Memory Verse: ďKeep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened.Ē (Matthew 7:7)
I. QUESTION: WHAT IS PRAYER?
ANSWER: Prayer is fellowship with God. Our relationship with God is like a branch is to a vine. A branch must stay connected to the vine to sustain it. It gets its nutrients, its very life from the vine. If it is separated from the vine, it will die. So, our spirits survive only when we are connected to God. It is he who sustains our souls. And the way that we remain connected to the vine is through prayer. Prayer is communication with the creator of the universe, the only one who has real power to keep us. It is the way we find the strength to walk in the ways of God. It is the way that our relationship with God becomes more personal and is founded deeply in Godís love.† It is the means to the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Prayer is not a ritual that we must fulfill as part of our religious requirements. Prayer is close communion with God that gives us life. (1 John 1:3; John 15:1-7; Ephesians 3:14-19)
II. QUESTION: WHY MUST WE PRAY?
ANSWER: Jesus promised that when you ask for something from God in His name you would receive it. In fact, the reason that we often donít have the things we need is because we havenít asked God for them. We must pray if we want God to meet our needs. (James 4:2b-3; John 16:24)
It is not only things that God will give us if pray. If we ask him he says he will show us things that we would not know otherwise. When we donít know what is the best thing to do, we can ask God and he will reveal things to us. But if we donít ask, how can he respond? (Jeremiah 33:3)
III. QUESTION: WHAT IS THE CONTENT OF PRAYER?
ANSWER: There are four things that must be included in prayer:
1. Prayer must be addressed to God (Yahweh), our heavenly Father and must praise him. (Matthew 6:9)
2. Prayer must be offered in humility to God, recognizing that you do not deserve to stand before him. And in fact, he wonít hear the prayers of the proud. Therefore, our prayer should include confession of sin, both our general sin, and specific sins we have commitment. And God says that if we confess our sin to him, he will forgive us. (Psalm 5:3-7; Luke 18:13; 1 John 1:9)
3. Our prayer must include thanksgiving to God for the things he has done for us. Even when things are going badly, we must remember to thank God for the good things he has done. (1 Thess. 5:17,18)
4. Finally prayer includes making our requests to God. First for others (1 Tim. 2:1-2) and for ourselves (1 Pet. 5:7)
IV. QUESTION: FOR WHOM DO WE HAVE TO PRAY?
ANSWER: There are six groups of people we must pray for:
1. People who are sick. (Mark 1:30)
2. Those who share Godís Word with others. This includes pastors, teachers, evangelists, missionaries, and Christian workers. (Ephesians 6:19-20)
3. People who do not yet believe in Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:1-2; Eph. 6:19)
4. Leaders, including government leaders, especially those who do not believe in Jesus (1 Timothy 2:2)
5. Our brothers and sisters in Christ, that is, other believers. (Psalm 35:13-14; 1 Thess. 3:9-13)
6. Yourself. (1 Peter 5:7; Phillipians 4:7)
V. QUESTION: WHEN AND WHERE DO WE PRAY?
ANSWER: We can pray at anytime. There are examples in the Bible of people praying in the morning, noon, and night. Because prayer is not a ritual, but fellowship with God, it should be a constant thing. We can also pray anywhere.† Prayer does not require a special location. (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12; Acts 3:1; 10:9)
VI. QUESTION: HOW MANY WAYS DO WE PRAY?
ANSWER: There are two ways that we pray.
1. There are times when we must go to a private place and pray alone. (Matthew 6:5-6)
2. There are times when we must join together with the Church to pray. There is more power when Godís people are unified together in prayer. (Acts 1:14; Matthew 18:19)
VII. QUESTION: UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS WILL YOUR PRAYERS BE ANSWERED?
ANSWER: There are seven conditions that must be met for prayer to be answered.
1. You must have faith, that is you must believe that God will answer. You cannot have doubt. (Mark 11:23; James 1:6)
2. Your prayer must be in THE NAME OF JESUS. (Acts 3:6; John 14:13)
3. You cannot hold a grudge against anyone. You must have forgiven anyone who has wronged you. (Mark 11:25; Matthew 5:23-24)
4. You must continue to pray until the answer comes. (Luke 18:1; James 5:17; Matthew 7:7)
5. You must ask according to the will of God, not according to your own selfish desires. (James 4:3; 1 John 5:14,15)
6. There are some times when you need to fast as well as pray. Fasting is when you give up food to pray. (Esther 4:16; Matthew 17:21; Acts 13:1-2)
7. There are times when you must join with others in prayer. (Matthew 18:19)