Saturday, January 10, 2015

Prayer - Talking to God

In this study, we look at prayer... how we pray, and why we pray. We also introduce a method to create a pattern of prayer in our lives.

Series: Seeking God


This is the 3rd part of the series on Seeking God
  1. Seeking God
  2. Hearing from God (Birth of Christ)
  3. Prayer (Talking to God)

Seeking God
  • God rewards those who seek Him
  • But only if you are actually seeking to know Him and be in His presence not if you’re seeking the rewards - motive
  • Seeking God is trying to: know Him, understand Him, spend time with Him, communicate with Him

Hearing From God
  • God speaks different people in different ways
  • We saw God speaking in different ways in Matthew’s account of the birth of Christ

Question: Does God know everything?
Question:  Then why do we bother to pray?

What is prayer?

-Talking To God
- Listening to God - sitting in silence and listening for a response
- Getting into the presence of God / seek His face

Analogy of the levels of relationship with God:

1. Mail / Email

  • you send your request to God

  • you sometimes get response
  • if you don’t get a letter back you wonder if your letter was received

  • similar to sending your Christmas list to Santa Claus

  • don't know what His voice sounds like
2. Phone call

  • two way conversation - you speak 
  • He responds regularly you know His voice
3. In Person 
  •  in His presence 
  •   spiritual encounter with God

"Prayer, however, is not merely petitioning God to grant a request, nor even necessarily speaking to God, but rather “cleaving”— the glorious feeling of ’Oneness with God Almighty’, the state of the soul wherein a man or woman gives up their consciousness of separate existence, and join their own selves to the Eternal Being of God Supreme. Such a state produces indescribable bliss, which is the foremost fruit of the true worship of God."
-- Baal Shem Tov (Jewish Rabii)

Stages of closeness to God:
  1. Judgemental of what others are doing wrong
    • when you see these people you get negative feelings towards them
    • righteous indignation without love
    • often times this is a mask for our own guilt
  2. Feeling unworthy of God’s Presence/Love
    • as you get closer to God you see how far you are from God and lose your focus on how far others are
  3. Accepting God's love
  4. Loving Others
    • Spreading God’s love to others
    • You no longer see people through their faults but you only see them with love

How Does God Respond To Us?  (review)

  • bible
  • other people
  • dreams / visions
  • bringing things to your memory
  • voice
  • thoughts
  • attention to something
  • giving you peace / unrest

What blocks us from hearing?

  • unforgiveness
  • blatant sin patterns
  • you were already given an answer

Matt 5:23-24
23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Isaiah 59:2
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Why Do We Pray?

Calm Our Anxiety
Phil 4:4-7
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“All Our Anxiety”
We don’t have to live with worry, because God closes the mouths of lions that threaten His followers (Dan. 6:22). Peter described how to keep clear of anxiety’s jaws. First, we humble ourselves before God. What causes worry is a sense of helplessness in a given situation, so the best response is yielding yourself to God—submitting to Him with the confidence that He has the power to control your life. Another thing that builds trust is the realization that God is always engineering circumstances for your good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).
Remember, prayer is a declaration of dependence. When you humble yourself, you’re kneeling before omnipotent God. And since nothing is a challenge for His power, the second step in casting cares on Him is the simple exercise of telling the Lord your troubles and then trusting Him to deal with them. He assumes responsibility for meeting believers’ needs; your part is to prioritize obeying Him and living a righteous life (Matt. 6:31-33).

  • to develop a relationship with God
  • to be obedient
  • declaration of dependence on God
  • to change
  • to come into His presence
  • to make petitions
  • to calm our anxiety
  • to clear our minds

How Do We Pray?

Content of Prayers

  • Petition
  • thanksgiving
  • Praise
  • confession
  • repetition
  • self searching
  • seeking guidance
  • intercession
  • healing
  • using scripture
  • cast your cares / complaining
  • To make a promise to God (euche)

1 Timothy 2:2-4
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.


Gen 25:21
21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.
Hezekiah’s Prayer
2 Kings 19:14-19
14Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.

17“It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”

Intercession / Healing

James 5:14-16

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.


  • How did Jesus and the disciples pray for healing?
- they didn't!   They commanded it in the name of Jesus.
- future

Psalms 31:9-14
9 Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction,[fn] and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends—those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear many whispering, "Terror on every side!" They conspire against me and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, LORD; I say, "You are my God."

Using Scripture

- saying God's word back to Him

Our Father who art in heaven (Matthew 6:9)
You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.  Give thanks to the Lord, for You are good; Your love endures forever. (Psalm 118:28-29 NIV)
I love you, oh Lord, my strength (Psalm 18:1 NIV)
I will praise thee with uprightness of heart (Psalm 119:7 KJV)
I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2 NIV)
Praise the Lord. I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and the assembly (Psalm 111:1 NIV)
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen (Matthew 6:13)

You can read a psalm that resonates with what you're going through

Hezekiah’s Healing Example

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.

  • What was God's will for Hezekiah?
  • You can ask for confirmation.
  • You can go back and ask for a different outcome after you’ve gotten an answer
  • Hezekiah cared about the things of God

A Model For Prayer


Matthew 6:9-13 - The Lord's Prayer

My Journey Through Prayer

- set a time and place to pray everyday
- came to know His voice
- worship, pray, scripture
- went from asking for what I wanted to asking that His will be done
- asked to understand why I was going through the trial

Unchained Prayer Plan:

  • set a regular time to pray (twice daily, once daily, every weekday, M-W-F, etc)
  • get a place to pray
  • have privacy
  • worship, pray, read the

(c) 2015 Michael Leadon

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