© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Some New Testament references to "prayer"

    Matt. 6:5 - "hypocrites...love to stand and pray...in order to be seen of men"
    Matt. 6:6 - "when you pray, go into your inner room, pray to your Father in secret"
    Matt. 6:7 - "when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition"
    Matt. 6:8 - "your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him"
    Matt. 21:22 - "everything you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive"
    Mk. 11:25 - "when you pray, forgive, if you have anything against anyone"
    Rom. 8:26 - "we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit intercedes"
    Eph. 6:18 - "pray at all times in the Spirit"
    Phil. 4:6 - "in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made          know to God"
    I Thess. 5:17 - "pray without ceasing"
    I Tim. 2:1 - "I urge entreaties and prayers...be made on behalf of all men"
    James 5:16 - "the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much"
    I Jn. 5:14 - "if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us"
    I Jn. 5:15 - "if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests          which we have asked from Him"

II. Common questions about prayer

    A. If God is omniscient and omnipotent, why should we pray?
    B. Does prayer change anything? God? circumstances? oneself?
    C. Does God hear or answer the prayers of non-Christians?
    D. Is there a proper or preferable time or posture for prayer?
    E. How long should one "wait" for God to answer prayer?
    F. What if one asks for the wrong thing?
    G. Should we repeat our petitions day after day?
    H. Should we pray that people be converted?
    I. Is there any advantage to Christians praying together?

III. Christian prayer is NOT

    A. to give God information - Matt. 6:8
    B. telling God what to do - Rom. 11:34
    C. asking God to engineer a situation to the end we desire.
    D. something we do to please or appease God - Jn. 19:30
    E. a meritorious performance God expects of us; a duty or obligation of obedience.
    F. an exercise to make us better, stronger, or more "spiritual"
    G. for therapeutic psychological adjustment, "good feelings"
    H. self-instruction to gain a knowledge of God's will
    I. soliciting more "blessings" or "benefits" from God
    J. an evasion of the problems and anxieties of contemporary existence
    K. a superstitious, mystical or magical trance
    L. a spiritual "power-tool" to employ the "power of prayer"
    M. a discipline or devotional exercise that will lead us to godliness
    N. demanding our rights before God
    O. persistence and shameless haranguing until we get what we want
    P. a mechanical ritual or rote formulas
    Q. an external religious action, pretentious and ostentatious (Matt. 6:5,6)
    R. verbosity of meaningless repetition (Matt. 6:7)
    S. a religious activity executed "on command" - litanies, rosaries, etc.
    T. prescribed by place, time or procedure

IV. Christian prayer ­ Christo-centric prayer

    A. Christ: the basis of Christian prayer
         1. redemptive payment -
         2. reconciled relationship - Heb. 10:19,22
         3. restorational provision - Heb. 7:25
    B. Christ: the pray-er of Christian prayer
         1. Christ: our intercessor - Rom. 8:26
         2. Christ: our confessor - Heb. 3:1
         3. Christ: our thanksgiving - Heb. 13:15
         4. Christ: our suppliant - Jn. 11:22
         5. Christ: our praise and adoration - Heb. 13:15; Phil. 1:11
         6. Christ: our worshipper - Heb. 8:2
    C. Christ: the answer to Christian prayer
         1. Christ is God's complete provision
              Eph. 1:3 - "God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus"
              II Peter 1:4 - "His divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness"
         2. Christ ACTS in Christian prayer
              a. Adoration and praise- "I am not; only You are"
              b. Confession - "I cannot; only You can"
              c. Thanksgiving - "I do not; only You do"
              d. Supplication - "I have not; only You have"
         3. Prayer provides the connectivity of obedience and faith in the Christian life.
              a. obedience is "listening under" - hupakouo
              b. faith is "our receptivity of His activity"



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