Petitions of Prayer, Part 2

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Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

March 4, 2007

Petitions of Prayer, Part 2

Using the Bible to Pray Properly

As I mentioned last Sunday, I believe that there are three major reasons why people do not have a successful prayer life. First, they do not understand what prayer is, which is why I keep repeating John Bunyan’s definition:

“Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to His Word, for the good of the Church, with submission in faith to the will of God.”Second, people do not pray according to the pattern given us to by the Lord: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. 10 ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

And Third, we tend to pray for the wrongs things. We pray for what we want rather than what the Lord wants and consequently fall under what James 4:3 warns about, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

The solution to praying for the right things is two fold. First, we learn a lot by examining the prayers recorded in the Bible and following their pattern. We were doing that last week when we examined the prayers and prayer requests of the apostles as recorded in the Scriptures. Second, we learn to pray properly by knowing the character of God and His will. The greater our understanding God and His will regarding any particular subject, then the better able we will be able to pray properly concerning those things. This morning I am going to give you some examples of that. Before I do, I want to quickly go over what we learned last week from the examples of the Apostles.


A. The Lord’s Glory – 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12. The overall purpose of all prayer is that the Lord be glorified. We are to pray that our response and that others would be such as to give glory to Jesus Christ.

B. Understanding of God’s Will – Ephesians 1:15-19; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-12; James 1:5-6. We are pray that we and others will increase in the “true knowledge” of God and an understanding of His will. Let’s face it, all proper prayer requests must center on knowing God and having an understanding of His will. In fact, the quality our prayer life will be a reflection of our understanding of God, His character and His will.

C. Salvation of the Lost – Romans 9:3 Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:3. We are to pray that the Holy Spirit will convict the lost of their sins and that their eyes and ears will be opened to receive and understand the gospel. We pray for the lost.

D. Spiritual Growth – 2 Corinthians 13:7-9; Philippians 1:9-12; Colossians 1:9-12. We are to pray that after people are saved that they will grow spiritually.

E. Ministry Opportunities – Romans 15:30-32; Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 3:10. We are to pray for opportunities to share the Gospel with other people. We pray the Lord to will open doors so that you and others can minister their spiritual gift(s) whatever they maybe.

F. Those Who Minister. We are to pray for both the opportunity and the ministry. We need to pray for one another in this regard that we will use our spiritual gift effectively for the cause of Christ.

G. Deliverance From Evil – Romans 15:30-32; 2 Corinthians 1:10-11; 1 Corinthians 10:13. We are to pray that we will have the strength, patience and endurance and wisdom to get through any trial or any persecution in a way that glorifies God.

H. Those In Sin.- 1 John 5:16; Galatians 6:1,2. We are to pray for those who have fallen into sin that the Lord would be gracious to them and convict them of their error. That they might respond to the Holy Spirit. That they might submit to God’s chastisement if that comes, and that they might be restored to the joy of their salvation. We also pray concerning our personal involvement for perhaps we are the ones the Lord wants to go talk with them.

I. Unity of the Church – John 17:21; Philippians 2:2. Jesus prayed for the unity of the church and so should we. We are to pray that we will be of the same mind, spirit, love and purpose. We also pray that our gifts will work in conjunction with each.

J. Governmental Authorities – 1 Timothy 2:1-4. Praying for governmental authorities includes praying for both those leaders we like and those we oppose. We pray that they would be “God’s ministers of justice” (Romans 13), and that we would be able to live peaceful and tranquil lives under them.

K. Physical Infirmities – 3 John 2; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; James 5:13-16. Yes, we do pray for those who are physically sick, but we keep in mind that God’s glory is the primary issue. We pray for God’s grace on their physical ailment, but we keep in mind that God may have another means to glorify Himself other than healing, and so we also pray they will increase in their knowledge of God and understanding of His will, and that they may have opportunity to share the gospel or minister in some way, and that others would minister to them, etc.

L. All Cares. As it says in I Peter 5:7 we can cast all our anxiety upon Him, because He cares for us. We can go to the Lord about anything that is on our hearts, but when we do, we must keep in mind the prerequisites of prayer I talked about a few weeks ago. We must meet the conditions God has set for coming before Him. Then we are to pray concerning the things that God’s has said are important to pray about.

In short, the better I understand the Bible which reveals the nature and character of God and His will then the better able I will be to come to Him properly and pray according to His will, and the key to effective prayer is to pray according to God’s will. That is what gives us confidence in prayer – 1 John 5:14,15 – “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.”

Praying according to God’s will, which also involves praying in keeping with His character, is the second aspect to the solution of learning to pray properly for the right things. I can properly pray about anything if I apply what scripture says about it in my prayers. For the rest of the morning I want to give you some practical examples of this


MARRIAGE: WHO TO MARRY? wisdom to see character

Proverbs 19:14 “a prudent wife is from the Lord”

Proverbs 14:1 “a wise woman builds her house”

Proverbs 12:4 “a virtuous woman is the crown of her husband”

Proverbs 31:10- 31 – The marks of a virtuous woman.

Psalm 15 – The marks of a godly man

Proverbs 21:9,19 – Warnings about a contentious woman

1 Corinthians 6:9,18; 7:1 – No premarital sex

2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be bound to an unbeliever

Malachi 2:16 – God hates divorce

FOR THE HUSBAND – to carry out his role

1 Timothy 5:8 – Must provide for family

Ephesians 5:25-33 – Love, cherish and nurture wife, strive in purity 

1 Peter 3:7 – Live with wife in understanding way

1 Corinthians 7:5 – Do not deprive wife, she owns the husband 

Matthew. 5:28 – Do not commit adultery

Matthew 5:32 – Divorce increases adultery

FOR THE WIFE – to carry out her role

Ephesians 5:22-24,33 – Submit and respect her husband

1 Peter 3:1-7 – Win husband without a word by behavior – chaste, respectful, gently, quiet spirit 

1 Corinthians 7:5 – Do not deprive husband, he owns the wife

Matthew 19:18 – Do not commit adultery

Ephesians 5:30-32 – Marriage is to reflect Christ and the Church


CHILDREN: to respond to instruction

Ephesians 6:1-3 – Obey parents, honor parents

Proverbs 1:8 – Heed instruction of parents

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 – They should not be stubborn or rebellious

Proverbs 20:20 – They should not curse parents

Exodus 21:15 – They are not to strike parents

1 Timothy 3:4,5; Titus 1:6 – Children characterized by rebellion disqualify their dad from church leadership.MOTHERS AND FATHERS: – to train kids properly

Ephesians 6:4 – “do not provoke children to anger”

Colossians 3:21- “do not exasperate your children”

Ephesians 6:4 – Raise in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord”

Deuteronomy 6:6 – Teach children about God at all times

Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 29:15 – Discipline the child properly.GENERAL LIFE


Ephesians 4:15 – Speak truth in love

Ephesians 4:29 – Speak what is edifying for the need of the moment 

Philippians 2:14 – do all without grumbling or disputing

James 1:19 – be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger 

Proverbs 15:1 – a gentle answer turns away wrath

Matthew 5:23-24 – reconcile with your brother

FRIENDS: – be a true friend, pick friends wisely

Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times

Proverbs 27:10 – Do not forsake your friend

Proverbs 11:13 – Be trustworthy, do not reveal secrets

Proverbs 27:9 – A mans counsel is sweet to his friend

Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens Iron, so one man another

Proverbs 27:6 – Faithful are the wounds of a friend

Job 6:14 – For the despairing man there should be kindness from a friendProverbs 13:20 – Walk with wise, you become wise; with fool – same

Proverbs 22:24 – Do not associate with angry man or you will learn his ways


Romans 12:15 – Rejoice & weep with those who do

Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another

Romans 12:16 – Be of same mind


JOB/CAREER: find one you can be used of the Lord in

Philippians 1:27 – Conduct in manner worthy of Christ

Colossians 3:23 – Do work heartily, as for the Lord

James 1:27 – Keep unstained by the world

2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 – Work, not undisciplined life or busybody 

Colossians 3:9 – Do not lie

Matthew 5:44 – Pray for those who persecute you

INVESTMENTS: follow Godly wisdom – God is first

Matthew 6:19 – Do not lay up treasures on the earth

Proverbs 23:4 – Do not weary yourself to gain wealth

Proverbs 11:28 – He who trust riches will fall, the righteous flourish 

Matthew 22:21 – To Caesar, Caesar’s: To God, God’s

Proverbs 20:18 – Prepare plans by consultation

Proverbs 13:22 – Good man leaves inheritance for grandchildren 

Proverbs 10:2 – Ill gotten gains do not profit

Proverbs 11:15 – He who is surety for a stranger will suffer 

Proverbs 11:25 – The generous man will prosper

2 Corinthians 9:7 – God loves a cheerful giver


LEISURE – life is not about my pleasure

1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love world & its things

1 Corinthians 6:12 – All things lawful, not profitable, Do not be mastered2 Timothy 2:4 – Soldier not entangled by world’s affairs


1 Corinthians 6:18 – Flee immorality

2 Timothy 2:22 – Flee youthful lusts

Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler

Hebrews 12:1 – Lay aside encumbrances of sin – run with endurance 

1 Peter 1:15 – Be holy in all behavior


TEMPTATION: do your part & trust in God

1 John 2:15-17 – We must not love the world

Ephesians 6:10-18 – We must put on the whole armor of God

Colossians 3:5 – We must mortify our bodies

1 Corinthians 10:13 – It will not be too much, God will provide a way of escape.

James 1:5 – God will give us wisdom

Hebrews 4:15 – Christ is a sympathetic High priest,HEALTH: – Seek to glorify God

John 11:4 ; Job – Sickness can be for God’s glory

1 Corinthians 6:20 – Glorify God in your Body

2 Corinthians 1:4 – Comfort with Comfort


GRIEF/DYING – comfort with our hope,

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 – Do not grieve as those with no hope

Philippians 1:21 – To live is Christ, to die is gain

Psalm 55:22 – Cast your burden on the Lord & He will sustain 

2 Corinthians 1:4 – God comforts in all our affliction

2 Corinthians 12:9 – My grace is sufficient

Psalm 34:17-18 – The righteous cry and the Lord hears, He is near the broken hearted and saves those crushed in spiritThe Bible models prayer for us. It tells the proper purpose, practice, pattern, prerequisites and petitions for prayer for it reveals God’s character and His will as well as giving us directions for pray and models of Godly prayers. Let us then be diligent in our study of the Scriptures so that we may develop the Biblical mindset necessary to proper prayer.


Sermon Study Sheets


Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do both of the following: 1) Mark the Scriptures listed that are most important to you. 2) Pray with your parents using what you learned from the Scriptures that were important to you.


Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Define prayer in your own words. Describe your normal habits of prayer? Are you satisfied with your prayer life? Is God satisfied with your prayer life? What do you need to do to improve your prayer life? When will you do it? Who will you ask to encourage you / hold you accountable? When will you ask them? How has this series on prayer been helpful to you? Which of the Scriptures listed are especially important to you? Why? Spend time praying according to what the Scripture say about the subject.

“Oh, my brethren, you will not do better than to quote Scripture, especially in prayer. There are no prayers so good as those that are full of the Word of God.”

“O Lord Jesus, Thou art the life of my joy and the joy of my life”

– Charles H. Spurgeon

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