1. ANSWERING THE PRAYER OF CHRIST
a. In His intercessory prayer, what special request did Christ present to His Father? John 17:11, 14, 21–23.
b. What is the essential condition in order to achieve unity among brethren? Isaiah 45:22; Hebrews 12:1, 2.
“[The disciples’] spiritual life and power was dependent on a close connection with the One by whom they had been commissioned to preach the gospel.
“Only as they were united with Christ could the disciples hope to have the accompanying power of the Holy Spirit and the cooperation of angels of heaven.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 90, 91.
“We are to be as one, and this sacred unity must be contemplated and cherished in the church of God, each one seeking to bring about the fulfillment of the prayer of Christ. We should banish all thoughts of evil against our brethren.”—The Review and Herald, August 16, 1892.
2. OVERCOMING DIVISIONS
a. How can we overcome divisions in the family and the church? John 15:4.
“The cause of division and discord in families and in the church is separation from Christ. To come near to Christ is to come near to one another. The secret of true unity in the church and in the family is not diplomacy, not management, not a superhuman effort to overcome difficulties—though there will be much of this to do—but union with Christ.
“Picture a large circle, from the edge of which are many lines all running to the center. The nearer these lines approach the center, the nearer they are to one another.
“Thus, it is in the Christian life. The closer we come to Christ, the nearer we shall be to one another. God is glorified as His people unite in harmonious action.”—The Adventist Home, p. 179.
b. How can we be looking to Christ as He intercedes for us in the heavenly sanctuary? John 5:39, 40; 17:3.
“He whose heart is fixed to serve God will find opportunity to witness for Him. Difficulties will be powerless to hinder him who is determined to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. In the strength gained by prayer and a study of the word, he will seek virtue and forsake vice. Looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of the faith, who endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, the believer will willingly brave contempt and derision. And help and grace sufficient for every circumstance are promised by Him whose word is truth. His everlasting arms encircle the soul that turns to Him for aid. In His care we may rest safely, saying, ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.’ Psalm 56:3. To all who put their trust in Him, God will fulfill His promise.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 467.
“It is only by knowing Christ that we can know God. The Sent of God calls upon all to listen to these words. They are the words of God, and all should give heed to them; for by them they will be judged. To know Christ savingly is to be vitalized by spiritual knowledge, to practice His words. Without this, all else is valueless.”—The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1898.
3. THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD
a. How did the heavens and earth come into existence? Psalm 33:6, 9.
“In the formation of our world, God was not beholden to preexistent substance or matter. For the ‘things which are seen were not made of things which do appear’. On the contrary, all things, material or spiritual, stood up before the Lord Jehovah at His voice, and were created for His own purpose. The heavens and all the host of them, the earth and all things that are therein, are not only the work of His hand, they came into existence by the breath of His mouth.”—Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 312.
b. Explain the way the Lord transforms us into a new creature. John 6:63.
“The word of God, received into the soul, molds the thoughts, and enters into the development of character.
“By looking constantly to Jesus with the eye of faith, we shall be strengthened. God will make the most precious revelations to His hungering, thirsting people. They will find that Christ is a personal Saviour. As they feed upon His word, they find that it is spirit and life. The word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude. This is what it means to live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ This is eating the Bread that comes down from heaven.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 391.
c. How should we study the Word of God? John 6:53–58.
“We should carefully study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own, and we know ‘what saith the Lord.’ ”—Ibid., p. 390.
4. LOOKING UNTO JESUS THROUGH PRAYER
a. Give examples showing the frequency with which Jesus prayed in secret—and what we should learn from this. Mark 1:35; 6:45, 46.
“Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, ‘in all points tempted like as we are;’ but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 93, 94.
b. What do we read about the devotional life of the prophet Daniel? Daniel 6:10. How about king David? Psalm 119:62, 145, 147, 148.
“Daniel was a man of prayer; and God gave him wisdom and firmness to resist every influence that conspired to draw him into the snare of intemperance. Even in his youth he was a moral giant in the strength of the Mighty One. Afterward, when a decree was made that if for thirty days any one should ask a petition of any God or man, save of the king, he should be cast into a den of lions, Daniel, with firm, undaunted step, made his way to his chamber, and with his windows open prayed aloud three times a day, as he had done before. He was cast into the lions’ den; but God sent holy angels to guard his servant.”—The Signs of the Times, August 14, 1884.
“Daniel knew that the God of Israel must be honored before the Babylonian nation. He knew that neither kings nor nobles had any right to come between him and his duty to his God. He must bravely maintain his religious principles before all men; for he was God’s witness. Therefore he prayed as was his wont, as if no decree had been made.”—The Youth’s Instructor, November 1, 1900.
“True prayer engages the energies of the soul, and affects the life. He who thus pours out his wants before God feels the emptiness of everything else under heaven.”—Gospel Workers (1892), p. 36.
5. PRAYER, AN ESSENTIAL MEANS OF GRACE
a. How often should we pray? 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 21:36.
“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.
“When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us.”—Steps to Christ, p. 93.
b. What is promised to those who sincerely seek the Lord? Matthew 7:7–11; Psalm 145:18, 19.
“Another element of prevailing prayer is faith. ‘He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.’ Hebrews 11:6. Jesus said to His disciples, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. Do we take Him at His word? . . .
“When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most.”—Ibid., p. 96.
c. On what conditions are our prayers answered? John 15:7; 1 John 5:14, 15.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How may an attitude of mine be blocking evangelistic success in my church?
2. How can I pave the way for greater harmony with my brethren?
3. Why is God’s word so powerful in changing lives?
4. Describe the intensity of the prayer life of Jesus, Daniel, and David.
5. What can I do to revolutionize the quality of my prayer life?