In this study we explore how we should pray by looking at biblical examples of prayer, and discuss what position we should be in while praying.
Series: Seeking God
We are in the series: “Seeking God”
This is the 3rd session on Prayer
Last week we covered “Why We Pray”:
Reasons to pray:
- prayer shouldn’t be a mindless routine or tradition
- Prayer is not to get God to do our will on earth, but rather a means of us helping get God's will done on earth.
- Prayer is meant to develop a relationship in which we are dependent on God
- to calm our anxiety
- to develop trust
- keeps you out of temptation
- follow Jesus’ example
Not reasons to pray:
- To impress other people who are listening
- To impress God
How Should We Pray?
This Lesson Will Cover:
- What Jesus taught about prayer
- Corporate Prayer
- Prayer Positions
- Examples of prayer from:
Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
- be persistent when praying for justice
5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
- don’t pray to impress others
- pray in private
- don’t keep babbling
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- some Christian monks took it literally that they should pray continually or pray without ceasing
- they would repeat: “Lord Jesus son of God have mercy upon me a sinner”
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.
Daniel and Prayer
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
- Daniel prayed on his hands and knees
- Daniel prayed 3 times a day
- He prayed facing Jerusalem which is common to many Jews
What is the proper prayer position?
- on our hands and knees
- lifting hands
- face to the floor with hands out
- look up to Heaven
- on our knees
- heads bowed
- folding hands
- facing Jerusalem
- no examples of folding hands to pray in the bible
- later Christians began folding hands to pray
- Some say it was to resemble hands bound by chains to show you were a servant
David and Prayer
3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
- David prayed in the morning
17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
- David prayed in the evening and noon as well
A Prayer from David
1 Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3 have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.
5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7 When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.
- he prays daily
- he asked for joy - ask for fruits of the Spirit
Lord, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
2 May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.
3 I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
- David prays day and night
- Share your issues and insecurities with God
Abraham was the first to pray the morning prayer, Isaac, the afternoon prayer, and Jacob, the evening prayer.
Hezekiah and Prayer
Hezekiah’s Healing Example (Facing the Wall)
2 Kings 20: 1-11
1In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3“Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5“Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 6I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’ ”
7Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.
8Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”
9Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”
10“It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”
11Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.
- You can ask for confirmation.
- Remind God
- Hezekiah prayed facing the wall
What We Can Learn
- When we are in a bad situation we should turn to God
He Who Has An Ear
- Hezekiah prayed facing the wall
- In Israel they face the Wailing/Western Wall
- The wall separates them from the inside of the temple
- It's the closest point to the Holy of Holies
- God's presence was in the Holy of Holies
- The wall is as closest they can get to God
- Hezekiah facing the wall symbolized that he was close to God
- Hezekiah did what was good in God’s eyes
- So he could ask to have his destiny changed
- God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him
- Jesus walked through the wall - He was God and man
Jesus and Prayer
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
- Jesus prayed alone by himself
- Luke 5:16 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
- Prayed for God’s will to be done
- face to the ground on His knees
- Mark 14:32-36 and Luke 22:39-46
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them 2 to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
- prayed before he ate
- Jesus gave thanks
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
- He prayed all night to God
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
- Jesus prayed in the morning
- Jesus made prayer a priority
The Priority of Prayer - devotional
Have you ever forgone your daily prayer time, thinking, I am just too busy to pray today? Whenever we surrender quiet time for something else, we are making a statement about our priorities. It is a not-so-subtle way of saying, “Jesus, my calendar is more important to me than You are today. I’ll have to catch up with You later.”
We all do this on occasion, don’t we? Skipping prayer now and then is all too easy because, since we know the Lord is always there, we figure we can make up the time later. It’s as though we have taken God’s eternal, indwelling presence for granted with the thought, The Lord will still be here tomorrow, but I've got to get this done today!
What we fail to realize is that our quiet time with God is what empowers us to face the challenges of the day. Therefore, the busier our day, the more time we should spend in prayer preparing for it!
The Bible clearly shows that Jesus Himself protected His private time with the Father. I cannot imagine any person having more on his mind, having more things to do, or being in greater demand than Jesus. And yet the times when He was busiest are the times we see Him pulling away from the crowds in order to pray.
Is prayer the first thing you cut from your daily agenda when the schedule fills up? Protect that time every day at all costs. Remember, Jesus is God; if He considered prayer necessary to prepare for His busiest days, then it is an absolute essential for the rest of us!
- There is no specific time to pray
- You need to pray alone (although praying corporately is also fine)
- We need to pray that God’s will is done
- Share your emotions, issues and concerns with God
- Ask for joy, peace or other fruits
- We should give thanks
- We need to prioritize prayer over other things that keep us busy
- God should be the first one we turn to when trouble comes into our lives