TUTP-3 - Presuppositions About Prayer
Please feel free to download audio and video for personal listening or teaching. Please do not alter any content. All material is copyrighted and intended to be used in its entirety and is free for distribution under these terms. To save, simply click the button and the download will begin.
TEACH US TO PRAY
The word of God says, “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Welcome to our study of the beautiful subject of prayer. As we think
about prayer, there are certain things that we come into prayer knowing
that encourage us to pray to God and have an active prayer life. What are
One of the things that we know about prayer is that prayer is
grounded in God's nature. Who is God? What makes us want to pray to the
Almighty? Friend as we think about certain beliefs that Christians have,
coming into a relationship with God and acknowledging Him in prayer,
prayer teaches us powerfully about the nature of God. God's nature makes
us want to pray. What do we mean by that? Prayer teaches us that our God
is a loving and wonderful God. The Bible says in 1 John 4:8, “God is love.”
The very fact that God has told His people and taught His people to petition
Him that He will help, teaches that God is a God of love.
If you love somebody, you're willing to help them. If you love
somebody you want to encourage them, in their struggles you want to pick
them up. That's the very nature of the God we serve. God loved man so
much the Bible says, ‘He sent His only Son to die for our sins so that we
might have the hope of eternal life,’ 1 John 3:1. The Bible says that God
truly is love, ‘Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us
that we can be called children of God.’ Do you remember Paul's words in 2
Corinthians 5:21? “God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin on our
behalf that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” When we
come into thinking about who God's nature is and how that encourages us
in prayer, knowing that God is a God who is founded in, who is the God of
love, ought to encourage every one of us to want to pray to the Almighty
who loves me and you more than we could ever imagine.
As we think about prayer being grounded in God's nature, this fact
also teaches us that God has a strong desire to care for and to help His
creation. Sometimes I think people have this idea of God, where God just
kind of took the world and wound it up, and let it go. And things are just
kind of going at that same rate, no intervening, no help, no interceding,
God's just kind of up there watching the world unfold. The Bible teaches
that God is a God who cares and who has a desire to help His people. Let
me mention it to you again. 1 Peter 5:7 listen closely to these words the
Bible says, “Cast all your cares on Him.” Why? Why is it the case that I
should cast my cares on God? Listen to this, “He cares for you.” Where's
the passage in the Bible that tells me God loves me, that tells me God
cares for me, that tells me that God has my best interest and yours at
heart? “He cares for you,” that's why. That's why the reciprocal idea is
since God cares for you, cast your cares upon Him. Thus, we know prayer
teaches us God's nature; He is a loving and caring God who wants to help.
Listen to the words of Isaiah 38:5. God says, “I have seen your tears,
I've heard your prayers.” When men hurt, does God know it? When people
feel sorrow does God know they do? Sure they do. This is why the writer
said, ‘God said I've heard your prayers, I've seen your tears.’ God says in
essence, I know you're hurting. I've heard what you asked. I'm here and
willing to help. What a beautiful picture that paints of our God. In fact, God
knows what we need before we even ask it, Matthew 21:22. The fact that
throughout history God has promised if we seek first the kingdom, He'll
take care of us teaches He cares, Matthew 6:33. And so when we think
about God's nature, God's not only a loving God and that motivates us to
pray, God is a caring God who's promised to help us in our time of need.
But you know as we think about prayer and as it relates to the nature
of God, prayer beautifully declares that God is near. Listen to Hebrews
4:16. The Bible says, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we
might find grace and mercy to help in time of need.” I understand that we’re
separated from God by distance and time and other factors as well, but
prayer teaches us God's near. How far away is God? No further than the
avenue of prayer. God is near to those who follow after Him. Genesis 16:11
there Abraham declared God was truly near. Numbers 11:1, “You are a
God who is near and not far away.” A psalmist said in Psalm 34:6, “You've
heard the prayer of the poor man and answered his petition.” And all
throughout Scripture we see the idea that God is no further away than the
avenue of prayer.
If I want to be close to God, I draw near to God in full assurance of
faith. Hebrews 10 says that faith is directly tied to prayer. The more I can
pray, the more I can talk to God, the more I can communicate and praise
Him, no doubt naturally I'm going to have a closer, more strong desire to
serve and put God first in my life. But as I think about prayer being
grounded in the nature of God, let's also realize that prayer shows that God
is able. Not only does He care, but He's able to address my needs and to
address your needs. I want you to listen to the words of Ephesians chapter
3. I think this so beautifully expresses the idea that not only does God care,
but He's able; He's powerful enough that He has the ability to address our
needs. Ephesians 3:20 says this, “Now to Him who is able to do
exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the
power that works in us.” What do we know about God? “God is able to do,”
listen to this now, “exceedingly, He's able to do exceedingly, abundantly
above all that we ask or think.” Hebrews 2:18, “He's able to aid those who
are in time of need.” Hebrews 7:25 teaches us that we can come again to
the throne of grace and that God is more than able and ready to help those
who have difficulty.
The God we serve is a powerful God who has done so many things
that exhibit His power. We look at the universe we live in, look at the
natural power of the world. Who created that? God spoke and this powerful
world came into existence. That same God is able to help us in our time of
As we think about prayer not only do we realize as we pray that
prayer is directly tied to the nature of God, but we need to come into prayer
realizing it is a privilege to pray. Do we realize what a privilege it is to
communicate with Almighty God? 2 Chronicles 7:14 the writer of Chronicles
said that, ‘it was an honor to come before to praise God and to approach
Him in prayer through His holy temple.’ 1 Peter 3:12 teaches us indeed
what an honor and privilege that is. “The Lord's ears are open to those who
call upon Him.” Think about this for just a moment. I can come before the
very creator of all the universe through prayer. I can communicate directly
with Almighty God. I can lay my petitions, my cares, my desires, my
anxiety, and my honor, and thanksgiving before the very throne of Almighty
God. What a privilege that is! Just imagine if you had a privilege to meet
somebody who was powerful and famous, maybe some king or queen or
maybe some famous musician or famous person across the world. What a
privilege that would be! Maybe your favorite athlete, what a privilege that
would be. I have the privilege through prayer of talking to God, and
knowing God is more than able and willing, because He cares to help me
with my needs.
Scripture says that God doesn't hear the prayer of a sinner, that's
why this is such a privilege for the child of God. It's a privilege, because
God doesn't hear everybody's prayer. John 9:31 the blind man was right
when he said, ‘We know God hear is not the prayer of sinners.’ For the
psalmist so clearly said in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the
Lord will not hear.” In fact notice the words of the proverb writer in Proverbs
28. The proverb writer speaks about one who is not willing to listen to the
word of God, one who is not willing to obey what God says, and how that
affects prayer. Proverbs chapter 28:9 says this, “One who turns away his
ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” What makes
prayer a privilege? Not everybody has access to prayer. It's a privilege
because it is a special avenue of communication. It is a special blessing
that only God's children have the ability to take advantage of.
Does God want to help all people? No doubt he does. Does God love
all people? Absolutely! Does He want all men to be saved? Sure he does.
But prayer's a privilege, because it's for the child of God. It's uniquely tied
to our relationship to Him. Now is there kind of an exception to that? And by
that we mean this, is it the case that sometimes God hears the prayers of
those who are seeking His will, who are trying to do right, and who are
looking to obey the gospel? We do see that in the Bible. Do you remember
that man named Cornelius? He was a good man. He had given alms. He
was trying to do right. He prayed to God, and the Bible says his prayers
came up as a memorial before God. Did Cornelius still need to hear the
gospel to be saved? Acts 11:14 says, ‘He had to hear words, whereby he
could be saved.’ Now I understand this is a unique timeframe. He is in one
covenant needs to hear the gospel to come into another covenant, but he
still had to hear words to be saved. Cornelius is praying for God to send a
messenger to him, so that he can be saved and can be made right, and
God did indeed hear the prayer of the man who was trying to seek His will.
But what about somebody who's living in abject sin? What about the
person who is out on the street living it up, living the worldly life, living in
debauchery and ungodliness and cares nothing about the will of God? That
person doesn't have the wonderful privilege that the child of God has.
Friend let's not take lightly what a marvelous privilege it is that we can
come before the throne of God.
As we think about prayer and as we think about some things we need
to go into prayer understanding, not only do we need to be convinced of the
nature of God and the privilege of prayer, we need to realize prayer is an
irreplaceable benefit. Nothing can replace the avenue of prayer that the
child of God has. This blessing afforded by prayer alone, it can't be
replaced by good living. You can live as good life as you want, but if you
don't pray, you're still missing out. Prayer cannot be replaced by the
benefits of a Bible study. I can live a good life, and I can study my Bible day
in and day out regularly, if I don't pray I'm still missing something.
Preaching the gospel cannot replace the blessing of prayer. There's no
doubt that one ought to try to live a good life. No doubt that we ought to
study our Bible. There's no doubt that we ought to preach the gospel to all
who we come in contact with. Preaching alone, preaching by itself cannot
replace the power of prayer. We need to realize the prayers of others
cannot replace our need to pray as well. We know that sometimes people
are praying for us and that is good. We want to pray for other people.
People praying for me and you cannot replace our need to pray for
ourselves, to pray to the Almighty. So while maybe not the most important
idea, let's realize prayer is irreplaceable. You cannot substitute good living,
Bible study, preaching the gospel, singing, worshiping God and others
praying for you for the need to pray yourself. That's how important prayer is
in one's life.
Prayer is indeed a necessity. Do we really believe that prayer is a
means of accomplishing God's will on this earth? That prayer has that
much power? I want you to listen again to 1 Timothy 2 as Paul speaks
about the need to pray and how powerful prayer is. It indeed has the power
to change world events. I don't always know why things work out in the
world like they do. I don't always have the answer for those things. I'm sure
you don't as well, but I know who knows. I know how to sometimes affect
that. Look in your Bible in 1 Timothy 2. I want you to notice what the
Scripture says beginning in verse 4. The Bible says, “God desires all men
to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth For there is one God and
one mediator between God and man the man Christ Jesus Himself.” And
the Bible says in verse 3 that God desires all men to pray. “This is good
and acceptable in the sight of our God, who desires all men to pray.” To
pray for who? For Kings, those in authority, that we might live a quiet and
peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. Prayer has the ability to affect
world leaders, to affect the nation that we live in, to change the outcome of
certain things for good, and again I understand that's contingent on the
Lord's will. But I also believe it's a necessity, because it has the power to
do God's will, accomplish God's will upon this earth.
Let me give you another example. Is it the Lord's will that the lost be
saved? Well sure it is. We all recognize that. Does prayer have an effect in
accomplishing that will? Let's think about Jesus' words in Matthew 9:36.
Jesus had been teaching the multitudes. And the Bible says that as He
looked out on those multitudes, He felt a sense of compassion, because
they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He turned to His disciples
and said, “This truly the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.” ‘Lord
what do you want us to do? Pray the Lord of host that He'll send laborers
into His harvest.’ Does prayer influence evangelism and accomplishing
God's will to save the lost on this earth? There's no doubt, Jesus clearly
taught that in His words in Matthew 9:38, and so it's a necessity for those
As we think about the necessity of prayer just simply put, prayer is a
necessity because God has commanded each one of us to do that. Prayer
is our way of communicating with God. Jesus said in Matthew 6:9 “Pray,”
there's the command. There's the necessity; there's the obligation. “Pray
our Father who is in heaven.” Prayer is God's method of conferring man's
needs to Him. Matthew 21:22, “We’re to seek, knock, and ask.” God knows
what we need before we ask, but God has encouraged and commanded us
Now you think about this if God knows what I need before I even ask,
why did God tell me to ask? I need to realize the necessity of my praying
and dependence upon God to make it through this life. I need God's help. I
need encouragement to do the things God wants me to do.
As we think about prayer let's also note another very important idea,
prayer is a learned trait. Prayer is not something that I'm born knowing
exactly how to do. How do we know that? Listen to the words in Luke 11:1.
The disciples of Jesus came to Him and they said this, “Lord teach us to
pray.” Prayer is a learned or a taught trait. It's something that I must learn
how to do correctly. How do we learn how to pray? Well we can learn
through the examples of prayer that we find in the Bible, if I want to learn
how to pray correctly. How could you learn better than to look at the prayer
of Jesus in John 17, to look at the things Jesus taught His disciples to pray
in Matthew 6, to read the great prayers of the Bible by great men of God
like Ezra in Ezra chapter 9, or the Kings and second Kings 19, or
Nehemiah in Nehemiah chapter 2, to read the many psalms that are in
wording of prayer. Prayer can be learned by example. Prayer can be
learned by the Scripture.
The Scripture teaches us exactly how to pray. In some of our lessons,
we’re going to note exactly what the Scripture teaches us to pray for. But
prayer is certainly trained by experience. How do I become better at
prayer? The same way I become better at anything. The more I train
myself, the more I experience, the more I pray, the more I do that, the more
my prayer will be according to the will of God, and the more comfortable I
am talking to God.
Did you ever notice people who when they pray look like they're not
comfortable talking to God? I don't think that's the way God's designed it.
God has encouraged me, taught me, wants me to pray to Him. God doesn't
want me to approach Him with a sense of uncomfort. As I pray more, as I
talk to God more, as I draw closer to Him through prayer, I can realize more
and more how loving God is. He wants me to pray to Him.
But you know as we think about prayer, let's realize there are some
for a lack of a better word, some things that God has given about prayer
that are to be done correctly. Some mechanics of prayer we might say, that
are what God has prescribed. For example prayer is taught to be in the
name of Jesus. John 14:14 and John 16:23 Jesus said, “If you ask anything
in my name, I will do it.” We’re taught to pray to the Father in the name of
Jesus Christ, John 16:13. And so is it essential, is it necessary that I pray in
Christ's name? That's what Jesus and the Father have both taught us to
do. There is one mediator between man and God the man, Christ Jesus. 1
Timothy 2:4-5, prayer ought to be approached with a reverent attitude. I
can't approach prayer flippantly with a nonchalant, lackadaisical attitude.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father Who art in heaven,” listen to this
“hallowed be your name.” When we approach God we’re approaching Him
in reverence. “Happy is the man who is always reverent,” Proverbs 28:14.
We want to pray to God with a sense of quietness. We want to pray
to God to shut out the cares of the world. Both in Mark 1:35 and in Matthew
6:6, Jesus taught us to when you pray you don't have to stand in the street
corner like the hypocrites do and wear the certain things they wear and
talk, the way they talk. Jesus said, ‘When you pray go into your upper
room, go into your closet as it were, shut the door and there pray to your
Father who is in secret who hears in secret and He's able to bless us.’
There needs to be that sense of time, when we can separate ourselves
from the world. Shut out the cares of the world and really have time to pray
to the Almighty. We need to realize that a regular time for prayer is part of
the things God has prescribed. Daniel 6:10 Daniel prayed as was his
custom since childhood, three times with his window open toward
Jerusalem every day. Psalm 55:17, ‘I cry unto Thee daily morning. Noon,
and night I'll cry unto Thee.’ There was a sense of regularity to great men in
the Bible who were real warriors in prayer.
According to the Scripture, we need as part of the mechanics of
prayer, to pray according to the will of God. Again we don't always know
the full outcome of God's will. That's why we pray, “Thy will be done not
mine,” Matthew 26:39. That's why we pray, “If the Lord wills,” and that's
why we think, “If the Lord wills,” James 4:13-17.
And so today we’re thinking about and have thought about some of
the things that relate to prayer that was so important to making it work like
God wants it to. Some things we need to go into prayer being convicted of
and knowing ahead of time. So friend, we ask you today is your prayer life
what it ought to be? Do you really pray like God wants you to pray?
If you're not praying like you know you ought to, is it maybe because
you know your relationship with God is not what it ought to be?
If you've never obeyed the gospel, and you don't have and you've
never become a Christian, don't have that relationship with God, friend
because of the power of prayer, the forgiveness of sins the blessing of
being a Christian, we encourage you today obey the gospel. Believe in
Jesus Christ as God's Son, John 8:24. Be convicted of sin and be willing to
turn from that, Luke 13:3. Honor the name of Jesus by confessing Him
before men, Matthew 10:32-33.
I want you do what Saul of Tarsus did. “Arise and be baptized, wash
away your sins calling on the name the Lord,” Acts 22:16.
And if as a child of God, one knows there things in his life, he's not
made right, friend that will always be a barrier to prayer. Make sure we take
care of those things, so that we can truly have a prayer life that will
Remember these words; the Bible says ‘The effective fervent prayer
of a righteous man overcomes much.’
May God help each one of us to truly be a people of prayer, so that
we can receive the power of the Almighty to make it through this life.
Study Questions for: “Prayer: Lesson 2”
1. According to 1 Thessalonians 5:17, how should we pray?
2. According to 1 John 4:8, God is what?
3. Why did God send His son according to 1 John 3:1?
4. Why was Christ sin on our behalf according to 2 Corinthians 5:21?
5. According to 1 Peter 5:7, why should we cast our cares on Him?
6. Does God know when people feel sorrow according to Isaiah 38:5?
7. What is God able to do in times of need according to Hebrews 2:18?
8. According to 2 Chronicles 7:14, what is it to approach God in prayer?
9. According to Psalm 66:18, does God hear all prayers?
10. Who does God want to be saved according to 1 Timothy 2:4?