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THIS WEEK WE STUDY A BIBLICAL OVERVIEW on prayer as we all need to be repeatedly challenged to develop this area of our lives. Most believers are very weak here, but effective prayer is the determinant factor in one’s eternal accomplishments! How is this daily discipline in your spiritual life?
As this relates to me personally, like you, I commute into DC every week of Session, so my sleeping patterns, (give the three hour time zone change for Danielle and me) are very erratic. I have learned to live with that. Accordingly, when I am awake sometimes in the early hours of the morning, I take that as my signal to get up and pray. I have turned a negative into a positive. I look forward to these precious hours with the Lord. My prayers tend to be consumed with a now 19-year-old, persevering, God-given objective: To plant 200 effective ministries in 200 capitals throughout the world.
Looking forward to seeing you at this week’s study.
President & Founder
The purpose of prayer is to express our submission to the sovereignty of God and our trust in His faithfulness. Prayer is the means by which we express all that is in our hearts to our loving and wise heavenly Father. Prayer is not to give God information, because God knows everything. Prayer brings us into reverent communion with our Creator, worshipping Him and acknowledging Him as the Giver of all things.
I. THE NATURE OF PRAYER
A. FOR THE BELIEVER, PRAYER IS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE THAT MUST BE DEVELOPED INTO A SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE.
1. What did the disciples ask of Jesus in Luke 11:1?
It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”
2. Read Romans 8:26
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
a. According to the Apostle Paul, who assists us in our prayers?
b. In light of that, what should we do when we are not sure what to pray for?
B. REMEMBER: CHRISTIANITY IS NOT JUST A BUNCH OF BIBLE KNOWLEDGE; IT IS A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! PRAYER THEN, IS AN EXCHANGE OF INTIMACY WITH GOD! LEARN TO RELISH IN IT — NOT DRUDGE IT! THE SCRIPTURE TELLS US GOD IS VERY INTERESTED IN OUR PERSONAL STRUGGLES.
1. What does Psalm 34:15 say about the Lord?
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry.
2. What did David bring before God in prayer in Psalm 142:2?
I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him.
3. How are we encouraged to approach God per Hebrews 4:16?
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
4. Though we have the privilege of access, what caution does Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 advise?
Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.
5. What comfort does 1Peter 5:6-7 offer believers?
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
C. PRAYER IS EFFECTIVE. PRAYER CAN CHANGE SITUATIONS — AND PEOPLE. WE ARE ENCOURAGED TO PRAY EXPECTING RESULTS.
1. For whom and for what purpose did the Church pray in Acts 12:5?
So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.
2. How did God answer their prayers according to Acts 12:7?
And, behold, the angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell: and he struck Peter’s side, and woke him up, saying, ‘Get up quickly. And his chains fell off his hands.
3. Besides answers, what else does God grant to those who pray according to Philippians 4:6-7?
Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“THE EFFECTIVE PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN CAN ACCOMPLISH MUCH.”
What is effective (energeo) prayer? It is energetic, passionate prayers of believers that accomplish much; those are the kinds of prayers that are heard by the Lord. Are you a passionate prayer warrior or are your prayers reminiscent of cold mush? Reflective of this serious form of prayer is crying. No less than seven times in Scripture is crying associated with answered prayer (cf. Psalm 18:6; 34:6; 102:1; Isaiah 24:14; Lamentations 2:19; Joel 1:14 and Matthew 15:22).
II. THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER
A. THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE, GOD ENCOURAGES AND COMMANDS BELIEVERS TO PERSEVERE IN PRAYER.
1. Luke 18:1 states,
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart. The disciples were taught that they should always pray, and not . . .
2. What is God’s will for believers in Christ Jesus per 1Thessalonians 5:17?
Pray without ceasing.
3. When should believers pray per Ephesians 6:18?
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
B. THE BIBLE IS GOD’S HANDBOOK ON PRAYER. IN IT YOU WILL DISCOVER MANY GUIDELINES TO HELP YOU DEVELOP THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER.
1. What did Jesus teach His disciples to expect if they persisted in prayer per Luke 11:5-10?
Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”
2. What does Jesus teach as a requirement for answered prayer per John 15:7?
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
3. According to 1John 5:14, what is our confidence as we pray?
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
4. List some of the hindrances to answered prayer.
a. Psalm 66:18
If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
b. James 4:3
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
c. 1Peter 3:7
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
III. THE STRUGGLE OF PRAYER
A. PRAYER CAN BE HARD WORK. THAT SHOULD NOT KEEP US FROM PRAYING, EVEN WHEN IT REQUIRES SACRIFICE.
1. How long did Jesus pray before he selected the twelve apostles per Luke 6:12?
It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.
2. Describe the intensity of Jesus as He prayed in the garden per Luke 22:44.
And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
3. What should believers be careful to do when we devote ourselves to prayer per Colossians 4:2?
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;
B. EVEN WHEN WE ARE FRUSTRATED OR DISCOURAGED, WE CAN STILL APPROACH GOD IN PRAYER.
1. Why was David discouraged according to Psalm 13:1-2?
How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
2. What was David’s complaint in Psalm 22:2?
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.
C. PRAYER IS GOVERNED BY GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, AND HIS PURPOSE DETERMINES HIS ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS.
1. Read 2Corinthians 12:7-9.
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
a. What did Paul pray for?
b. How many times did he pray for it?
c. Did he receive what he asked for? Why or why not?
2. Read Mark 14:35-36.
And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”
a. What did Jesus ask of the Father concerning His “hour” of suffering?
b. Yet, what was He willing to do?
Compose a simple prayer following the ACTS model above.
SURRENDER YOUR REQUESTS TO GOD’S WISE AND LOVING PLAN, ACKNOWLEDGING YOUR WILLINGNESS TO RECEIVE HIS ANSWER WITH THANKFULNESS.
2Corinthians 4:16 states
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”
Knowing about Jesus is Not the Same as Knowing Jesus
“Dear Mr. Wilson:
I am 51 years old and have attended church all of my life. I was baptized at 14, read large portions of the Bible, and heard more sermons than I can count. After reading last month’s Wake Up Report!, I learned that religious life is not a substitute for spiritual life. I now realize that I considered myself spiritually secure without actually knowing Jesus. I may know a lot about Jesus, but I am ashamed to admit that I really don’t know Him. So, what can I do now?
Thank you for your email. Whether you realize it or not, the Holy Spirit has led you into a profoundly important discovery: Knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus. I have four suggestions that may help you to know Jesus in a personal way. Please consider the following:
Step 1. Ask for the Holy Spirit with Determination
“Then he said to them , ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.”
Then the one inside answers, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.” I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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 11:5-13, insertions mine)
Even if a 10,000 watt broadcast antenna is 50 feet away, a radio cannot receive the signal unless it is turned on and tuned to the correct frequency. Similarly, Jesus could be standing in our presence (as He did among the Pharisees), yet we cannot know Him and love Him until the Holy Spirit has “turned us on and tuned us in.”
Millions of people are physically alive, but spiritually dead, and the interesting thing about this condition is that we cannot make ourselves spiritually alive through our own efforts! Without the Holy Spirit’s help, there are a million concepts within the Bible that we cannot see or understand. Paul wrote, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
If you want to know Jesus, go to your prayer closet and ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to you. The Holy Spirit will activate your spiritual receptors so that you can know Jesus.
Step 2. Stop the “Easy Sins”
For the sake of discussion, let us suppose there are three categories for sin: There are “easy sins,” “difficult sins,” and “accidental sins.” Sins that fall into the easy category are sins of carelessness, such as taking God’s name in name, swearing, lying, cheating, and dishonesty. (Overcoming them is not easy, but they are easy to identify.)
Sins that are in the difficult category are sins like hatred, jealousy, bitterness, sexual immorality, selfishness, and greed. Overcoming sins in this category requires significant time with the Lord. Accidental sins are unintentional sins which pop up without warning. These sins occur because we have a sinful nature and from time to time, it overpowers our best intentions.
When a person wants to know Jesus, he shows his desire to the Father by cleaning house. He begins with eliminating the things that he knows are offensive to God. A person should not expect God to listen to his prayers if he willfully lives in sin. (Psalm 66:18) Jesus cannot abide with a person who is negligent, lazy, or indifferent about the importance of sanctification. If you want to walk and talk with Jesus, you need to know that the road to Heaven is “uphill,” but worth the effort every step of the way!
Step 3. Be Willing to Let Go of the World
John wrote, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
A carnally oriented person loves the world and everything in it! Only when we have a rebirth experience can we avoid loving all that is in the world. Our first birth is according to the flesh and it is attracted to the deeds of the flesh. If we are born a second time, we are born by the Spirit and we are attracted to the endeavors of the Holy Spirit.
A born again person sees life through a very different set of lenses. Paul indicates that everything is different. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
When we pester the Father to give us the Holy Spirit (as mentioned in Step 1), we must be ready for a life-changing experience. When the Holy Spirit dwells within a person, He brings with Him transforming power. The most powerful evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit is not prophesying, talking in tongues, or working miracles.
Instead, it is the obvious presence of the Holy Spirit that brings peace (a calming serenity) and love (replacing hostilities, contempt, and malice for others). The Holy Spirit also brings a strong desire for personal sanctification (not corporate sanctification*).
When the Holy Spirit arrives on our doorstep, the world and its enticements quickly dim and the things that we used to love, we will soon hate, and the things that we used to hate, we will soon love. It is the Holy Spirit’s duty to transform earthbound sinners into heaven-bound saints. This is important because earthbound sinners would not enjoy Heaven at all.
(*Note: When you come across people who are more concerned and frustrated with the religious behavior of others more than themselves, watch out. The Holy Spirit is not involved. Substituting religious ideology for personal sanctification is not a work of the Holy Spirit. However, there is one exception to this warning. People who the Lord appoints to speak corporately on these matters can do so with Holy Spirit approval.)
When a person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), he becomes a new creation and he cannot get enough of God’s Word. Suddenly, the Bible is no longer a giant reference book, but instead, it is God’s voice! A born again person is encouraged to see and love people as Jesus saw and loved people.
Every born again person receives a mission along with a new set of eyes. As he matures in the Lord, the mission unfolds. Through eyes of faith, he sees and understands the temporal nature of everything that exists on Earth. He also understands that no one can serve God and money.
A born-again person may not know where God is leading, but he knows God and wherever He leads will be fine. A born again person understands that using the name of the Lord is not the same as being called by the Lord! Compare these two passages:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ” (Matthew 7:20,23)
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’
Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:13-19)
Step 4. Spend Time with Jesus
It can be very difficult to consistently spend quite time with the Lord. This is a huge problem in today’s society because people are going crazy with busyness. If spending time with Jesus is not protected (in prayer and Bible study), the devil will quickly notice our developing habit and he will be sure that we will have no time for Jesus!
Every time I see those little solar lights lining a sidewalk, I am reminded of my need for Jesus. The solar light says, “No Sun means dead battery.” The Christian says, “One week without Bible study and prayer makes one weak.” There is no substitute for spending time with Jesus.
If reading the Bible is difficult, start with easier books like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. If you take your eyes off Jesus for a week or two, your intimacy with Him will evaporate. You will be left knowing about Jesus instead of knowing Him. Jesus said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
Please try these four steps for six weeks and let me know the results:
Step 1. Ask for the Holy Spirit with Determination
Step 2. Stop the “Easy Sins”
Step 3. Be Willing to Let Go of the World
Step 4. Spend Time with Jesus
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Larry Wilson, founder of WUAS, became a “born again” Christian in 1972. His interest in the gospel has led him on a 40+ year quest to learn more about what God has revealed to Earth’s final generation. The results of his research have been shared all over the world in books, television & radio broadcasts, media interviews, and seminars that are publicly available on all different types of media (see our Christian Bookstore).
What is Wake Up America Seminars (WUAS)?
Wake Up America Seminars, Inc. is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization with a focus on the study of End-Time Prophecy. WUAS is not a church, nor does it endorse any denomination. Our focus is singular: We are dedicated to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and His imminent return. We are delighted that people of all faiths are diligently using the Bible study materials produced by WUAS. All study materials are based solely on the Bible alone.
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“Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Grace and Peace to You
JESUS LOVES YOU
We declare that Americans realize that turning to God with all our heart and soul is how to bring God’s economic blessing to the USA in Jesus’ name. (Mk 11:23-24)
Think of Jesus’ love. He gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice for your sin. Do you know that God is only satisfied with Jesus’ blood as atonement for sin? No one can be forgiven without Jesus. (Acts 4:12)
Jesus’ blood forgives every sin. Don’t trust in your good deeds for salvation or look at a sin you committed. Instead look at Jesus on the cross. Jesus’ blood makes the foulest clean. Jesus’ blood removes your sin. Jesus’ blood makes you as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Trust in Jesus. Testifying of Jesus, John 1:29 promises:
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
God loves you.
We praise You that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
Jesus made peace for our sins through the blood of His cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)
Each of us were once alienated and enemies of You in our mind by wicked works, yet now Jesus has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, and presents us holy, and blameless, and above reproach. (Colossians 1:21-22)
Because we trust in Jesus:
– As far as the east is from the west, so far have You removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
– Though our sins were like scarlet, they are as white as snow; Though they were red like crimson, they are as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
– For You have cast all our sins behind Your back because of Jesus. (Isaiah 38:17)
– We are the righteousness of God in Christ, and (2 Corinthians 5:21)
– Jesus presents us faultless (Jude 24-25)
We confess our sins of ____. With thankfulness we remember Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you; Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
For the USA
We trust in Jesus’ blood to forgive the USA for our sins as a nation. (Psalm 33:12, 1 John 1:7)
We praise You for Your mercy endures forever. (2 Chronicles 20:21)
…cry out to God and intercede as God leads you (Romans 8:26) ..ask God for each American to cry out for the Holy Spirit and God’s Word (Luke 10:13, 2 Tim. 3:16-17) We thank You for answering us. (Mark 11:24)
In Jesus’ name. Amen. (John 16:26-27)
Our Christian Nation
God and Bible in US Government
“…To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
– George Washington
Undo the lie of “separation of church and state”. This term is not in the Constitution, but “the year of our Lord” is in the Constitution. Our founders were political Christians and included God in the government, schools and courts, so God would bless the USA.
Read Deut. 28 & Lev. 26 > God in USA History
God loves you,
Pastor Steven Andrew
USA Christian Ministries
“When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them…” Judges 3:9