Faithlife Sermons

Developing Our Prayer Life

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Discussions

The importance of developing a consistent prayer life
Discuss the purpose of prayer
Show how to develop and effective prayer life
Discuss possible hindrances to effective prayer

What is Prayer?

Prayer is a basic ingredient to abundant Christian living
It is impossible for us to grow significantly in our relationship with Jesus if prayer is missing from our lives
Prayer was discussed when talking about developing our devotional lives, this lesson will get more into prayer specifically.
What is prayer?
Prayer is verbal communication with Jesus, most times.
It is simply talking to Jesus.
Just as we communicate primarily by talking with those around us, so we communicate by talking with Jesus.
Our mouth is given to us to communicate.
In a sense, prayer is the second part of the Divine communication process.
The first part is God speaking to us by His Word and His Spirit.
The second part is our response to Him in prayer.
Prayer is not dependent upon the right set of prescribed /prewritten prayers, terminology, or ritual.
It is simply a matter of talking with Jesus.
Prayer is not just a matter of saying words, the words we speak need to be an expression of our heart, those things that matter to us and to those around us.
We must mean what we say.
Prayer not flowing from our heart, or just telling Jesus what He wants to hear is useless and meaningless.
This is like a husband telling a wife he loves her just for sake of saying it without meaning it.

The Purpose of Prayer

God reveals to us a number of purposes for prayer
Prayer satisfies the deepest need of the human heart, which is fellowship, or spending time with The One who fully understands us
Prayer alone meets the deep, inner loneliness, and restlessness of the human heart.
Psalm 139:1-
Psalm 139:1–5 NKJV
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
Psalm 42:
Psalm 42:1–2 NKJV
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 42:1–2 NKJV
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
2.
Psalm 63:1 NKJV
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
,
Psalm 63:1 NKJV
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
2. Prayer is a means of discovering God’s guidance.
It is one of the necessary ingredients in discovering God’s will/desire for our lives.
Jesus desires to gives us peace and direction through prayer.
Matthew 7:7 NKJV
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
James 1:5 NKJV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
3. Prayer is the means that God has given us to deal with worry.
Through prayer, worry and anxiety can be a foreign experience to us as we learn that Jesus will always provide or make a way for us.
The
Freedom from these is a mark of the supernatural change in our lives.
The natural man can only provide temporary means to take away worry and anxiety by way of drugs, alcohol, and distractions.
Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4;6-7
1 Peter 5:7 NKJV
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6–7 NKJV
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
4. Prayer is the means of communicating our needs and concerns to God.
We don’t need to merely hope God knows our needs. Through prayer, we have been given the means of communicating these needs.
It is also a vehicle to something constructive about the various things that concern us such as people, projects, missions. etc.
John 16:23–27 NKJV
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.
Hebrews 4:
Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
5. Prayer aids us in our fight against sin and temptation and the spiritual opposition in our lives, and in the lives of others.
It is the most effective way to deal with these.
We pray for strength and wisdom to fight temptation and win victory over sin.
Matthew
Matthew 6:13 NKJV
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Matthew 26:41 NKJV
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:41
2 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians 3:1–3 NKJV
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.
Ephesians 6:10–18 NKJV
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
Ephesians 6:

Developing Effectiveness in Prayer

It is not only important on “why” we pray, but also “how” to pray.
1. We must be well rounded.
We don’t want to become extreme in only “one type” of prayer such as asking only for our personal needs and that of our family, or only for missionaries, or for others at the exclusion of our own needs.
There should be a good balance over.
Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Prayer is for or about us and our needs.
Supplication is for others and their needs.
Thanksgiving is expressing our gratitude for everything we can think of, even the day to day things like cool or warm air, clothes, finances, answered prayers, etc.
2. We want to be systematic or have a flow/structure.
We can use a prayer list or prayer structure/flow to give our daily prayers direction so that we’re not all over the place and losing focus.
Such structures include the prayer wheel, prayer hand, Tabernacle Plan, etc.
Ephesians 1:15–16 NKJV
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
Ephesians 1:16 NKJV
do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
Ephesians 1:16
Colossians 1:9 NKJV
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
1 Thessalonians 1:2 NKJV
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,
3. We want to be consistent.
We not only want to be systematic but also consistent in prayer overall.
We gain the benefits of prayer through our consistency such as when we want to get in shape, our consistency in the gym is where we will see results.
Prayer must develop into a vital and constant communication with Jesus.
A good way to work on this is pray short prayers throughout the day.
4. Be specific.
Do not be general in your prayers, Jesus wants our specific requests.
It’s through specific requests that we will see clear answers to our prayers.
5. Be persistent.
When we only pray once for something and don’t see the answers, we can become discouraged.
Sometimes Jesus delays answers and sometimes they are hindered, whether by things in our lives that we have to clear up, demonic opposition, or we’re not praying according to God’s will/desire.
Jesus desires for us to be persistent and patient in our prayers. It demonstrates our willingness to trust Him and His timing for answers.
Matthew 26:38–44 NKJV
Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
Matthew 26:
6. Be sensitive to The Holy Spirit (of God)
We want to be sensitive to when Jesus “touches” us with His Spirit about a certain topic or area of prayer.
This is a topic or area (prayer, thanksgiving, supplication) that Jesus wants us to stay on for a while due to a need of someone to pray on it so He can act on it.
Jesus can lead, guide, or even pray through us by His Spirit.
Isaiah 59:16 NKJV
He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
Romans 8:26–27 NKJV
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Possible Hindrances To Prayer

God discusses a number of possible obstacles to prayer and warns against them.
1. We are not praying in faith/trust or believing that Jesus hears our prayer.
James 1:5–8 NKJV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
2. We are not praying enough or really being specific.
Matthew 21:22 NKJV
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Matthew 21:
James 4:3 NKJV
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
James 4:3
3. We are asking for the wrong reasons (i.e. selfishness)
James 4:3
James 4:3 NKJV
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
4. We have unconfessed/unacknowledged sin in our lives.
Psalm 66:18 NKJV
If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
5. We have unresolved marital issues.
1 Peter 3:7 NKJV
Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
6. We are living outside of God’s will/desire.
1 John 5:14–15 NKJV
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
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