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What is Biblical Prayer?

Matthew 6:7-15

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. The OT is filled with the testimony that God hears and answers prayer lifted to the throne of grace from a heart of gratitude. Before sin entered the world, Adam and Eve didn’t need to pray because they enjoyed direct conversation with God Himself! When sin entered the world the deeply intimate, personal, and direct relationship with God was broken. Beginning in Genesis 3:8 at throughout all the rest of Scripture it is always God Who takes the initiative reestablishing the direct relationship broken as a consequence of sin. The Westminster Shorter Catechism gives a fivefold definition I’m using as an outline. It starts by saying prayer is:

  1. AN OFFERING UP OF OUR DESIRES TO GOD. Read Ps. 10:17, 18; Matt. 7:7, 8. In the context of offering desires to God in prayer it means craving, i.e., the state of having a wish or want for something for the pleasure it brings. Here’s the catch, one writer states: all our desires must be kept under control, in obedience to God’s Law. So how do you know if the desire you have evil? Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible makes the distinction when it says: ultimately there is one basic issue: is the desire self-centered or a desire for God’s will? The 2nd aspect of prayer is:
  2. SEEKING THINGS AGREEABLE TO HIS WILL. Read 10:24; 1 John 5:14, 15. Do you know why John tells us why we can’t ask God for just anything? 1st – look at verse 13… Our redemption, salvation, or eternal life makes us God’s adopted children. As such we have the privilege to come before God and ask of Him anything on our hearts. 2nd John heard Jesus give us permission to ask God for anything we want. Go to John 15:16, 17. Now here’s a question for you – when we are given permission to ask God for anything, is that restricted in any way? Yes –the anything we ask for must be according to God’s will. In the model prayer in Matthew 6 Jesus teaches us the right way to pray when He says, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Prayer is also
  3. IN THE NAME OF CHRIST. Read John 16. One writer explains praying in Christ’s name: he says that verses from Scripture such as we are looking at now “have led to Protestant patterns of praying in the name of Jesus. The meaning of His name in prayer, however, is not to be a magical formula for assuring a desired answer to a request, nor is it to be viewed as a cure-all for poorly expressed are formulated prayers. Rather, it should be a reminder that prayer is to be offered in the nature or spirit of the Lord Jesus, Whose Name is be used.” Prayer is also:
  4. WITH CONFESSION OF OUR SINS. Daniel 9: 4–14 is worth reading. We would do well to learn to pray like Daniel. We all know that God expects us to confess our sins to Him right? Here’s a question for you: are we supposed to tell others about our sins? Read James 5:13 – 18. Here’s a little formula to help you when you think like that. Scripture always says what it means – and means what it says! Finally prayer is:
  5. THANKFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HIS MERCIES. Read Ps. 103:1-5. That entire Psalm is a thankful acknowledgment of God’s mercies to David and Israel. Far too many times people pray to God saying – give me, give me, give me – and so often forget to say thank you, thank you, thank you! I think we will spend a great deal more time in heaven praising and thanking God for all He has already done for us! Amen!

If we can help you answer your spiritual questions, call us at (574) 643-9419.

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