Prayer and Worship Lesson 2
Prayer begins in Genesis
God’s desire for communication with human kind is first evident in the first book of the bible
Why does God call us to pray even though He doesn’t need our prayers?
From the very beginning God has desired a very intimate relationship with humanity
True intimacy is built with God in the place of prayer
This is evident from the life of Jesus
Prayer is our link with Almighty God
It is impossible to truly know Him without prayer
God’s first recorded conversation with Adam
Genesis 1:28:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [a]sky and over every living thing that [b]moves on the earth.”
We were created to be in relationship with God, He invites us to intimate communion with Him
As we draw near to God, in His faithfulness, He will commune with us
God calls us to pray because He desires relationship with us
God sent Jesus to restore the relationship that was lost with Him
Moses Ministry To Israel
Moses spent the majority of his ministry to Israel interceding for them in prayer
Why is prayer vital in the life of any spiritual leader?
Moses was given the very difficult task of leading over 2 million people
God not only called him and used him to deliver Israel, He called him to lead them through the wilderness
Their history was one of continual complaining and desiring to return to Egypt
When the patriarchal period ended, God began dealing with the people under a nation covenant given to Moses at Sinai
Communication with God was virtually Moses’ sole occupation
Exodus 3:1-4: Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the [a]west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of [b]a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. 3 So Moses said, “[c]I must turn aside now and see this [d]marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Exodus 8:12-13: 12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the Lord concerning the frogs which He had [a]inflicted upon Pharaoh. 13 The Lord did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields.
Exodus 8:30-31: 30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the Lord. 31 The Lord did [a]as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained.
Moses prayers were primarily concerned for Israel’s relationship with God
Overwhelmed by the plight of the people, Much of his ministry was spent standing before the Lord on behalf of the people
Time of the Judges
The time of the judges was marked by lack of prayer
Judges 2:10: 10 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.
How can a lack of prayer lead to a failure to know God intimately?
This implies a lack of communion with God
Lack of prayer
People turned to idolatry, immoral standards, and were without godly leadership
When the people cried out to God, He would raise up a deliverer
But sadly this was a continual cycle that defined the time of the judges
But God was always faithful to respond to the prayers of His people when they repented
Deborah was an incredible woman of prayer and used mightily by the Lord
Judges 5:1-2: Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,
“That [a]the leaders led in Israel,
That the people volunteered,
Bless the Lord!
Through Hannah’s life we see the importance of continue prayer without ceasing
What does it mean to pray without ceasing?
Though Hannah faced incredible heartbreak and discouragement she never gave up in prayer
Temple Becomes Central to the Life of Prayer in Israel
David was known as a man after God’s own heart
How did David being a man of prayer lead to him becoming a man after God’s own heart?
David is the author of many of the psalms we have in our bibles
They are the heart felt words of David that are prayers and worship unto the Lord
His prayers contain petition, confession, praise and worship, lament, testimony, and prayers of vindication
Through the life of David we see what can become when a person dedicates their life to prayer
David realized that, like nothing else, praise brings us into God’s presence as we recognize who He is, what He has done, and what He can do
David’s son Solomon would be the one who would build the temple for the Lord
1 Kings 3:5-9: 5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.” 6 Then Solomon said, “You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in [a]truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have [b]reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. 9 So give Your servant [c]an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this [d]great people of Yours?”
Solomon prayed for wisdom above all else
It should be the prayer of all of our hearts
Solomon began well, but his life was marred by over a thousand wives and concubines
But his life shows us the power of prayer and seeking God for wisdom
Prayer in the Old Testament was primarily the task of Israel’s spiritual leaders
Why were the prophets of old such deep men of prayer? Why is this model that every leader today in the body of Christ should follow?
The prophets were used mightily by God in the place of prayer
Often they would intercede on behalf of the people
A recurring theme of the prophets prayers was a call to repentance, in response to God’s word
2 Chronicles 7:14: 14 and My people [a]who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
During the time of the prophets began to place and emphasis on inner piety over ritual sacrifice
Elijah was an example of a powerful man of prayer
Elijah knew the Lord intimately
God prepared him greatly before his mighty confrontation on Mt. Carmel
But it was because of his prayer life that the power of God was so evident
James 5:17-18: 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed [a]earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the [b]sky [c]poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
What does Elijah’s life teach us about the connection between God’s power and prayer?
God also used the leaders of Ezra and Nehemiah mightily in the place of prayer
The reason the leaders of Israel were central to prayer and why it was so important in their life was they had to be the mouth piece of God to the people
Without prayer we cannot know God intimately or know His heart
When the temple was destroyed and the people did not have access to the temple, forms of prayer and regular prayer times throughout the day were developed
This is greatly seen in the life of Daniel
In the old testament prayer was often
New Testament prayer differed from that of the Old Testament by being both community and individual oriented
Because believers have direct access to God because of Jesus prayer in the New Testament takes on a new dimension
Hebrews 9:11-12:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things [a]to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect [b]tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, [c]having obtained eternal redemption.
Hebrews 10:19-22: 19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a [a]sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
How does what Jesus has done at Calvary and being our High Priest impact prayer as a Christian?
Jesus has made it so all of us can draw near to God without fear
As a result of the work of Christ on the cross, every single believer has access to the throne of God at any time without having to go through a human mediator
At pentecost a fundamental change was made in the economy of God; the church, the body of Chrst, became God’s temple
How did what happened at Pentecost change prayer for you and I who follow Jesus today?
Prayer in the Old Testament had been community-oriented
Under the New Testament prayer becomes both community-oriented and individually oriented
Since we have direct access to the throne of God prayer takes on a whole new dimension
It allows God to speak to us directly
We can now enjoy a personal relationship with Him
Developing intimate communion with Him becomes an incredible joy to every believer
There is great power in corporate prayer
Corporate prayer lifts us out of the limited perspective of our individual needs and desires and provides us with a broader vision for our response to God
It is important for Christians to maintain a balance between personal and community aspects of prayer
Prayer is relational driven as a result of Jesus finished work of Calvary
Through the teachings of Christ we learn that to be effective in prayer we must have unity within the Christian Community
Jesus modeled the importance of prayer
Mark 1:35:35 In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
Luke 9:18: 18 And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the [a]people say that I am?”
What can we learn about prayer from studying the life of Jesus?
Jesus demonstrated the importance of prayer in His personal relationship with God the Father
He demonstrated the importance of prayer in His earthly ministry
His temptations in the wilderness
His choosing of the twelve disciples
The raising of Lazarus
Often after a mighty miracle Jesus would get alone to pray
Principles for effective prayer from Jesus
We must abide in Him
John 15:7:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
We must have unity in the Christian community
Matthew 18:19: 19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them [a]by My Father who is in heaven.
Believers today can expect to do even greater works than He, when we ask in His name
John 14:12-14: 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
Prayer in the Early Church
Why was prayer so important to the early church and why today does it seem so many churches lack the urgency to pray?
Prayer was common in the early church
It was as natural as breathing and eating to the human body
Acts 2:42: 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and [a]to prayer.
It was a vehicle by which the Holy Spirit was poured out
4 [a]Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for [b]what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized [c]with the Holy Spirit [d]not many days from now.”
It was a vehicle by which signs wonders and miracles took place
Prayer was a means of confirming and commissioning God’s choice of leadership
13 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
Prayer was the vehicle for divine guidance
Prayer was the churches response to persecution
The early church had nothing compared to what we have today in resources
No big budgets
No wealthy donors
No leaders with huge academic credentials
But they knew how to pray
The key to successful ministry is prayer
There are no quick fixes and easy answers
Prayer is essential for effective ministry during any time period of the church
The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer
Jude 20 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
What does it mean to pray in the Spirit?
Why is the Holy Spirit so important in the life of the believer when it comes to prayer and aligning our prayers with the Father’s will?
The Holy Spirit baptizes us
To be filled with the Spirit
Transforming experience by which a person is further empowered by the Spirit for Christian life and service
Acts 8:12-16 Peter and John prayed for the Samaritans to encounter this after being converted
Acts 19:1-6 paul prays for the believers in Ephesus to be baptized in the Holy Spirit
The book of Acts demonstrates a pattern of being filled with the Spirit with an outward manifestation of tongues
We desire and seek all that the Holy Spirit has for us
There is no good thing our Father will keep from us
Holy Spirit Helps us in our weakness
Romans 8:26: 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
The believer who walks with God will always be in conversation with Him
Prayer is as natural as breathing
The limitation of our minds create prayer problem
This is why praying in the Spirit is so powerful
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us in God’s will
Romans 8:26-27: 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the [a]saints according to the will of God.
The Holy Spirit enables us to transcend our prayer limitations
He helps carry the Lord
The Spirit speaks directly with the Father and the Son on our behalf, according to the divine will
The Holy Spirit provides spiritual weaponry
Prayer involves warfare
It is offensive
The only way to take territory from the enemy is prayer
Prayer releases God’s power in battle
The Holy spirit builds us up
1 Corinthians 14:4: 4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.
Our Spiritual reservoirs need building up, and praying in the Spirit does that
One way in which we can involve the Spirit is to pray in the prayer language given by the Spirit
When we pray in tongues we edify and build up our spiritual self