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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:
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
1 Peter 3:7 – Live with wife in understanding way
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 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
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
COMMUNICATION/RELATIONSHIPS – speak godly
Ephesians 4:15 – Speak truth in love
Philippians 2:14 – do all without grumbling or disputing
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
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
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
Matthew 22:21 – To Caesar, Caesar’s: To God, God’s
Proverbs 20:18 – Prepare plans by consultation
Proverbs 10:2 – Ill gotten gains do not profit
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 6:18 – Flee immorality
2 Timothy 2:22 – Flee youthful lusts
Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler
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
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
2 Corinthians 1:4 – God comforts in all our affliction
2 Corinthians 12:9 – My grace is sufficient
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.
THINK ABOUT IT!
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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