1. LESSONS FROM THE LORD’S PRAYER
a. When the disciples heard the difference between the prayer of Christ and the formal prayers of their priests, what did they ask Jesus? What model prayer did the Lord give? Luke 11:1–4.
b. How does Jesus teach us to begin our prayers? To whom are we praying? Matthew 6:6, 9. What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?
“To pray in Christ’s name means much. It means that we are to accept His character, manifest His spirit, and work His works. The Saviour’s promise is given on condition. ‘If ye love Me,’ He says, ‘keep My commandments.’ He saves men, not in sin, but from sin; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 668.
“To pray in the name of Jesus is something more than a mere mention of that name at the beginning and the ending of a prayer. It is to pray in the mind and spirit of Jesus, while we believe His promises, rely upon His grace, and work His works.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 100, 101.
2. CONDITIONS FOR ANSWERED PRAYER
a. What are the conditions upon which God answers prayer? 1 John 3:22; Matthew 21:22.
“God’s promises are all made upon conditions. If we do His will, if we walk in truth, then we may ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us. While we earnestly endeavor to be obedient, God will hear our petitions; but He will not bless us in disobedience. If we choose to disobey His commandments, we may cry, ‘Faith, faith, only have faith,’ and the response will come back from the sure Word of God, ‘Faith without works is dead’ (James 2:20). Such faith will only be as sounding brass and as a tinkling cymbal. In order to have the benefits of God’s grace we must do our part; we must faithfully work and bring forth fruits meet for repentance.”—Faith and Works, p. 47.
b. What is our duty toward those in need around us? Proverbs 3:27, 28. How does our behavior toward the needy reflect back upon us?
“God demands that you open your hand wide to the needy, and have the tenderest compassion for those who are afflicted, or who are suffering from want. If you turn carelessly from their cry, the Lord will just as surely turn away from your prayer, and he will not hear you in your distress.”—The Review and Herald, October 6, 1891.
c. How does God want us to cooperate with Him in helping others? 1 Corinthians 3:9.
“We are workers together with God. You are not to sit in indolence, waiting for some great occasion, in order to do a great work for the Master. You are not to neglect the duty that lies directly in your pathway, but you are to improve the little opportunities that open around you.”—Faith and Works, p. 47.
“We should encourage [the afflicted ones] to try to help those more needy than themselves. The darkness will be dispelled from their own hearts as they try to help others. As we seek to comfort others with the comfort wherewith we are comforted, the blessings comes back to us.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 256.
3. APPROPRIATE POSTURES IN PRAYER
a. What biblical examples of kneeling down to pray demonstrate this position as being both a duty and privilege? 1 Kings 8:54, 55; Ephesians 3:14.
“Both in public and private worship it is our duty to bow down upon our knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him. This act shows our dependence upon God.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 312.
“Jesus, our example, ‘kneeled down, and prayed’ (Luke 22:41). Of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, ‘kneeled down, and prayed’ (Acts 9:40). Paul declared, ‘I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 3:14). In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. See Ezra 9:5. Daniel ‘kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God’ (Daniel 6:10).”—Prophets and Kings, p. 48.
b. What was the position of Elijah when he prayed for rain? 1 Kings 18:42. Who else prayed in a similar position, and why is this attitude not suitable for public worship? Matthew 26:39.
“Behold [Christ] contemplating the price to be paid for the human soul. In His agony He clings to the cold ground, as if to prevent Himself from being drawn farther from God. The chilling dew of night falls upon His prostrate form, but He heeds it not. From His pale lips comes the bitter cry, ‘O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.’ Yet even now He adds, ‘Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’”—The Desire of Ages, p. 687.
“How much is lost in family worship when the one offering prayer bows the face down, and speaks in a low, feeble voice, as though just recovering from a long sickness. . . . Prayer that is thus uttered is appropriate for the closet, but not suitable for public worship; for unless those assembled with them can hear what is said, they cannot say Amen.”—Christian Education, p. 127.
c. What position did Jesus ask the multitude to take before He offered thanks for the forthcoming meal? John 6:10, 11.
4. PRAYING WITH A SUBMISSIVE SPIRIT
a. How can we show submission to God in our prayers? 1 John 5:14, 15.
“Jesus says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them’ (Mark 11:24). There is a condition to this promise—that we pray according to the will of God. But it is the will of God to cleanse us from sin, to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life. So we may ask for these blessings, and believe that we receive them, and thank God that we have received them. It is our privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed, and to stand before the law without shame or remorse.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 141.
“Whatever path God chooses for us, whatever way He ordains for our feet, that is the only path of safety. We are daily to cherish a spirit of childlike submission, and pray that our eyes may be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve in order that we may discern the indications of the divine will, lest we become confused in our ideas, because our will seems to be all-controlling.”—That I May Know Him, p. 249.
b. How did Mary demonstrate submission to God? Luke 1:38. How can we have this same attitude?
c. What goes hand in hand with true submission? James 1:6.
“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.
“Our languid, half-hearted prayers will not bring us returns from heaven. Oh, we need to press our petitions! Ask in faith, wait in faith, receive in faith, rejoice in hope, for everyone that seeketh findeth. Be in earnest in the matter. Seek God with all the heart.”—Our High Calling, p. 131.
“The fervent prayer of the righteous is never lost. The answer may not come according as we expected, but it will come, because God’s word is pledged.”—Ibid., p. 134.
5. WHEN TO PRAY
a. What times during the day should we pray? Psalm 55:17.
b. Should we limit our prayers to these times? 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
“There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate to offer up a petition to God. . . . In the crowds of the street, in the midst of a business engagement, we may send up a petition to God and plead for divine guidance, as did Nehemiah when he made his request before King Artaxerxes.”—Steps to Christ, p. 99.
“We may speak with Jesus as we walk by the way, and He says, I am at thy right hand.
“We may commune with God in our hearts; we may walk in companionship with Christ. When engaged in our daily labor, we may breathe out our heart’s desire, inaudible to any human ear; but that word cannot die away into silence, nor can it be lost. Nothing can drown the soul’s desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the noise of machinery. It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard.”—Gospel Workers, p. 258.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How are we to live if we pray in Jesus’ name?
2. When does God answer prayer?
3. Why should we bow upon our knees in our regular public and private prayers?
4. How can we pray with a submissive spirit? What answer will we be willing to accept?
5. How can we pray to God as we go about our duties of the day?