Mature Class Study, teacher Josh Olmsted.
Is there an unproductive prayer? Prayer can become repetition without being intentional. The audience Jesus was talking to was partly religious people when he told them how to pray. Jesus said to pray in secret, not to be seen by men, like the hypocrites do and to not use vain repetitions.
Matthew 6:5-7 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection and didn’t interact with the people as much as the Pharisees did. The Pharisees interacted with the people and had more influence with them. The Zealots were a group that hated the Romans. The Sanhedrin council was composed of 70 Sadducees and Pharisees. The council disagreed about many things but they came together and agreed about getting rid of Jesus. The Pharisees were the ones who persuaded the people to ask Herod for Barnabas to be freed instead of Jesus.
James 4:1-3 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Some can pray in a way that is very impressive to people. Some bite and devour, then pray for things to consume for their own lusts. The motivation behind prayer can be totally selfish so things turn out all about us and our benefit. Do we pray for our own comforts or are we seeking for what God wants us to get done? When you go to your parent to ask for something and say, “Listen, I’ve gone to school for 5 days!” etc. We need to have the right mindset to ask God for things or needs, not just a repetition of asking for things we’ve heard. In John 17 Jesus prayed to God for the things most important to him before he was crucified.
He prayed to glorify God and the Son. Whether God says yes or no, he wants us to honor him. There’s great joy when we do things right in God’s sight.
John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
He prayed God would give eternal life.
John 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
He prayed we would know God.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
He prayed we would be one.
John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
He prayed God would keep us from the evil while we’re in the world. There are losses sometimes, even when we pray. God may answer yes or no.
John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
He prayed for us to be sanctified – set apart for God’s purpose – to not be short sighted but to see the big picture.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Jesus prayed for Lazarus and that God would hear him so others would believe God sent him.
John 11:41-42 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
The prayer of faith will save the sick and the effective, fervent prayer accomplishes much. If we pray with an attitude like Jesus did, we will accomplish much for God’s purpose. It doesn’t mean we always understand everything or that God says yes, but our prayer will be effective.
James 5:15-16 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.