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Matthew 6:9 by Robert Dean
Series:Basics 2: Foundation for Living (2005)
Duration:48 mins 17 secs

Foundation for Living #9

Psalm 34 1-10

As we have been studying the last two weeks on the subject of what the Bible teaches about prayer, one of the first principles we understood is that Scripture teaches that if we regard iniquity in our heart the Lord will not hear us.  As a result of that, it is important for the believer to cleanse his soul from sin, which comes as a result of simply confessing, which means to admit or acknowledge any know sin to God, and at that instant, the Scripture says, we are forgiven and cleansed of all unrighteousness.  We always begin our study with a few moments of silent prayer to give you the opportunity to use 1 John 1:9 if necessary.  Let's pray.

 

Lord again, we express our thanks, our gratitude for Your grace in our lives.  Especially, above all, for the gift of salvation, which comes through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Father, we pray that as we study Your word this morning, Your word that expresses His thinking, expresses to us Your plans and purpose, Father, we pray that we might be able to understand these things, and that God the Holy Spirit would make them clear to us, and that we would not take these things lightly, but be challenged and strengthened in our own Christian life as a result of this teaching.  We pray this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen

 

We are continuing our study on the basics for the Christian life.  The series in entitled

Foundation for Living, not just the foundation for life, which focused more on salvation, but the ongoing foundation for spiritual growth that gives us that maturity where we can experience the full abundance of life that was promised by the Lord Jesus Christ.  As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we have two roles we fulfill, one is our priesthood, the other is our ambassadorship.  We are starting to look at the aspects of our priesthood, what does it mean, what does it entail, that we are a believer priest?  The first aspect of that is that as a believer priest we are able to go directly to the throne of God.  This is unique to the church age dispensation.  It was not true in the Old Testament.  In the Old Testament there was a formal priesthood based on descent from Aaron and those within the Levitical tribe.  But in the New Testament, in the church age, every believer is a priest to God.  That means we are able to represent ourselves before God and go directly before His throne of grace in prayer. 

 

We began studying prayer a couple of weeks ago and we defined it by saying:

 

  Prayer is that grace provision of the royal priesthood, whereby the church age believer has access and privilege to communicate directly with GodThe purpose of this communication is to acknowledge our sin, express adoration and praise to God, to give thanks, to intercede for others,  and to convey to God  our personal needs, and petitions, as well as to conduct intimate conversations with God. 

 

It is a lengthy definition, but it incorporates all the different aspects of prayer, including the basic elements of prayer, emphasizing that it is, fundamentally, communication with God.  And this is a priority for the believer.  We looked at this in terms of five different subjects or headings. 

 

  1. The priority of prayer, where we saw the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, though not a sinner, He sets the example for us.  He put a priority in prayer, and He spent lengthy periods of time in isolation and in prayer. 
  2. We talked about the prerequisites of prayer last time, recognizing that only a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ can come to the Lord in prayer.  Because sin has separated man from God, the only prayer God hears from the unbeliever is a prayer that somehow expresses his desire to know more about God.  Scripture makes it clear that even for the believer out of fellowship, who regards iniquity in his heart, who is unrighteous, who is ignoring the word, that that sin in the life breaks fellowship with God and hinders prayer. 
  3. The third topic we are looking at is the procedure for prayer which is the focus this morning, as well as a review of basic principles for prayer, and we will cover a  few basic promises for prayer in the Scriptures. 

 

Last time we talked some about procedures for prayer, and there are three.  First of all, all prayer is addressed to God the Father.  It is not the focus of prayer to pray to either God the Holy Spirit or to God the Son.  One of the reasons for that is that both the Son and the Spirit intercede for us with the Father. Scripture clearly teaches in numerous places that prayer is to be directed toward the Father.  Matthew 6:9, Ephesians 4:14, and 1 Peter 3:17, just to name three. 

 

Second, the channel of approach to God is through the Lord Jesus Christ as our Royal High Priest.  We are to come to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is our mediator, so we address out prayers to the Father, in the name of the Son, and we come in the power of God the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 6:18.  In terms of basic protocol for prayer, we pray to the Father, through the Son, and by means of God the Holy Spirit.

 

We also looked at some of the basic elements of prayer, using the acronym CATS, in order to remember these elements of prayer: 

C – confession

A- adoration, praise

T – thanksgiving, expressing our gratitude to God for what He has done for us

S- supplication, when we are presenting prayers to God, asking Him to intercede in the lives of others or petitions on our own behalf.

 

Prayers can include all four dimensions, or they can be prayers that just focus on one.  Prayer can be simply confession, or simply directed towards praise and adoration, or prayers that are simply prayers of gratitude or prayers of thanksgiving. You can have other prayers that simply focus on specific needs, and situations regarding others or our own lives.  Prayers can be very short or very long.  If you want to find biblical models for prayers, go the Psalms, because many of the Psalms expressed the prayers of the writer, usually David, but there are many other prayers in the Psalms , either we don't know who wrote them , or they are by other individuals. 

 

As we looked at this last time we went over the principle of confession, the importance of being in fellowship with the Lord.  Psalm 66:18 says,

 

If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

 

 

The word translated regard has the idea of seeing, if I observe, if I look inside and I see there is sin in my life, then the Lord will not hear me. Sin breaks that fellowship with God.  Another passage, for review, is Proverbs 15:29:

 

 the Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.

 

  In other  words, no matter how religious and sincere somebody may be, no matter how devout they may be, God will not hear their prayers if they are not a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, and even if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you are not in fellowship, He will not hear your prayer.  That being out of fellowship can sometimes involve ongoing behavioral sins you are not dealing with.  There is a particular verse I was asked about last time that deals with one of those instances: 

 

1 Peter 3:7   Husbands, likewise, dwell with them, (that is, the context is talking about wives) with understanding, giving honor to the wife, (that means, men, you are to have honor and respect towards your wives, you are to treat them well,) as to the weaker vessel, as being heirs together of the grace of God. 

 

Just because the man is in the authority position in the home, and just because the man is the spiritual leader in the home, does not mean he is better, superior to the wife.  In many cases there are women who are much more squared away spiritually than their husbands are.  Nevertheless, he is the one designated as the spiritual leader in the home.

 

So, the husband is to:

 

honor to the wife, as the weaker vessel, as being heirs together of the grace of God. 

 

Why? 

 

That your prayers may not be hindered.

 

In other words men, if you are not treating your wife well, according to Scripture, if you are not being the spiritual leader in the home, if you do not respect her, if you are not providing that grace orientation, impersonal and personal love toward your wife, then that is hindering your prayer life.  You need to not only deal with that in terms of confession, but  there also needs to be some behavioral changes that go along with that, otherwise, you just keep bouncing back out of fellowship and you don't get any where in you prayer life or your spiritual life.  The solution, as I stated earlier, is in 1 John 1:9.

 

If we confess our sins, (which means to admit or acknowledge our sins), he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.

 

That is, what we admitted to, but His grace is such that He cleanses us from all the other sins we have committed, whether we remember them,  whether we realize they are sins or not, God forgives us, He wipes the slate clean, so that we are restored to fellowship There are a couple of promises in the Old Testament that everyone should memorize, because one of the greatest hindrances in moving forward in the Christian life after you have committed certain sins you are weighed down by , feel guilty over, is that once you admit those sins to God, you need to realize you are cleansed and move forward, and not feel  guilty about it.  It has been dealt with, it is over with. God has wiped away those sins. 

 

Is. 43:25  I, even I, am He who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake;
 And I will not remember your sins.

 

Again: Psalm 103:12 

 

   As far as the east is from the west,
 So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 

 

At that instant of cleansing from sin we can move forward in our spiritual life and not be weighed down by guilt or remorse, but focus on the objective of spiritual maturity. 

That covers the first aspect of prayer, confession. 

 

In the acronym CATS, the second is adoration.  This is where we focus on the grandeur of God, and we express His magnificence, by focusing on who He is, and what He has done.  A simple way to do this when praying is to think through the essence of God.  Think about God as the Creator, as the Sovereign God, and think about Him in terms of His righteousness, His justice, think about how it is expressed in history, in your life, in the lives of those around you.  Focus on His love, starting with how it is expressed through the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ, as our Savior. Then think of the many other ways in which God demonstrates His love for us.  You can think about all the different things that God provides for every single believer at the instant of salvation, and just focus on  those.  Take two or three of those at a time, and when you are praising God in prayer, thanking Him and focusing on what He has done and what that means.  You can go through all the various attributes of God and think about how those attributes have been expressed historically and biblically. You find numerous examples as you read through the Psalms.  It is very important for believers to read through the Psalms because the writers are, in many cases, pouring out their hearts to God, they are in the midst of crises and adversity;  they are struggling with the same basic issues of life we are struggling with. As we read through those Psalms  we are reminded of many promises and principles we too can apply in those same circumstances and situations.  I encourage you to read through certain Psalms called Praise Psalms.  There are different classifications of Psalms in the Old Testament.  The Praise Psalms focus primarily on simply extolling the grandeur and majesty of God.  In the Praise Psalms three elements are usually found.  They begin usually with a call to praise, where the psalmist is calling on the people of God to praise and worship Him.  Then there is a development of the cause for praise, so you have a call to praise, a challenge for the people to praise God,  followed by the cause for praise, because God has done this or that in history or in my life, or the lives of those around me.  In the cause for praise, the Psalmist provides the reason for praise.  Then there is a conclusion, which is a challenge or exhortation to all those around to praise the Lord.  That is what the word hallelujah means. It has been used so much, it has become trivialized, it has almost become a cliché but that is the actual word found in the Hebrew, in many of these passages.  It is from the Hebrew halal, meaning praise, then halelu  the u , is  the second person plural imperative, which is translated, y'all praise, and the end, al, is God,  Yahweh,  hallelujah, means y'all praise God.  When people say that so often, they do not even know what it means, but it is a call to praise God and to focus on what He has done.  Some Psalms you might want to look at and to think through in prayer are Psalms 19, 33, 36, 105, 111, 113, 117, and 135. There are other praise Psalms, but those are just a few you can read through to gain an understanding of how biblical praise is expressed.

 

 Psalms 19 is one that breaks down similar to the way I expressed it a few minutes ago.

It begins with a cause for praise.

 1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
 And the firmament shows His handiwork. (the firmament is the atmosphere or the heavens)
 2 Day unto day utters speech,
 And night unto night reveals knowledge.
 3 There is no speech nor language
 Where their voice is not heard.
 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
 And their words to the end of the world.
 
 In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
 5 Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
 And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
 6 Its rising is from one end of heaven,
 And its circuit to the other end;
 And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

 

He is looking at the heavens and the glories and the magnificence of God's creation and He says this is reason to praise, because of how God has structured the universe, from all of the details we see within the universe.  So this is the cause for praise.  Then he moves from that cause to praise to the person and character of God, starting on verses 7-11, where the focus is on His glory and power. 
 
 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, (focusing on how God has revealed Himself to us) converting the soul;
 The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;

 

Notice the different ways he describes the word of God, the law of the Lord, the testimony of the Lord, the statutes of the Lord, the commandment of the Lord, the fear of the Lord.


 The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
 The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
 10 More to be desired are they than gold,
 Yea, than much fine gold;
 Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
 And in keeping them there is great reward.


He focuses on the revelation of God's character, the revelation of His glory, the revelation of His person in the word of God. 

Then a conclusion, which drives past the reality and grandeur of God to a personal application: 


 12 Who can understand his errors?
 Cleanse me from secret faults.
 13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
 Let them not have dominion over me.
 Then I shall be blameless,
 And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
 
 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
 Be acceptable in Your sight,
 O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

 

 

See how we start off, praising God, focusing on a cause for praise as we look at His grandeur and majesty as expressed by His work in the universe.  Then it moves from that to His glory, and essences and person and power as revealed to us in Scripture.  As the Psalmist moves through the praise, it drives him to a personal realization about who God is and who he is in relationship to God, and there is a direct application that if God is this magnificent being who created everything, and He has revealed to us all of this in His word, then that necessitates certain action on my part. That is the focus there.  The scriptures are not just about man, but on God.  The more we focus on who God is and what He has done, the more it drives us to change who we are and what we do. 

 

Psalm 117 is the shortest Psalm in the Old Testament, and it is a praise psalm, so praise does not have to be lengthy. 

1Praise the LORD, all nations!
 Laud Him, all peoples!

 

Verse 1 is a call to praise, then verse 2, the cause for praise. 

 

2 For His loving kindness (that is His chesed, His faithful, loyal love)

  is great toward us,
 And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. 

 

Then there is a final, concluding exhortation: 
 
 Praise the LORD!

 

This is a prayer, a praise Psalm, a simple short prayer.  .

 

We go from confession of sin to adoration of God, focusing on who He is, what He has done and  then there are prayers of thanksgiving. 

 

Prayers of thanksgiving, which express our gratitude to God for all He has done for us.  Unfortunately, at a superficial level, what we often find people focusing on in prayers of gratitude are the material things He has provided for us.  I am not belittling that,  we need to be thankful, we need to recognize that everything we have is from the Lord,  the air we breath, the clothes we wear, the houses we live in, the cars we drive,  the civilization in which we live, the country in which we live, the freedoms we have, all of those, but beyond that, we need to delve into the Scriptures to find out the depths and the breadth of everything God has done for us, the forty things God does for us at the instant of salvation, should be a focus of our meditation and thought, realizing everything God has given us, that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, that we can't even number all of these blessings.  And as we think them through we need to think about what they are and what that particular aspect means in our lives.  And then how that drives us to live differently as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Then we give thanks for what God has provided for us.  Romans 1:21 tells us part of the problem with the unbeliever is their lack of gratitude, because that goes along with arrogance.

21 because, although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

 

That is typical of the pagan mindset, to not give thanks; it is arrogance, self absorption. 

As believers we are to continually give thanks, to be oriented to the fact that God is giving us everything, every detail comes from the Lord.  Even those things we don't think are very pleasant, the tests, the adversity, the hardship.  The Scripture says:  For all things and in all things we are to give thanks.  For example, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says,

 

 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you

 

That is, in every situation, in every circumstance, give thanks. 

That is always a big question; it is one you wrestle with in the Christian life, what is God's will for my life?  Here you have these passages such as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that focus directly on God's will, gives thanks in everything.

 

 Ephesians 5:20:  always giving thanks for everything

 

It is not always in everything, but for everything.  That gets a little rugged at times for all of us, because we get into situations where we have to put up with people, circumstances and situations that we would rather just  wallow around in our sin nature, and be bitter and angry about, but Scripture says we need to be grateful for those things.

Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, even the Father.

2 Corinthians 2:14   14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 

 

The first reference to God is the Father.  These are verses that support the point that prayer is directed to the Father, not the Son or the Holy Spirit.  Thanksgiving is a way of glorifying God,  an expression of grace orientation, our lack of arrogance and recognition that God has provided everything for us as creatures.  You can go to some of the Psalms to look up thanksgiving Psalms.  Some thanksgiving Psalms you might look up are: 30, 32, 34, 40, 92, 100, 105, 107and 118.  There are many more thanksgiving Psalms, but those are a few that will give you an orientation to how the Bible gives us examples for giving and expressing thanks to God.

 

We have looked at confession, adoration and thanksgiving, and now supplication. This is what most folks think prayer is all about, just going to God and asking for something. 

Like He is some cosmic Santa Claus, or some giant genie, and if you rub Him the right way, or say things the right way, or repeat the right prayer the same way enough times, somehow God is going to give you every thing on your wish list.  One of the most horrible, egregious, distracting, misleading books that have come out in recent years is one that is extremely popular, it made the New York Times best seller list, and it is called the Prayer of Jabez.  Sadly to say, it is by a man I have met, who has produced many good works, was a graduate of Dallas Seminary and he just completely and egregiously destroyed the concept of prayer and focused on this prayer of this individual in the Old Testament, and said, now, pray this prayer day in and day our every day, then God is going to give you everything you pray for.  He ripped the verse out of context, which is one of the major errors with many alleged prayer promise, folks don't look at the context surrounding the promise.  That can lead to misapplication and misunderstanding.

 

Supplication includes two aspects; intercession for others and petition for ones self.  God obviously makes intercession a priority, to pray for others, to put others before ourselves.  It is part of the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In John 17 we have an example of His High Priestly prayer for us that is the real Lords prayer.  Not the prayer in Matthew, which was a model prayer for the disciples in a different dispensation. But, John 17 gives us Jesus' prayer as out High Priest, and shows the kinds of things He is continually praying for on our behalf.  We understand that Jesus Christ intercedes for us, and this is affirmed in Romans 8:34:

 

34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

 

The reason it says also in verse 34 is because in Romans 8:26 & 27 we are told about the intercession of God the Holy Spirit.  Not only does the Lord Jesus Christ intercede for us, so does the Holy Spirit.  Hebrews 7:24&25, one of the great expositions of the priesthood of Jesus Christ states:

 

 24 But He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently.  25 Therefore He is also able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for us. 

 

 

No matter what state you are in, in fellowship, out of fellowship, in rank carnality, whatever your circumstance, Jesus Christ is always interceding for you at the right hand of God the Father. 

Intercession is a primary part of His priestly ministry;  it is a primary part of our priestly ministry.  We are exhorted and challenged in Scripture to pray for one another.  Not only does the Second Person of the trinity intercede for us, so does the Third Person of the Trinity.

 

Romans 8:26:  And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness.

The word translated weakness indicates spiritual weakness.  Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by circumstances, situations, adversity and suffering and we don't know quite how to handle it, and it is God the Holy Spirit who is our strength and stay, and enables us in out weakness.  Why?

 For we do not know how to pray as we should. 

Interesting point, we really don't have enough knowledge to know properly what to pray for.  We think we do.  But this Scripture states that we do not know exactly what to pray for.  We get into circumstances and just feel overwhelmed, we don't know exactly what to pray for.  So we have an assistant, a comforter, a paraklete.  Jesus uses the term in John 14:

The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Actually, that is a poor translation in the New King James.  What it says in the Greek is, that when we are overwhelmed, all we can do is groan, we can't even articulate the suffering and adversity in our own lives, and we are coming before the Lord, it is God the Holy Spirit who specifically understands what is going on and He puts that into words, He is able to put that into words.  He is able to express specifically and precisely what the need is and what the solution is.  It is not prayer language.  This is the error the charismatics come up with, that this is some kind of special prayer language and that is what tongues is.  They often go to 1 Corinthians 14 and try to justify that.  I have had conversations with charismatics who say, my prayer is just so much more effective when I pray in tongues.  And I ask do you know what you pray for?  And they say, no, I really don't.  Then how do you know it is more effective?  They are more concerned with the emotion of it all.  In James 5:16 he tells us:

 

pray for one another, that you may be strengthened.   

 

We have looked at confession, adoration, thanksgiving and supplication. 

These are the four elements that comprise all prayers, but any prayer can be just one of those four.  It doesn't have to include every one of them. 

 

Before we wrap up our study of prayer, I want to deal with two misconceptions on a couple of verses.

Matthew 18:19 is a verse that I often hear folks recite and use as a prayer verse.  Jesus is speaking to His disciples. 

19 Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.

20:  for where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

 

You will hear people use that language, agree with me in prayer and we will go to the Father and He has to do it.  And 'where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them'.

 

Listen, the Lord Jesus Christ indwells every believer, you do not have to get with another believer, or two other believers for Jesus Christ to be present.  He is just as present with one believer as He is with three or four.  Let's examine the context.  It is dealing with church discipline, a situation where one believer has offended another believer.

 

 Verse 15:"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault

One on one, keep it private, tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.

 

16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.'

That quote is a principle from the Mosaic Law. And if he refuses to listen, then tell it to the church 

 

Skip down to verse 19, again I say to you, if two or three of you agree on earth concerning anything, who are the two?  They are the witness to the conversation to the attempt to reconcile with this offending brother. This is not talking about when two believers getting together, it is talking about a formal situation where you are trying to go through a reconciliation  with someone who is causing problems or disturbances in life,  you go privately, if that does not work out, you take two or three others who can be confirming witnesses.  And Jesus says in verse 18, to the disciples in relation to their apostolic authority: 

18 "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

That was rabbinical terminology for whatever you accept or reject.

19 "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything, on what?  On whether or not this person is to be dealt with in judgment or accepted in grace, that is what the context is talking about, not prayer, but a circumstance of judgment. 

The other verse important to understand is Matthew 6:7: 

Matthew 6:7  And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition

 

 This is not necessarily talking about formal prayer.  In fact, I think some of the prayers written in Scripture were prayers that were formal and written out ahead of time. It is kind of a myth, people say we ought to pray extemporaneously, and that is fine.  But, if you look at prayers in Scripture it is obvious that a lot of thought went into those prayers, they went through various Old Testament passages, and crafted the prayer and wrote it down and prayed it.  The Puritans were tremendous at this.  The problem you get into is if that is all you do, it gets to be rote, and you take prayers from Scripture and say them over and over and over again and they have no meaning.  That would apply here.  The word used in the Greek, batalogia has even more significance to it.  Bata was an onomatopoeic word for the Greeks that would describe the unknown language of the barbarians, and to them it had no meaning so it sounded like batabatabatabata, speaking in meaningless sounds.  Isn't that what they do when trying to pray in tongues, just speaking meaningless sounds?  This is a verse that completely destroys to concept that there is prayer language.  That was a practice the Greeks and Gentiles did when they went into various temples in the ancient world there was this glossolaic experience encountered in the temples that the priests and priestesses of the false God's would practice.  Matthew 6:7 is dealing directly with that.

 

Principles

1.  Remember, prayer is the most powerful asset in the believers spiritual life.

God gives you direct access to His throne.  To come to Him immediately in any and every circumstance, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the power of God the Holy Spirit.

2.  Prayer is a tremendous privilege that brings us directly into the throne room of God, into the presence of the Creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them.  Do not take it lightly, do not treat it insignificantly.  This is a privilege not every believer have prior to the church age.  It is a tremendous privilege.

3.  Prayer demand concentration and thought.  If you read the prayers of Scripture, you realize that these men sat down and poured over the Scriptures.  Look at Daniel in Chapter 9 when he is praying for Israel's recovery and to be brought back into the land after being taken out of the land in discipline during the Babylonian captivity.  And he is pouring through Jeremiah, and he is taking Scripture, promises God has made, putting them together to build his petition to God.  So prayer demands concentration and thought.  There may be times when we are in emotional circumstances because of suffering and adversity, you certainly see that in many of David's prayers, that he is distraught, or angry, or he is fearful. You may be in an emotional circumstance, but that is not the focus of prayer.  Prayer relies on doctrine and fact and not emotion and feeling. 

4.  Prayer should be the highest priority in your life after learning bible doctrine.  Prayer, to be effective, is based on knowledge, so the first priority is to learn the word, and the second is prayer.  It is communication to God.  God's revelation to us is through His word, it is His communication to us.  We communicate back to Him through prayer, so that creates a two way conversation.  So you have learning the word of God as He initiates communication to us, and we pray back to Him. So if intercession is the highest priority of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, it should be at the top of our priority list. 

 

As believers our prayers fail because we fail in our spiritual lives.  We do not understand the will and plan of God.  We pray in ignorance.  Remember, God always answers prayer, He says yes, no, and wait awhile.  Sometimes after He says wait awhile, He says no.  He always answers, it is just real simple, yes, no, wait awhile.

 

The following are a couple of prayer promises. 

 

One of my favorite prayer promises, Jeremiah 33:3: 

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' 

Prayer is an expression of the faith rest drill, where we trust God. We need to be a people who trust God to provide great things, because that is what He has promised. 

 

Matthew 7:7  "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 

 

1 John 5:14 and 15:   
14 Now this is the confidence that we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

 

The important phrase there is 'according to His will', that means you have to know the word to know how to pray correctly and effectively.

 

 John 14: 13And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  14 f you ask anything in my name, and I will do it.

 
John 15:7 If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it will be done for you.

 

John 16:23 & 24 In that day you will ask Me nothing, most assuredly I say to you, whatever you ask the Father (notice, we pray to the Father) in My name, He will give you. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

 

 Prayer is foundational to our priesthood.  It is a primary privilege of the believers

 priesthood to go before the throne of grace immediately and instantly. 

 

Father we do thank you for Your grace, Your goodness, Your kindness.  We thank You for Your word that reveals everything about You to us.  Father, we thank You that You have provided us with  the gracious salvation that is not  based on who we are or what we do, but it is based on who You are and what Jesus Christ did on the cross.  He died there, not as an example, not to demonstrate Your governmental authority, but He died as our substitute. He paid the penalty for our sins.  He paid the penalty for every single sin in human history, past, present and future, so that all that is necessary for us to be saved is to trust in Him, to rely upon His work and not our work, to believe that He died for us.  Scripture says this is the only condition for salvation, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  Father, we pray that if there is anyone here this morning who is unsure of their salvation, or uncertain of their eternal destiny, that they will take this opportunity to trust in Christ.  All that is necessary for you to have eternal life is to believe in Him. At the instant you put your faith alone in Christ alone, God the Father knows exactly what you are trusting in, and at that instant you receive the imputation of righteousness, you are  declared just, you receive eternal life which can never be taken from you.  Father we pray that You challenge us in our prayer lives with the things we have studied, that we may have greater, richer prayers with You  as we advance in our understanding of our priesthood and ambassadorship.  We pray this in Christ's name.  Amen.