Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prayer 101, Laying the Foundation for Effective Prayer

Do you ever wonder about prayer?. Whether or not your prayers are being heard? There are times I felt mine didn't get past the ceiling, let alone to God's ear and heart. I didn't have any scriptural basis for my prayers and because of that, I didn't know if they were within God's will and parameters.
I felt like my prayers were dead and lifeless at times and at others I felt like I was just a child whining, crying, and being pitiful. I needed to know how to pray.

The following has always been one of my favorite scripture passages. This passage on prayer has literally changed my life. I want to take a few days to study prayer and for us to be able to talk about it; what prayer is, and why it is so important. This may be basic for some or most of you, but since it is a subject that God is bringing up with me today, let's just know He has something there for all of us.




James 5:13-16

13. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. 14. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15. and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.


About ten years ago, God called us out of our big growing church to help start a new church. I had been praying for a place that I new God was calling me to, but it wasn't yet visible. I met and prayed with the key leaders for six months before the church actually met together. So when it was time to step out there into a building, and actually become a separate body of believers, I was asked to head the prayer ministry.

I was a novice for sure, but one thing I did have was a heart for prayer. I had come to realize that to accomplish anything in the spiritual realm, or here in the physical for that matter, we must first start with prayer. People from many denominations were joining together in this church. Some had definite thoughts on prayer, others had none. God wanted us all to start on the same page. He led me to write a study on prayer to initiate our prayer ministry. What follows are my notes and outline for the study on prayer.


Prayer 101
Foundations for a Life of Prayer



When I teach a Bible Study I teach from the Bible. I will give you instances from my own life and experience, but I want to give you the foundation from the Word of God. I can give you my opinion, but if your read it from God’s Word, then it will be God’s opinion. 

When asked to teach on prayer I was so excited. I went home and got out all my books on prayer. As I sought the Lord over what and how to teach this He asked me a question.

“Who is teaching this class?”
I said, “You, Lord”.
He said, “Then put away your books and let me tell you how to do it!”

So what I am going to lay before you may seem basic, but God wants us all to start with the beginning. He wants to lay a foundation of knowledge and information from the Word of God, the Bible, that will prove what He is saying.

Matthew 21:13

And He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you are making it a robbers' den."

Isaiah 56:7
Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples."

God calls for His House, the church to be a House of Prayer. That not only means the building, but each of us individually is a “house”, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.


1 Corinthians 3:16-17
16. Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17. If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

We are the temple (house) of the Holy Spirit.


Luke 6:46-49
46. "And why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47. "Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: 48. he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49. "But the one who has heard, and has not acted [accordingly], is like a man who built a house upon the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."

We are to build our foundation upon the Word of God, the Rock, so that it will be strong, and in a time of adversity, it will not fall. The Word of God gives us a foundation for our prayers. If we believe God’s Word then when adversity comes, we can stand on the foundation of God’s Word.

So God gives us a command. “Our house is to be a house of prayer”. For our own bodies and spirit, and then for our church.


 
to be continued...

love,
Debra

11 comments:

  1. I am here Debra- thinking.
    Right now I feel like I am back where I started in some key issues in my life.

    Sort of like a ship looking for a safe harbor-

    Laura

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  2. Amen! I think most of us go through that thought process of "my prayers are going nowhere". Of course, we know where that lie comes from.
    I am sure Daniel felt like that when he prayed for 21 days straight before He heard from the Lord. And look what was told to him, "from the FIRST DAY you set your heart to seek me, your prayers were heard." (Paraphrased by me).
    So no matter if we think God hears them, we KNOW he hears them.
    Blessings,
    Rose

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  3. I always have loved when my pastor has done series on prayer, I always feel there's more to learn even though I've heard it before. Thanks for starting this post and I can't wait for the next. It's going to be good, I can just feel it. Thanks for your sweet comment, you blessed my soul more than you'll ever know!

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  4. Very timely post Debra...Looking forward to what the Lord has shared with you in this area that is near and dear to my heart.
    Hugs, GG

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  5. Hi Debra,a wonderful post...I posted some of the same scripture on my blog Heavens Gate...this morning...it is my blog I started as a journey in becoming a Prayer Warrior.....
    I believe in my heart God is calling for an hour of prayer for our nation and all around the world....it starts in hearts who are willing to be sensitive to the leading of his Holy Spirit.....Please,pray that I become all his will is for me to be.....
    This is the link to my blog "Heaven's Gate",if you would like to visit......God's blessing to you dear......

    http://jesusothersandyoufellowship.blogspot.com/

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  6. Its interesting that we all seem to think the same things about our prayers - does God hear me? Am I praying in his will?, etc... I appreciate Rose's comments about that lie and the reference to Daniel. Deb - we need to hear the basic truths over and over, like sheep, we are often slow learners! I have been praying earnestly about some things in my life in the last few months and really need this particular study. I love that you are feeding us with what God says about prayer. While great teaching and wisdom is given to his people, its His words that penetrate. Today I will meditate on "Our house is to be a house of prayer”. I hadn't thought of those words meaning me - I always thought of it as the church. But you are right - it means I need to be a person in constant prayer. What a priviledge that we get to talk to almighty God anytime we want to - and he is anxious to hear us.

    Bless you,
    Rebecca

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  7. Debra,
    I'm listening.........thank you!
    Gale

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  8. I just love hearing what you all have to say! Prayer to me, is just the key element and it encompases so much more than we can imagine. God hears them all, yet we need confidence before God when we pray. He so loves us and wants that for us. I hope this isn't going to be too simplistic for you all. Just good foundational stuff!

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  9. Carrie @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

    Debra-
    I love your passion for prayer. I have a passion for learning & teaching the Bible but I struggle to pray. (The main problem is anytime I close my eyes I fall asleep. ha,ha). I constantly have to train myself in this area. I'm learning to pray throughout the day rather than once or twice at bible study time. This way, my eyes are open, I'm alert and I can focus on the Lord while I'm doing my work around the house. You've written a great post!

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  10. I'm in! It is amazing how much I can add to my prayer life...so let's start adding. Will pray for the study & this group of women right now!

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  11. Hello Debra
    I am late today... it has been a busy one. But I do have something to share and a request. As I have a half hour to work every morning - it is my time with the Lord, now sometimes it gets interrupted by someone cutting in front of me, it has also been a good lesson on tolerance.(somehow when I get behind the wheel I am less tolerant) Anyway the Lord spoke to me about praying with my daughter everytime I go over to work out with her. We just started this regiment and I had planned on at least 3 times per week. She has the twins that have CP and the Lord laid them upon my heart that morning, so I was praying and the Lord impressed upon me how special a mothers heart was to him and that He wanted us to pray over the twins together. I asked the Lord if there was something special and He said Pray for Sleep. So that evening when I went to my daughters I told my daughter what the Lord had said and she got big tears in her eyes, the the boys are not sleeping well and both her and her husband have had little sleep for a couple of weeks now. I didn't know that it was that bad. I knew they get up a couple of times a night to adjust them but lately it has been much more. So I am asking for prayer for the twins Luke and Zach. The Lord is faithful and I thank him for those precious boys and for my daughter and her husband. Also my husband is going into the hopital tomorrow for more tests on his heart and possibly a stint. If you could keep him in your prayers I would so appreciate it.
    Blessings to you

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