Learning to Pray From Other Christians
(September 2013 - Week 5)
(1). “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” [Martin Luther]
(2). "God was pleased to grant me divine sweetness in prayer; especially in the duty of intercession. I think, I never felt so much kindness and love to those who, I have reason to think, are my enemies,--though at that time I found such a disposition to think the best of all, that I scarce knew how to think that any such thing as enmity and hatred lodged in any soul; it seemed as if all the world must needs be friends. I never prayed wth more freedom and delight for myself, or dearest friend, than I did now for my enemies." [David Brainerd]
(3). “Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will make a man cease from prayer.” [John Bunyan] “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find him the rest of the day.”
(4). “Quit playing, start praying. Quit feasting, start fasting. Talk less with men, talk more with God. Listen less to men, listen to the words of God. Skip travel, start travail.” [Leonard Ravenhill]
(5). Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...
(6). Prayer thought: We are surrounded by witnesses in history who taught us what they learned from praying, and who would encourage us to go beyond what they had learned.
Learning to Pray From the Prophets
(September 2013 - Week 4)
(1). James 5:16b-18 The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. [Elijah - learning to pray effectively and powerful out of living in righteousness.]
(2). Daniel 9:19-23 “Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name." 20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill-- 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.” [Daniel - learning to confess own sin and others, and being assured that we have been heard by God.]
(3). Jeremiah 42:1-4 Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached 2 Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, "Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. 3 Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do." 4 "I have heard you," replied Jeremiah the prophet. "I will certainly pray to the LORD your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the LORD says and will keep nothing back from you." [Jeremiah - learning to intercede for others.]
(4). “When God has something to say, he takes hold of a prophet. So says Amos (3:7), who gives us insight into this line of work. For Amos, as for others, God is One whose voice cannot be ignored. He speaks often, and when he does, there is no recourse but to get up, go out, and deliver the message. God plucks his prophets from the temple, the orchard, and the marketplace, fuses his terrible love into their hearts, and sets them loose in the henhouse. Feathers fly.” [Dan Schmidt, Unexpected Wisdom: Major Insight From the Minor Prophets]
(5). Prayer thought: The prophets prayed and acted in response to what God spoke to them. 1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. If we are encouraged to prophesy, then we should expect to hear from God in prayer so we can respond to what God has said.
Learning to Pray From Peter
(September 2013 - Week 2)
(1). Luke 9:28, 32 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. [Peter got sleepy while praying.] Mark 14:39-40 Once more he (Jesus) went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. [Peter fell completely asleep while praying.] 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. [Peter learned to be alert while praying and taught others to do the same.]
(2). Acts 10:9-14, 17-20 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." 14 "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." 17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. 19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them." [Peter prayed and listened.]
(3). Acts 9:36-41 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!" 39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. 40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. [Peter prayed and acted from that praying.]
(4). “I thank God for the story of Peter. I do not know a man in the Bible who gives us greater comfort. When we look at his character, so full of failures, and at what Christ made him by the power of the Holy Spirit, there is hope for every one of us.” [Andrew Murray, The Collected Works and Sermons of Reverend Andrew Murray]
(5). Prayer thought: Though Peter knows that he is a sinful man, fears drowning in the waves, falls asleep while praying, and denies Jesus at his arrest, Peter recognizes Jesus’ authority and position as his Lord. After the resurrection Peter is filled with the Spirit, continues his relationship with Jesus in prayer, and confidently follows his Lord’s leading from that prayer.
Learning to Pray From Jesus
(September 2013 - Week 1)
(1). Luke 18:9-14 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." [Humble ourselves before God in prayer.]
(2). Matthew 19:13-15 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. 14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. [Pray for the children.]
(3). Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. [Praying is a battle with our weak flesh.]
(4). John 11:41-43 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" [Praying is knowing that God always hears us.]
(5). “I determined to learn to pray so that my experience conformed to the words of Jesus rather than try to make his words conform to my impoverished experience.” [Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline]
(6). Prayer thought: Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. We continually learn to pray from Jesus because he continually lives to pray for us.