1. CONTINUAL PRAYER
a. How can we maintain a devotional attitude throughout the day? 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Does this mean we do nothing but pray all day?
“The life must be like Christ’s life—between the mountain and the multitude. He who does nothing but pray will soon cease to pray, or his prayers will become a formal routine. When men take themselves out of social life, away from the sphere of Christian duty and cross bearing; when they cease to work earnestly for the Master, who worked earnestly for them, they lose the subject matter of prayer and have no incentive to devotion. Their prayers become personal and selfish.”—Steps to Christ, p. 101.
b. Where does this work begin? Proverbs 23:7 (first part); 2 Corinthians 10:5.
“Unless a determined effort is made to keep the thoughts centered on Christ, grace cannot reveal itself in the life. The mind must engage in the spiritual warfare. Every thought must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. All the habits must be brought under God’s control.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 164.
2. POWERFUL PRAYERS
a. What is the subject of many of the Psalms, most of which were written by King David? Psalms 61:1; 69:13.
b. For what other purpose were the psalms intended? Psalms 144:9; 149:1.
“There are few means more effective for fixing His words in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort. . . .
“As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer. If the child is taught to realize this, he will think more of the meaning of the words he sings and will be more susceptible to their power.”—Education, pp. 167, 168.
c. Tell of some powerful prayers made by other kings in the Old Testament. 1 Kings 3:6–9; 2 Kings 19:15–19; 2 Chronicles 20:5–12. How can we incorporate the scriptures into our prayers?
“There is one blessing that all may have who seek for it in the right way. It is the Holy Spirit of God, and this is a blessing that brings all other blessings in its train. If we will come to God as little children, asking for His grace and power and salvation, not for our own uplifting, but that we may bring blessing to those around us, our petitions will not be denied. Then let us study the Word of God that we may know how to take hold of His promises and claim them as our own. Then we shall be happy.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 113.
“It is the glory of God to give His virtue to His children. He desires to see men and women reaching the highest standard; and when by faith they lay hold of the power of Christ, when they plead His unfailing promises, and claim them as their own, when with an importunity that will not be denied they seek for the power of the Holy Spirit, they will be made complete in Him.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 530.
3. MONUMENTS TO ANSWERED PRAYER
a. After God worked a great miracle to bring the Israelites through the Jordan River, what did He ask them to do? Joshua 4:1–9.
“But before the priests had come up out of the river, that this wonderful miracle might never be forgotten, the Lord bade Joshua select men of note from each tribe to take up stones from the spot in the river bed where the priests had stood, and bear them upon their shoulders to Gilgal, and there erect a monument in remembrance of the fact that God had caused Israel to pass over Jordan upon dry land. This would be a continual reminder of the miracle that the Lord had wrought for them. As years passed on, their children would inquire concerning the monument, and again and again they would recount to them this wonderful history, till it would be indelibly impressed upon their minds to the latest generation.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 158.
b. What should we avoid focusing on in our life? Psalm 25:7; 79:8.
“It is not wise to gather together all the unpleasant recollections of a past life—its iniquities and disappointments—to talk over them and mourn over them until we are overwhelmed with discouragement. A discouraged soul is filled with darkness, shutting out the light of God from his own soul and casting a shadow upon the pathway of others.”—Steps to Christ, p. 117.
c. What should we contemplate instead? Psalm 105:5; Hebrews 12:2, 3.
“Thank God for the bright pictures which He has presented to us. Let us group together the blessed assurances of His love, that we may look upon them continually: The Son of God leaving His Father’s throne, clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might rescue man from the power of Satan; His triumph in our behalf, opening heaven to men, revealing to human vision the presence chamber where the Deity unveils His glory; the fallen race uplifted from the pit of ruin into which sin had plunged it, and brought again into connection with the infinite God, and having endured the divine test through faith in our Redeemer, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and exalted to His throne—these are the pictures which God would have us contemplate.”—Ibid., p. 118.
4. PRAYER WITH HOPE
a. What had been the experience of the disciples in prayer? John 16:24 (first part).
“As yet the disciples were unacquainted with the Saviour’s unlimited resources and power. He said to them, ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name’ (John 16:24). He explained that the secret of their success would be in asking for strength and grace in His name. . . . Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His own perfection.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 667.
b. How did Jesus encourage them to approach the Father in prayer? John 14:13, 14; 16:24 (second part). For whom else are these promises?
“ ‘All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive’ (Matthew 21:22). These words are the pledge that all that an omnipotent Saviour can bestow will be given to those who trust in Him. As stewards of the grace of heaven, we are to ask in faith and then wait trustingly for the salvation of God. We are not to step in before Him, trying in our own strength to bring about that which we desire. In His name we are to ask, and then we are to act as if we believed in His efficiency.”—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 467.
“O, brethren and sisters, what we want is a living, striving, growing, faith in the promises of God, which are indeed for you and for me.”—Pacific Union Recorder, December 26, 1912.
c. What part does hope play as we approach God in prayer? How should we come before Him? Romans 5:5; Hebrews 4:16.
“There is nothing that can make the soul so strong to resist the temptations of Satan in the great conflict of life, as to seek God in humility, laying before Him your soul in all its helplessness, expecting that He will be your helper and your defender.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 121.
5. PRAYER AS THERAPY
a. What promises can we claim so that we may have strength in our conflict with the enemy? Isaiah 40:29; 41:10; Psalm 31:24.
“He who serves under the bloodstained banner of Immanuel will have that to do which will call for heroic effort and patient endurance. But the soldier of the cross stands unshrinkingly in the forefront of the battle. As the enemy presses the attack against him, he turns to the stronghold for aid, and as he brings to the Lord the promises of the word, he is strengthened for the duties of the hour. He realizes his need of strength from above. The victories that he gains do not lead to self exaltation, but cause him to lean more and more heavily on the Mighty One. Relying upon that Power, he is enabled to present the message of salvation so forcibly that it vibrates in other minds.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 362.
b. What other promises can we claim in prayer in order to give us courage in the battle with sin? Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 49:25; 1 Corinthians 15:57.
“What a source to which we can look in all times of trouble; the heart can have no misgivings! Man is erring, stubborn, rebellious, and defiant even against God; but the Lord is kind and patient and of tender compassion. He has heaven and earth at His command, and He knows just what we need even before we present our necessities and desires before Him.”—My Life Today, p. 10.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why don’t we need to withdraw from society and devote our entire lives to prayer?
2. How can we include God’s Word in our prayers? What will this do for us?
3. What can we learn from the Israelites’ use of monuments to remember God’s leading in their lives? How can we do the same?
4. How can we have victory against temptation?
5. Describe God’s power in helping us in our struggles.