"THE DOCTRINE OF PRAYER"
TEXT: Luke 11:1 "LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY"
INTRODUCTION: "Teach me to pray Lord, teach me to pray, this is my heart cry day unto day; I long to know Thy will and Thy way; teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray." This famous gospel song by Albert S. Reitz is based on the disciples request in Luke 11:1.
It is highly significant that the disciples did not ask for lessons in "how to preach," but "how to pray. Better praying makes for better preaching! In analyzing the scriptural teaching concerning prayer, the writer has condensed a "small portion" of the Biblical instruction into the following alliterative outline. While the outline may be simple, we believe that it is also scriptural!
1. PRAYER INVOLVES WORSHIPING: Worship is the adoration of God, the honor ascribed to God by his children. Our expressions of adoration magnify the perfections, character, and attributes of our Heavenly Father. This worship should not be identified with either a dead ritualism or an irreverent speech ("the man upstairs", etc.), but simply an extolling, exalting, and magnifying of our Heavenly Father's virtues. This adoration is expressed by the phrase in the model prayer "Hallowed be thy name" (Matt. 6:9).
2. PRAYER INVOLVES WALKING: In Genesis 5-2, it is declared of Enoch that he "walked with God." Prayer embodies a walking and talking with God, a communing with him in a "moment by moment" fellowship. Enoch's walk with God, according to Hebrews 11:5, was (a) a pleasing walk, (b) a peaceful walk, and (c) a preparatory walk ("for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God"). Prayer is a "preparatory" process for that hour when we shall walk with him in unhindered eternal communion.
3. PRAYER INVOLVES WANTING: In prayer, we desire answers for those blessings and needs which we want and seek at God's throne. As believers we need to manifest boldness in: (a) witnessing Acts 4:13; (b) warring Hebrews 13:6; and also (c) wanting (desiring) Hebrews 4:16.
In I Kings 3:5, God said to Solomon, "Ask what I shall give thee". The scriptures are filled with verses where God implores us to "ask" Him for blessings (Matthew 7:7, John 16:24, I John 3:22, etc.). What do you want from God that will be for His glory and your good? Why not begin asking Him now?
4. PRAYER INVOLVES WAITING: Isaiah 40:31 reminds us that those who "wait upon the Lord" will have their "strength renewed." As we "wait" upon God, we can be assured that God's response will always be: (a) a perfect response Genesis 18:25, "shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" (b) a profitable response [The "all" of Romans 8:28 includes our prayers.] and (c) a perceptive response Romans 8:26-27. The "sifting" of our prayers by the Holy Spirit assures us that God's answer will be in our best interest.
5. PRAYER INVOLVES WEEPING: When Nehemiah learned of the desperate
condition concerning the walls of
Weeping in scripture is sometimes associated with "groaning", that form of prayer which is too deep and too intense for outward words. Groaning is that weeping and sighing which indicates the agony (Greek- "agonizomai") and wrestling in prayer. (a) Creation groans Romans 8:22; (b) the "Comforter" groans Romans 8:26 and so should the (c) Children of God groan Romans 8:23.
6. PRAYER INVOLVES WORKING: One of the Old Testament priest's main functions was to offer intercessory sacrifices for others. (Hebrews 5:1) While we do not offer sacrifices for sin(s) [no Baptist Masses!], believers are "priests" (I Peter 2:5-9) who do intercede in prayer on behalf of others. (I Timothy 2:1)
Intercessory prayer is (a) a priestly workII Peter 2:9, (b) a princely work Revelation 1:6 (believers are not only priests, but also princes!) and it should be (c) a pleasurable work "at thy right hand there are pleasures forever more" Psalms 16:11.
7. PRAYER INVOLVES WARRING: In Eph. 6:18, at the conclusion of Paul's treatise on the Christian's armor needed for spiritual warfare the Apostle Paul exhorts believers to pray "always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." The "good fight" that Paul depicts in I Timothy 4:7 involves combat in prayer. God's Men need to remember that "the battle is not won in the pulpit, but in the prayer room".
Finally, we should note that (a) God requests us to pray Hebrews 4:16; (b) God rejoices when we pray Revelation 5:8; and (c) God remembers when we pray Jeremiah 33:3.
THOUGHT: "While prayer is not everything; everything is done by prayer."
Ed: The above article on prayer is the first one in our recently published Manual in the School of Prayer. This manual contains 53 concise studies on prayer, 60 Biblical outlines on prayer, choice excerpts on prayer from books, dozens of quotes on prayer not available anywhere else, 30 poems on prayer, great hymns on prayer (with music text), a brief analysis & list of all books currently available on prayer; an encyclopedia of 17 books on prayer with 19 topics, and a suggested set of themes for use in prayer meetings;
This 228 page manual comes in an attractive professional format and heavy spiral binding. solid color cover; $20.00, plus $5.00 S & H. This manual is highly recommended by Fundamental Baptist leaders including Dr. Melvin Aiken, Dr. Joe Arthur, Dr. Harry E. Carr, Dr. Don Green, Dr. John Hamblin and Dr. Shelton Smith; use mailing address on p. 23 of this issue. Great for any Christian leaders use, as well as a birthday or holiday gift.
Also in this issue:
|Editorial DECEMBER 2011 JANUARY 2012 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|