Prayer


Prayer

We believe that we should be continually devoting ourselves “to prayer” (Acts 2:42). We are to lift our voices to the Lord in praise, worship, thanksgiving, confession, intercession, and supplication for our needs and the needs of others (Acts 2:42; Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2). We should pray together as a church (Acts 1:14; 4:31). We should pray as individuals. “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).

We apply these doctrines as follows

Conditions and Promises of Prayer

Sinful conduct can hinder our prayers (1 Peter 3:7). “For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12). Before praying, we must confess and forsake any known sin. The Lord promised Israel, If “My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

We must pray with proper motives (James 4:3). We must pray according to God’s will. “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (John 5:14,15). We must pray believing that God hears and answers prayers. “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

The Lord has told us to make our requests known to God (James 4:2). “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7,8). At the same time, we must yield to God’s will, knowing that sometimes His will is not our own. The Lord Jesus is our perfect example in this, who prayed in the Garden, “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42).

When God delays an answer to prayer, we are to be persistent (Luke 11:5-8). We are to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We are to pray at all times and not lose heart (Luke 18:1-8).

Our normal manner of prayer should be through Christ in the Spirit to the Father (Romans 8:26,27; Ephesians 2:18). The Lord taught His disciples to pray, “Father, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation (Luke 11:2-4). We also find prayer directly to Jesus in Scripture (Acts 7:59).

We are to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus. He promised, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

We must also pray in faith (James 1:6-8). “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive” (Matthew 21:22). Since we have a great high priest, we can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). He is the one who has promised, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). And again: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full” (John 16:23-24).

Corporate Prayer

The early church “with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14). The results were apparent. On one occasion, “when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).

So too today, the church should gather for prayer. The Lord has promised, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst” (Matthew 18:19,20). Scripture instructs that the men are to lead the saints in prayer. Paul writes, “I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (1 Timothy 2:8).