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Lesson: #22 September 28/2011

Youth Praying



Greetings in the Name of Christ!


This is the 22nd lesson taken from my book entitled: "Godly Counsel." Today's topic is "Prayer." Have you ever wondered how, when, or why you should pray? Are you concerned that your prayers do not seem to be answered? Please read on to see what the Bible says about prayer...


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God Bless,


P.S.: Download a PDF version of this book chapter:



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The "Lord's Prayer"

This, then, is how you should pray:
"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."
(Matthew 6:9-13)

Prayer: a reverent petition made to God

Prayer is a hallmark of the Christian faith. The importance of prayer is emphasized throughout the Bible--from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Jesus Christ set the example for prayer. He prayed regularly and took time to teach His disciples how to pray.

The essence of prayer is communication, and its main purpose is to develop and maintain a close relationship with God. God's response to our prayers depends less upon what we ask of Him, and more upon the attitude of our heart and its inclination to please God and live according to His will.


The Lord God Almighty, the creator of all things, gives us a personal invitation to pray to Him.1 We develop our relationship with God by drawing near to Him--humbly and reverently coming into His presence.2,3 The purpose of prayer is not to change God's mind or convince Him of our needs. God knows our needs before we ask.4

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, was well aware of the im¬portance of prayer. Throughout His ministry on earth, Christ set an example of a prayer-filled life and encouraged others to follow His example. As Christians, we should devote our lives to prayer.5,6

Prayer is not intended to be something we do only on special occasions when we are hurting, or when we need something from God. To be sure, praying when we are in trouble,7 sick,8 or in need of a miracle,9 are completely acceptable reasons to pray. However, prayer should not be limited to any particular topics.


This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth,
the LORD who formed it and established it-the LORD is
his name: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you
great and unsearchable things you do not know."
(Jeremiah 33:2-3)

Come near to God and he will come near to you.
(James 4:8)

It is good to be near to God.
(Psalm 73:28)

For your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:8)

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12)

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.
(James 5:13)

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;
the Lord will raise him up.
(James 5:15)

O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.
(Psalm 30:2)


The Bible encourages us to "pray continually" and give thanks in "all circumstances."10 Jesus told His disciples that they should "always pray and not give up."11 Ideally, our entire lives (actions, thoughts, and deeds) should be conducted in a prayerful manner-abiding in Christ,12 doing what is pleasing to Him,13 and seeking His will.14

In addition to encouraging a personal prayer life, the Bible empha-sizes the power of corporate prayer--two or more Christians coming together and praying for a common cause.15,16 The members of the the early church recognized the importance of communal prayer; they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.17


Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all
circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them
that they should always pray and not give up.

(Luke 18:1)11

If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.

(John 15:7)

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have
confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask,
because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
(1 John 3:21-22)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14)

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.
(Matthew 18:19-20)

They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the
women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
(Acts 1:12)

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the
fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
(Acts 2:42)


As mentioned earlier, there is no exclusive or preferred topic of prayer; the Bible encourages us to pray for everything and for everyone, including ourselves.18-20 Because of the limitless possibilities for prayer, it is perhaps not surprising that the disciples of Jesus Christ asked Him to teach them how to pray.21 In response to this request, Jesus provided the "model" prayer for Christians, which has come to be called the "Lord's Prayer."


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
(Philippians 4:6)

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession
and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all
|those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
 (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers
and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on
praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:18)

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.
When he finished, one of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
(Luke 11:1)


The "Lord's Prayer"

The Lord's Prayer highlights five major topics for prayer.

1. Praise and Worship:22 We pray to give thanks to God,23 to praise Him,24 and to glorify His name.25

2. Submission to God's Will: We pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.26 The mission of Jesus was to do the will of His Father.27 We also are to submit our will to God's will.28


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
(Matthew 6:9)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalm 136:1)

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being,
praise his holy name.
(Psalm 103:1)

I will glorify your name forever.
(Psalm 86:12)

Your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10)

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will
but to do the will of him who sent me.
(John 6:38)

Submit yourselves, then, to God.
(James 4:7)


3. Petitions and Requests: There are many examples given in the Bible. Here are but a few:

· For our basic needs to be met.29
· For physical healing.30,31
· For strength32 and boldness.33
· For wisdom34 and guidance.35,36
· For help37 and safety.38
· For protection from our enemies.39
· For one another.40,41
· For those who persecute42 or mistreat us.43
· For evangelism.44-47

4. Confession and Forgiveness: We confess our sins and pray that our sins will be forgiven--just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.48-50

5. Deliverance from Temptation and the Power of the Devil: We pray that we will not fall into temptation and that we will be delivered from the evil one [the devil].51-53


Give us today our daily bread.
(Matthew 6:11)

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church
to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the
Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the
sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.
(James 5:14-15)

Therefore confess your sins to each other and
pray for each other so that you may be healed.
(James 5:16)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you
with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
(Ephesians 3:16)

When I called, you answered me; you made me
bold and stouthearted.
(Psalm 138:3)

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
(James 1:5)

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths.
(Psalm 25:4)

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward
you will take me into glory.
(Psalm 73:24)

Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior.
(Psalm 38:22)

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
(Psalm 16:1)

Hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked
who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.
(Psalm 17:8-9)

Therefore confess your sins to each other
and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

(James 5:16)40

I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit,
to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

(Romans 15:30)

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:44)

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:28)

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.
(Ephesians 6:19)

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
(Colossians 4:3)

Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.
(2 Thessalonians 3:1)

Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful
but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send out workers into his harvest field."
(Matthew 9:37-38)

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Matthew 6:12)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9)

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up
my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions
to the LORD"-and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
(Psalm 32:5)

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
(Matthew 6:13)

Watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
(Matthew 26:41)

My prayer is not that you take them out of this world but
that you protect them from the evil one.
(John 17:15)


There is no "magic formula" for prayer--no exclusive "posture" or preferred method for approaching and drawing near to God. The Bible reveals that Jesus sometimes knelt when He prayed.54 At other times He prayed while standing and looking up,55 or bowing down with His face to the ground.56 At times He prayed in public.57


He [Jesus] withdrew about a stone's throw beyond
them, knelt down and prayed.
(Luke 22:41)

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed.
(John 17:1)

Going a little farther, he [Jesus] fell to the ground and prayed
that if possible the hour might pass from him.
(Mark 14:35)

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

(Luke 10:21)


At other times He pulled away from His disciples, and prayed by Himself, alone and far away from others.58,59

It appears that Jesus may have had an established pattern of getting up early in the morning to pray.60 However, He also prayed at night and on at least one occasion, He went out to a mountain top and prayed all night to His heavenly Father.61

Although prayer can take place under many different circumstances and take many different forms, not all prayers are equally acceptable in God's sight. There are many different hindrances to prayer mentioned in the Bible. All of the factors cited below may seriously impede God's answers to our prayers:

· Sin: God does not easily listen to the prayers of sinners; those who are unrepentant and who willfully cherish sin in their hearts.62-64


But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
(Luke 5:16)

After leaving them, he [Jesus] went up on a mountainside to pray.
(Mark 6:46)

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up,
left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
(Mark 1:35)

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray,
and spent the night praying to God.
(Luke 6:12)

If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
(Psalm 66:18)

We know that God does not listen to sinners.
(John 9:31)

But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
(Isaiah 59:2)


Ignoring God's Laws: If you turn a "deaf ear" to God's laws, as contained in the Bible, your prayers are detestable to Him.65

· Wickedness: God distances Himself from the prayers of evil or wicked people.66

· Wrong Motives: God cannot be fooled. If you pray with the wrong motives (for example, asking for money for others, when you really want the money for yourself), you will not receive an answer to your prayer.67

· Doubt and Lack of Faith: If you doubt God's existence or question His power to answer prayers, do not expect to re-ceive anything from the Lord when you pray.68,69

· Selfishness: If you are selfish and ignore those who are poor or needy, do not expect to receive blessings when you, yourself, cry out for help.70


If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law,
even his prayers are detestable.
(Proverbs 28:9)

The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the
prayer of the righteous.
(Proverbs 15:29)

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask
with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on
your own pleasures.
(James 4:3)

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because
he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed
by the wind. That man should not think he will receive
anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man,
unstable in all he does.
(James 1:6-7)

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because
anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and
that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6)

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor,
he too will cry out and not be answered.
(Proverbs 21:13)


· Arrogance/Pride: God distances Himself from people who are arrogant; He hates and opposes those who are prideful.71-73

· Unforgiveness: When you stand before God praying, if you hold anything against anyone, you must forgive and "let go" of everything; otherwise, your Father in heaven will not for-give your sins when you confess them.74,75

· Disharmony in the Home: If you mistreat your spouse, your prayers may be hindered.76

· Hypocrisy: Jesus spoke out against the religious legalists of His time who prayed lengthy and showy prayers in public, while behind the scenes they took advantage of the defenseless.77-79


Israel's arrogance testifies against them; the Israelites,
even Ephraim, stumble in their sin; Judah also stumbles
with them. When they go with their flocks and herds
to seek the LORD, they will not find him;
he has withdrawn himself from them.
(Hosea 5:5-6)

The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
(Proverbs 16:5)

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
(James 4:6)

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything
against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father
in heaven may forgive you your sins.
(Mark 11:25)

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men
their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15)

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live
with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker
partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life,
so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
(1 Peter 3:7)76

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,
for they love to pray standing in the synagogues
and on the street corners to be seen by men.
(Matthew 6:5)

And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans,
for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
(Matthew 6:7)

They devour widows' houses and for a show make
lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.
(Mark 12:40)


God's Guidance

Although there are a number of hindrances to prayer, the Bible also contains reference to several factors that promote a successful prayer life:

· Having Strong Faith and Belief: God hears our prayers and answers them when our faith and belief are strong.80-82

· Being Obedient: If we have a clear conscience and obey God's commands, God says He will give us anything we ask for in prayer.83


If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
(Matthew 21:22)

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say
to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea,"

and it will obey you.
(Luke 17:6)

I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go throw
yourself into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart but
believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe

that you have received it, and it will be yours.
(Mark 11:22-24)

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have
confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask,
because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
(1 John 3:21-22)


 · Being Righteous: God is especially attentive to the prayers of people who are righteous; their prayers are powerful and effective, and God promises to deliver them from all their troubles.84-86

· Being Humble: God hears us and responds favorably when we come before Him in humility.87-89

· Seeking God's Will: Our Lord listens to godly people who do His will;90 if we ask for anything that is consistent with His will, He hears us.91 Therefore, it is important that we pray to understand God's will for our lives.92,93


The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16)

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
(Psalm 34:17)

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears
are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is
against those who do evil.
(1 Peter 3:12)

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10)

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble
themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their
wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their
sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)

Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself
before God when you heard what he spoke against this place
and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me
and tore your robes and wept in my presence,
I have heard you, declares the LORD.
(2 Chronicles 34:27)

He [God] listens to the godly man who does his will.
(John 9:31)

that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14)

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand
what the Lord's will is.
(Ephesians 5:17)

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.
(Colossians 1:9)


· Abiding in Christ: When the words of Christ abide in our heart, we will naturally pray for that which Christ will honor. When we pray in accordance with this indwelling of Christ, we can ask for anything and it will be given to us.94

· Praying in the Name of Jesus: Christ promised that if we pray "in his name" we will receive whatever we ask for and "our joy will be complete." Praying in the name of Jesus implies oneness with Christ in heart and will. Both Jesus and God respond to prayers that are consistent with the character of Christ.95,96

· Praying in Secret: To avoid hypocrisy, Christ recommended we go into a room, close the door, and pray to God in secret. When God sees what you have done in secret, He will reward you.97

If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.
(John 15:7)

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.
(John 14:13-14)

I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask
in my name...Ask and you will receive,
and your joy will be complete.
(John 16:23,24)

But when you pray, go into your room,
close the door and pray to your Father,
who is unseen. Then your Father,
who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:6) 97

· Praying Through the Holy Spirit: Praying through the Spirit is one of the most powerful and effective means we have of approaching God. When we don't know what to pray, or how to pray, we can draw upon the Holy Spirit to assist us in our prayers.

The Holy Spirit prays within us, and for us, in accordance with God's will. Intercession by the Spirit can transcend beyond the level of words.98 God will fully understand these prayers, even if words are not used. In order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, all we need to do is to ask God.99

Of all the things mentioned thus far, arguably the most important factor that will determine the "success" of our prayers, is whether or not the things we ask for are consistent with God's intentional will for our lives (or for the life of the person or persons for whom we are praying).

That is, no matter how much we want something to happen, and no matter how earnest our requests to God may be, we must al¬ways defer to God's will for our lives, and accept His answer-even if the answer is "No."


In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do
not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself
intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the
Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints
in accordance with God's will.
(Romans 8:26-28)

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts
to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
(Luke 11:13)


This point was clearly and profoundlydemonstrated by Jesus Christ when, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed to God the Father to save Him from death by cru-cifixion.

In the end, Christ's prayer was not answered (presumably because it was not in accordance with God's will). All of mankind benefited when Christ (despite His repeated and fervent prayer to God) ulti-mately submitted to His Father's will, and was crucified for our salvation.103 This act of submission to God's will is a perfect ex-ample of how we should live our own lives.

Finally, it is important to remember that Christ's death was only temporary. He was raised from the dead after the third day and He lives forever at the right hand of God.104 Obviously, something in-credibly good can ultimately result when we submit our will to God's will.

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground
and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be
taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
(Matthew 26:39)

He went away a second time and prayed,
"My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away
unless I drink it, may your will be done."
(Matthew 26:42)

So he [Jesus] left them and went away once more and
prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
(Matthew 26:44)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed.
(1 Peter 2:24)

But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated
at the right hand of the mighty God.
(Luke 22:69)104


If you haven't done so already, please take time to check out the scriputres that are located on the left colum of this email.


Dr. Brian Campbell

Christian Psychologist