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SIMPLE CHRISTIAN LIVING (3)

 

Ten Tips for a Better Prayer Life

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.   There are some Christian duties that are simple for the most part.

1.    Church attendance (Heb. 10:25; Ps. 122:1)

2.    Bible reading (I Tim. 4:13)

 

B.   There are other Christian duties that can be extremely difficult.

1.    Personal work (Matt. 28:18-20)

2.    Overcoming sin (Rom. 6:12; James 4:7)

 

C.   There are Christian duties that should be easy, but are difficult.  One of these is prayer.

1.    It should be easy.  It is simply our talking to God.

2.    Many, however, find their prayer lives lacking.  They wish they could find ways to make them better.

3.    In this lesson, we want to do this.  The title of our lesson is:  “Ten Tips for a Better Prayer Life.”

 

I.             MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH GOD

 

A.   Set a regular time in your day that you will pray to God.

1.    Set your watch or cell phone for that time(s).

2.    Choose a time in the morning, or at lunch, or in the evening.

 

B.   Biblical examples:

1.    The psalmist (Ps. 5:3)

 

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

 

2.    Daniel (Dan. 6:10)

 

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being opened in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

 

C.   NOTE:  KEEP YOUR APPOINTMENT!

 

II.           FIND A SOLITARY PLACE

 

A.   Find a place where you and God can commune together in solitude.  The purpose of this is to free yourself from all distractions as you pray.

 

B.   Biblical examples:

1.    Jesus (Mark 1:35)

 

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place; and there prayed.

 

 

2.    Matthew 6:6a

 

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret…

 

C.   NOTE:  There are times for public prayer and prayer with others, but now we are speaking about personal prayer.

 

III.         CLEANSE YOUR HEART

 

A.   Sin separates us from God and hinders our prayers (Isa. 59:1-2; Ps. 66:18).

 

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

 

B.   When we pray, we need to ask God to forgive our sins.

1.    The Lord’s model prayer (Matt. 6:12)

 

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

 

2.    Nehemiah (Neh. 1:6b-7)

 

…and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee:  both I and my Father’s house have sinned.

 

C.   NOTE:  Herein, we see honesty and humility as we approach our heavenly Father.

 

IV.         LEARN BEFORE YOU PRAY

 

A.   The only thing the disciples ever came to Jesus asking to be specifically taught is how to pray (Luke 11:1).

 

And it came to pass that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

 

B.   Three things to learn:

1.    The model prayer (Matt. 6:9-13)

2.    The conditions of acceptable prayer

3.    The nature of God

 

C.   NOTE:  We learn by studying God’s Word, and, by paying close attention to the prayers of those who know how to pray.

 

V.           KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY, BE SPECIFIC

 

A.   WE often enter into prayer and say the same things over and over.  If we have a set appointment with our Father, maybe we should make some notes through the day and talk to God about some very specific things.

 

B.   There are many people who went to God with specific requests in the Bible.

1.    Hannah prayed for a man-child (I Sam. 1:11).

2.    The blind man asked for his sight (Mark 10:51).

3.    Jesus prayed for the cup to pass from Him (Matt. 26:39)

4.    Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for his boldness in speech (Eph. 6:19-20).

 

C.   NOTE:  Specific prayers create purpose in our prayer life.

 

VI.         PRAY IN FAITH

 

A.   When we go to God in prayer, we need to ask in faith.  One compared our prayer to ordering from a catalogue or on-line. 

1.    We place an order.

2.    We do not doubt that we will receive that order.

 

B.   We are taught to pray in faith.

1.    Matthew 21:22

 

And all things, whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

 

2.    James 1:6-7

 

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering:  for he that waivereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. 

 

C.   NOTE:  This is one of the conditions of acceptable prayer.  Question:  If you don’t think you will receive, why ask?

 

VII.       PRAY WITH BOLDNESS

 

A.   Boldness

1.    Strong (3954):  all out spokenness, that is, frankness, bluntness

2.    Thayer:  freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, open, frank, without concealment, fearless confidence, cheerful courage, assurance

 

B.   Examples:

1.    Abraham had boldness when he made his request for the salvation of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:23-33).

 

And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

 

2.    Jacob was bold when he wrestled with the angel (Gen. 32:26).

 

And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh.  And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

 

3.    David was bold when he called on the Lord to destroy his enemies (Ps. 5:10).

 

C.   NOTE:  Boldness does not mean disrespect.  It just means coming with openness before God (Heb. 4:16).

 

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

 

VIII.     DESIRE FOR GOD’S WILL TO BE DONE

 

A.   This is a difficult area.

1.    The Lord’s will is revealed to us in the pages of the Bible.

 

 

2.    Also, the Lord has a will for each of our lives (Jms. 4:15).

 

For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

 

a.    The Lord does not come to each of us personally and reveal all of the aspects of His desires for our lives.

b.    When we pray, therefore, what we want may conflict with His desires for us.

c.    Thus, we pray for His will to be done (I John 5:14).

 

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.

 

B.   Examples:

1.    David prayed for his child’s life, but God’s will was for the child to die (II Sam. 12:22).

2.    Jesus asked for the cup to be removed from Him, but He desired for God’s will to be done (Matt. 26:42).

 

C.   NOTE:  There are times when our prayers can change the will of God (II Kings 20:1, 2, 6).

 

…for thou shalt die, and not live…prayed unto the Lord…and I will add unto thy days fifteen years.

 

IX.         NEVER QUIT PRAYING

 

A.   God wants us to come to Him like little children, requesting the things that we desire (Ex., Sailor desiring to drive the car).

 

B.   Several texts in the Bible tell us to never quit praying.

1.    Luke 18:1

 

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.

 

2.    Romans 12:12

 

…continuing instant in prayer.

 

3.    Colossians 4:2

 

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.

 

4.    I Thessalonians 5:17

 

Pray without ceasing.

 

C.   NOTE:  Continual asking is not a lack of faith.  It is doing the will of God and is pleasing to Him.

 

 

 

 

 

X.           LOOK FOR ANSWERS

 

A.   There are many times that we pray, receive answers, but we are not conscious of the answers to our prayers.  We certainly are not as conscious of answered prayers as when our prayers go unanswered.

 

B.   Keeping a notebook of answered prayers could help us.

1.    It would make us more thankful for the prayers that are answered.

2.    It would increase our faith in the power of prayer.

3.    It would make us more earnest in prayer.

 

C.   If we noted God’s answers to our prayers, we would exclaim at the psalmist did in Psalm 86:13.

 

Great is thy mercy toward me…

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.   Prayer is a spiritual blessing for the children of God.  We need to take advantage of this opportunity.

 

B.   Hopefully, these ten tips for a better prayer life will help us to become more diligent in our prayer life.

 

C.   One thought about prayer that I like to keep in mind is:  “Prayer moves the hand of Him who moves the Universe.”