James the earthly brother of our Lord Jesus Christ was often called “Old Camel-knees” because after he came to believe in the identity and work Jesus had accomplished for him he became a renowned prayer warrior who spent quality time on his knees. Sometimes the posture of our physical bodies can be a power-assist to our prayer life. Naturally our bodies reflect the condition of our hearts and if we are slouched in posture often it is because we are somewhat depressed. Or, if we are hoisting our hands to heaven it is because we are inspired by faith and in the mood to praise God. If we fall to our knees usually it is because we are desperate and broken and are calling out to God with humble and repentant hearts.
The lesson here is to learn to not limit our prayers to a certain type of body position. Some of my best prayer times are experienced when I am flat on my back in my bed but looking to heaven. I also love to pray as I walk my dogs early in the morning or late in the afternoon. We need to realize that to talk with God (Pray) we don’t have to fold our hand or close our eyelids. Neither folded hands nor closed eyes are conducive to prayer while I am on my snow skis or when I ride my bike, and the Bible calls us to pray continuously. Paul told the folks in Thessolonica:
“17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
PRAYER LESSON #1:
So, Prayer lesson #1 is to learn to pray in your natural positions, or whatever position you are in. I am sure God will hear your prayer even if you are hanging on the edge of a cliff and praying “help” and you don’t dare fold your hands or close you eyelids.
PRAYER LESSON #2:
The next lesson we need to learn about prayer is what prayer really is, it is a conversation with God. As a teenager I was watching Evangelist Billy Graham and I heard him explain prayer as: “a conversation between two people who love each other, you and God.” This explanation has inspired me to talk with God in a conversational way. There is never any reason to employ religious or lofty language because God always knows your heart and what is on your mind. At all times He wants us to be ourselves and talk with Him as if we are talking with a close friend, because Jesus came and called us friends!
John recorded this inspiring revelation in John 15:13-16:
“3Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 1″
This great promise about prayer should get us to think about how we would talk with the lover of our hearts. Lot’s of us really struggle looking for the words to use in talking with God, I believe God is saying: “relax and be yourself, if you don’t have words, just grunt, groan, sigh or say yes!” God tells us His attitude about words when it comes to our prayers in Romans 8:26-27 :
” 26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
and 1 Corinthians 2:4-5:
“4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
Reflecting on God’s attributes always encourages our prayer efforts. By knowing that God is omniscient (All Knowing) and omnipresent (Every where present), so, when we pray we can relax be ourselves and let out our feelings and thoughts flow from our hearts to God even if we don’t have a thesaurus full of prayer words.
The often overlooked aspect of prayer is the realization that when we are praying we are talking with a person, God! God is a person who has feelings, opinions and understanding. When we talk with God it is important to see Him as a real friend who is a real person who is acquainted with us and cares about us deeply. I like to think about His character and His personality as seen expressed in Jesus Christ. It is good to think about His love, His Mercy, His wisdom, His humor, His holiness and how He has you in His “Much More” care. Jesus made this “Much More” care come alive to us in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:25-34 – Do Not Worry:
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
As you continue conversing with God there is never really any reason to cut off your conversations. Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn to enjoy such constant conversation and intimate fellowship with God that when we sat on our beds at the end of each day we would be overcome with joy because we realized that we enjoyed a full day of interaction with God! Billy Graham said that prayer is: “two people who love each other”, that would be you and God. John the beloved disciple had a friendship with God like this and He said in 1 John 4:9-21:
9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 5:1-5 – Faith in the Son of God
1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
In respect to our prayer lives we need to remember that our relationship with God is a love relationship, it was bought by love and it is lived by love. John Wesley called sanctification: “Love expelling sin”, and that serves as a good motivation for our attitude towards God in prayer. The greatest benefit of praying this way is that we now naturally fulfilling the great commandment found in Mark 12:28-31 – The Greatest Commandment:
” 28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”
PRAYER LESSON #3:
The third lesson about prayer also came to me via Evangelist Billy Graham. I will never forget hearing him talk about the importance of faith with respect to prayer. He said: “if you are going to pray for rain, carry an umbrella.” Think about it, prayers with faith are powerful and the expectation expresses our confidence in God which in reality is what faith is. Jesus demonstrated this important faith principle in talking with a father of a boy who was seriously oppressed. In Mark 9:20-23 we see the story:
20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23” ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
And in Mark 11:24 Jesus makes it clear that faith makes the difference when it comes to a victorious prayer life:
24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
And in the book of James old “Camel- Knees” himself says it this way in James 1:5-7:
“5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
PRAYER LESSON #4:
Like in any healthy relationship it is always good to “keep short accounts”, that is, always be up to speed with your issues. Just as we are not to let the sun go down while we are angry and without making sure we are right with each other we are to do the same with God. I remember living in the basement apartment of George and Virginia Mullin’s home as we attended Denver Seminary, Karen and Virginia had many great walks and I enjoyed many great conversations. Mrs. “M” gave me this good advice and I have kept it ever since, she said: “keep short accounts with God.”
If we let time lapse in our conversations with God and a day or two goes by without sweet communion with God you will lose you freshness and go spiritually stale. This staleness will show in your countenance, your attitudes and energy level. This is a silly condition to be in because all we need to do is regularly throughout each day is go to God and say: “It’s me again”, and then you will sense God smiling from heaven and embracing you. About the only thing I do religiously is pray at my meal times, or maybe I should say is eat, but the thing about meal time prayers is that they are a good way to keep your accounts with God up to date. If you have been distant just meditate on 1 John 1:7-10:
7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
Appropriate the benefit God’s gives us regarding confession. If you sense that you are in any kind of spiritual shadow or funk just step into the light of God’s presence by reckoning that it is not God who is in the shadow, it is you and lean into Him. Just tell Him, “Lord, I need to be in the sunshine of your love!” By faith, the shame, the guilt, and the distance in beamed out with this simple acknowledgement.
A WORD OF WARNING: Please do not get intimidated by the word Confess! This is a great Bible word and God doesn’t want it to freak you out. It simply means to “agree with God.” Therefore you do not have to make any excuses for your life, you just agree with God about what He has already communicated to your human spirit as the witness of the Holy Spirit has already urged you to get close and stay close. So just agree and thank Him for being at work in your life. If you have been sidetracked and distracted you are sorry so admit it, and be instantly renewed by saying “yes” to God.
Remember what sin is: “Sin is when we try to go about meeting our own needs in our own ways, without God helping us.” So instead of beating yourself up about this issue just agree with God about it, and talk it out and ask Him to help you improve and change your ways. He never intended you to grow with out His help. He is totally committed to helping you appropriate His power in your life!
The truth about our fellowship with God is quite clear, if we agree with God: “God is faithful and just and will forgive you of all your sin and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) This lesson teaches us that short accounts with God assures us of the greatest benefit in life, the benefit of being in fellowship with Almighty God!
11 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
PRAYER LESSON #5
This next prayer lesson is similar to lesson number 3 but it needs to be stated anyway because some of us tend to snivel and mope instead of living straight-up. This prayer lesson is about being absolutely honest with God! Just as we are to walk in the light, we need to keep everything in the light regarding prayer. And think about it God knows everything about us any way and still is totally committed to loving us. But, this way of living and praying has a huge blessing attached to it, God lets us know that if we are honest with Him in prayer He will reward us with His peace. This has to be the greatest payoff in the Christians prayer life! Philippians 4:6-7 says:
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If you have ever lied, fibbed or muddied up the truth you did it to try to protect yourself in someway. You tried to “meet your own need in your own way!” So, we might have a fleshly tendency to tell half-truth’s and walk in shadows, but this true-truth with help us to step into the light in all fronts because God blesses us with His peace when we do. All we need to do to experience this blessing is just lay it out honestly before God with no explanations or excuses, just the truth and nothing but the truth so help you. And then you will see the waters part and peace will move into your mind and heart like the bright sun breaking thru the clouds. This peace is a true treasure because Jesus tells us it is nothing like this world tries to offer us. In John 14:27-28 Jesus Said:
“27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 28“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”
It is important to note that God’s peace is not the absence of conflict, but it is the presence of God! Jesus often approached people by saying: “do not fear, it is I”. This presence is the awesome benefit of being transparently honest with God.
PRAYER LESSON #6:
If you feel inadequate in your praying, join the club, so did the disciples and every Christ follower who has gone before you. Dr. Luke records that: “one day Jesus was praying” and the disciples said to Him, “Lord teach us to pray, and in Luke 11:2-4, He said to them:
2He said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3Give us each day our daily bread.
4Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’ ”
This famous prayer is really a model prayer or an Outline that Jesus gives us (His Disciples) to help us pray. The word “disciples” means learner, and when it comes to prayer we will always be learners. The lesson #5 here is a lesson I have learned from my wife Karen who daily uses this outline as she prays in the early morning time.
This Lord’s Prayer is really the Disciples prayer and in it we see a brilliant outline that shows us how to touch all the bases when it comes to talking with God.
- Addressing God as Father
- Lift up His Holy Names (Think about His Jehovah Names)
- Pray about your identity in His name (remember the “Ha-Shem” in 3 John 1:7)
- Pray about His kingdom moving (advancing) into your world.
- Bring to Him your daily needs and know that it is ok to ask Him anything! As seen in the following scriptures:
24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
1 John 5:14-15:
14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.
James 4:1-3 – Submit Yourselves to God
1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
6. Ask God to clear your heart and mind with the power of forgiveness. Let the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse your heart and your relationships again and again. Let Him search your heart like King David did in Psalm 139:23-24:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
and Hebrews 9:14, 10:22:
14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
7. And now let the Lord lead you and guide you in the path’s of righteousness and away from temptation. (Or get you out of it if you are in it) Once again King David said it well in the Twenty Third Psalm verse 3:
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
And in 1 Corinthians 10:13 the Apostle Paul gives us a life-saving promise we need to appropriate:
13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
These seven steps of this model outline is a powerful way to step on the bases we need to touch on if we really desire to experience victory in our prayer lives.
PRAYER LESSON #7
Is a simple lesson, just as the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, we all wonder what are we to pray for? What are we to have on our hearts? The Disciples prayer in Matthew 6 is an excellent outline, but I have found that “The Lord’s Prayer” in John 17:1-26 is a prayer that puts life into perspective like no other prayer. This is a prayer Jesus prayed in the heat of the moment and exposes what was on His heart. In the next couple of days after Jesus prayed this prayer He would be arrested, tried, denied, beaten and crucified. Yet in this prayer He lets us in on His motives, amazingly He has us on His mind in this prayer. Read it and see Him praying for you before He goes to the cross! All I can say is wow!
Jesus Prays for Himself
1After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
6“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name-the name you gave me-so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
To recap this great prayer I see the following points:
- Jesus wants the Father to be glorified, so we should pray this desire! Vs. 1
- Jesus is well aware of His authority, so we should pray this into our lives. (Remember the purpose of the Scepter?) Vs. 2
- Knowing Jesus means eternal life, this is a “Thank you” opportunity. Vs. 3
- Jesus knew His work, we should pray about ours in light of Matt. 6:33! Vs. 4
- Obedience is key! Pray obedience into your life (John 14:21) vs. 6
- Jesus shares His mission; align your mission with His in prayer. Vs. 7-8
- He prays regarding His identity from the Father. Pray for your identity to be drawn from God the Father. Vs. 8-9
- He prays for God to be glorified in us. Join in on this prayer! Vs. 10
- He prays for our protection while we are in this world. Amen! Vs. 11,12, 116
- He prays the power of God’s name. Pray for this power in your life! Vs. 11
- He prays for unity, “oneness” vs. 11
- Prays for joy! Vs. 13
- Persecution! Vs. 14 (pray for your trials as you identity with Jesus. Romans 5:3-6, James 1:2-4, Matthew 5:11-12)
- Jesus prays for our sanctification by the Word. Own this prayer! Vs. 17
- Jesus prays for future believers
- He would be “in-us” (Colossians 1:26-28
- Impact on the world (Salt and light
- He prays for our fellowship. Vs. 23-25
- He prays for God’s love to be in us. Pray that we are made secure by His love!
As you can see, this too is a model prayer. The way to appropriate this prayer into your prayer life is to go verse by verse and express these thoughts back to God. Or to say it in another way, take these verses from this prayer by Jesus and use them as a springboard to elevate your thoughts that you then take to God in your own conversation with Him.
For example: in Verse 1 Jesus said: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”
Try reworking this thought into your own prayer: My example would be like this: “Almighty God, Just as Jesus endured great conflict as He went to the cross, He did so wanting to glorify you. Please help me to desire more and more, to love more and more for your glory. As Jesus was lifted up, my I lift up your great name by the way that I live!”
Then try to make it specific: “Dear God may my writing, speaking and blogging bring you glory.”
PRAYER LESSON #8
Just as we have begun to use Jesus model prayers as entry points for our own prayer life, Prayer Lesson #8 involves seeing the whole Bible as a “Prayer Book”.
The Bible is filled with prayers, principles and practices that need to be prayed into our own lives. By learning to pray the Holy Scriptures we can readily see that God puts on our hearts what is already on His heart. And besides this, God has no problem recognizing His own Word. (As if He would have a problem deciphering your own words, but I am sure you get my point!)
I will always thank God for the guys who taught me to pray the scriptures into my life. Early on in my Christian walk I was encouraged to make this my practice. Learning to pray this way makes prayer an easy to apply discipline. For example I read the Proverb (Right in the center of your Bible) for the day. There are 31 Proverbs and then I look at the day of the month and I read that Proverb. A proverb is a nugget of wisdom and inevitably that particular chapter is exactly what I need for that day (or at least there is something specific that I can pray into my life). I simply meditate on that Proverb and then fashion personalized prayers that fit my situation for that day.
Another great spiritual discipline is to pray the Psalms into your life. These “songs” are especially conducive to praying because for centuries God’s people sung unto God this is a powerful way to pray. It won’t be long before you come up with your favorites, mine is Psalm 91, look at it and you will see why! Now try to pray it.
While in college I found myself in trouble I had just been kicked out of Campus Crusade for Christ. How many young men do you think accomplished this feat? My arrogance and independence got me in trouble with the leader and I got the boot. So I was lamenting my plight to my friends and Miles Alton a sliver of a man but a dynamo in prayer said to me: “Sid it is time for you to learn how to pray!” And then he tossed me a hymnal, and said to me and the other guys to meet him at the church building at 5:30am (that is early in the morning) and he taught us how to pray by singing these bible based songs back to God. This has been the single best worship experience of my life. I wish you could have heard these guys all over that building each in a different corner, singing unto God, not a one of them were good singers, but it was beautiful I can feel the tears well up as I remember those days. So learn to take great songs of the faith, and use the words and the music as an entrance into prayer!
Here are some great prayers from the Bible to meditate on and to pray back to God:
Numbers 6:24-26, A prayer for blessing
Numbers 10:35-36, A prayer for protection
Numbers 11:10-35, For dealing with discouragement
1 Chronicles 29:10-19, To pray to be a giver
Ezra 7:27-28, A thanksgiving prayer
Ezra 8:21-23, A fasting prayer
Ezra 9:5-10:4, A prayer of confession
Nehemiah 1:4-11, for when you are in distress,
Psalm 4, A prayer for holiness
Psalm 7, when you need something to happen
Psalm 8, Praise of Creation
Psalm 22, The power of the cross
Psalm 23, How good it is to know the Shepherd
Psalm 25, To lift up your soul
Psalm 27, To contemplate salvation (God is your rock!)
Psalm 91, To know God as your refuge
Psalm 139, Renewal
Isaiah 26, Peace
Isaiah 41, Confidence
Jeremiah 32:16-25, gratitude for God’s goodness
Ezekiel 11, God as your sanctuary
Daniel 9-10, A study in prayer
My favorite New Testament prayers: (the reason these are my favorites is because of their emphasis on our identity in God, look and see.)
Ephesians 1:15-20 – Thanksgiving and Prayer:
15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms
Ephesians 3:14-21 – A Prayer for the Ephesians:
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 6:10-20 – The Armor of God:
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Appropriate Power: by taking a few minutes to make these great prayers your own.
Pray these wonderful thoughts and desires into your life. In a real way as you pray these prayers you are actively engaged in being the answer to these prayers. And when you meditate on the Armor of God visualize each peace of equipment and think about what this does for you in the spiritual realm. This is a powerful way to pray.
PRAYER LESSON #9
When I worked on the Staff of the First Baptist Church in Fort Collins Pastor Bill Wright made quite an impression on me when he made us turn each prayer we prayed in our church staff meetings into a “thank-you” prayer to God. This took some creativity and some work but since those days saying thank you to God has become a natural spiritual reflex action and has made my life and ministry beautiful. Thank you Bill!
This discipline is asked of us in the scriptures, the apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 to give thanks is all circumstances:
17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not put out the Spirit’s fire;
And in the Book Power in your hand I have a thank you section where I call it the “key to everything” and I believe it really is.
THE “T” WORD!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Philippians 4:4-7
Statement: The renovation of our hearts can happen with a word!
Objective: Take the “T” word challenge and give thanks for everything.
1. A sincere thank you can secure salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
2. Thank you demonstrates faith. (Hebrews 11:6)
3. A thank you renews the mind. (Romans 12:3, 2 Corinthians 10:5b)
4. A Thank you adjusts our attitudes. (Philippians 2:5, Matthew 15:36)
5. A thank you reflects our true identity. (Luke 17:11-19)
6. A thank you looks good on us. (Philippians 2:12-15)
7. A thanks giving promotes peace in our hearts. (Philippians 4:6-7)
8. Thanks giving controls the bulimia of materialism. (Phil. 4:10-13)
9. Thanks giving stamps out cynicism. (Matthew 6:25-34, Romans 8:28)
10. Thank giving helps us resist resentment and releases forgiveness. (Matthew 5:9-15)
11. Thanks giving imitates Jesus! (Matthew 15:36, 26:26, Ephesians 5:1)
PRAYER LESSON #10
Ask God to give you godly friends who you will pray for and who you can trust to pray for you. Where there is more prayer there is more power. I learned this lesson from Raleigh Stearns who was a precious man of God and Prayer warrior when I went to Kearney State College. He was the janitor on the floor where I lived, and he prayed for each man behind each door as he vacuumed the floor and as the Holy Spirit brought them to mind. By the time I graduated the whole third floor had been completely reached for Jesus and today there are more than a dozen men from these prayer associations who are serving Jesus around the world. These relationships and experiences still help me see that all of this fruit is a result of God going to work in answer to prayer.
By the time I graduated Raleigh said to me: “Sid when I first started praying for you I was tempted to point out a lot of the immature issues you had in your life, but God just encouraged me to pray. God has dealt with every one of those issues specifically in answer to prayer.”
Raleigh was the honored guest at our wedding celebration. Karen and I are forever grateful for this example in prayer. Raleigh went to heaven before I could fully express my thanks to him.
The scripture that imparts this lesson the best is once again from “Old Camel-Knees” in James 5:16:
16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
My hope is that you will regularly review these lessons and grow in prayer.