Prayer is communication with God and Christ came in part so He could experience what we experience in order to help us. How we pray is important to God.
These are the notes taken live during services as captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing. This is not a word for word transcript. For the exact wording, please consult the audio recording.
Greetings to you brethren! It is good to be with you. I would like to ask you a question. When we see each other after being apart, we often ask, “How are you doing?” I met some today that said that. It gives us an opportunity to discuss good or bad things in our lives. We may ask questions about specific situations we share. How is your praying going? If you were to grade yourself, what would your grade be? Do you feel that you really know how to pray? Could you teach someone else how to pray? You have to start with this. Realize you are praying to God. You would have some kind of answer. Our children are a good place to start. We should teach our children how to pray. Who will teach people during the millennium and white throne judgment to pray? That will be one of our responsibilities as God’s people. There will be those who never learned to pray. Are you ready for that assignment? Could you teach Prayer 101? The 101 class in college is the simplest class.
In the Bible, God gives us a lot of instruction. He is very concerned that we learn to pray properly. He is a fabulous teacher. It doesn’t come naturally. It is not an instinct. But learning it is one of the most worthwhile things we can learn in this life. Nothing can compare. Christ gave us a parable. He told a story that teaches a lesson. People remember stories. They are something we can grab onto and remember. This one tells us some humorous points about prayer. It gives us deeper insight into how God thinks. Let’s review why we pray. What is the purpose for prayer? Prayer is talking to God. Communication is necessary in any healthy relationship. There must be communication. God wants a relationship with us, His children. He is creating a family. Prayer is a tool to develop a healthy strong bond with God. Why do parents teach their children to talk? It allows them to develop a close family relationship. We understand it on a physical level. It is true on a spiritual level as well. There is closeness that comes with good communication. A feeling of interacting in a meaningful way. It is not only enjoyable, parents can use the relationship to teach their children lessons. How to avoid obvious mistakes and be successful in life. God enjoys our company. He enjoys listening to us. We need to talk deeply to Him because it deepens the family relationship He wants to have with us. As parents, you know it is great when your kids can come and talk to you. Another foundational point on prayer. There are conditions we must meet for prayer to be answered. When we pray for forgiveness of our sins, we must forgive others.
In the model prayer, Christ said to ask God to forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Do they have to ask us to forgive them? Did the Jews and Roman soldiers ask Jesus to forgive them while He was hanging on the cross? No. Yet He prayed for them that God would forgive them. We don’t have to put ourselves in a position for them to harm us again. Another condition: We are not to call attention to ourselves when we pray. We must come in a right and humble attitude. When we do so, we know He will hear us. He will hear us when we pray for others as we pray for ourselves. God knows us and loves us and responds in an appropriate way. He hears, and He will answer. Here is another requirement for answered prayer: 1 John 3:22 Obedience is a key factor in answered prayer. The two are connected. If we want God to answer our prayers, we must obey Him. Obedience is a condition. We must meet it for our prayers to be heard. That doesn’t mean God expects us to be perfect. No human has been perfect except Christ. We all sin. But God wants us to make a sincere effort every day to live His way of life. God loves people. That is why He created us and put us on this earth. He wants a family. He is much more merciful that we understand. We must show Him that we are sincere and striving to live a life of obedience.
Luke 11:1-10 Vs. 1 – The disciples realized that Jesus left them regularly to pray. They came to ask Him to teach them to pray. They made this request more than once. They needed to learn more about prayer. They asked for help. What did Christ say? They really did know something about prayer. They knew John taught his disciples to pray. They went to someone who could teach them better than anyone else – Christ. We can read His words and be taught by them. It is important for all of us to review and be reminded of the basics. Vs. 2-4 – Jesus was training His disciples to pray so they could later teach others to pray. He told them a story to help them understand more about God. He taught them not only how to pray, He answered another question before they asked: How can we know our prayers will be heard and answered? Vs. 5 – This is where the parable begins. Vs. 6 – This was a different time. They didn’t have Frigidaires. They didn’t have a stack of food. There was no Motel 6; no Quik Trip. You only had the food in your home. Vs. 6 – He didn’t have a cell phone, so his friend didn’t know he was coming. They had to shop more often. Vs. 7 – He meant, it is too much trouble. He had been disturbed at midnight. It was not a convenient time. Vs. 8 – The man outside didn’t go away. He kept knocking on the door. Persistence is from Greek meaning shamelessness. Refusing to take denial. He was going to get it one way or another. G335 ἀναίδεια anaideia an-ah'ee-die-ah' From a compound of G1 (as a negative particle (compare G427)) and G127; impudence, that is, (by implication) importunity: - importunity.
Thayer Definition: 1) shamelessness, impudence Part of Speech: noun feminine A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from a compound of G1 (as a negative particle [compare G427]) and G127 You can imagine the looks on the faces of these guys. The man on the outside is beating on the door; the man on the inside is plugging his ears. Pretty soon, he is going to wake up the neighborhood. The lesser of two evils is to get up and give him the bread. Christ was not saying that God is like the man who didn’t want to get the bread. He doesn’t answer prayers to get rid of us. He answers because He is kind and generous and good. Remember, God is always ready to hear our prayers. He never sleeps; it is impossible to disturb Him. If someone who doesn’t want to help us will eventually get up and help, how much more will God help us when we ask? This parable helps us understand how God feels. Vs. 9 – Christ gives us important insight. Another translation says, ask and keep on asking; knock and keep on knocking; seek, and keep on seeking. It is great to have friends who say if you need help, give me a call. But this is God that says that. My phone is never busy. Call at any time. Keep on asking. Be persistent. Because the man in the parable asked for three loaves and persisted, he received three loaves. We should not conclude that we will get exactly what we asked for. What He is promising that we will receive an answer. There is no promise that the answer will come right away. He will always answer. His answer might be yes. Often it is. Sometimes it is yes, but not right now. We need to keep on asking. We know that the time is coming when God’s kingdom will come. Or the answer may be no. “No” is just as much as an answer as “yes”. When God says no, it is not a cold "no". It is because He knows something even better for you. Paul gave us an example of this.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 Three times Paul pleaded with God to remove a physical problem God had given him to keep him humble. The answer was no. Paul accepted it. He showed his spiritual maturity in accepting no. God is the parent. He knows our needs better than we do. It is just like we are with our kids. The man knocking on his neighbor’s door asked for what he needed. Do we have complete confidence that God knows what He is doing? We must grow to completely accept God’s answer to every prayer. That He is all wise and never makes a mistake. Six weeks from tomorrow, those who are baptized will gather for the most solemn day of the year – the Passover. On that evening, Christ was falsely accused. John 13:1-17 Vs. 8 – In those days, travelers walked in sandals. The roads were not black top. They would come in and remove their sandals and have their feet washed. Vs. 17 – Jesus instituted this ordinance to demonstrate His unconditional love. He demands that we love and serve each other. As we search our homes and vehicles for leaven, are we also looking inside at our relationships with each other? Are there any unresolved conflicts with our brethren?
1 Corinthians 11:17-31 As we prepare of the Passover, we should ask ourselves, “Are there any of my brethren whose feet I would not want to wash?” Do we not want to be with anyone around us? If we have that attitude, we must take care of any problems between us and our brethren before the Passover. Matthew 26:26-30 I said earlier, we need to grow to the point where we trust God’s answer to every prayer. We must know He is loving and kind and never makes mistakes. Remember what Christ said when Judas betrayed Him in the garden? Matthew 26:36-41 I want to ask, why did Jesus single out Peter, not James and John? Matthew 26:31-35 Vs. 35 – Peter was so confident of his own loyalty to Jesus. But Jesus knew he had no idea what was coming. Matthew 26:42-46 As a human being, Jesus knew what was coming. As a human being, He wanted to avoid the suffering He would go through. But His attitude was submissive. Not My will, but Yours. We are told that Jesus existed before the world was created. He was a God being just as the Father was. John 1:1-3 He was called the Word. Other scriptures tell us He was God and did the creating.
Ephesians 3:8-9 Jesus Christ was the one. Colossians 1:12-18 Hebrews 1:1-2 Both of these scriptures also tell us that Jesus created all things. Why did Jesus come to earth? He came to experience what it is like to be a human being. To be a baby in the womb. To have parents and siblings. To be hungry. To experience pain and death. But why? Why would the Word come to earth as a physical human being? Hebrews 4:14-16 What a wonderful and loving God we have! Not only does He want to give us all things that are good for us, He has Jesus Christ before Him to represent us. God answers prayer. It might be yes. It might be yes, but not right now. It might be no. “No” is just as much an answer as “yes”. But when God says “no”, it is not a cold “no”; it is “no” because I have your best interests at heart. Something else is better for you. God loves us. He wants to hear from us often. When we pray, we should realize we are talking to God. Some pray with a set prayer they use every day. That is not how we should pray to God. That is not really prayer; that is rote memory. When we pray, our prayers should be earnest and persistent. He will answer!