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This is a sermon I preached at Straightway Bible Church on December 16th, 2012.  Below you will find the study notes I handed out. It is a lesson on prayer: some refreshing on the basics, 17 reasons to pray and debunking some myths about prayer.

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Here are the study notes:

Basic Truths of Christianity: Prayer

  • Simply defined, Prayer is communication with God.  Tell Him your needs and troubles. Express your love to Him.
  • Praise Him by declaring His majesty, power, and awesomeness.

Some thoughts on prayer:

  • Prayer lines you up properly with God
  • Prayer is not formal liturgy, nor is it empty clichés
  • Prayer is not repetition – Matt 6:7
  • When we read the Bible, God talks to us.
    When we pray, we talk to Him
  • God is not your personal Genie, manipulated for personal selfish reasons or by magic formulas – Jas 4: 2-3
  • Pray for everything with Thanksgiving  – Phil 4:6
  • Pray for wisdom – James 1:5
  • Pray for God’s will to be done – James 4:15
  • Pray without ceasing (continual prayerful attitude; constant communication with God) 1Thess 5:17
  • If you don’t know how to pray, God helps – Romans 8:26-27
  • Pray with the innocence,  trust of a little child – Matt 18:3
  • Pray with confidence – John 5:15

How Does God Answer Prayer?  Does He Always Answer?:

  • We may not have met the conditions God requires for answered prayer
  • God’s glory may be increased through His silence
  • God’s silence might be part of a bigger plan we don’t, or can’t, know about
  • God may have His own reason and choose not to reveal it (Deut 29.29)
    • Christians walk by faith and promises that frequently
      don’t include answers or explanations

17 Reasons for Prayer

l.      God’s repeated command
to do so
1 Sam. 12:23 Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2:
1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:8
2.     The example of Christ Heb. 5:7
3.     The example of the early church Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4; 2:5
4.     The example of Paul Acts 9:10-11; 16:25; 20:36;  Rom. 10:1
5.     Prayer defeats the Devil. Luke 22:32; 1 Pet. 4:7
6.     Prayer saves the sinner. Luke 18:13
7.     Prayer restores the backslider. James 5:16
8.     Prayer strengthens the saint. Jude 20
9.     Prayer sends forth laborers. Matt. 9:38; Acts 3:2-3
10.   Prayer heals the sick. James 5:13-15
11.   Prayer glorifies God’s name. Rev. 5:8; 8:2-4
12.   Prayer accomplishes the impossible. Matt. 21:22; Mark 9:29; Acts 12:5-7; James 5:17-18
13.   Prayer gives good things. Ps. 102:17; Matt. 7:7-11
14.   Prayer imparts wisdom. James 1:5
15.   Prayer bestows peace. Phil. 4:5-7
16.   Prayer keeps one from sin. Matt. 26:41
17.   Prayer reveals the will of God. Luke 11:9-10
Willmington, H. (1987). Willmington’s book of Bible lists (251). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.

Contemplation: Have you ever heard the “yes, no, wait” cliche? Have you ever taught it or passed it on to someone else? Can you think of other ways God might answer? If you could, would you really want to limit God to these three answers?

Application: Be careful of perpetuating “Christian” clichés such as this one, or ones like “God helps those who help themselves” and “grace is where you leave off and God picks up”. We pass these things on so frequently that everyone comes to believe they are Scripture. They only serve to simplify and limit God in our minds, and make us lazy in pursuing the depths of real truth that is not quite so easy and nicely packaged.