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Prayer: Speaking to God

What could be more natural between two people who love each other than to communicate? Surely one would expect to see an enormous amount of communication between a man and the God he loves with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. And yet this is far from what we observe! Communication of this sort is not natural; it must be learned. There are many hindrances all of which Satan will gladly use in his campaign to keep us off our knees. Yet they can all be overcome, if we are willing to rely on God and give prayer the priority it deserves.

1. Priority

Mark 1:35
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

  • Jesus, a busy man, finds time to pray.
  • He finds a place free from distraction.
  • He finds a time free from distraction.
  • Suggested
    a. Psalm 42:1
    As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

    b. Luke 6:12
    One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

    c. Hebrews 5:7
    During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
2. Learning process

Luke 11:1-13
1 NIV) One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
2 NIV) He said to them, "When you pray, say: "'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
3 NIV) Give us each day our daily bread.
4 NIV) Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'"
5 NIV) Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6 NIV) because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.'
7 NIV) "Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.'
8 NIV) I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9 NIV) "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
10 NIV) For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 NIV) "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
12 NIV) Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13 NIV) If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
  • It's not natural (even Jesus' apostles had to be taught).
  • Develop structure in your prayer life.
3. Hindrances
  • 1 Peter 4:7
    The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

    Lack of concentration. May wish to pray aloud.
  • Psalm 66:8
    Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard;

    Lack of personal righteousness.
  • Luke 18:1-8
    1 NIV) Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
    2 NIV) He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.
    3 NIV) And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
    4 NIV) "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men,
    5 NIV) yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'"
    6 NIV) And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says.
    7 NIV) And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
    8 NIV) I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

    Lack of persistence.
  • 1 John 5:14
    This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

    Prayer contrary to God's will.
  • Mark 11:24
    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

    Lack of faith.
  • Suggested
    a. Matthew 6:5
    "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

    b. John 9:31
    We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.

    c. Ephesians 6:18
    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

    d. Colossians 4:2-4
    2 NIV) Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
    3 NIV) And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
    4 NIV) Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.

    e. James 5:16-17
    16 NIV) Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
    17 NIV) Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
4. Conclusion
  • Philippians 4:6-7
    6 NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
    7 NIV) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    Cast your worries upon God.
  • Jeremiah 30:21
    Their leader will be one of their own; their ruler will arise from among them. I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?' declares the LORD.

    God is looking for people who will devote themselves to be close to him. Take up the challenge!
  • Psalm 5:3
    In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

    Have a daily prayer time.
  • Suggested
    a. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
    pray continually;

    b. 1 Peter 5:7
    Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

    c. 1 John 5:14
    This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
5. Practicals
  • Set a time and length to pray every day.
  • Write out a prayer list.
6. Fasting-Often associated with prayer in the Bible.
  • Matthew 6:17-18
    17 NIV) But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
    18 NIV) so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    Shows that this is expected of Christians
  • Suggested
    a. Nehemiah 1:4
    When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

    b. Isaiah 58
    1 NIV) "Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.
    2 NIV) For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.
    3 NIV) 'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?' "Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.
    4 NIV) Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
    5 NIV) Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
    6 NIV) "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
    7 NIV) Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
    8 NIV) Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
    9 NIV) Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
    10 NIV) and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
    11 NIV) The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
    12 NIV) Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
    13 NIV) "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
    14 NIV) then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

    c. Joel 2:12
    'Even now,' declares the LORD, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.'

    d. Acts 14:23
    Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.