Father, Jesus once said, "If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father." (John14:9). He also said that He did not come to do His will, but Your will. Every place He went, He was willing to meet the needs of all who would just believe. Believing is so important in God's Word, and concerning learning more of Him and His will. I know that belief is not a feeling; it is an unwavering choice. Therefore, Father, in spite of how we feel when we pray help us to pray always; I choose to believe. I know that You are faithful and that Your Word is true. In You we have confident hope. I fully expect that this day and this study will bring a greater hope in our lives, and Your Word will be fulfilled in our life. This we pray in Jesus' name. AMEN.
Lesson 1: Jesus believed that prayer works.
Matt. 21:22, Matt. 7:7-11, Mark 9:28-29, Mark 11:24, John 14:13-14, John 15:7, John 15:16, John 16:23-24
We often read biographies of great people to learn the secrets of their lives. When you read the biographies of Jesus' life, the gospels, you learn one of his great secrets. Jesus modeled prayer. If he prayed, we need to pray. If he needed time alone with God, we need time alone with God. We need to emulate what he did.
Obviously and practically, Jesus believed that prayer works. Let me say it again, Jesus believed in prayer. Jesus knew the effectiveness and the power of prayer. Obviously, he had an intimate relationship with the Father, like we will never know or experience. Yet from Jesus' example we can still have the same motivation and desire to spend time with the Father. We, too, need to believe in prayer.
Sometimes our motivation to pray is quenched because we doubt that our prayers will work or make any difference. The evil one chides us into believing: "Prayer doesn't work, so why pray at all." We link, all too frequently, prayer requests and prayer answered and miss the main business of prayer and that is conversation, dialogue, the building and maintaining of a relationship with our Heavenly Father. If we reduce prayer to nothing more that asking for things, we are no different than the spoiled child that comes to their parent only to make demands.
Yet making requests is one of the needed aspects of prayer. One cannot ignore or take lightly the boldness and confidence with which Jesus spoke about prayer.
Over and over again he communicated the effectiveness of prayer.
• Matt. 21:22; 7:7-11
• Mark 11:24
• John 14:13-14; 15:7; 15:16; 16:23-24
Jesus taught that prayer works. But let's not interpret his words from a pedagogical point of view. Let's also hear his words from a paternal point of view. Jesus encourages us to pray because God, like a father, is overjoyed to meet the needs and fill the requests of a loving and obedient child. Obviously the positive answers to our prayers come when we are praying for his kingdom to expand, his will to be done, and his name to be glorified. In other words, God is most pleased and delighted to answer requests that see his family increase in size, his desires accomplished on earth, and his name promoted among the nations. Pray for family matters.
Jesus believed and acted on the confidence that God answered his prayers. We, too, can have that same confidence. Once we understand the mind and heart of Jesus and then pray accordingly. Then when our prayers are being answered it will only give us more confidence and boldness to pray for even greater things.
· Belief is the foundation of faith. Actually, it's the most important factor of faith, because faith cannot exist without it. (2 Corinthians 4:13)
· All belief are based upon references. Learn to train your mind to focus on references that are in line with God's promises. (Matthew 12:35; Romans 12:2)
· Learn how to program your reticular activating system. God designed your brain to be trained.
· Doubt and belief cannot co-exist. For faith to work, belief must be absolutely unwavering. (James 1:6-7).
The first step to praying like Jesus is to believe in the incredible power of prayer. Do you believe in it?
Week # 1 PRIVATE DEVOTION TIME:
Morning Devotions (Mark 1:35-38)
"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. 36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.
37 And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.
38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth."
Week # 1 NOTABLE PRAYERS:
Abraham (Genesis 18:23)
And the Lord said, because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
Week # 1 QUESTION:
1). Our notable prayer for this week says, "Abraham did what before he prayed?" (vv. 22, 23) Explain.
2). How did Abraham demonstrate his relationship with God?
3). What is a solitary place?
Week # 1 PRAYER FOCUS:
To be in God's presence to pray with a grateful heart
APPLY IT: A Daily Quiet Time with God
Week # 1 THOUGHT4TODAY:
"If you have never had any distractions you don't know how to pray" (by Thomas Merton)
Week # 1 Reading Assignments………Book of Genesis Week # 1……Chapters 1-5