Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.
God wants us to have an attitude of continual, instant prayer and communion with him.
Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
No matter how busy we are, it should be in our heart to pray. People get busy and make decisions on their own instead of asking God in prayer. Some only pray if there’s a crisis. Our reasonable service is to continue instant in prayer. Romans chapter 12 gives instructions about our reasonable service – love one another, be concerned for others, don’t be lazy. If you have a habit of falling asleep in prayer, do something so you can pray and commune with God without falling asleep.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
After Paul said to put on the whole armor of God, he said “Praying always with all prayer and supplication…”
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
We need to pray with persistence and in earnestness. Jesus instructed us to pray always and to not faint. God is looking for our communion with him. When people start to backslide, they start lose their communion and connection with God. Prayer becomes a chore. We don’t pray just because we feel like it. Job was in a hard trial and didn’t see God anyplace, but he said God knew where he was. He knew he’d come forth as gold because his foot held God’s way and didn’t decline. Job kept the commandments of God. Many times the enemy will affect our feelings. We pray because God asked us to pray and to keep that communion. We have faith and confidence that God hears and answers prayer no matter how we feel.
Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
God won’t hear the prayer of people who trust in themselves and despise others. Many pray but God won’t hear if there’s sin in our heart – we won’t forgive anyone that wronged us, we have bad attitudes, bitterness, or resentment. Real prayer means we want God to search us and be clear with him. Some pray to idols and themselves about how good they are.
Luke 18:9-11 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee…prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee…I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
We need to have a humble prayer – not telling God how to work out a problem or do things, but asking for his help.
Luke 18:13-14 And the publican…would not lift up…his eyes…saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went…justified rather than the other…one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
It is important for us to stay humble and faithful all the time in coming to God and asking for his help in situations.
II Chronicles 7:14-15 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear…and will forgive their sin…and mine ears attent unto the prayer…
Jesus was a man of prayer and our example. He was praying when he was baptized and God sent the Holy Spirit into him. Jesus was about 30 years old. The genealogy is shown of Joseph to Adam and last that Jesus the son came from God.
Luke 3:21-22 Now when all the people were baptized…Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended…a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus fasted and prayed a lot during that 40 days. The devil put many thoughts in Jesus mind as he prayed. He refuted them by scriptures he learned as a child.
Luke 4:1-2 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost…was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
It’s important to pray as we study the word and ask God to help us see our needs. Jesus specifically prayed all night for God to show who should be the 12 apostles. He wouldn’t make the decision on his own. God gave permission and showed him who.
Luke 6:12-13 And it came to pass…he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Jesus was teaching the disciples how to pray when he was getting alone to pray. He asked the disciples to come with him and was teaching them the importance of prayer and of making prayer a part of their life.
Luke 9:18…he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
The reason Jesus was up on the mountain was for Moses and Elijah to talk to him about him dying. They strengthened and encouraged him. Jesus knew God was preparing him as he was praying there. God spoke out of the cloud to answer Peter about building 3 tabernacles. Like when God spoke out of the cloud with Moses and led the people in the wilderness. God said we need to pay attention to Jesus because he’s the one leading us.
Luke 9:28-36…he took Peter and John and James…up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed…his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering…Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease… But Peter and they…with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw…the two men…as they departed from him, Peter said…Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee…for Moses… for Elias…While he thus spake…a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him…
Jesus had a passion for praying. He took Peter, James, and John with him to pray. He was grieved and distressed, almost to dying of sorrow. If you said that to a friend that was with for three years, you wouldn’t expect them to fall asleep. Jesus was surprised Peter couldn’t pray with him for just one hour. Jesus was praying for the cup to be removed. It was the cup of death he was facing. We need to be concerned if someone is in sorrow, depressed, and asks for help and prayer. We need to help them, not fall asleep and think their trial is no big deal. The disciples failed Jesus by not praying with him.
Matthew 26:37-38 (Amplified Classic) And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to show grief and distress of mind and was deeply depressed. Then He said to them, My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and keep awake and keep watch with Me.
Matthew 26:39-42 And he…fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He…prayed…Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
God wants us to crucify the flesh and pray as long as needed to help someone. Prayer deepens our burden, makes us wait on God’s time, aligns our heart to God’s, and strengthens us. We need to pray God opens our eyes to see his promises if fear comes.
II Kings 6:16-17…Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they…Elisha prayed…I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see…Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw…mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire…
Jehoshaphat feared, sought God, and fasted because they didn’t know what to do. Fasting is part of praying for major decisions.
II Chronicles 20:3-4 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast…And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
II Chronicles 20:12-13…we have no might against this great company…neither know we what to do…our eyes are upon thee.
God said you don’t have to fight in this battle or fear because he was going to fight for them. God gave them victory.
II Chronicles 20:15…saith the Lord…Be not afraid nor dismayed by…this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
II Chronicles 20:17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord …O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.
Jehoshaphat said to believe in the Lord and believe the prophets (our pastor), then we’ll prosper (II Chronicles 20:20).
II Chronicles 20:22-23 And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against…Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir…and they were smitten. For…Ammon and Moab stood up against…mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.