STUDY TEXT: Genesis 12:7, 8; psalm 55:16, 17; Daniel 6:10-13; Luke 18:1-8; Ephesians 1:15-17, 6:18; Philippians 1:3, 4, 4:6; Colossians 4:2; I Thess. 5:17; Hebrews 4:14-16; I John 5: 14, 15.
MEMORY VERSE: Ephesians 6: 18 “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”
CENTRAL TRUTH: A consistent prayer life strengthens us for Christian living.
- Devotional prayers
- Personal devotions
- Interceding for others ii. How to prayer
- Make requests
OBJECTIVE: To appreciate the value ofprayer and maintain daily communion with God through prayer.
- DEVOTIONAL PRAYERS
- PERSONAL DEVOTIONS — Genesis Psalm 55:16, 17; Daniel 6:10-13
There is something about spending time before God in devotion each day that brings stability to a person’s life. Personal devotions can be done in many ways, but there are certain characteristics that mark them.
The first is worship. One of the ways Abram demonstrated his friendship with God was by building altars to worship God whenever he went. God had instructed Abram to leave Haran, Genesis 12:1. When Abram arrived in Canaan, God promised him this land, verse 7. Abram’s immediate response was to build an altar for worship. As Abram continued his journey in the land of Canaan, he came to Bethel. There he again built an altar and ‘called upon the name ofthe Lord,’ Genesis 12:8.
QUESTION: What does it mean to ‘call on the name of the Lord’?
The Hebrew in this verse indicates that Abram’s calling on the name of the Lord was not only a prayer, but a calling aloud. Traveling through strange lands filled with idolaters, one might think that silent prayer might have seemed wiser. But Abram declared and His holy character in an audible way. As a result, he became known as a man of the altar, demonstrating his faith in an obedience of God.
Second, personal devotions are not limited to a particular time or place. David wrote, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud,” Psalm 55: 16. The time and place do not restrict God’s ability to hear and His willingness to answer our prayers, verse 17.
Although the time and place do not affect our prayers, we should find a time and place to be as consistent as possible. The prophet Daniel is a good example. Regardless of the circumstances, he prayed at the same time and place as was his established habit.
Daniel was probably at least 80 years old. His enemies had tried to find some fault in him so they could accuse him before King Darius. But Daniel was a man of integrity and they could not find any fault in his life. They knew !hat the only way to trap Daniel was to find a way to use his relationship with God against him, Daniel 6:5-9. But Daniel still did not waver in his devotion to God even though the law prohibited him from praying to God. Other believers might have deferred to the law prohibiting prayer, but prayer was the fiber of Daniel’s life.
After Daniel heard the ungodly decree, he continued to pray next to the open window three times each day, verse 10. Even though praying to the one true God meant death, Daniel would not waver in his habit of prayer. Exiled in a land full of unbelievers who served pagan kings. Daniel’s faith was nurtured through private devotions. He knew the importance of daily communion with God and was not going to allow anything to hinder that communion. Like Daniel, some of us live and work with unbelievers who are looking for ways to discredit our Christian testimony. More than ever, then, we need a time of private devotions to renew our faith and help us to live uprightly in this world. Our daily times with God are important. When we worship and recognize God’s sovereignty, we know we can face whatever comes our way. Our consistent, private times with God also allow us to pour out our hearts to Him. When we do, we can be assured that He hears us and cares for our every need.
INTERCEDING FOR OTHERS
Ephesians 1:15-17, Philippians 1:3, 4. While we use personal devotions as a time to pray for our own needs, we also can use this time to pray for others. Paul underscored the importance of praying for other believers when he reminded his fellow Christians of his daily prayers for them, Ephesians 1:15, 16. But his prayers were not general prayers. He prayed that they would receive ‘the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him,’ verse 18. Paul prayed that these new converts would know Jesus better. He asked the Holy Spirit to give a special revelation of Jesus Christ to them.
Paul also reminded the Philippian believers of his prayers on their behalf, Philippians 1:3, 4. To pray for these believers was not a drudgery for Paul. It was a joy. They were fellow believers, and he took his responsibility to pray for them seriously.
QUESTION: Why is it important that we pray for other believers?
Paul realized that the body of Christ becomes stronger as each of its members becomes healthier. In his times of personal devotions, he never failed to pray for the church. We need to have this same desire. When we pray for fellow believers, God can work in their lives and they are strengthened, and the body of Christ will be built up.
HOW TO PRAY
- MAKE REQUESTS: Ephesians 6:18 “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints ..”
Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”.Prayer includes spiritual warfare. Paul had just reminded the Ephesians of their need for spiritual armour. One of the weapons for this warfare is prayer. Paul told these believers to pray ‘always.’ This meant that they were to pray ‘on all occasions,’ Ephesians 6: 1 8, NIV. Instead of trying to live the Christian life in our own wisdom and strength, we are to pray and ask God for His wisdom and strength.
Not only are we to offer ‘all prayer’ but we are also to bring our ‘supplications’ before the Lord. These ‘supplications’ are those specific needs that we have.
QUESTION: What does it mean to pray ‘in the spirit’?
According to Paul, praying in the spirit includes praying in tongues, I Corinthians 14: 14, 15. This should be part of our everyday prayer life. As Pentecostal believers, we cannot afford to neglect this important part ofour spiritual lives.
Intercession in the spirit is also to be with ‘perseverance.’ This not only means that we will persist in prayers, but we will also be steadfast in our habit of prayer. In addition, the Holy Spirit will help us persevere in prayer.
Stress, anxiety, and worry are a part of our culture. But when Paul told the Philippian church to be ‘careful for nothing,’ Philippians 4:6; he was telling them. not to worry about anything.
One of the underlying causes of worry is doubting God’s willingness to help us. But Paul’s statement is designed to encourage us. Believers can bring ‘everything’ to God in prayer. We can bring our requests with ‘thanksgiving.’ We can be thankful that we have a God who cares about us and is willing to take care ofour needs.
QUESTION: How can a believer overcome worry?