I know that God will answer my prayers?
The Bible overflows with God's
repeated promises to hear and answer His children's appeals. "And this is the
confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His
will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know
that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." (John 5:14, 15) To pray according to God's will means to pray in a way that is consistent with
the principles in His Word. The Bible shows us that a righteous person's prayers
will be answered: "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" (James 5:16). But righteousness means a lot more than "clean living." More
than that, it means depending on Jesus Christ for answers to every problem you
The Old Testament prophet Elijah was one such righteous man. "He
prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for
three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and
the earth produced its fruit" (James 5:17, 18). If you need to call forth
showers of blessing in a dry and barren situation, remember that the key is righteousness
-- your trust in God's promises.
As you commit your requests to Him, believe
that His will is being done according to the greatness of His power and wisdom.
Don't underestimate God's ability to make a way for you when one doesn't seem
possible. With our limited understanding and abilities, we often forget His boundless
wisdom and power. Ask with faith, and be like Abraham when you pray. The Bible
says of Abraham, "With respect to the promise of God, he (Abraham) did not waver
in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured
that what He had promised, He was able also to perform" (Romans 4:20, 21).
Lastly, Jesus told us to pray according to His name (John 14: 13, 14).
He is the Architect, Creator, and Sustainer of all that is, and He promises in
His words to the disciples, "All things for which you pray and ask, believe that
you have received them, and they shall be granted you" (Mark 11:24). No
obstacle is too great to withstand His power: "Truly I say to you, whoever says
to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his
heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted
him" (Mark 11:23). Begin on a regular basis to pray about the biggest obstacle
you face, and command that particular personal mountain to move by the power of
the name of Jesus.
How can I know God's will?
God's will is best
understood through a combination of different sources -- sources that balance
and complement one another and protect the believer from errors. The first source
is the Bible. If you are familiar with the Bible you will know the will of God,
because He has laid it out for us there. The Bible says, "Let the peace of Christ
rule in your hearts..." (Colossians 3:15).
That inner peace that you
experience when you are in communion with Him (or the lack of it) can show you
whether you are praying according to God's will. God also reveals His will for
us through godly counselors, people whose wisdom and walk with the Lord you can
trust. We may also, sometimes, discern His will through circumstances that seem
to favor or hinder a course of action.
But remember, in whatever way God reveals
His will to you, it must agree with His Word, the Bible. He will not oppose Himself,
"for He cannot deny Himself" (2 Timothy 2:13).
Once we have learned
God's will, we must stay in it, abiding in the Lord Jesus, who said, "If you abide
in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done
for you" (John 15:7). We cannot abide in Jesus and at the same time keep
holding on to unbelief, unforgiveness, resentment, or bitterness. Such sins will
keep us from that intimate relationship that He desires with us, and they will
cloud our ability to know His will (Psalm 66:18).
What about unanswered
Nowhere in His Word does God promise that all of His answers will
be instantaneous. Unfortunately, far too many people try to measure God's response
by what they are immediately able to see with their natural capacities. We must
wait on the Lord if need be. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Many people have become
disappointed and discouraged because they did not see the answers to their prayers
at the time when they thought they should. If an answer is delayed, don't doubt.
Doubting only undermines our ability to see any of our prayers answered.
Bible says of one who prays, "But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for
the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
For let no man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:6,7).
Many times we think that God has failed to answer a prayer and that He has
not honored His Word, when He actually is working out something in our lives far
greater than we had imagined possible. We must be patient and bear in mind that
His ways are far beyond ours. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher that your ways" (Isaiah 55:9).
Is it permissible
to pray more than once for something?
Jesus taught in Luke, chapter 18,
that at all times we ought to pray and not lose heart. He used the parable of
the unrighteous judge and the helpless widow who kept on pleading with him for
legal protection. Because of her persistence, the judge granted her request. In
the same way, Jesus taught that the constant cries of God's children are
heard and their prayers are answered.
Jesus also said, "Ask, and it shall
be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks
it shall be opened" (Matthew 7:7, 8). We are also told to "pray without
ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Rather than ask if it's alright to pray
again and again about a thing, perhaps we should ask if it's right to ever stop
praying about it until we receive an answer. Through our constant, believing prayer
we not only receive answers, but we acquire a growing maturity in our life in
You can breathe easier now that you understand God's desire for you
to talk with Him constantly and His promise to answer your prayers, you can start
praying with boldness and with the confidence that right now He is revealing answers
to the dilemmas and uncertainties you face. Now your spirit will begin growing
strong and vigorous with the deep, life-giving breath of prayer. God is supplying
what you lack and honoring your petitions according to His will.
So, as you
praise Him in your time of prayer, remember to praise Him as the One who hears
and answers. Remember to give thanks often that He is not far away but near you,
providing for you, fighting your battles, and directing your choices.
references are taken form the New American Standard translation of the Bible.
In Faith, Expect An Answer!
Teaching Sheet: Fasting
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