TUTP-4 - Laws Governing Prayer
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TEACH US TO PRAY
The Scripture says, “Cast all your cares upon Him, He cares for you,” 1
Welcome you to our study of the subject of prayer. We're going to be
thinking about some of God's laws that govern the subject of prayer, and
how we can know those so that our prayer life will be so much richer.
The Bible teaches that if I'm going to pray in a way that it really is
according to the will of God, 1 John 5:14-16, I must pray through the Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. Praying by His authority, His guidance, and in His
name is one of the first laws that governs the subject of prayer. Listen to
the words of Jesus as He speaks on this in the gospel of John chapter 14.
Jesus taught His disciples in John 14:13, “And whatever you ask in my
name that I will do that the Father may be glorified in the Son, if you ask
anything in my name, I will do it.” We turn over to John 15:16 and Jesus
says similar words, “You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed
you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain
whatever you asked the Father in my name, He may give you.” Notice John
16:23. In that day Jesus said, “You will ask me nothing most assuredly I
say to you whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you.”
What is one of the laws that governs the subject of prayer? Jesus
taught His disciples first of all, ask Me in My name. And then He said,
‘there's a day coming when you're not going to ask Me in My name, you'll
ask the Father in my name.’ There's the idea for Christians today. We pray
to the Father. “Our Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 6:9. But whom do we
pray through? We pray in the name of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Now let's stop for just a moment and let's ask, what does it mean to
really pray in Jesus name? I've heard that you've heard that we're familiar
with that idea, but what does it mean to do something in someone's name?
Well it means by their authority. We are praying, and we're asking by the
authority of Christ. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or in
deed, do all in the name the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father
through or by Him.” You see, Jesus has all authority in heaven and on
earth, Matthew 28:18. He is the very Son of God, who is now at the right
hand of the throne of God. He is the head of the church of the Lord Jesus
Christ. And when we pray, we're praying by His authority. Meaning that
Jesus taught us how, the word of God teaches us how, and it's by His
sacrifice and Him as mediator that we can approach the very throne of
So when we say in Jesus' name, we're saying by His authority by His
command. By Him being the one who has authorized this action to be true
When we say ‘in Jesus name’, there's also another idea uniquely tied
to that. Not only does it mean by His authority, it means we're praying to
God through Jesus as our mediator, as the one who makes that avenue of
communication possible. Now we mention again 1 Timothy 2:5. “There is
one God and one mediator,” watch this now, “between man and God.”
Who's that mediator in between man and God? The man Christ Jesus
Himself. Jesus is the mediator. If we could use the word that the
go-between as it was, the one who communicates from both sides in some
ways. He's the one through whom we pray to the Almighty. Romans 8:34
and Hebrews 7:25 tells us clearly that Christ plays a role and function in
mediator between man and God, and no doubt that would apply in prayer.
Here's the application, if I'm to pray in Jesus name as by His authority, I'm
going to pray the way He taught me to. I’m going to pray through Him as a
mediator, we honor Him; and we recognize He is the Son of God. It's His
authority that makes this possible.
Secondly as we think about unique laws that govern one's prayer, we
realize that prayer must be according to God's will. If a prayer's going to be
acceptable to God, it needs to be prayed according to what God desires,
according to the way God has taught prayer to be, and it needs to have the
mindset of if this is pleasing and approved by God. 1 John 5:14, if we ask
anything according to His will, we know He hears us. There's the
qualification, ‘if it's according to His will.’ You remember Jesus' disciples
said, “Lord teach us to pray according to God's will,” is one of the ways that
Now when we say prayer needs be according to God's will, what
exactly does that mean? It means that it needs to be according to His
revealed will. How do we know God's will? How do we know anything about
God? We know Him by the things that are written, 1 Corinthians 2:11-13. If
I'm to pray according to the will of God, and this book the Bible is God's
revealed will, then I'm going to pray according to the Scriptures. I want to
see how God wants me to pray. I want to see the attitude God wants me to
pray with. I want to see as we looked in our previous lessons specifically
what God wants me to pray for and how God wants that done.
But you know, when we think about praying accord the will of God,
not only do we want to have the mindset, I'm going to pray according to the
Bible; but I want to pray that ‘if it's according to God's divine will today’ as
well. Here's what we mean by that in 1 John 5:14, Matthew 26:39, Luke
22:42, when Jesus prayed, “Father if it's possible let this cup pass from
me,” here's His wording, “not My will, but Thine be done.” Jesus prayed that
the ultimate will of God, in His life, then would be done.
When we pray, whether we're praying for a job, whether we're
praying for somebody who's sick, whether we're praying for evangelism,
whatever it may be, we want to have the mindset: this is what we would like
to do; this is how we want to accomplish your will. We're praying that you
will help us with these efforts, if it's your will. If that's your plan, if that's your
desire, help us to accomplish these things. If not, we don't want those
things to succeed as well.
When we pray, let's put God's will before our own. And you know, no
doubt that's hard. We all have things that we desire. We all have things that
we are convicted of in our own mind that need to come true. But all of that
must be prefaced and predicated upon, is this really what God wants? Is
this how God wants me to succeed? Is this the will of God in my life?
A third law specifically that we want to elaborate on today is, we must
pray in faith that is in full assurance of faith. Notice the words of James
1:5.The Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God who
gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him, but let
him ask in faith with no doubt for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea
driven and tossed by the wind, let not that man suppose he will receive
anything from the Lord, he is a double minded man unstable in all his
ways.” What is the law that governs prayer as it relates to faith? I've got to
pray in full assurance of faith. Now we need to ask several questions from
the Scripture to really understand the idea implied here.
‘What is faith?’ is the first question we ask. Well, faith comes by
hearing and hearing by the word of God. I get faith by reading, studying,
hearing, looking to the Bible, and learning about God. And so that's where I
find faith. But what is faith? Faith is a conviction in God. Hebrews 11:1,
“Faith is the evidence of things hoped for the substance of things hoped for
the evidence of things not yet seen.” Faith is based on evidence and based
on substance. As I read the Bible and I learn about God, as I look to God's
word and I find proof that this book is from God, as we as we look to the
heavens and they declare the glory of God, and we look at the evidence of
God's existence, we know we're convicted of God. When I pray in faith, not
only am I praying according to the Bible, I'm praying with a knowledge
based on the evidence that God does exist, that He does hear, and that He
is more than willing and able to help those who are in need.
When a person prays for wisdom and he prays in full assurance of
faith, that person is praying knowing God wants to help, that there is a God,
that He wants to help, that He's able to help, and that that person is
convicted that God can help them in their life. You know in this idea, we
sure need to do away with the thinking that I think sometimes if we're not
careful can exist. And that thinking is, maybe God hears, maybe there's a
God out there, wishful thinking is the idea of prayer. I'll just try this and see
if it works. That's not the kind of prayer that God desires. Full assurance of
faith, absolute conviction in who God is, and his power to help us is a big
part of what prayer is. And how that works in such a way that it will honor
Now friend, we want to mention another law governing prayer, and
this law is specifically related to our heart being right with God. For prayer
to be what God wants it to be, I've got have a desire to seek God with all
my heart and to honor Him in every way with my life. I want you to listen to
the words of Psalm 34, and I want you to notice what the psalmist says in
verse 4 about really seeking God and honoring Him with our heart. Here's
what the Scripture says Psalm 34:4. The Bible says, “I sought the Lord and
He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” Do you notice that direct
connection there? “I sought the Lord,” David said, “He heard me and
delivered me.” Seeking God and God hearing a person go hand-in-hand,
isn't that what Jesus taught specifically in Matthew 6? We've got these
cares and anxieties. Food, shelter, clothing, all the worries that we have
Jesus said, you don’t have to worry about those. Why not Lord? “Seek first
the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be
added unto you.”
There's another passage that I want you notice as it relates to this
idea of seeking God. And it's a beautiful passage found in the major
prophet Jeremiah. Listen to Jeremiah 29:12 God said, “Then you will call
upon Me and go and pray to Me and I will listen to you,” now watch this,
“you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Again, do you see the connection? God's listening, God's hearing His
people are seeking and searching after Him, that's the mindset that God
wants of His children. Seek God with all your heart. Seek, knock, and ask.
Jesus said, “If you seek, you'll find; if you knock, the door will be opened, if
you ask, it'll be given unto you.” Look at the correlation of all that. I'm
seeking, I'm knocking, I'm asking; God's doing His part: Opening, receiving,
finding, all that is dependent upon my ability to put God first and really do
the things God wants me to do. And so, putting God first in one's life is
such a big part as it relates to prayer.
And then we mention another law that indeed does govern prayer
that is humility of heart. What kind of attitude, what kind of heart does God
want us to have when we pray to Him? I want you to notice the words of 2
Chronicles 7 for I think the heart and the attitude of Solomon here is so
beautifully illustrated. 2 Chronicles 7:14 God says, “If my people who are
called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and
turn from their wicked ways then,” notice the correlation, “then I will hear
from heaven I will forgive their sins and heal their land.” What do we know
about the right heart? God says if my people who are called by my name
will humble themselves, seek my face, then I'll hear them, then I'll forgive
them. Friend directly tied to my ability to pray as God wants me to, is
humility of heart, having the right attitude, humbling ourselves before God,
Luke Chapter 14:11.
We again mentioned two men went up to the temple to pray. Luke
18:10, the first man was a man who thought he was right. He was a
Pharisee. And as he approaches the temple, here's the attitude, he's got
‘God thank you that I'm not like everybody else, unjust, murderers,
adulterers, or even like this old sorry tax collector over here. I give, I fast,
and I tithe.’ Second man, tax collector, who's standing there no doubt
probably, heard that said this, ‘He beat his breast wouldn't even look up to
heaven but said, God be merciful to me a sinner.’ Jesus asked a question
based on that. He said, ‘which of these two men do you think went down to
his house justified?’ They answered rightly and said the second. The one
who knew he was wrong and knew he needed God, not the one who
thought he was right and thought God needed him and there is a huge
When I pray, I need to pray with humility of heart. Friend what does it
really mean to pray with humility of heart? Well first it would mean that
prayer is devoid of human pride. ‘Pride goes before destruction and a
haughty spirit before a fall.’ When I approach God in prayer, I realize and
you when you've done all those things commanded, you say ‘I'm an
unprofitable servant; I've only done that which was my duty to do like the
tax collector. God be merciful to me a sinner.’ That's the humility of heart
being devoid of pride that God really wants. It's a realization of man's
inability to help himself apart from God. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Don't lean on your own understanding; instead acknowledge Him in all your
ways. And He'll direct your paths. Jeremiah 10:23, Jeremiah expressed it in
such a humble way. “Oh Lord I know the way of man is not in himself it's
not in man who walks to direct his own steps,” that's real humility of heart.
Humility of heart always has the will of God first ‘Not my will, but thine be
done,’ there's real humility. It's hard to pray that when you really want
something, but that's real humility of heart, Luke 22:42.
And then involved in humility of heart is a willingness to really let
things be in God's hand. Cast all your cares upon Him. Turn it over to God.
Let God deal with it. Do away with the anxiety and the fear and worry. Lay
your cares at the throne of God. Have the humility of heart to say, ‘God I'm
giving this to you. I don't know how else to deal with it,” that's the real
humility that God wants each of us to have in this life and to do the things
that He wants us to do.
So as we think about certain laws that really govern prayer, we need
to realize prayer does play such an important role in the Christians life.
Jesus clearly is an example of prayer for every child of God. And He clearly
taught His people to pray. “Pray to the Father in heaven,” Matthew 6:9. We
look at the example of Jesus' prayer in John 17. He prayed for Himself. He
prayed for His immediate disciples then. But He said ‘Not only do I pray for
these, I pray also for those who will believe on me through their name that
they all may be one.’ He prayed for Christians as well. And so, we see the
power of prayer in approaching God's throne and doing exactly what God
wants us to do.
As another law we also must realize prayer is a special and specific
privilege given to the child of God. It's a blessing. Remember Ephesians
1:3? All spiritual blessings are ours, the Christians in Christ Jesus. To be in
a relationship, to pray to God, I've got to be a Christian. It is a special
benefit for God's children. Does the world have that benefit? Absolutely not.
“God heareth not the prayer of sinners,” John 9:4 and John 9:31. If we
regard iniquity our heart God does not hear, Psalm 66:18. If I turn my ear
away from hearing the law of God He will not hear, Proverbs 28:9.
But what about the Christian? If I obey the gospel, if I become a child
of God, I have the power of prayer that's only unique to God's children. I
want you to listen again to Hebrews 4:16 to God's children here's what he
says, “Let us come boldly,” look at the boldness, “let us come boldly to the
throne of grace.” Why? “That we might find grace and mercy to help in time
of need.” This is a benefit that is so unique to a Christian that it ought to
make every person want to become a child of God.
And so as we think about prayer today, let's tie that in with one's need
to obey the gospel and become a Christian. If one is not a child of God, he
does not have the blessing and benefit of prayer that God desires for him to
We say, ‘Well how does one become a Christian?’ Friend it's not
hard. Becoming a Christian is simply taught in the Bible. First one must
realize that “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, nobody comes to the
Father except by Him,” John 14:6. Are you really willing to believe that
there's no other way to approach God except through his Son Jesus
Christ? Here's what Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I'm He you'll
surely die in your sins,” John 8:24. The Ethiopian eunuch was traveling
down the road with Philip in the chariot, and as he had heard about Christ,
as he'd heard about plan of salvation, in the distance he sees of the waters
of baptism. We might say ‘he's ready to get in Christ.’ “Here's water what
hinders me? If you believe all your heart you may,” Acts 8:36-37.
Do you really believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the
world? If you do believe that, are you willing to turn from sin and turn to
God? Are you willing to repent? Acts 3:19 Peter said, “Repent and turn
again that your sins may be blotted out.” Jesus said Luke 13:3, “Unless you
repent, you will all likewise perish.” If you're willing to not only believe in
Christ, but turn from sin and turn to God, friend you're on your way to
becoming a child of God.
Would you do what Jesus said in confessing Him? Matthew 10:32-33
Jesus said, “If you won't confess Me before men, neither will I confess you
before My Father who is in heaven, but if you will confess Me before men,
Him will I also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” To that
Ethiopian eunuch whom Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart you
may.” He said, “I believe Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God,”
having made that confession would you do what Jesus said to be saved?
Here's what He said so plain, so simple, so clear, “He that believes and is
baptized will be saved, he that believes not shall be condemned.” Did
Jesus say you got a believe and be baptized to be saved?
Friend there's no doubt that he did. John 3:5 Jesus said, “Unless a
man is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Paul said in Galatians 3:27, “As many of us as were baptized into Christ
have clothed ourselves with Christ.” How do you get in Christ? The only
way the Bible teaches one gets into Christ is through baptism both in
Galatians 3:27 and in Romans 6:1-4. It is baptism that puts one in Christ. In
Christ is where all spiritual blessings are, Ephesians 1:3. In Christ is where
salvation is, 2 Timothy 2:10-12.
Friend in Christ I can assure you is where the benefit, the privilege,
and the joy of prayer is realized.
If you've never obeyed God's plan of salvation, friend we want you to
know today God loves you immensely. We love you. More than anything
it’s the motive and the way we say things, why we say things, more than
anything we want you, God wants you to become a Christian, to obey the
gospel, to put on the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you've not done that then ask yourself, consider seriously, why
have I not done these things? And if I keep delaying it, will I have time? Am
I sure I'll have time later?
And so we hope the studies on the subject of prayer have
encouraged each of us to pray with earnestness of heart and to make sure
that we're in a relationship with God, so that prayer can have the powerful
results we want it to.
Study Questions for: “Prayer: Lesson 4”
1. According to 1 Peter 5:7, why should we cast our cares upon Him?
2. According to 1 John 5:14-16, we should pray according to what?
3. Whose name shall we pray in according to John 16:23?
4. How shall we do things according to Colossians 3:17?
5. Who mediates between man and God according to 1 Timothy 2:5?
6. How shall we ask for wisdom according to James 1:5?
7. According to Hebrews 11:1, what is faith?
8. What must we do to be delivered from our fears according to Psalm
9. According to Jeremiah 29:12, how must we search for God?
10. What did Jesus tell us to do in Matthew 6:9?