Summary: Biblical survey and guide to praying.
NOTES ON PRAYER ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE
by Andrew Chan, Senior Pastor, PBC, Vancouver, BC
Colossians 4:2 Paul says "devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." How do we devote ourselves to prayer? How do we make it really work today?
“The number one reason prayer doesn’t work for saints is because we have taken a wartime walkie-talkie and turned it into a domestic intercom,” said John Piper.
People live differently when they are in the midst of war, he emphasized. Not only are they on the alert, armed and vigilant, but they also spend their money differently because “the cause of the front line is everything,” he said. “War brings such a massive change in the way you live your life.”
Christians in America easily display their lack of a wartime mentality, he said. They think about how to get more comfortable and more secure, how to multiply their comforts and ease, justifying it all with 10,000 types of sugarcoated ministries.
This war currently raging is worse than what occurred in World War II because “the conflict isn’t just restricted to any global theater,” Piper said. “It’s in every town, every city, every home and family, every church. The casualties don’t just lose an arm, an eye, a leg, or their own life. They lose their souls. They enter not into any prison camp, but into Hell forever and ever.”
During this war, God’s mission for His people is for them to pray, Piper said. Unfortunately, “people have simply stopped believing that life is war.”
Instead of using prayer as God intended -- as a powerful force along with “the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” against the powers of darkness in this world -- Christians use prayer ineffectively, so “it malfunctions as it is strung up with little wires all through the cabins, the cars and all through the nice places. We try simply to make our lives more comfortable with prayer.”
The bullets of spiritual warfare are “flying over our heads, people falling all around us, blood everywhere, Hell filling up with lost people,” he said. During it all, “we’re getting our second houses and our second cars, our nice clothes and our fat retirements, our comfortable, safe neighborhoods, while the world can just perish, thank you.”
A. INTRODUCTION: Jesus’ Example
Begin lesson in praying with Christ as the Prime Example.David Watson writes in his book called Discipleship: “If Jesus found it absolutely essential to be constant in prayer, how much more should we.”
How did Jesus prayed?
Dallas Willard in The Spirit of the Disciplines (1988,p.9) reminded me that it is important to be really prepared as Christ was. He did not just overnight become the Messiah and Savior of the world. And he was not a merely a one hit wonder, but He powerfully and lovingly ministered with a depth of spiritual power, insight and love that has no parallel. Willard wrote this:
Asking ourselves “What would Jesus do?” when suddenly in the face of an important situation is not adequate discipline or preparation to enable one to live as he lived. It no doubt will do some good and is certainly better than nothing at all, but that act alone is not sufficient to see us boldly and confidently through a crisis, and we could easily find ourselves driven to despair over the powerless tension it will put us through.
Interesting, as Dr. G. Campbell Morgan observed, it is not the request of disciples in Lk.11 to say: "teach us how to pray"... but to pray – not just know in theory but to actually practice it - I.e. to pray passionately, in intimacy to Abba, to pray differently from mere rote, with personal relationship in view. It seems to me that the disciples know how to pray - i.e. the mechanics of it. They have probably been taught several models of prayer in the synagogues and have seen others but when they saw Jesus pray to God it seems different. They look at Jesus the way he was praying and it inspired them to say "Lord teach us to pray" not how to, but to pray like Him....
What Can Learn From The Bible About Satan?
Scripture teaches us about the enemy of our souls, one who would like nothing better than to stop real prayer to God. So we need to learnn a bit about what he will do.
He makes us doubt God’s Word
He deceives us
He casts doubts on the character of God
He is accountable to God
His thoughts are open to God
Satan cannot know the future
God put limitations on what Satan can do