Sabbath, May 21, 2005
“It is only at the altar of God that we can kindle our tapers with divine fire.” –Gospel Workers, p. 255.
• To understand the importance of prayer in our everyday life.
• To recognize that prayer is not a formality but real communion with God.
• To realize that prayer is a powerful weapon and a must in our preparation for heaven.
HOW JESUS PRAYED
1. What conclusions do you come to by studying the details about Jesus’ life of prayer?
Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
“He seemed as one who was set apart. His hours of happiness were found when alone with nature and with God. Whenever it was His privilege, He turned aside from the scene of His labor, to go into the fields, to meditate
in the green valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. From these
quiet hours He would return to His home to take up His duties again, and to give an example of patient toil.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 89, 90.
“…the Man of Sorrows pours out His supplications with strong crying and tears. He prays for strength to endure the test in behalf of humanity. He must Himself gain a fresh hold on Omnipotence, for only thus can He contemplate the future… The dew is heavy upon His bowed form, but He heeds it not. The shadows of night gather thickly about Him, but He regards not their gloom. So the hours pass slowly by.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 419, 420.
PRAYER – THE BREATH OF THE SOUL
2. Why is prayer so important for our Christian life?
Matthew 26:41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
“It is only through fervent prayer that we may hold sweet fellowship with Jesus, and through this blessed communion the words and the spirit are made fragrant with the spirit of Christ.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 405.
“Prayer is the strength of the Christian. When alone he is not alone; he feels the presence of One who has said: ‘Lo, I am with you alway.’” –Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 504.
“Only by constant watchfulness and persevering and almost unceasing prayer shall we be able to exhibit in our life the character of Christ or the sanctifying influence of the truth.” –Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 304.
“If we would develop a character which God can accept, we must form correct habits in our religious life. Daily prayer is as essential to growth in grace, and even to spiritual life itself, as is temporal food to physical well-being.” –The Sanctified Life, p. 93.
3. About what kind of prayer did Jesus give specific instructions?
Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
“In solitude let the soul be laid open to the inspecting eye of God. Secret prayer is to be heard only by the prayer-hearing God. No curious ear is to receive the burden of such petitions. In secret prayer the soul is free from surrounding influences, free from excitement. Calmly, yet fervently, will it reach out after God. Sweet and abiding will be the influence emanating from Him who seeth in secret, whose ear is open to hear the prayer arising from the heart. By calm, simple faith, the soul holds communion with God, and gathers to itself rays of divine light to strengthen and sustain it in the conflict with Satan. God is our tower of strength.” –Steps to Christ, p. 98.
4. What did He say about collective prayer?
Matthew 18:19, 20 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
“In every church there should be stated seasons for united prayer for the advancement of this work.” –Historical Sketches, p. 294. “As those thus united in Christian fellowship offer prayer to God, and pledge themselves to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God, great blessing comes to them.” –Gospel Workers, p. 500.
“We have united in earnest prayer around the sickbed of men, women, and children, and have felt that they were given back to us from the dead in answer to our earnest prayers. In these prayers we thought we must be positive, and if we exercised faith, that we must ask for nothing less than life.” –Counsels on Health, p. 378.
5. What are some of the things we should pray for?
Psalm 119:18, 35-37, 133 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law…Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way…Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Matthew 5:44, last part, …pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Acts 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
“Every soul has the privilege of stating to the Lord his own special necessities and to offer his individual thanksgiving for the blessings that he daily receives.” –Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 278, 279.
“Ask for humility, wisdom, courage, increase of faith, that you may see light in God’s light and rejoice in His love.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 513.
“The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his sinsick soul. He has not the wisdom or the strength to overcome; these belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 532.
6. When should we pray?
Psalm 5:3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
2 Chronicles 33:12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
“In every Christian home God should be honored by the morning and evening sacrifices of prayer and praise. Children should be taught to respect and reverence the hour of prayer. It is the duty of Christian parents, morning and evening, by earnest prayer and persevering faith, to make a hedge about their children.” –Counsels to Teachers, p. 110.
“Pray when you are fainthearted. When you are desponding, close the lips firmly to men; do not shadow the path of others; but tell everything to Jesus. Reach up your hands for help. In your weakness lay hold of infinite strength.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 513.
“Look unto Jesus at all times and in all places… When you are almost ready to yield, to lose patience and self-control, to be hard and denunciatory, to find fault and accuse–this is the time for you to send to heaven the prayer, ‘Help me, O God, to resist temptation, to put all bitterness and wrath and evilspeaking out of my heart…’” –The Adventist Home, p. 214.
PRAYERS HEARD IN HEAVEN
7. What conditions are given in the Scriptures for our prayers to be heard and answered?
Mark 11:24, 25 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Daniel 9:4 And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
8. What attitude should we assume when praying?
1 Peter 5:6, 7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
„We obtain answers to our prayers because we humble our souls before God.“ – Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 188.
9. Why do we sometimes seem to receive no answers to our prayers?
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Luke 18:5-7 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
„We all desire immediate and direct answers to our prayers, and are tempted to become discouraged when the answer is delayed or comes in an unlooked-for form. But God is too wise and good to answer our prayers always at just the time and in just the manner we desire. He will do more and better for us than to accomplish all our wishes. And because we can trust His wisdom and love, we should not ask Him to concede to our will, but should seek to enter into and accomplish His purpose. Our desires and interests should be lost in His will.“ –Gospel Workers, p. 219.
OUR PREPARATION FOR ETERNITY
10. As individuals and as a church preparing for eternity, what should characterize our life?
Colossians 4:2, 3 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
„Before the power of the Holy Ghost rested upon the disciples, they spent ten days before God in prayer and fasting and confession of sin. After they had come into unity, the heavens were opened, the glory of God was revealed, and the Holy Spirit came upon them. Then they went forth to proclaim the gospel with power, and under the influence of the Spirit five thousand were converted in one day.“ –Peter‘s Counsels to Parents, p. 33.
„Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light, and studying the Word. As we fasted and prayed, great power came upon us.“ –This Day with God, p. 317.
FOR MEDITATION AND FURTHER STUDY
• Have I asked the Lord to cleanse my heart from every root of bitterness so that I may pray and expect forgiveness from God as I forgive others?
• Study some of the prayers given in the Scriptures and note the main points and the attitude of the person praying. Examples: 1 Kings 8:22-54; Daniel 9: 1-19; Psalm 25; Ezra 9:5-15; Habakkuk 3:1-19; Matthew 9-13; Juan 17:1-26; etc.
• Make a list of the things and people we ought to pray for.
• Shouldn‘t we be praying at all times?
• Study the chapter on The Privilege of Prayer in the book Steps to Christ.
• Suggest how we can make our weekly prayer meetings what they really ought to be.