Learning to Talk
The Privilege and Power of Prayer; Developing Good Prayer Habits
By Ray E. Baughman
Sons and Heirs - In the Wealthiest Families in the Universe
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). “Heirs… and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:14-17; 1 Peter 1:3-4). What an amazing thing it is that God wants you to come to Him in prayer! He says: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).
How hard it is to understand that God wants to do this for you! But God loved you so much that He gave you His Son, and with His Son He has promised to “also freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32).
When God created the universe He made certain natural laws by which the world runs. There are many of them and they cover every phase of activity - the law of gravitation; summer and winter; seed-time and harvest; the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind; every winged fowl after its kind; whatever a man sows he shall also reap; and the soul that sins shall die.
But God often intervenes and changes things. The question arises, “If God knows all things, why should I pray about anything? He knows my needs better than I do.” The answer is that prayer is God’s chosen way for your obtaining and His changing things for you.
James 4:2 says: “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” And Matthew 7:7, 11, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you… If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
We will study the privilege and power of prayer in several different ways.
- As redeemed sons in the household of God (Galatians 4:4-7; Ephesians 2:19). You can come to God as your Father and expect Him to hear your requests because now you can come in Jesus’ name (John 16:23, 24).
- As communion with Him, that you “may know him” (Philippians 3:10; 1 John 1:3).
- As ambassadors for Christ (II Corinthians 5:20). You are laborers in partnership with God.
The privilege of prayer can be compared to a bank account. It is just as though a millionaire had left you a book full of signed checks. Then to make sure they are honored he goes to the bank and identifies each check as it comes in. God knows all your needs and weaknesses. He would not honor any request that would injure or harm you or disgrace His name.
Jesus has left great and precious promises for you. He has ascended into Heaven and is now at the right hand of God making intercession for you (Hebrews 4:15, 16).
Prayer Can Do Anything That God Can Do
Banks require checks to be filled out in a certain way. God is able to do all things that are true to His nature and character. You cannot expect God to help you do something wrong because He cannot sin, and you could not ask that in the name of Jesus. This is the real test: Will it honor the name of Jesus?
Ye Ask, And Receive Not
Because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts [selfish desires]” (James 4:3). You must have the right attitude, but the scriptural way is still to ask. Money in the bank cannot help unless your checks are cashed, so ask!
Prayer Releases The Energy Of God - Faith
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22).
Faith is Expecting God To Act Like God
It is taking His promises to Him and expecting Him to answer. “Hear my prayer…in thy faithfulness answer me” (Psalm 143:1).
According To His Will
God reveals His will in His Word. The more you understand and know His Word the better you will be able to pray (1 John 5:14, 15). Prayer could be defined as talking with God. You could divide it into at least five different parts.
- Thanksgiving - your appreciation for what He has done for you.
- Petition - asking for things.
- Confession - agreeing or saying the same thing about your sins as the Holy Spirit says, as He points them out to you.
- Intercession - asking for others.
- Praise - worship and reverence toward Him.
You have been studying about petitions; now look at the importance of thanksgiving. The Bible says:
- “With thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
- “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:17,18).
Every time you thank God you remember His goodness and the prayers He has answered for you in the past. This strengthens your faith and gives the assurance that He will also answer your other requests. It is only common courtesy to thank someone who has helped you. Think how much you owe God! Jesus gave the example of giving thanks before meals (John 6:11). This is something all can and should do. If you are a parent you have a special responsibility. If you do not have prayer before meals, will you take the following step? Will you begin to give thanks before meals in your home today?
Suggestions for Good Prayer Habits
- Do not constantly repeat the Lord’s name.
- Do not repeat the same old phrases.
- Do not pray at others.
- Do not pray to others.
- Do not pray showy prayers to impress others.
- Do not mumble or talk too softly in public prayer.
- Do talk naturally, but reverently.
- Do be definite; do not wander.
- Do set aside a certain time for daily private prayer, a “quiet time” with God.
In order to pray effectively as a child of God, you need to learn the privileges, promises and restrictions as revealed in God’s Word. It is important that you keep a balance in your life between prayer and Bible study. Prayer without Bible study leads to fanaticism. Bible study without prayer leads to coldness.
Jeremiah 32:27; 33:3 Matthew 21:22
Matthew 21:22; 1 John 5:14,15; Philippians 4:6, 7; Romans 8:32
1. One of your first prayers should be, “Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). T F
2. Christians can now pray in the name of Jesus (John 16:24). T F
3. As you pray to God, your motive should be to bring glory to yourself (John 14:13). T F
4. Ephesians 2:18 teaches that we normally pray to the Father through _______________ by the _________________.
5. Some of the requirements for effective prayer are:
__ Matthew 21:22(a) abide in Christ
__ 1 John 5:14, 15(b) believe
__ John 15:7(c) ask according to His will
__ John 15:7(d) His Word abide in us
__ 1 John 3:22(e) not ask selfishly
__ James 4:3(f) live obediently
6. What sometimes hinders our prayers (Isaiah 59:1, 2)? _______________________________.
7. If you sin how do you get back on praying ground (Psalm 32:5)? _______________________.
8. Some of the times you should pray are:
__ 1 Thessalonians 5:17(a) when tempted
__ Hebrews 4:16(b) when afflicted
__ Matthew 26:4(c) without ceasing
__ 1 James 5:13(d) evening, morning and noon
__ Psalms 55:17(e) in times of need
9. Some of the people for whom you should pray are:
__ Ephesians 6:18(a) your enemies
__ Matthew 5:44(b) all saints (Christians)
__ James 5:14-16(c) all men, king, those in authority
__ 1 Timothy 2:1, 2(d) the sick
__ 1 Timothy 2:4(e) the unsaved
10. Some of the things you should pray for are:
__ James 1:5(a) strength
__ Acts 4:29(b) that the Lord will teach you
__ Psalms 19:12
(c) boldness to witness
__ Psalms 105:4(d) wisdom
__ Psalms 119:33(e) cleanse me from secret faults
__ 1 Peter 5:7(f) a knowledge of His will for you
__ Colossians 1:9(g) all your cares
11. Prayers were offered from the following physical positions in the Bible:
__ Mark 11:25(a) on His face
__ 1 Kings 19:4(b) sitting
__ Luke 22:41(c) standing
__ Matthew 26:39(d) kneeling
12. Part of your prayer life should be what kind of prayer (Matthew 6:6)?__________________.
13. What should we avoid (Matthew 6:7)? ______ _________ _______________________.
14. Who helps when you do not know how to express your thoughts or desires to God (Romans 8:26, 27)? ______________________________.
15. Have you started a prayer list of unsaved friends? _______________.
16. How many chapters have you read the past week? ______________.
17. Have you memorized Jeremiah 32:27, 33:3 _____________; John 15:7? ______________.
18. Extra Blessings:
Matthew 21:22 ___________; 1 John 5:14, 15 ___________; Philippians 4:6, 7 _______________; Romans 8:32? _____________.