Summary: “Methods are many, principles are few, methods may change, but prayer principles never do.”
1. The nature of prayer tells what it is (description), the principles of prayer guides in prayer (description).
2. The guards answered. “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46). We could say, “No man ever prayed like Jesus prayed.”
3. Principles are rules. “Methods are many, principles are few, methods may change, but prayer principles never do.”
B. JESUS’ PRINCIPLES OF PRAYER
1. Faith praying. Jesus believed the Father heard and answered. “I thank you for hearing me. You always hear me . . . I said it to their sake . . . so they will believe” (John 11:41-42, NLT). “Without faith it is impossible . . . must believe that God exists, and that He rewards” (Heb. 11:6). Therefore pray in faith, “pray for anything, if you believe that you will receive, it will be yours” (Mark 11:24, NLT).
2. Honest praying. Jesus focused his greatest challenge honestly. “Please take this cup of suffering away from me,” You must face your greatest (a) problems, (b) temptation (1 Cor. 10:13), (c) trials (James 1:2-4), (d) lack of faith (Mark 9:24), (e) suffering (1 Peter 4:1, 12-19), (f) therefore pray honestly, “with open face beholding” (2 Cor. 3:18).
3. Submissive praying. It’s not about you and your desires, its about God. Jesus didn’t rebel against the Father’s will but asked for a different way. “If it is possible . . . suffering be taken from me” But yielded, “I want thy will to be done not mine” (Matt. 26:39, NLT). Pray, “Thy will be done on earth, as in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
4. Asking prayer. Because of His faith, Jesus asked, “Father . . . you always hear me . . . Lazarus came out. And the dead man came out” (John 11:41-44, NLT). Jesus demonstrates what He told us to do . . . ask (John 14:13). Therefore ask in prayer.
5. Persistent prayer. Jesus prayed in many places, many ways, many times, with many people for many kinds of requests, using different positions in prayer, and was consistent. “Keep on asking . . . keep on seeking . . . keep on knocking” (Matt. 7:7, NLT). Therefore continue asking, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer” (Acts 6:4, KJV).
6. Gratitude praying. Gratitude is your honest expression. “Jesus prayed this prayer: ‘O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you’” (Matt. 11:25, NLT). “Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God” (John 6:11, NLT). What does your ungrateful heart express? Blindness not knowing, egotism – thinking you don’t need others, unbelief – not recognizing God’s provision (James 1:17).
7. Gratitude is still the acid test of virtue, reflecting who you are, and who you are not. Therefore, pray for a gracious spirit and exercise gratitude continually.
8. Rejoicing prayer. When you believe right and think right and live right and pray right, you will rejoice with God in prayer. Jesus rejoiced in spirit and said, I thank thee O Father” (Luke 10:21, KJV). What gets answered, rejoice because of His joy, rejoice in faith expecting an answer, rejoice over answer, “ask, using my name and you will receive . . . joy.” Therefore, pray for a rejoicing spirit and be happy. “Blessed (happy) is the one who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Ps. 1:1, ELT).
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
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Dr. Towns' email is ELTowns@liberty.edu