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Summary: How to pray and how not to pray...that is the question...

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What Prayer Will Do and Won’t Do

Prayer can strengthen the soul (Ps. 138: 1-3).

How to pray and how not to pray...that is the question...

Statistically, we are told that 78% of all Americans pray at least once a week. 57% pray at least once a day. (found www.crosswalk.com)

Serious prayer, studies show, usually begins after age 30 when the idea that “we are masters of our own fate” begins to fade away. Prayer is efficacious (Eph. 3: 20). Prayer can and will, providing God’s conditions are met (found in His Word), prayer can and will accomplish many wonderful things.

What Prayer Can Do

Prayer can strengthen the soul (Ps. 138: 1-3).

God is all-powerful and is able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…" (Eph. 3: 20).

Prayer can be a great source of stability, and preservation (Ps. 121).

Prayer can bring you peace. Instead of being overcome with stresses and anxiety, the child of God is supposed to pray through…prayer can bring you to the threshold of the scripture of having "the peace of God, that passes all understanding…" (Phili. 4: 6, 7).

Prayer will grant the child of God his requests. The scriptures teach answered prayer (Matt. 7: 7-11, Phili. 4: 19). Of course, prayer is answered when the one praying has the attitude of "thy will be done" (I Jn. 5: 14). God even knows man’s needs before man petitions him (Matt. 6: 8, 32). However, God still wants man to ask.

Prayer can bring forgiveness. Man enjoys forgiveness as he submits to God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. The child of God can experience forgiveness through prayer and faith in knowing He will forgive if you ask and believe (I Jn. 1: 9, 2: 1, 2).

The prayers of the Christian can affect others. Intercessory prayer is plainly taught (Rom. 15: 30, 31, Eph. 1: 16-18, Phili. 1: 9-11, Col. 4: 3, I Tim. 2: 1-3). However, the Bible does not teach that you can pray for the salvation of another and God will arbitrarily and against that person’s will save them.

The demonstration of your faith through corporate prayer can build one up, edify and be a great witness to the weaker believer and a nonbeliever.

What Prayer Won’t Do

Prayer alone (without the person confessing, believing and asking for forgiveness themselves) will not save the lost. Nowhere in the Bible states, teaches or insinuates that prayer directly saved the lost. Throughout the book of Acts we read how different ones preached the gospel (spread the Good News) to save the lost (Rom. 1: 16, Acts 2: 14 ff.). The apostles did not simply have regular meetings where they prayed for another person’s salvation…instead of going out and aggressively preaching, teaching and leading them to Christ and repentance.

Prayer will not relieve anyone’s responsibilities. Some people think that instead of doing what God has commanded, they can simply pray. No! Prayer is not a substitute for laboring in the field--- IE: visiting the sick, spreading The Gospel, laying hands on the sick, praying, casting out demons, fellowship, praise and worship and living a holy life (ex. Jas. 1: 27, Gal. 6: 1, 2 Cor. 7: 1).

Prayer will not create faith. When the jailer asked how to be saved, he was told to believe. God’s Word was preached to him so he could develop faith through belief of The Word (Acts 16: 30, 31, ). Faith comes from believing God’s Promises in The Word (Rom. 10: 17, Jn. 20: 30, 31).

Prayer will not keep the Christian from trials. Difficulties serve as a source of growth (Jas. 1: 2-4). God has promised a way of escape, however (I Cor. 10: 13).

Jesus said, “You WILL have trials and tribulations…”

Prayer will not reveal The Will of God. Many refuse to study the scriptures in order to determine God’s Will. They would rather rely on prayer alone. We learn God’s Will or Desire for us in a general sense from The Holy Scriptures AND from the leading of The Holy Spirit (Matt. 7: 21 ff.)

Prayer will not sanctify a sinner. Holiness of life is required but does not come from prayer alone. One must conform The Word of God which sanctifies us unto God (Jn. 17: 17).

Conclusion:

God has designed prayer to accomplish certain things.

Prayer was not designed to accomplish the things we have just talked about.

In order to benefit from prayer, we must be in the right condition and properly give ourselves totally to God and respect our conversations through prayer as a Holy Privilege.

All too many "know not what they ask" (Mk. 10: 38).

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