Week 4 – Learning to Pray Effectively

Introduction: Prayer is perhaps the area of our lives in which Satan attacks us the hardest. Many believers find it difficult to spend more than ten minutes a day praying in English, or their prayer time is on the run while doing other things. In this teaching our aim is to:

§ Get motivated to pray.

§ Learn how to pray different kinds of prayer.

§ Establish an effective prayer life.

I. Get motivated to pray by seeing the tremendous benefits of prayer.

A. Praying effectively will give you spiritual endurance so you won’t quit and give up. “Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1 NIV).

B. Praying brings you into the spiritual realm and makes God and His truths real to you. “And Elisha prayed, ‘0 LORD, open his eyes so he may see. ‘Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17 NIV).

C. Prayer is the key to being able to effectively minister to others. “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2 NIV).

D. Through prayer you receive from God His blessings and provisions for your life. “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2 KJV).

E. Effective prayer enables you to find direction and guidance for your life. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 NIV).

F. Prayer is vital to overcoming the devil and his forces in your life. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:4 1 NIV).

II. Learn how to pray different kinds of prayer.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciple” (Luke 11:1 NIV).

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV).

A. Pray by using the Lord’s Prayer as a model prayer guide (Matthew 6:9-13). Jesus was asked by His disciples to teach them to pray. His reply to them has come to be known as the “Lord’s Prayer.” (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). Jesus was instructing His disciples to pray “after this manner.” Rather than giving a prayer to be recited over and over again, Jesus was demonstrating a model prayer guide, showing the basic elements which should be contained in your prayer life. Here is a listing of the basic parts of prayer as found in the Lord’s Prayer:

1. Prayer of worship; acknowledging Who He is and what He has done. “OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME.” Begin your prayer by worshiping God. You may wish to pray through the compound names of God as found in the Old Testament.

a) Jehovah-tsidkenu = The Lord is our righteousness

b) Jehovah-m’kaddesh = The Lord Who sanctifies

c) Jehovah-shammah = The Lord is there

d) Jehovah-shalom = The Lord is peace

e) Jehovah-rophe = The Lord heals

f) Jehovah-jireh = The Lord is my provider

g) Jehovah-nissi = The Lord is my banner (of victory)

h) Jehovah-rohi = The Lord is my shepherd

2. Prayer of intercession: praying for others. “THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE.”

3. Prayer of petition: praying for your own personal needs. “GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.”

4. Prayer for cleansing from sin and from hurts from others, forgiving them. “AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS.”

5. Prayer of spiritual warfare: putting on the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17) and wrestling against the enemy of your soul. “AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL.”

6. Prayer of surrender to God’s authority and will. “FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY.”

B. Pray in the Spirit. What is it then? “I will pray with the spirit, and l will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (1 Corinthians 14:15 KJV). When you are filled with the Spirit, the Spirit gives you a language of prayer, which we call “speaking in tongues.”

1. This prayer language is a way that the Spirit tells the secrets of your heart to God. “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:2 NIV).

2. When you pray in the Spirit, your spirit is praying, not your mind. “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful” (1 Corinthians 14:14 KJV).

3. Praying in the Spirit will build you up in your faith. “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20 NIV).

4. Praying in the Spirit will help you to pray continually throughout the day. “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV).

III. Establish an effective prayer life.

A. Pray early in the morning. “In the morning, O LORD, You hear my voice, in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation” (Psalms 5:3 NIV). Praying before you start your daily work is often best because the mind is uncluttered and the body is refreshed. This also gives you an opportunity to pray over the situations you will face during the day.

B. Find a place where it is quiet and free from distractions. “After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone” (Matthew 14:23 NIV).

C. If possible, pray out loud, as this will help you to keep your mind from wandering. “To the LORD I cry aloud, and He answers me from his holy hill” (Psalms 3:4 NIV).

D. Listen to God. Learn to distinguish His voice from all others. “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a strangers’ voice” (John 10:4-5 NIV).

E. Pray over the Word as you read it, and pray over what God speaks to your heart through the Word. “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalms 119: 18 NIV).

F. Pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. “In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. I tell you the truth, My Father will give you whatever you ask in My name” (John 16:23 NIV).

G. Pray in faith. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24 NIV).

H. Pray from a clean heart and a pure conscience. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18 KJV).

I. Pray the will of God as it is revealed in His Word. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14 NIV).

J. Humble yourself before God. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10 NIV).

Be bold in your approach before God, as He wants to give you mercy, grace, and help. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).

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