Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "Soteriology II"
PRAYER

 

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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1970

PRAYER

  1. THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
    Ephesians 6:18 R.V., "With all prayer and supplication, praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. " "Being sleepless unto prayer" is the literal translation of "watching."

    Why is it important to pray?
    1. Because there is a devil.
      Ephesians 6:12-13 - we have a great adversary and God expects us to stand against him.
    2. Prayer is God's appointed way for obtaining things and the great secret of all lack in our experience in life and work is neglect of prayer, Jas. 4:2.
    3. The apostles regarded prayer as the most important business of their lives. Acts 6:4; cp. 1 Cor. 7:5 - Paul devoted much of his time to prayer. Rom. 1:9 R.V.; Eph. 1:15-16; Col. 1:9 R.V.; 1 Thes. 3:10; 2 Tim. 1:3 R.V.

      All mighty men of God have been men of prayer.
       
    4. Prayer occupied a very prominent place in the earthly life of our Lord. Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12.
      "Pray" and "prayer" are used 25 times of the earthly life of Christ. A prayerless Christian is not a true follower of Christ.
    5. Prayer is the most important part of the present ministry of Christ.
      Hebrews 7:25; He can save to the uttermost, to completion, because He lives to pray, Romans 8:34.

      We meet the Lord Jesus Christ at the place of prayer. All can have a part in the ministry of intercession.
       
    6. Prayer is important because of what it accomplishes.
      1. It promotes spiritual growth.
        Ps. 139:23-24 - brings to light hidden sin. Ps. 51:2 - in answer to prayer, God cleanses my heart. Ps. 119:18 - in answer to prayer, the Word is opened up. Jas. 1:5 - in answer to prayer, I get wisdom to know God's way. 2 Cor. 3:18 - as I meet God in prayer and gaze into His face, I am changed into His own image.
         
      2. Prayer brings power into our work. Prayer and power are inseparable.
      3. Prayer avails for the conversion of others.
        Augustine's mother failed in her pleadings with her dissolute son, but her prayer prevailed with God, and he became the mighty man of God.
         
      4. Prayer brings power to the church, Acts 4:31.
        Prayer will root out heresy, stop misunderstanding, sweep away jealousies, remove sin, and bring in revival.
         
    7. To neglect prayer is grievous to the Lord, Isa. 43:21-22; 64:6-7.
    8. It is a sin to neglect prayer, 1 Sam. 12:23.
    9. Many evils in life are attributed to the lack of prayer, Zeph. 1:4-6; Dan. 9:13-14.
       
  2. THE POSSIBILITY OF PRAYER
    This possibility consists in five things:
    1. The revelation of God which Christ has brought to us, Jn. 1:18; Mt. 11:27.
      1. Christ reveals God as a personal God, as a Being who sees, feels, knows, understands, and acts. Belief in the personality of God is necessary to true prayer, Heb. 11:5.
        1. Must believe that He is;
        2. That He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
      2. Christ reveals God as a sovereign God, Mt. 19:26.
        "With God all things are possible." There are no unchangeable laws with Him. Nothing is too hard for Him.
      3. Christ revealed God as the Father, Lk. 11:13.
        The Saviour addressed God as Father in His prayers. This fact of God as Father makes prayer possible.
    2. The sacrificial work of Jesus Christ, Heb. 10:19-22.
      Even though God is a Person, my person may still not be pleasing-unto Him so that I cannot approach Him, but my approach is made possible through the atonement.
    3. The intercession of the Holy Spirit.
      Romans 8:26-27 - the Holy Spirit makes intercession according to the will of God. His intercessions are with groanings. This gives us assurance that the Holy Spirit will pray within us and will help us in our prayer life.
    4. Because of God's promise to hear, Jn. 14:13; 15:7; 1 Jn. 5:14-15.
      Be careful how you use the name of Jesus. He came to do the will of God, Heb. 10:7.
    5. The universal. Christian testimony
      The testimony of countless Christians is to the fact that God hears and answers prayers.
       
  3. THE METHOD OR MANNER OF PRAYER
    The soul may be in prayer no matter what is the attitude of the body. The Bible approves no special bodily posture.
    1. Posture
      1. The Lord Jesus Christ
        1. John 17:1 - standing with eyes lifted to heaven shows respect. Acts 7:55 - Jesus rose to welcome Stephen.
        2. Luke 22:41; Matthew 26:39 - kneeling, fell on his face, submissive surrender, yielding, obedience. Falling on one's face denotes complete submission.
      2. Solomon, 1 Ki. 8:54.
        Kneeling with hands stretched forth to heaven. This denotes entreaty, intense pleading, humbling to point where you admit superiority of God.
      3. David, Ps. 63:6, prayed lying on his bed.
      4. The thief on the cross, Lk. 23:42.
      5. Peter, Mt. 14:30, walking on the water.
      6. Elijah, 1 Ki. 18:42; 19:4, prayed with his elbows on his knees and his face in his hand
    2. The time and place of prayer
      1. The time of prayer
        1. Daniel 6:JO - morning, noon, night "as he did aforetime" Psalm 55:16-17 - evening, morning, and at noon Acts 3:1 - 3 p.m. (time of afternoon sacrifice) Acts 2:42 - praying steadfastly (daily, v.46) Acts 10:9 - noon
        2. Special occasions
          (1) Choosing the Twelve, Lk. 6:12-13.
          (2) Before He went to the cross, Lk. 22:45-46,
          (3) After great success, Jn. 6:15
          (4) Very early, Mk. 1:35.
          (5) At the time of meals, Mk, 14:22-23.
          (6) In trouble, Ps. 81:7; Ex. 2:23; 14:10,24.
          (7) Before meals, Acts 27:35; 1 Tim. 4:4-5.
          (8) Continued all night. Lk. 6:12.
      2. The place of prayer
        There is no specific place necessary to make prayer valid.
        1. The inner chamber, Mt. 6:6; cp. Jn. 20:19; the disciples were behind closed doors.
          In Matthew 6 Jesus is:
          (1) condemning hypocritical public prayer
          (2) not condemning public prayer
          (3) He thinks highly of and values private prayer
          (4) so we stress the importance of private prayer
        2. Amid nature, Mt. 14:23; Mk. 1:35.
        3. In all places, 1 Tim. 2:8 R.V.
        4. Before the unsaved, Acts 16:25; 27:35.
           
  4. HINDRANCES TO PRAYER
    1. Sin
      Psalm 66:-18
      Regard means to look favorably, to approve. Here we have un-confessed and harbored sin. We recognize a sin in our hearts, but we would rather keep this sin than forsake it and get the blessing of God. Sin so approved and harbored in our hearts makes it impossible for God to answer prayer.

      Isaiah 59:1-2
      The difficulty is not with God, but with their attitude toward indwelling sin. God will not hear today if there is un-confessed sin, past or present, in the life. If we are to have power in prayer, we must be merciless in dealing with our own sins.

      Proverbs 28:9
      He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law. If I do as I please in spite of what God says, it is an abomination to the Lord for me to pray. God hates it.

      Ezekiel 8:5-6, 14, 16, 18
      Gross idolatry was rampant in Israel.
      1. He saw an image of jealousy, v.5.
      2. Worship of Tammuz immoral, v.l4.
      3. Worship of the sun, v.l6.
        God says: "I will not hear them."
         
    2. Selfishness, Jas, 4:3
       
    3. Prayerlessness, Jas. 4:2
      Prayer is the first and paramount thing until it is performed. Prayer needy to be practiced not proven (Evans).
       
    4. Mk. 11:25; Mt. 5:23-24
      The unforgiving spirit is the sign of an unforgiven spirit. Anyone nursing a grudge has closed the ear of God a gains! his petition.
       
    5. Faithlessness, Jas. 1:5-8
      Hebrews 11:6 - we must believe. We must ask in faith, doubting nothing. Mark 11:24 is possible through Romans 10:17.
       
    6. The lack of liberality, Prov. 21:13 Luke 6:38; 1 John 3:22
       
    7. Wrong relation between, husband and wife, 1 Pet. 3:7
      The whole marital relationship should be spread before God. Ask Him to place His finger on that which is displeasing.
       
    8. Idols in the heart, Ezk. 14:3
      Anything upon which we have set our heart and would not give up for Christ's sake is an idol. God often leaves our prayers unanswered that we may search out the reason and thus detect the idol.
       
  5. ESSENTIALS TO PREVAILING PRAYER
    1. Sincerity, Ps. 145:18; Mt. 6:5
    2. Simplicity, Mt. 6:7; cp. 26:44
    3. Earnestness, Jas. 5:17; Acts 12:5; Lk. 22:44
    4. Persistence, Lk. 18:1-8; Col. 4:2; Rom. 12:12 R.V.; Rom. 15:30
    5. Faith, Mt. 21:22; Jas. 1:6
    6. Unison with others, Mt. 18:19-20
    7. Definiteness, Ps. 27:4; Mt. 18:19
    8. In the name of Jesus, Jn. 16:23; 14:13-14
       
  6. THE RESULTS OF PRAYER
    1. Prayer availeth much, Jas. 5:16-18; 1 Ki. 18:37-38
    2. Prayer secures definite answers, Jn. 14:13-14
    3. Prayer secures anything when the conditions are fulfilled, 1 Jn. 3:22; 1 Jn. 5:14-15



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