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"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
(John 15:5)
    University Bible Fellowship of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania

Prayer ... our line of communication with God

A sunrise in Shippensburg

Jesus' Prayer Life

All four gospels record that our Lord Jesus prayed often and earnestly in the midst of his busy life. He prayed when he was baptized by John (Lk 3:21). Very early in the morning he prayed in a solitary place (Mk 1:35). Before calling his disciples he went to a mountainside and spent a whole night praying to God (Lk 6:12). He prayed before Peter’s confession of Christ (Lk 9:18). He prayed at the mountain of the transfiguration (Lk 9:28-29). He prayed in Gethsemane for his disciples that their faith might not fail and for himself to obey God’s will. He prayed so earnestly that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Lk 22:39-44). Even on the cross, with huge nails on his hands and feet, our Lord Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 24:34).

Jesus' Teaching on Prayer

When asked by his disciples about how to pray, Jesus taught them what we know today as the Lord's Prayer:
"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one"
(Mt 6:9b-13)

The Lord's prayer consists of six prayer topics. The first three are for God's glory. The second three concern our needs. Surprisingly, the Lord's prayer does not resemble a shopping list that some people present to God in their prayer.

Why Pray in Jesus' Name?

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (Jn 14:12-14)

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." (Jn 15:16)

Why Pray Two by Two?

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Mt 18:19-20)

Why Pray for Others?

Abraham in Genesis pleaded with God for his nephew Lot who was living in the sinful city of Sodom (Ge 18:16-33). David said in Psalm 122:6-9: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.' For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, 'Peace be within you.' For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity."

St. Paul's intercessary prayer is recorded in Colossians 1:9-14: "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

More on Prayers

James 4:2b-3: "You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

Meditations on Prayer (using "Live A Praying Life" by Jennifer K. Dean)

Week Topic Presenter Key Points
Week 1 The Purpose of Prayer Dream If God is sovereign, why do we pray?
Week 2 The Definition of Prayer Maria If prayer does not get God’s attention, give Him new ideas, or awaken love or mercy in Him that He has not already felt, then what is the definition of prayer?
Week 3 The Necessity of Prayer Caleb Why did God put prayer into the equation? What does prayer accomplish?
Week 4 The Author of Prayer Chris Why is the content of all true prayer God’s decision? How does He author prayer in His people?
Week 5 The Process of Prayer John What is God’s purpose for the time between my request and His answer?
Week 6 Waiting on God Daniel Does God delay? Or does it only appear to be delay from the earth’s perspective?
Week 7 Hearing From God Mary How does God speak reliably and authentically to His people in the present tense? Why does He speak to His people in the present tense?
Week 8 Seeking After God Pauline What part do the spiritual disciplines play in prayer?
Week 9 The Promise of Prayer Daniel How do we consistently see the promises of God become real in our experience?
Week 10 Faith Is Required C.J. Why is faith a requirement for powerful praying?
Week 11 Obey and Forgive Isaac Why are obedience and forgiveness requirements for powerful praying?
Week 12 Authority in Prayer Victor What does it mean to pray with authority? How does a believer’s authority operate?
Week 13 The Practice of Prayer Deborah What are some practical disciplines that will help a praying person develop a rich praying life? How might one order a scheduled hour of focused prayer? What time of day is best for a disciplined, scheduled prayer hour? What forms does prayer take?

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© 2007 UBF of Shippensburg