Mister Richardson’s
Bible Doctrine Class

Chapter 9: Prayer

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

- Hebrews 4:14-16

A. Why does God want us to pray?
  1. We are dependent on Him - Luke 11:9-12; Matthew 6:8; 21:22.
  2. Deeper fellowship with Him.
  3. Involves us in eternity.
  4. Glorifies God.
B. The Effectiveness of Prayer
  1. 1. Prayer often changes the way God acts - James 4:2; Exodus 32:9; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 1:9.
  2. Effective prayer is made possible by our mediator, Jesus Christ - 1 Tim 2:5; Hebrews 7:23-28; 8:1-6; 9:1-14; Romans 3:23-26.
  3. What is praying in Jesus’ name? - John 14:13-14; John 16:23; Adding the phrase in Jesus’ name in prayer is not a magic formula to get our prayers answered. Many prayers in Scripture do not have this phrase.
  4. Should we pray to Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
    • We pray to God the Father - Matthew 6:9, etc.
    • We pray to the Son - Acts 7:59, etc.
    • We may also pray to the Holy Spirit, since He is also God.
C. Some Important Considerations in Effective Prayer
  1. Pray according to God’s will - 1 John 5:14,15; John 15:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9,10.
  2. Pray with faith - Mark 11:24.
  3. Be obedient - Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 15:8, 29; 1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 3:21,22.
  4. Confess your sins - 1 John 1:9; Psalm 19:12; James 5:16.
  5. Forgive others - Matthew 6:14,15.
  6. Be humble - James 4:6,10; 1 Peter 5:5.
  7. What about unanswered prayers?
    • God’s timing is not the same as ours - delays do not mean prayers aren’t answered.
    • We don’t know how to pray as we ought - Romans 8:26; James 1:6-8.
    • Sometimes the answer is no - 2 Corinthians 12:8,9.
D. Praise and Thanksgiving

1. Give three reasons why God wants us to pray.
2. In what way does Jesus make our prayers effective?
3. What does it mean to pray according to God’s will?
4. What role does our obedience play in answers to our prayers?
5. Give three reasons why our prayers may go unanswered.

1. Do you often have difficulty with prayer? Why?
2. Do you have a regular time each day for private Bible reading and prayer? Are you sometimes easily distracted and turned aside to other activities? How can distractions be overcome?

The Secret Key to Heaven - Thomas Brooks
Prayer - John Bunyan
Prayer: A Biblical Perspective - Eric Alexander
E. M. Bounds on Prayer

Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to his Word, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God.
- John Bunyan, Prayer

Prayer, like everything else in the Christian life, is for God's glory and for our benefit, in that order. Everything that God does, everything that God allows and ordains, is in the supreme sense for His glory. It is also true that while God seeks His own glory supremely, man benefits when God is glorified. We pray to glorify God, but we also pray in order to receive the benefits of prayer from His hand. Prayer is for our benefit, even in light of the fact that God knows the end from the beginning. It is our privilege to bring the whole of our finite existence into the glory of His infinite presence.
R. C. Sproul, Does Prayer Change Things?

Sermons on Prayer - Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Q98: What is prayer?
A98: Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.

Q99: What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
A99: The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s Prayer.

From the Larger Catechism
Q. 180. What is it to pray in the name of Christ?
A. To pray in the name of Christ is, in obedience to his command, and in confidence on his promises, to ask mercy for his sake; not by bare mentioning of his name, but by drawing our encouragement to pray, and our boldness, strength, and hope of acceptance in prayer, from Christ and his mediation.

Q. 181. Why are we to pray in the name of Christ?
A. The sinfulness of man, and his distance from God by reason thereof, being so great, as that we can have no access into his presence without a mediator; and there being none in heaven or earth appointed to, or fit for, that glorious work but Christ alone, we are to pray in no other name but his only.

Q. 182. How doth the Spirit help us to pray?
A. We not knowing what to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, by enabling us to understand both for whom, and what, and how prayer is to be made; and by working and quickening in our hearts (although not in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions, affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of that duty.

Q. 183. For whom are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth; for magistrates, and ministers; for ourselves, our brethren, yea, our enemies; and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death.

Q. 184. For what things are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of God, the welfare of the church, our own or others’ good; but not for anything that is unlawful.

Q. 185. How are we to pray?
A. We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the majesty of God, and deep sense of our own unworthiness, necessities, and sins; with penitent, thankful, and enlarged hearts; with understanding, faith, sincerity, fervency, love, and perseverance, waiting upon him, with humble submission to his will.

Back to Table of Contents
Back to Chapter 8
On to Chapter 10