Lesson 10 - Growing Closer to God Through Active Prayer

Introduction
Imagine if you could pick up the phone and call the President of the United States. Now imagine that he/she actually takes your call. Keep imagining that they listened carefully to you. Finally imagine that they would grant your request if it was truly the best thing for you. We have a power far greater than this. We have the power to talk to the all Powerful, God. He never sleeps. He never goes on vacation. He never puts His "phone" on silent. He is always ready to take listen to our prayer and answer them for us. He wants us to pray. He pleads for us to pray to Him.

James 5:13-18
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

Reasons to pray
Some people may say, "God already knows what we need/want so why waste time praying about it?" This does not make sense! Your parents know what you need/wanted too but don't you still tell them? There are many reasons to pray. Here are a few:

1.  Praying causes us to verbalize our wants and needs. In "talking" through them we can often see them more clearly. We tend to keep things "bottled up" inside. Praying allows us to bring these things out into the open where they can more easily be understood and addressed.
2.  Praying humbles us while we ask for help. There is a saying, "Let go, and let God." Sometimes we have realize there are things over which we have little control. Asking God to handle these situations is difficult to do, but critical.
3.  Praying strengthens our relationship with God. Our closeness to God grows as we talk to Him just like it does with others. Imagine trying to grow a friendship with a neighbor without speaking to them. Impossible. We should speak to God freely, clearly and without all the formal words we sometimes use/hear in public prayers. Talk to God in your own manner of speaking (not a Biblical language). Do this will help you grow toward God.

Types of Prayer
There are several types of prayers that can be spoken to God. Maybe another way to state this is to look at the reasons one decides to pray. Looking at these reasons we help us to better understand the different types of prayer and how we can make effort in our own lives to enhance each of these. I have put these in the order I feel most people use them. Of course this is just my opinion but I wonder how you would order them.

1.  Terror
    Asking God to remove an immediate threat.

    Matthew 26:39
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

2.  Forgiveness
    Asking God to forgive you when you have sinned.

    Acts 8: 22
Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

3.  Supplication
    Asking God for what we need.

    Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Matthew 21:22
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

4.  Strength
    Asking God to give you strength to endure a difficulty.

    Ephesians 3:14-15
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man

5.  Intercession
    Asking God to step in a take control.

    Matthew 26:39
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

6.  Others
    Asking God to help someone else.

    Romans 1:9
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers

7.  Thanksgiving
    Telling God "thank you."

    Philemon 1:4
    I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers,

8.  Praise
    Giving God praise for who He is and what He has done or will do.

    Ephesians 3:14-21
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[c] 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and heightó 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer is needed to make the Christian's life complete. If you haven't been a prayerful person, start today!



Print