LESSON 7 15/4/2018
ENERGISED THROUGH PRAYER
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 307, 308
Devotional Reading: Acts 4:4-13
Topic For Adults: The Power Of Prayer
Topic For Youths: Don’t Hinder Your Prayer
Topic For Intermediates: Prayer Is The Master Key
Lesson Scriptures: Lk 11:1-4; Matt 7:7-8; Mark 14:32,39, Act 4:23-31, Heb11:6, Jam 4:2-4, Isa 66:18
MEMORY VERSE: So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘Lord You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them’. (Acts. 4:24) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Pray With Thanksgiving
“Be careful for nothing” sounds like an apparently impossible advice. Jesus also employed a similar expression in His exhortation saying “Take no thought for tomorrow”. This statement doesn’t imply not pondering on common necessities and duties, but actually means dragging oneself into a fever of anxiety, or be too anxious. How can a man who has to face the possibilities of life and who knows himself to be weak deal with being anxious? It is by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving that our requests should be made known to God. This is the only way out. If a man does not pray about everything, he will be worried about most things. The heart is never empty. If not full of God, it will be full of the world, or worldly cares. The victorious antagonist of anxiety is our trust in God through prayers and supplication with thanksgiving.
Point of Emphasis: Your prayer must not be request alone, always make prayer of supplication and thanksgiving also.
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to always give thanks for all things unto God the father in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.
For a church to grow, both spiritually and numerically, the role of prayer cannot be undermined. The early church took the issue of prayer seriously; little wonder they experienced the move of God and exponential growth. They were also energised to propagate the gospel as they received answer to their prayers. Christians, as the body of Christ, should cultivate the habit of praying always. Prayer is a needful practice of Christians.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: WHAT IS PRAYER? (LK. 11:1-4; MATT. 7:7-8; MK. 14:32,39)
Prayer is one of the most critical discipline of our spiritual life. It is our communication means with our heavenly Father. Prayer means an earnest hope or wish. It is a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God. Prayer is the avenue through which believers find the will and direction of God.
Jesus taught His disciples how to have conversation with God. He encouraged them to ask the Father for everything they needed and they would receive. Prayer is a form of communication between man and God.
The most basic definition of prayer is “talking to God”. Prayer is the practice of the presence of God. Prayer is a practice where pride is abandoned, hope is lifted and supplication is made. It is an act of adopting humility and claiming dependence upon God. Prayer is the privilege to touch the heart of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is easy to talk to someone when you know he loves you unconditionally. Prayer is our direct line to heaven. Jesus constantly talked to God, His Father, throughout His earthly ministry. Before the onset of His ministry, He fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights, displaying the importance of prayer. He also taught His disciples to pray always and not to faint (Lk. 18:1). Jesus is a perfect example of prayer. From the scriptures, we discover that prayer is an act, not merely an attitude. No one achieves anything by utterly wishing or desiring to pray. You have to get into the act. Learning to pray is like learning to ride a bicycle. What we learn in Bible study class or Christian literature is not enough. Proficiency comes through practice. There is no one-size-fits all method or technique of prayer. Each person has to find his own unique style following the pattern Jesus taught His disciples. God wants you to pray to keep constant fellowship with Him (1Thess. 5:17). Just like Jesus our perfect example of prayer we need to pray consistently, not fainting but trusting God. This is the source of our energy as Christians. The Holy Spirit energises us through prayer.
PART 2: THE POWER OF PRAYER (ACTS 4:23-31)
Consider these quotes:
”More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of” Alfred Lord Tennyson.
”Prayer moves the hand that moves the world” John A. Wallace
To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be without breathing”. Martin Luther.
For many, prayer has been relegated merely to having God meet our needs. The word of God is clear that prayer is the “power generator” of every believer. The apostles were all joined together constantly in prayer (Acts 1:14). They knew the importance and efficacy of prayer, and they were able to record many breakthroughs in their ministries. They were energised to do more exploits for God. They boldly preached the gospel without any fear of opposition or persecution. Prayer is the arena in which victory is severed and breakthrough is guaranteed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through prayer, Christians can affect the decision in heaven. Jesus says “…whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matt 18:18).
Whenever a believer prays, the presence of God is invited and he or she draws near to Him. You are nearer to God in prayer. (Jam. 4:8)
Prayer relieves anxiety and gives peace (Phil. 4:6-7). When you pray, you have confidence that all is well. Sharing your thoughts with God through the morning devotional prayers helps you find your purpose in life.
God sent His royal invitation for His children to call Him at all times. Jer. 33:3 says “Call unto me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not”. We can be in the presence of the Most High God talking to Him. We have an amazing God with whom we are invited to have a lifelong ongoing conversation.
PART 3: HINDRANCES TO PRAYER (HEB. 11:6; JAM. 4:2-4; ISA. 66:18)
Frustration and discouragement tend to set in when one prays and answers seem not to be forthcoming. Sometimes the delay may be an act of God. You may even lack the desire to pray. When you feel this way, the truth is, you need to examine your life and see what may be hindering your prayers or killing your desire to pray. Likely hindrances to prayer include:
Unconfessed sin. God is perfect and can’t tolerate sin in us. If we intentionally allow sins in our life, it pushes God away and makes our prayers powerless (Ps. 66:18).
Unbelief and doubt Jesus was unable to perform miracles in Nazareth because of the people’s lack of faith (Mk. 6:1-6). Without faith we cannot receive from God.
Wrong Motives. When your motive for asking something from God is not right, you may be denied (Jam. 4:3).
Murmuring. Many do other things instead of praying and still believe they are praying. Murmuring or complaining and praying are not synonymous. Rather than engaging yourself in complaint, take your grievances to God in prayer.
Unforgiveness. An unforgiving heart cannot receive from God (Mk. 11:25-26). When you refuse to forgive others, a root of bitterness grows in your heart and chokes your prayer.
Failure to endure. You must learn to wait for God to answer after praying. God may not be in a hurry to answer but you should endure. Being in a hurry will hinder God’s blessing. You must pray and not faint. (Lk. 18:1)
Failure to Pray According to God’s Word (Prov. 28:9.). Any ignorant prayer will be ignored by God.
Pretentious prayer. (Matt 6:5-8) When you pray to impress people, you already have your reward. God will not honour such prayer.
Discord in the Home (1 Pet. 3:7). This stands as a hindrance to the prayer of a man or woman whose attitude towards his or her spouse is not godly. Also, lack of unity in the church among believers can also hinder prayer.
Fortunately, all these hindrances can be dealt with at once by coming to God in prayers of confession and repentance.
The role of prayer in the growth of a church cannot be over-emphasized. A prayerless church is a dead church. You are energized as a Christian when you learn the act of consistent and persistent prayer. Being in the presence of God through prayer draws the attention of heaven to us and revitalizes our spirit man. Pray always and not faint.
- What is prayer?
- How can believer affect the decision in Heaven?
- Name some things that believers can do through prayer.
- Mention 5 hindrances to prayer.
5. Explain how prayer can bring growth to the church.