Ephesians 6:18 (NLT) says:
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
The Prayer Course
When we pray
It all started with Prayer
My journey into discipleship all started with prayer; and looking back, you can trace the rambling, meandering, circuitous journey from prayer to prayer that led to me being a disciple of Christ.
My adopted mum’s longing prayer for a child; my birth mum’s anguished prayer to get me back having gone through the trauma of having me torn away from her when only a few days old; her continued prayer for me to be saved and to know the love of God, and to know that I was loved and wanted; my desperate prayer in my prison cell – help me, Lord, change me, change my life; and then my determined plea and prayer when thousands of miles away from home, seeking direction in my life, just as Isaiah prayed – with my arms held high in the air, and looking up to the heavens:
Here I am; send me!
1 Peter 6:8 (NLT)
And, “What do you want me to do?” And in answer, God asked me three questions – and He continues to ask you and me today:
- What are you supposed to do as a Christian?
- What is the church for? And, very challengingly:
- How are you doing?
Of course, the answer is to be found by reading throughout the Discipleship Series – starting with ‘Love God,’ ‘Love Your Neighbour’ and ‘Go! And Make Disciples.’
How are you doing? Well, if you have stuck with us, and you are now on the seventh booklet in the Discipleship Series, you’re not doing so badly! You are following Jesus – and that is, primarily, what it’s all about. Follow Jesus, do as He says, teach others to do the same – and repeat. How are you doing?
Prayer comes with a promise, and that was God’s promise to me as I prayed in prison and my constant prayer since, is based on the verse:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
My constant prayer is that God will “restore my land” – my life and my circumstances and my family. That’s His promise – IF you are humble and pray, seek His face AND turn from your wicked ways – He will forgive and will restore you.
What’s your prayer?
What do you pray for? How do you pray? When do you pray? Do you pray alone, or with others? Is there a Biblical basis for corporate prayer, or prayer meetings? Are your prayers answered? Do you struggle with any aspect of prayer? Do you just fall asleep when you pray? Let’s explore all these questions further.
What do you pray for?
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
Romans 8:26 (NLT)
We often don’t know what to pray for, do we? Of course, we know how to pray for all those things that we need and want. But is that what we should be praying for? Praying for our needs is OK, but what about all those things that we want? Some of those things are only things that we desire, rather than things that we need. And if we were honest, would all those things we desire be things that you should be truly desiring as a Christian? If you are anything like me, then you will sometimes – perhaps often – be praying for forgiveness for asking God for the things you desire! And although God promises to give you the desires of your heart, as Jesus says:
I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 (NLT)
Is that your experience? In my experience, it doesn’t usually work quite that way! How about you? Have you prayed for something – anything – believing that you’ve received it, but you are still waiting? Me too? So, what’s that about?
Well, in the next verse, Jesus says:
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
Mark 11:25 (NLT)
Is that true for you? Search your heart; there may be something there that needs to come into the light, so that your Father forgives you and answers your prayer, because:
You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
Matthew 7:9-11 (NLT)
And, of course, we are sinful people – regardless of how good we try to be, how much we try to follow all of God’s commandments, but it’s impossible! We are sinful – but forgiven; we’re sinful – but still children of God; we’re sinful – but He still wants to give us good gifts.
But the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart – as you will have heard a few times already, I’m sure! Whatever you ask for:
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
Aha! That is what you should pray for, that’s what you should ask for, that’s what you should be seeking in your life – the Kingdom of God above all else – above all your needs, above all your desires, above all your hopes and dreams and wishes and desires. And … live righteously! Ah!
But how do you seek the Kingdom of God, and how do you live righteously? The answers are often linked, because to reach the Kingdom of God you must do your best to live righteously! And how do you do that? An article on biblestudytools.com covers this quite nicely: prayer, Bible reading, worship, repentance, praise, and thanksgiving.
If we were diligent and unrelenting in those six areas each day of our lives, and particularly before we turn to pray for our own needs and desires, then I am sure that what we ask for would be completely different than if we are constantly thinking about what we want, and then turning to prayer.
So, what do you pray for? And through your prayer, are you seeking the Kingdom of God? If you do, then by reading your Bible you will learn about certain things that we should be praying for.
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray.
James 5:13 (NLT)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
James 5:16 (NLT)
We should pray when we are suffering hardship, we should pray for each other. That is fairly straightforward.
Pray for those who persecute you!
Matthew 6:44 (NLT)
Pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.
Luke 21:36 (NLT)
And we should also pray for those who persecute us, and we should pray that we are strong enough to escape the horrors to come. Not so straightforward! You see, the Christian walk is not a walk in the park – we will have hardship, as our fellow Christians will; we will be persecuted; and we will witness horrors. Prayer, therefore, is our defence and our deliverance from all these difficulties – we will endure, through prayer and by God’s grace.
Read the booklet below to read more about prayer, including …
- How do we pray?
- When do we pray?
- Do we pray alone, or with others?
- Are you prayers answered?
- Do you struggle with any aspect of prayer?
- Don’t fall asleep when you pray!
You will also learn about the prayer of Jabez, and how God answered his prayer. And learn also how you can pray like Jabez, and see your prayers answered too.
See you soon, Be Blessed.
[Jump straight to page 9 in the booklet if you have read the section above.]
To read more, click the link below to VIEW RESOURCE. This will take you to an online copy of the booklet that corresponds to this section. You can access this free of charge online.
A pdf copy, which you can download to keep and read offline, is available for all those who sign up as Mercy & Mission Mates for a minimum of £4.32 a month, and anyone can buy extra copies from our website or on Amazon Kindle.
Other articles from various sources:
If you don’t believe in answered prayer, check out the website for Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer
If you find any resources (or produce any resources) you would like to see here – please let us know.
Module 7 Questions
- What do you pray for?
- Do you struggle with unanswered prayer?
- Do you attend prayer meetings, and why?
- How do your prayers compare to the prayer of Jabez?
- How will reading this section change your prayer life?
Email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank You, see you soon, God Bless.
Chosen Discipleship Groups – Go Deeper
Additional material and resources are available to those who are running Chosen Discipleship Groups to follow the Discipleship Programme.
You might also consider subscribing to the following reading plan on YouVersion prior to discussing this module: