Two Most Important Things About Prayer

John 15:7 – If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

Jesus gave us two important keys to answered prayer here.  If we want to ask what we will and have it done for us, we will have to do what He said.

  1. Abide in me.  He is talking about praying out of a place of fellowship with God, about being led by the Spirit while you pray.  The Holy Spirit is our best help in prayer.
  2. My Word abides in you.  To be effective in prayer and to pray the will of God, we must know the Word of God and pray according to His word where His thoughts and ideas and will are expressed clearly.

The more thoroughly scriptural our prayers are and the more we hear and follow His leading when praying them out, the more likely we are to get them answered.

1 John 5:14-15 – And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.  And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.

There is a certainty of getting our prayers answered we can have when we pray according to His will; we can be so certain that He hears and answers that we take the answer away with us – with settled and absolute knowledge.

We need to base our beliefs in prayer on Scripture far more than the failures and advice of other Christians.

We are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to live and also to pray.  He lives within us and makes Jesus real to us.  He teaches us concerning the things of God.  He teaches us how to pray and helps us express it to God.

John 16:7 – It is to your advantage that I go, because the Holy Spirit will be sent.  He is the Revealer of truth and the Comforter.

1 Corinthians 2:12 – We have received the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

John 14:16-18, 26 – He gave us His spirit to teach us everything and remind us of all He has said.

John 16:12-15 – He will guide us unto all truth, declare things that are to come and take of what is of God and declare it to us.

Greek – parakletos – one called alongside to help; used in court as a legal assistant, counsel for the defense, an advocate; one who pleads another’s cause, an intercessor; succourer; comforter.  (See Amplified)

In the Bible when Christians were filled with the Spirit, the spoke with tongues.  This is a gift of the Spirit God has given to the New Testament church, and one of the greatest helps to prayer can be found in it.

Biblical Examples of Infilling with Holy Spirit

Three of the five recorded incidents say they spoke with tongues; the other two imply it.

Acts 2:1-4 – Initial outpouring.

Acts 10:44-46; 11:15-17 – The Gentiles receive.

Acts 19:1-7 – The Ephesians receive.  Notice the two separate experiences again (V. 2, 6).

Acts 9:1-18 – Saul received.  (! Corinthians 14:1 – when did he start?)

Acts 8:5-8, 12-21

V. 5 – Phillip preached Christ.

V. 12 – They believed and were saved (Mk 16:16).

How did Simon know they received?
V. 21 – “matter” – the same Greek as “utterance” in Acts 2:4.

We can be led by the Spirit to pray in our known language, but God has given us an extremely effective prayer tool in the ability to pray in tongues.  We can pray way beyond our own knowledge.  We can pray the will of God when we don’t know the will of God and we can pray further than our own knowledge when we do know the will of God in a situation.  In many prayer situations we need to use both our own language the the language of the Holy Spirit to get the best results.

Why speak with tongues?  What are the benefits?

The Bible mentions many benefits of praying in other tongues.

Mark 16:17 – Jesus said it was a sign that would follow believers.

1 Corinthians 12:28-30 – This passage is not speaking of individual speaking in prayer but of a ministry to the Church in tongues and interpretation.

1 Corinthians 14:

V. 2 – Speaks to God not to man.

V. 2 – Speaks mysteries or divine secrets.

1 Corinthians 2:7, 10-12 – But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,  But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

V. 4 – Edifies self.

Jude 20 – Build yourselves up in your most hold faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.

Praying in the Spirit charges your spiritual battery so that you can run on spirit power rather than flesh power.  If you neglect to pray, you will be running on flesh power whether you want to or not and you will end up living in Romans 7.  It is the weakness of the flesh that causes people to live like that; it has nothing at all to do with intentions.

Romans 8:26-27 – 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; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Prayer in the Spirit is a help against your infirmities.  The Sprit gives strength to put to death the deeds of the body.  He helps us in our weakness when we pray.

Mark 14:38 – Keep awake and watch and pray (constantly) that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.

The Spirit is strengthened to prevail over the flesh through prayer.  This is a key to overcoming the flesh and strengthening the spirit when the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak.

Romans 7:18 – For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

These two passages speak of the same thing.  The spirit is willing, the willing is present in me, but the flesh is weak, the doing of the good is not in me.  But Jesus in Mark 14 gave a way to overcome this problem: pray.

V. 5 – I wish all spoke in tongues.

V. 12-15 – Two ways of prayer.

V. 14 –Though your mind is unfruitful, it refreshes and recharges your spirit.

V. 15 – Praying in the Spirit is praying in tongues.

Ephesians 6:10, 18 – In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].   Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints.

V. 17 – You give thanks well, magnify God and speak of his wonderful works.  (Acts 10:46 – For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.  Acts 2:11 – we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.)

V. 18 – Paul spoke in tongues more than all.

V. 21-22 – In the law it is written: with men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me, says the Lord.  Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

Acts 2:5-12, 41 – And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, look, are not all these who speak Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? …we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, whatever could this mean?  Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Isaiah 28:9-12 – Whom will he teach knowledge?  And whom will he make to understand the message?  Those just weaned from milk?  Those just drawn from the breasts?  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.  For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, to whom He said, this is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest, and, this is the refreshing; yet they would not hear.

The Lord will speak to His people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue.  The Lord speaks to me when I speak in other tongues.  He will not only speak to me but teach me and explain His word to me while I speak in tongues.

V. 28 – You can speak silently in tongues.

V. 39 – Do not forbid this gift.

We learn to pray from the Spirit of God, He is our greatest help, but the foundation for our prayer life is the Word of God.  We learn from what is taught in the New Testament about prayer as well as from the prayers they prayed.  We can see patterns of prayer that teach us God’s will and ways of prayer.

We can take the prayers of Paul in his Epistles to the churches and pray then for Christians.  We can take the prayer requests he gave for himself and pray them for those in the ministry.  The more I pray these prayers, the more I see in them the answer to every problem that people face.

2 Timothy 3:15-16 (Phillips) – All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work.

The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man (or woman) of God to fit them for all branches of work.  The scriptures are are equipment God has provided us for the work of prayer – comprehensive and complete!

We should base our beliefs on how to pray more on the Word of God than on what everybody says or the newest fad prayer.  Some church traditions on prayer are far from based on the Word of God.  If you pray prayers written in the Bible and pattern your pray life on them, you can’t go too far wrong.  And you are much more likely to get them answered.

From the prayers prayed in the New Testament we can find the will of God.  As you meditate on them, you will find wisdom to cover every situation of prayer you encounter.

Thanksgiving mentioned

Rom 1:8                     Phil 4:6                1 Thess 5:16-18
Rom 4:20                   Col 1:3-6              2 Thess 1:3
1 Cor 1:4                    Col 2:7                 2 Thess 2:13
Eph 1:16                    Col 3:15-17         1 Tim 4:4-5
Eph 5:20                    Col 4:2                 2 Tim 1:3
Phil 1:3-4                   1 Thess 1:2-4      Philem 1:4

Unceasing prayer

Acts 1:14                    Rom 1:9               1 Thess 1:2
Acts 2:42                    Rom 9:2               1 Thess 5:17
Acts 6:4                      Eph 1:16              2 Thess 1:11
Acts 10:2                    Eph 6:18              1 Tim 5:5
Acts 12:5                    Col 1:3, 9             2 Tim 1:3

Prayers for the Church

Acts 4:24-31 – For the spread of the Word, signs, wonders, boldness in preaching.

Romans 1:8-10 – Thanksgiving, unceasing prayer, desire to impart some spiritual gift that they may be established and encouraged.

Romans 15:13 – For them to be filled with hope, joy peace.

1 Corinthians 1:4-8 – Thanksgiving for grace, enrichment, for them to come short in no gift and to be confirmed to the end blameless in Christ.

2 Corinthians 13:7 – That they do not wrong and be made complete.

Ephesians 1:15-23 – Spiritual wisdom and revelation in knowledge of God, spiritual enlightenment as to the greatness of what was accomplished in Christ and how it affects us.

Ephesians 3:14-21 – To be strengthened and established to know the love of God and be filled with Him.

Philippians 1:9-11 – For their love to abound in knowledge and discernment and for them to be filled with fruits of righteousness.

Colossians 1:9-14 – To be filled with the knowledge of His will – this will enable them to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and please Him and bear fruit and increase in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 2:1-3 – To have their heart’s encouraged, true knowledge of God’s mystery which is Christ Himself.

Colossians 4:12 – To stand perfect and assured in all of the will of God.

1 Thessalonians 3:10-13 – To be caused to abound in love for one another and all men.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 – That God may do certain things in them that the Name of Jesus be glorified.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 – To comfort and strengthen their hearts in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 – To direct their hearts into the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 – For peace in all circumstances.

Philemon 6 – For their faith to be effective through knowledge of what is theirs in Christ.

Hebrews 13:20-21 – To equip them in everything needed to do His will.

2 John 2 – For prosperity and health.

Prayer tor those in ministry

Matthew 9:35-10:1 – Jesus told us to pray for laborers to heal, cast out demons, to teach and to preach.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 – Pray for those in authority, including those in ministry.

Romans 15:30-31 – For deliverance.

Ephesians 6:19-20 – For utterance and boldness (Acts 20:20, 27).

Philippians 1:19 – For deliverance.

Colossians 4:3-4 – For a door for the Word and ability to make it clear.

2 Thessalonians 3:2 – For deliverance.

Philemon 1:22 – For Paul’s release.

Acts 12:5 – For Peter’s deliverance.

Conclusion: Patterns in New Testament Prayers

For Christians – In these prayers you can see some reoccurring subjects: for wisdom, understanding and knowledge, love (Ephesians 1:17; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 1:9-10; 2:2; Philemon 6; James 1:5-8) and for strengthened hearts (Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 3:3).

For those in Ministry – Deliverance for the ministers (Romans 15:30-31; Philippians 1:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:2; Philemon 1:22; Acts 12:5, for the spread of the Word (Matthew 9:35-10:1; Ephesians 6:19-20; Colossians 4:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 3:1).  1 Corinthians 16:9 speaks of both of these things.

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