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Who is Jesus?. Why did Jesus die ?. How Can I Be Sure of my Faith ?. Why and How Should I Read the Bible ?. Why and How Do I Pray ?. Research on Prayer. Why and How Do I Pray?. 75% of the UK population admit to praying at least once a week

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Who is Jesus?

Why did Jesus die?

How Can I Be Sure of my Faith?

Why and How Should I Read the Bible?

slide4

Research on Prayer

Why and How Do I Pray?

  • 75% of the UK population admit to praying at least once a week
  • Patients admitted to hospital with heart problems have 25% fewer problems if someone is praying for them
  • Prayer for hospital patients is reported to have a beneficial effect in 57% of cases
  • Researchers say those who pray are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, and more likely to have high self-esteem

Sources:

Nicky Gumbel, “Questions of Life”

BBC News archive

slide5

Common Sorts of Prayer:

Why and How Do I Pray?

Recited prayerse.g. Lord’s Prayer

Panic prayers in times of crisis

“Thank you” prayersafter a crisis

Silent “awareness” of God’s presence

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What is Prayer?

Why and How Do I Pray?

Two-way, relational communication with God

  • With God - not for the benefit of others “When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is unseen” Matthew 6 6
  • Communication - not just a ritual “Do not keep on babbling like pagans …” Matthew 6 7
  • Relational - the act of prayer develops our relationship “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” Matthew 6 6
  • Two-way - “receiving” as well as “transmitting

Prayer involves the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit of God

slide7

What is Prayer?

Why and How Do I Pray?

Christian Prayer is prayer “to your Father”

  • Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven” Matthew 6 9
  • God is personal
slide9

What is Prayer?

Why and How Do I Pray?

Christian Prayer is prayer “to your Father”

  • Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven” Matthew 6 9
  • God is personal
  • He is not only “our Father” - He is “ourFather in heaven, and has heavenly power

100,000 million stars in our galaxy

100,000 million galaxies

“He also made the stars… ”Genesis 1 16

slide10

What is Prayer?

Why and How Do I Pray?

Christian Prayer is prayer through the “Son”

“… through (Jesus) we … have access to the Father by one Spirit”Ephesians 2 18

  • Jesus said the Father would give “whatever you ask in my name”John 15 16
  • We have no right in ourselves to come to God, but can do so “through Jesus” and “in his name”
  • This is why prayers often end with “through Jesus Christ our Lord” or “in the name of Jesus”
slide11

What is Prayer?

Why and How Do I Pray?

Christian Prayer is prayer through the “Son”

Through his death on the cross, Jesus removed the barrier between us and God. That is why there is such power in the name of Jesus

slide12

What is Prayer?

Why and How Do I Pray?

Christian Prayer is prayer through the “Son”

slide13

What is Prayer?

Why and How Do I Pray?

Christian Prayer is prayer “by one Spirit”

“… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8 26

  • When we pray, God is praying through us by his Spirit who lives in us as Christians
slide14

Why Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

  • We develop a relationship with our Father in heaven (through communication, and as we see prayer answered)
  • Jesus prayed - and he taught us to do the same “When you pray”, Matthew 6 7
  • Jesus taught that there are rewards for prayer Matthew 6 6
  • Prayer not only changes us, but changes situations Jesus encourages us to ask - Matthew 7 7,8
slide15

Does God Always Answer Prayer?

Why and How Do I Pray?

There may be good reasons why we do not always get what we ask for

  • Un-confessed sin causes a barrier between us and God
  • Our motives may be wrong
  • We may be asking for what is not good for us
  • The answer to our prayer may be “yes”, “no” or “wait”!

“If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” 1 John 5 14

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Does God Always Answer Prayer?

Why and How Do I Pray?

“I thank God that he is not prepared to do anything I may chance to ask him … I am profoundly grateful to God that he did not grant me certain things for which I asked, and that he shut certain doors in my face”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“God has not always answered my prayers. If he had, I would have married the wrong man - several times”

Ruth Graham

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How Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

There is no set way for what is relational - but a pattern can help

ACTS

Adoration - praising God for who he is and what he has done

Confession - asking God’s forgiveness for anything that we have done wrong

Thanksgiving - for health, family, friends, and so on

Supplication - praying for ourselves, for our friends, and for others

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How Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

A pattern that Jesus taught …

slide19

How Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

A pattern that Jesus taught …

  • “Our Father in heaven …”
  • Thanking God for who he is, and my relationship with him
  • Thanking him for prayers answered
slide20

How Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

A pattern that Jesus taught …

  • “Hallowed be your name …”
  • Asking for God’s rule and reign
  • Praying for people to be converted, healed, set free from evil, filled with the Spirit
  • Praying for God’s peace, justice and compassion - for the marginalised in society
slide21

How Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

  • D. L. Moody
  • Prayed for a list of 100 people
  • 96 converted in his lifetime
  • … the other 4 at his funeral!

A rebellious son … liar … bad tempered … cheat … thief … money-focussed … loose morals … lived with several women … had son by one … throughout all his mother prayed for him … had a vision of Jesus … prayed for another 9 years before her son was converted

St Augustine

slide22

How Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

A pattern that Jesus taught …

  • “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
  • Not resignation but releasing burdens
  • Recognising who is in charge
  • (More to come next week on “How Does God Guide Us?”)
slide23

How Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

A pattern that Jesus taught …

  • “Give us today our daily bread”
  • Refers to our basic needs
  • Luther: “Everything necessary for the preservation of this life, like food, a healthy body, good weather, house, home, wife, children, good government, and peace”.
  • OK to pray for our own concerns - provided God’s name, God’s kingdom and God’s will come first!
slide24

How Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

A pattern that Jesus taught …

  • “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”
  • Jesus teaches us to pray for forgiveness
  • On-going cleaning-up
  • Willingness to forgive others is a sign that we are ourselves truly forgiven
slide25

How Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

A pattern that Jesus taught …

  • “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”
  • God does not tempt us, but he controls how much we are exposed to the devil
  • (More in a later session, “How Can I resist evil?”)
slide26

When Should We Pray?

Why and How Do I Pray?

  • Always!
  • Anywhere (not just in a special building)
  • Planned, regular time useful
  • Often good to combine with Bible reading
  • Prayer with others important

Satan laughs at our words

Mocks at our toil

But trembles when we pray!

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