Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Ti 2:20–21).
Lesson 5: "Devoted To Prayer"
By Charles B. Knight
Prayer is the ability to petition God, the creator of all things. Prayer is intimate. Alone time with God—such an opportunity should be the Christian’s one great desire. How sad that so man spend brief amounts of time with Him, or don’t go to Him at all, because they have so little to say. You may hold prayer with the utmost respect, yet you find your own practice lacks purpose and vitality, because you don’t spend time with God like you know you should. The late Martyn Lloyd-Jones (former Protestant preacher and medical doctor) wrote,
“It is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man’s true spiritual condition. There is nothing that tells the truth about us as Christian people so much as our prayer life … Ultimately, therefore, a man discovers the real condition of his spiritual life when he examines himself in private, when he is alone with God … And have we not all known what it is to find that, somehow, we have less to say to God when we are alone than when we are in the presence of others? It should not be so; but it often is. So that it is when we have left the realm of activities and outward dealings with other people, and are alone with God, that we really know where we stand in a spiritual sense.” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 2 vols. [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979], 2:45).
Prayer has always been a crucial element in the lives of God’s servants. Men like Abraham, Moses, David, and Paul could not have done what they did without a devoted prayer life—constantly communicating with God. By staying in constant contact with God, These men (and others) proved to be useful indeed, to the Master’s cause. All Christians ought necessarily to have their hearts focused on God so that communion with Him is an everyday, natural function of their lives.
Prayer Is To Be Cherished
Prayer isn't just something a Christian does as part of his or her walk with the Master. It’s not just an “act” of Worship. Prayer is a necessary practice that is vital and should be constant. Prayer is a life-line to the Christian’s spiritual health and well-being.
Identify what has been your attitude towards a constant and genuine daily prayer life.
1) I pray when I remember to do so.
2) I pray when I have something important to mention to God.
3) I take sincere joy in praising my God through prayer.
4) I can’t stop praying!
5) My prayers usually only occur before my meals, and at bedtime.
6) I pray for others more so than for myself.
7) Once a day.
8) My prayers are often quick and lacking in substance.
9) Once a week.
10) I Find it challenging to stay focused when I pray, my mind wanders
11) I feel the need to pray spontaneously.
12) I often feel that prayer is a waste of my time.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2)
Entreaties: Strong's 1162. δέησις dĕēsis, deh´-ay-sis; from 1189; a petition:—prayer, request, supplication.
The original significance of entreaty is “to lack,” “to be in need of,” In the NT entreaty always has the sense of “to ask” or “to seek” as the context may determine. It may sometimes mean no more than “please,” as when Paul asks the Roman army commander for permission to address the people (Acts 21:39) or the eunuch asks Philip to explain the passage in Isaiah (Acts 8:34).
Praise: Praise involves the recognition of who God is and what He does. It is “giving God the glory,” recognizing God as God. Expressions of such praise are found in the psalms. Praising God through prayer helps us focus on God’s:
1) Glory, Ps 19:1-6 See also Ps 29:1-2; 138:5; Ro 16:27; Php 4:20; Jude 25.
2) Majesty, Ps 104:1-4; Ps 8:1; 76:4; 96:4-6.
3) Kingship, Ps 97:1 See also Ps 9:7; 22:3; 93:1; 95:3; 102:12.
4) Love and compassion, Ps 103:1-18; Ps 111:4; 118:1-4; 145:17-20.
5) Justice and righteousness, Ps 97:2; Ps 7:17; 9:8; 97:6; 111:3.
6) Creative activity, Ne 9:6; Ps 90:2; 95:3-7; 102:25-27; 104:5-9,24-26.
Thanksgiving: Prayer embraces praising God for who he is, thanking him for what he has already done, and looking forward with joy to what he has promised to do in the future. Scripture exhorts God’s people to praise and thank him for:
1) Deliverance and salvation, Psalm 136:1-26.
2) Provision of material needs, Mark 8:6.
3) Help in time of trouble, Psalm 40:1-5.
4) The encouragement of other Saints, 2 Thessalonians 1:3.
Power & Purpose In Prayer
A) What kind of God do we pray to?
1) Genesis 18:10-14.
2) Luke 1:37.
3) Romans 8:28.
4) Ephesians 3:20.
B) Fill in the blanks below, as you see fit. How one should pray...
1) Matthew 6:5-13, with proper respect and focused words.
a) We can show more respect by...
2) Luke 18:1-14, with hunger, & humility. We can show more hunger for
a) God’s wisdom by...
3) James 1:5-8, in sincere faith.
a) We can be more sincere in our prayers by...
4) James 5:16-18, with a righteous & holy life.
a) We can strive to live holy by...
Lesson 4 Questions
What Should Christians Pray For?
1) Matthew 5:44.
2) Matthew 9:38.
3) Matthew 26:41.
4) Luke 21:34-36.
5) Ephesians 6:18.
6) Colossians 1:3.
7) Colossians 1:9.
8) Colossians 4:3.
9) 2 Thessalonians 1:11.
10) 1 Timothy 2:1-3.
11) James 1:5.
12) James 5:13.
13) James 5:14.
14) James 5:16.
15) 1 Peter 5:6-7.
16) 3 John 2.
Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results your challenge with others, and encourage them to challenge themselves.
1) Pray for your enemies and those who hate or use you.
2) Pray that God will help you become more useful to Him, on His terms, not your own.
3) Pray with someone you’ve never prayed with before.
4) Ask 3 Christians to pray for you this week.