In this bible study, we look into what the reasons that we pray, and explore some of the benefits of praying.
- Lord You're Mighty by Youthful Praise
- Glorify Your Name
- Revelation Song by Lily Cruz
This is the 4th lesson in our series on Seeking God
Last week we talked about Prayer
We looked at:
- What is Prayer
- talking to God
- listening to God
- coming into God’s presence
- Why We Pray
- answered question: If God knows everything, why do we pray
- How We Pray
- Lord’s Prayer
- some common contents of our prayers
If the why is big enough the how doesn’t matter
We’ll look at:
- the wrong reasons to pray
- the right reasons to pray
The Wrong Reasons to Pray
1“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
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 God just so others will see you pray
- who’s the audience? - God or the listeners?
- you can pray in groups, but you’re still talking to God
- pray in your closet - skeletons
- don’t keep babbling
- some pagans repeated certain words to speak to certain (unintelligible) Gods and attain certain results (e.g. Romans)
- we can also take it figuratively to mean we don’t need long prayers
Praying In Groups
19"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Our Motives Should Not Be:
- To inform God of what’s going on -
- but still talk to Him about it
- To impress other people who are listening
- To impress God
- To get a lot of people to say “Amen!”
Why We Pray
Protection (From Our Enemies)
21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. 22For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.
I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.
Calm Our Anxiety
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.
Get Closer To God
18The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
Keeps Us Out of Temptation
41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Does Jesus claim that God leads us into temptations?
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
temptation = Greek peirasmos
trial, testing, temptation
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
“if I do this on my own I’m scared if I succeed
that I’ll no longer trust in you, but I only trust in me”
Intercession / Healing
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.
- oil represents the human soul
To Be Like Jesus
 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.
 Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."
 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.  But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
- Jesus (and the apostles) didn’t pray for healing they commanded it
- Sometimes God tells us not to tell anyone what He’s said or done
- Jesus often went off alone to pray
Because God Listens
2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
Invite God’s Will
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
- Jesus prayed that God’s will be done
- God won’t override our will unless we ask Him to
Reasons We Pray:
- to develop a relationship with God - familiarity
- 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
- to develop trust
- keeps you out of temptation
- invite God’s will to be done
- it’s an act of worship
- because God listens
- follow Jesus’ example
- because it’s time to eat...not
Benefits of Knowing Why We Pray
- Knowing why we pray will also influence how we pray
- It’s not to inform God
- Even though God knows it strengthens our relationship to tell Him
- for some people speaking their problems out loud is therapeutic
- prayer shouldn’t be a mindless routine or tradition
- it’s a personal expression to God about what you think and feel
- Prayer is not to get God to do our will on earth, but rather a means of getting God's will done on earth.
- Prayer is meant to develop a relationship in which we are dependent on God
- Do you turn to _______ more than you turn to God
- drugs / sex / pornography
- Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
- your pastor or bible study teacher
(c) 2015 Michael Leadon