Share This Episode
The Bible Study Hour James Boice Logo

How to Pray

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
October 3, 2021 8:00 am

How to Pray

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 586 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

October 3, 2021 8:00 am

Do your prayers bring you into the presence of God? Most of us would answer not always. Yet Jesus taught that we’re to pray only when we’re aware of the Lord’s presence! What then, is the answer to this dilemma? Join Dr. James Boice as he explores the often-misunderstood subject of prayer and shows us how sinful man should approach a holy God.

Sekulow Radio Show
Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Encouraging Word
Don Wilton
Love Worth Finding
Adrian Rogers
Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg

Do you have problems about praying to God. You wonder how you should pray what to pray for or even why you should pray at all today we are going to be studying some teachings of Jesus Christ. The deal with these problems directly to Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Prayer isn't easy. Many don't understand how we are to pray and yet Jesus taught that were to pray. Only when our prayers bring us into the presence of God join Dr. Boyce as he explores the sometimes perplexing subject of prayer in Jesus instructions on how a sinful man should approach a holy God. The second great example of godly living. Discussed by Jesus Christ in the second chapter of the sermon on the Mount is prayer and it's an important subject because prayer is at least partially confusing to us all. There are some Christians you probably know some who believe that it is hardly necessary to pray, please say that everything is in God's hands and that he does what he wants to do.

Whether you ask them to do it or not.

Those who make a great deal of lands supposed part in his own salvation believe that almost everything is contingent upon prayer to God will do very little unless we ask for it in between are most of us believe that God is indeed in charge of things and is accomplishing his own purposes but who nevertheless also believe that God responds to our prayers and in fact even urges us to pray. Unfortunately, we are often uncertain about prayer. Anyway, so we wonder how we should pray what we should pray for and sometimes whether we should even play at all.

Some time ago I heard a story that illustrates how some of these questions trouble even very mature Christians. At one point in the course of their very influential ministries George Whitfield, the Calvinistic evangelist John Wesley, the Arminian evangelist were preaching together in the daytime and rooming together in the same boardinghouse each night.

One evening after a particularly strenuous day. The two of them returned to the boardinghouse exhausted and prepared for bed when they were ready.

Each note beside the bed to pray Whitfield Calvinist prayed like this. He said, Lord, we thank the for all those with whom we spoke today and we rejoice that their lives and destinies are entirely in my hand on our efforts. According to thy perfect will. Amen. He rose from his knees and got into bed now.

Wesley, who had hardly gotten past the invocation of his prayer in this length of time looked up from his side of the bed and said Mr. Whitfield. Is this where your Calvinism leads you and then he put his head down and went on praying. Whitfield stayed in bed and went to sleep. About two hours later, Whitfield woke up and there was Wesley still on his knees beside the bed. So Whitfield got up and went around the bed to where Wesley was kneeling and when he got there, Wesley was asleep shook him by the shoulder and said to him, Mr. Wesley, is this where you are. Arminianism gets you well. It's a humorous story, but it shows that we all have at least some things to learn about prayer and it teaches the because no one understands the ways of God is perfectly as we ought to understand them. Prayer is therefore at least partially confusing to us all. Of course all of these problems were also present in Christ day. So when Jesus began to speak about prayer in the sermon on the Mount, he began to deal with them directly. He did so, first by instruction and then by a sample prayer that we call the Lord's prayer.

The instructions say and when thou prayer style shalt not be as the hypocrites are for.

They loved to pray standing in the synagogues and at the corner of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Early I say unto you, they have their reward now and I'll pray asked, enter into thy room when I shut thy door, pray to God the father who is in secret, my father, who see it in secret shall reward thee openly when you pray, use not vain repetitions, says the pagans do they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Be not ye therefore like unto them for your father. No, what things ye have need of before ye ask him many foolish things of been written about these verses. Some persons have understood them to teach that there is to be no such thing as public prayer is foolish because both the disciples and do Jesus himself prayed publicly. Some of said that there's to be no such thing as prayer with others. No prayer meetings. This is nonsense to in the practice of Jesus the end of the early Christians refutes it actually these verses are concerned with the tendency that all men have to pray to themselves and other persons rather than to God. They teach that prayer must always be made to God that as a consequence, it must be made in the knowledge that God is always more ready to answer than we are to pray to him. Let me make this the first great principal of crew prayer true prayer is prayer that is offered to God, our heavenly father is someone going to say I know.

But isn't that obvious all prayers offered to God and the answer is no. All prayers are not offered to God. In fact, I would be willing to argue that not one prayer in 100 is really offered to God, our heavenly father you say all I think I know what you mean you're referring to the prayers of the heathen. Those that are offered to idols will partially but there are other prayers that are not offered to God.

Also, you say all you must mean prayers to the saints. Well, yes that too. But not only that, I believe that not one prayer in 100 of those who fill our churches on a Sunday morning is actually made to Almighty God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are made to man or to the praying one himself, and that includes the prayers of the preachers as well as those of the members of the congregation. Years ago, a minister from New England described in ordinate and elaborate prayer offered in a fashionable Boston churches. Most eloquent prayer ever offered to a Boston audience is was very perceptive because he meant that the prayer was much more concerned with impressing the preacher himself and his listeners then with approaching God do your prayers bring you into the presence of God are they make you like the Boston preacher is the true but often breath most of the time when you pray you're really thinking for more of your friends your busy schedule or what you're asking for than you are of the great God, with whom you are speaking and of whom you are asking it. Dr. Ruben, a Tory, the great Bible teacher and evangelists used to say correctly that we should never utter one syllable of prayer, either in public or in private until we are definitely conscious that we have come into the presence of God and are actually praying to him.

Listen to Dr. Tory's own description of how he learned this principle.

He writes I can remember when that thought transformed my prayer life.

I was brought up pray I was taught to pray so early in life that I have not the slightest recollection of who taught me to pray. Nevertheless prayer was largely a mere matter of form with little real thought of God and no real approach to God even after I was converted. Yes, even after I had entered the ministry prayer was largely a matter of form they came Tory rights when I realize what real prayer meant realize that prayer was having an audience with God actually coming into the presence of God and asking and getting things from them the realization of that fact transformed my prayer life. Before that prayer had been a mere duty. Sometimes a very irksome duty but from that time on prayer has been not merely duty but the privilege one of the most highly esteemed privileges of life. Before that the thought I had was how much time must I spend in prayer thought that now possesses me is how much time may I spend in prayer without neglecting the other privileges and duties of life have you learned that lesson or are you still like so many Christians who do not really know what it is to pray to God. I believe that the psychiatrists are entirely right when they say that much of our prayer is mere wish fulfillment.

As we often pray merely by reciting things that we would like to see happen. Instead of this Jesus taught that we are to pray. Only when we are conscious of being in God's presence and are truly communing with him hello question arises. At this point, for if it's true, as we said that prayer is communing with God. The question naturally comes up about the means of access to him. How can a sinful human being approach of God, who is holy, is it even possible and if it is possible. What does it mean in terms of the way that you and I can approach them. The answer to this question brings us to the second great principal of true prayer.

True prayer is prayer offered to God the father on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ, his son, the author of the book of Hebrews puts it like this. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiness by the one of Jesus. Let us draw near with a cool heart in full assurance of faith. Jesus taught the same thing when he said I am the way the truth and the life no man cometh unto the father but by me.

What does this mean it means that if we were to approach God as we are apart from Jesus Christ, God would have to turn from us. God is holy verse from Hebrews says holiness and he must turn from all that is unholy and imperfect.

If he is to be true to his word and true to his nature. If it were not for Jesus Christ. God would have had to turn a deaf ear to every prayer ever offered by any human being.

However, he also tells us that anyone can be purified in his sight through faith. Faith in the death of Jesus Christ and that in this state. He may come in fact, he is even urged to come.

This means of course that prayer is for believers only.

It's not for the heathen, not for the atheist does not for the good man who nevertheless regards, Jesus is nothing more than a man is an example prayer is for Christians, and it is for Christians exclusively. The best man or woman in this world is unable to come in the presence of God on the basis of any merit of his own cannot receive anything from God on the grounds of his own goodness and yet on the ground of the shed blood of Jesus Christ worst sinner who ever walked on the face of this earth, but was turned from his sin and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior can calm any day of the year at any hour of the day or night with boldness he can speak audible warning of his heart and get from God what he asks isn't that wonderful. In fact, it's doubly wonderful because it is possible only on the basis of the death of Lord Jesus Christ must true prayer is prayer to God the father through the Lord Jesus Christ prayer is also one thing more.

It's prayer to God the father is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

But it is also in the Holy Spirit is the third great principle of prayer.

That's why Ephesians 218 says of the Jews and Gentiles for through him that is through Jesus Christ. We both may have access by one Spirit under the father you see it once. Of course that this verse reinforces the truth. We have just been considering because it says prayer is to be made through the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is not the only idea in the verse also says that prayer is to be made in the Holy Spirit. What does this mean well is the work of the Holy Spirit to lead us into God's presence to point out God to us and us to make God real when we pray, perhaps I can point this up by the underlying meaning of the work access that occurs in this verse the Greek word that lies behind our English translation is processed go gay, which means literally and in production Holy Spirit introduces us to God must Holy Spirit makes God real to us, while at the same time instructing us how we should pray. Have you ever begun to pray and had the experience that God seems to be far away, and unreal to you. If you have one of two things may be wrong. First, it may be that sin or disobedience to God is hindering you. The Bible quotes David is saying if I regard iniquity in my heart.

The Lord will not hear me. That's true.

If this is the case you need to confess the sin openly. It may also be the case, however, that things are filling your binder that worries are obscuring the sense you should have of God's presence. What you do in this case you stop pray again another time.

Certainly not because it's then that you probably most need it. Instead of stopping.

You should only be still and looking to God asking him to work through his Holy Spirit to make himself real to you and to lead you into his presence. Many Christians find that their most wonderful times of prayer are those in which they start without a clear sense of God's presence, but come to it fully by praying. All of this is really an exposition only of the first parts of Jesus introduction to prayer in the sermon on the Mount. There's a second part also is the part in which Jesus teaches that God is more willing to answer our prayers than we are to pray that as a result, the Christian who prays in God's will and pray with great confidence. Jesus said when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the pagans do they think they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like under them for your father know with what things you have need of, before ye ask him. Perhaps it was these words which John Newton was thinking when he wrote, my soul by suit prepared. Jesus loves to answer prayer. He himself has been the pray.

Therefore will not say the may is a great deal involved in this, of course, because it certainly does not mean that God will grant any stupid thing we ask for God is willing, but if we are to receive the things we ask for. We must have a knowledge of God's will and God's ways.

These are given to us only through Scripture. I've already referred to Dr. Rubin, a Tory once in this study, but I like to do so once more by referring to a story from his writings during his first pastorate was a woman who attended his church often but was not a member when he asked her about this fact. She replied that she was not a member simply because she did not believe the Bible. Tory said why do you not believe the Bible, she answered, because I've tried its promises and I found them untrue. Tory asked her to give one promise that she had found to be untrue. She said the promise that says that whatever things you desire when you pray, believing, you shall receive them, and you shall have them. Once my husband was very ill. I prayed for his recovery and I fully believe that God would heal him, but he died. Isn't it true that this promise failed Tory said no not at all, but doesn't it say that you shall receive whatever you ask for. If you believe it.

Tory agreed that it's that something like that. But he said, you first have to ask yourself if you are one of the keys. Why, she said, as the main to every professing Christian Tory said certainly not God defines very clearly in his word just to whom is promises to answer prayer made. She said it does when she asked to see it. He then took her to this last verse we been studying whatever things we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight prayer is that God answers are made by those believers in Jesus Christ to keep his commandments and do those things that please him. Tory said those of these you keep his commandments. I believe that there are thousands of Christian men and women just like this woman are you one of the Yi's are you one who knows God's word, who seeks to keep his commandments, and who tries to please him. If you are then you may pray with great confidence to God the father through the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit and now our father, we thank you for the privilege of access to your presence, that we have it any hour of the day or night and it any day of the year, teach us to avail ourselves of prayer more often. Teach us to pray and give us great confidence through Jesus Christ. For we pray to you in his name and in the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Listening to the Bible's teaching.

The teaching of Dr. James boys most Christians put fences around their prayers in order to save face of it seems those prayers go unanswered.

Many offer prayers without any thought that those requests might actually be acknowledged and are astonished when the answer comes. Find out more about prayer in today's free offer entitled how to pray. By the late Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse.

This free CD offers our way of saying thanks give us a call that 100-488-1888 will be sure to send you a copy of how to pray. That number again is 1-800-488-1888 as a listener supported ministry. We so appreciate your financial gifts and even though it may sometimes go on said we especially covet your prayers for the Bible study our you can make a donation you can also call us directly to that 1-800-488-1888. Our postal address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601 in Canada. You can reach the Bible study our that PO Box 24097 RPO Josephine North Bay, ON P1B 0C7. Again, thank you for your support. How has the Bible study our impacted your life are you more confident in your personal ministry is Dr. Boyce's teaching inspired a fresh appreciation for God's word. Be sure to tell a friend about that and then tell us our entire staff is eager to hear your story when you call or write our email address is by Mark Daniels to his disciples. It was both an intimate moment in a shocking revelation when Jesus addressed the King of the universe as daddy.

It was within Jesus response to the disciples simple request for the master to teach them how to pray. Join Dr. James boys next time on the Bible study our as he continues his study of Jesus discourse in the gallery about how his followers are to address their heavenly father is next time on the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime