Tag Archives: theology



First of all just let me say that it has been an honor this last year and a half to come into your home via the social media.My prayer is simply that your life has been enriched by these postings.That your walk with the Lord has been challenged and your walk with the Lord is much sweeter. My prayer is also that your knowledge of scripture is perhaps sharper than before. Always remember beloved; “That my people are destroyed because of lack of Knowledge” Hosea 4:6

Due to circumstances beyond our control we feel it’s time to move forward in a new direction. Our ministry position has changed as of last week and my family and I will need to relocate wherever the Lord leads. If you could keep us in your prayers, it would be so greatly appreciated. So once again, let me say “THANK YOU SO MUCH” for the opportunity to come into your lives and homes with the message of the Lord Jesus Christ. To God Be The Glory!!!


Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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                                   Help My Unbelief!

By Wayne Jackson

It is an episode fraught with mystery; one about which we wish we knew more. A man brought his son, who was possessed of a demon, to the Lord’s disciples. He wanted the Master’s men to cast out the evil spirit, but they could not. Jesus pinpointed the problem; the disciples’ faith was lacking (Mark 9:17-19; cf. Matthew 17:20). Accordingly, the lad was brought directly to the Savior himself. As they came near, the malignant force threw the child into a convulsion, and the boy fell to the ground, foaming at the mouth.
The father subsequently informed Christ that this had been going on for a long time, and the lad had suffered much damage. The gentleman then said to Jesus: “If you can do anything, help us.” Note carefully that “if” (Mark 9:22). The Savior then said, with something of a rebuke, “If you can!” The meaning obviously is: “What do you mean, if I can? All things are possible to him who believes.”
There are two points to be noticed here. First, the Master was saying this to the father: “The issue is not my power; it is your faith!” The man obviously had some faith in Christ or he would not have approached the Lord. On the other hand, his trust was not at the level it needed to be. He still had some doubts. Perhaps he was growing; but the fact is, he was struggling.
Second, the Lord’s affirmation that “all things are possible to him who believes” is limited by the context. The Lord was not asserting that one can do anything he believes he can do. You may be led to believe that you can spread your arms and fly off the Golden Gate Bridge, but regardless of what you believe, you’ll fall straight into the bay. Here is a point that must be understood. The supernatural works that were possible during the ministry of Jesus are not possible today, inasmuch as God himself has removed miraculous phenomena from the church (see Miracles).
In response to Jesus’ challenge, the father cried out, with the sort of agony that only a parent could know: “I believe; help my unbelief” (9:24). What a strange statement. Does it not contain what appears to be a contradiction? “I believe; help my unbelief.” Jesus did not so view the matter; rather, he immediately rebuked the unclean spirit and commanded it to leave the boy—never to enter him again (9:25).
The spiritual confusion of this father is so typical of the intellectual and emotional turmoil that can plague any of us at a given moment in our lives. No one is characterized by a “red-hot” faith around the clock.
We know there is a God who made us. The evidence is so utterly overwhelming that only a foolish person can deny it (Psalm 14:1; cf. Romans 1:20-23). Furthermore, intellectually we know that our Heavenly Father cares for us. The historical fact which demonstrates that he gave his precious Son for us is ample evidence of his boundless love. Nobody can argue that God doesn’t care—in the face of the cross! “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
Be that as it may, sometimes, when we are hurting so badly (and pain can generate confusion), our hearts may overpower our heads. By that we mean this: our agony forces clear logic to the side, and we begin to “think” with our feelings. We still believe, but we are angry. We feel neglected; we don’t understand why the Lord doesn’t rush to our beckon call. Sometimes we pout. We refuse to talk to him (i.e., we don’t pray). We think we will punish him by refusing to assemble with other Christians for worship. We may even say harsh and thoughtless things to him, almost literally shaking our fist in his face.
At times like these we need to get hold of ourselves and give ourselves a good shaking. We need to cry out, “Lord, help my unbelief!” We need to ask for his patience. We need to weep before him. We ought to analyze our situation and attempt to determine if we have contributed to our own problems; and if so, is there anything we can do to help remedy the circumstance. What we absolutely must not do is give in to our frustration. Once we cease struggling with our faith, and let it slide, we are headed down a slippery slope that may lead to eternal ruin. What a horrible thought to contemplate. Lord, I believe; but help me in my times of unbelief!
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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                   Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

You may be familiar with the story in which the title for today’s article was spoken, and probably just as familiar with its popular usage today. In the Bible story, Cain had killed his brother Abel and God said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” (Genesis 4:9). Cain’s reply was this familiar statement and question: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:10). If the cold-hearted attitude of Cain was not already evident by the murder he had committed, it was surely manifested in his reply to God! As the question is used today, it is usually used as a reply to someone who has asked about the condition or situation of someone else, and is meant to imply that the respondent has no responsibility towards the one in question [who may literally be a brother, or at least a brother in Christ]. And when it is used, there is an underlying resentment that someone would even think we had any responsibility towards this one.

When Cain uttered those now-familiar words, he demonstrated the ultimate in apathy, basically saying, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” It is no different today when disciples of Jesus Christ have this same attitude towards their own brethren! Surely we cannot imagine Jesus ever uttering these words, right? Did Jesus ever demonstrate a lack of concern for others — no matter what their condition or how they got there? If anything, we see Jesus welcomed the potential interaction with — and welcomed an opportunity to care for — others. At no time do we see Jesus turning people away because He simply did not care for them and their condition. Never did He say, “That’s not my responsibility.”

Within the religious world, there are some who see their faith as theirs alone and one that does not seem to actually involve contact or any sort of interaction with others; they are cold and apathetic towards others, and even in cases where they could easily help out a brother or sister in need, all they can see is the other person’s individual responsibility for his own situation and, thus, his personal responsibility to correct it or solve whatever problems have resulted. In so doing, those who refuse to act fail to see their own personal responsibility for helping him! The difficult part in this is getting them to see that the very thing they are demanding of others is being ignored by self! While they coldly demand that the one who ‘got himself into trouble’ somehow extract himself from the situation, the cold-hearted one fails to remember that Jesus has commanded us to help those in need and give without expecting anything in return (cf. Matthew 5:40-42), and has forgotten the rhetorical question of the apostle John, who asked, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (I John 3:17). The answer to that rhetorical question should be obvious: it does not! And in both of these texts, it should be clear that when others are in need, we all have an individual responsibility to help them.


Let us note that those passages are also unqualified commands and statements. Jesus did not say we should give our cloak if we think they are worthy, or only if their previous coat was not lost because of their own carelessness, or only if they have tried to get a job to earn money to buy their own cloak; John was not implying that we should help our brother in need only if we think they deserve it, or only if their need did not come because of poor choices, or only if they have gone to government agencies first. God expects us to help others in the same way He has helped us: with grace and mercy — and towards all men.


Think about that for just a minute: Where would we be if God helped us in the same manner some brethren ‘help’ others? Can you imagine God looking at man’s spiritual condition and saying to Himself, “Now why should I help them? They got themselves into that situation on their own — they can get themselves out of it!”? And if we sinned more than once after we obeyed the gospel, He would sternly chastise us and set tougher restrictions and higher demands before He would act to forgive us next time. He might even simply refuse after so many times, angry because we keep getting into trouble and He has to keep getting us out. Doesn’t it sound ridiculous when we apply human actions to God? It should!


Though the Scriptures are plain about our responsibility toward our brethren, some brethren approach their needy brethren with an attitude that our faith should follow the ‘American spirit of rugged individualism’ that preaches a message of stubborn self-reliance and a refusal to accept help or charity from others unless they have lost both arms and at least one leg. Those who live with this attitude are not content to personally live this way, but steadfastly believe everyone else should, too; so when someone is in need, the first thought that comes to mind is, ‘He got himself into that mess, and he needs to get himself out of it!’ Help is offered only begrudgingly, and even that is often a bare minimum of help that is offered. Often, too, it is a matter of seeking to place blame first and finding solutions later. Surely we can do better than this!


What is missing in those who act so parsimoniously with their help is evident: compassion. Maybe it is the brother who grew up and was what many call ‘a self-made man’; because he had a good home life and because he was successful in much of what he has done, he believes that everyone else should have the same successes he had and should have made the same wise choices he did; maybe it is the sister who has a good husband and family who believes the woman who is in a struggling marriage is somehow at fault because her husband has become worldly and is about to leave her for another woman; maybe it is the older woman who has raised godly children who looks contemptuously at the young parents who are struggling to keep the world out of their children and their children out of the world — and are losing. In each of these cases, what is needed is compassion and concern — not a reprimand.


A couple comes to you, telling you they have marital problems; how do you respond? A mother comes to you who is afraid she has lost her daughter to the world; how do you respond? A man comes to you telling you he has a problem with gambling or alcohol or pornography; how do you respond? A brother or sister comes to you in need of some temporary financial support; how do you respond? In each of these cases, do you say ‘It’s not my responsibility’ or do you show compassion? Yes [of course], spiritual guidance and Scripture should be given, but let us not be so keen on pointing out past errors and the corrective texts that we forget compassion and mercy. That was a major fault of the Pharisees (cf. Matthew 23:4, 14, 23).

In all cases where God gave His people instruction as to how they were to treat or respond to those in need, there was nothing stated about finding out how they came to be in need; that is not the point! Yes, some brethren will make bad choices and end up in financial need; they still need our help. Yes, some brethren will make bad choices and put themselves in spiritual danger because of unlawful marriages; they still need our help. And, yes, sometimes, parents will not train their children as they should and they will suffer the inevitable consequences later; they still need our help.

Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, I am. And so are you. Knowing this, let us resolve to be less judgmental or apathetic towards our own brethren — even in times when we think they are undeserving of our time or resources. None of us deserved the spiritual help God gave us, yet He was willing to give His Son for us.

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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


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                What a Christian has to Show for His Life



1. Most everyone at some point reflects upon his mortality, Psa. 90:10 (Eccl. 12:1-8).
2. “What have I accomplished?” What do I have to show for my life?” “What will I leave to others?” Lk. 12:15-21; Matt. 6:19-21; 16:26
3. Christians can/should have a different outlook on life, Phil. 1:19-24.
4. What a Christian has to show for his life:
I. FAITH, Heb. 11:1, 6; 2 Cor. 5:7.
A. Faith that Holds Jesus as Lord, Jno. 8:24.
1. Sovereign Ruler of the world – Therefore, of my life, Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17.
2. When we live in harmony with His will we have a meaningful, accomplished, fulfilled life!
B. Faith in God’s Word and Power, Heb. 13:5-6.
1. Content with life’s lot, placing faith in God’s presence and promise!
2. Contentment is not complacency; it is attitude of sufficiency free of covetousness. Phil. 4:11-13
C. Faith that Produces Conversion.
1. Some faith does not, Jno. 12:42-43.
2. Faith that justifies, Rom. 5:1.
3. Faith that continually converts/trans­forms the soul and life is it learns and grows, Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24.
D. Wherever You Go, Leave Faith in the World, Lk. 18:8; 2 Tim. 1:5.
-The legacy of faith is not one day, but a lifetime (2 Tim. 4:7).
A. From God for Our Past Sins, Acts 3:19; 1 Jno. 2:12.
1. Sins of our youth, Psa. 25:7 (6-11).
2. Sins of our ignorance and injury, 1 Tim. 1:12-15.
3. Become a Christian through preaching Jesus, Acts 13:38; 26:18.
B. From God for Our Present Sins, Acts 8:22; 1 Jno. 1:8-2:2.
C. Forgive Others when they Sin Against Us, Matt. 5:7 (6:12).
1. Christians ought to be the most merciful people on earth.
2. Tragically, can be the most vindictive and accusing toward others.
3. Carry forgiveness with you wherever you go and your load will be lighter, Rom. 12:17-21.
D. Leave Forgiveness in this World, Lk. 6:36-38 (Acts 7:60).
1. By accepting God’s forgiveness in Christ you are forgiven and you are showing others how they can be forgiven.
2. As you forgive you teach others to forgive.
III. FUTURE, Jas. 1:15.
-Millions if not billions live with no expectations for the future; meaningless, futile lives without hope.
A. The Christian’s Future Holds the Prospect of Spiritual Growth and Maturity, Phil. 3:11-14.
1. We must set the daily goal of spiritual growth to achieve it.
2. Forget the past (do not be deterred by its failures) and stretch forward to future successes and rewards.
B. Christians Trust in Our Living Hope, Heb. 6:18-19.
1. Faith, forgiveness and future, 1 Pet. 1:3-4.
2. We do not faint like those of the world; our future is bright, 2 Cor. 4:16-18.
a. Heavenly home with Jesus, Jno. 14:1-3.
b. Crown of righteousness, 2 Tim. 4:7-8.
C. Christians Leave this Future to:
1. Our children, Psa. 78:4-7 (2 Tim. 1:5).
2. Our brethren, Josh. 23:14; 24:15.
3. The lost, Mk. 16:15-16.


1. The Christian has faith, forgiveness and a future unmatched by anything the world has to offer.
2. The Christian need not fret over his mortality. Indeed, the Christian longs for the day when mortality ends and immortality begins! Phil. 1:21-24
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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                    DECEIVING OURSELVES (2)



1. We are under Christ’s warning to not be deceived & devoured by sin – 1 Pet. 5:8-9.
2. Part 1 studied various sources of deception we must know & avoid.
3. Among the most tragic & dangerous deceptions we must know & avoid is when we deceive ourselves.
a. “No man was ever so much deceived by another as by himself.” (Greville)
b. “To be deceived by our enemies or betrayed by our friends in insupportable; yet by ourselves we are often content to be so treated.” (Francois, Duc De La Rochefoucauld)
4. It is extremely difficult to overcome, demanding honest & thorough examination of one’s own heart & life – 2 Cor. 13:5.
5. We deceive ourselves…
A. The Problem Of Pride – Prov. 3:5-7; 26:12; Isa. 5:21 (Rom. 12:3, 16).
1. Must distinguish between opinion & truth.
2. “Everyone is entitled to my opinion!”
B. Trusting That We Know Better Than God – cf. Jer. 37:9-10.
1. Man’s profession of wisdom shows his ignorance – Rom. 1:21-23.
2. One must become “foolish” (humbly recognize his limitations) to be wise (approved by God) – 1 Cor. 3:18.
3. True of one’s religious life, too! – Jer. 10:23; Prov. 16:25.
A. Only Those Who Do God’s Will Are Saved – Matt. 7:21-27.
1. Yes, we must hear the word of God to be saved – Lk. 8:12.
2. But we must also obey the gospel we hear! – Lk. 6:46; Heb. 5:9
a. “Faith only” will not save (Jas. 2:24).
b. “Direct operation of HS” will not save (Acts 10:47-48).
c. Just living a “good, moral life” will not save (Acts 11:14).
d. Not living a faithful Christian life will not save (Rom. 12:1-2; Lk. 6:46).
B. If We Think Obedience Is A Burden, We Are Deceiving Ourselves! – 1 Jno. 5:3; 2:5.
1. Is it a burden to worship God? – cf. Mal. 1:12-14
2. Is it a burden to put God first? – cf. Neh. 13:15-17
III. BY SAYING WE HAVE NO SIN – 1 Jno. 1:8 (Rom. 3:23).
A. When We Say That “Sin Is Not Really Sin.” (redefine sin – disease, different lifestyle, man’s opinion, etc.)
B. When We Live As If “Ignorance Is Bliss” – Lk. 12:48.
C. When We Think We Can Sin & Get By With It – Gal. 6:7-8; Deut. 29:19-20.
A. We Need To Keep A Humble Heart About The Power Of Sin’s Temptations – cf. Col. 3:12; Rom. 12:16.
1. “How could anyone ever do that?!” “I would never commit that sin!” (Pride is a deceiver! – Obadiah 3)
2. Shows that we have under-estimated the strength of sin & over-estimated our ability to resist temptation!
B. When We Become Over-Confident In Our Spiritual Strength, We Are Ready To Fall – 1 Cor. 10:12; Mk. 14:27-31.
A. Worshippers Of God Deceive Themselves This Way – Jas. 1:16.
-James has already shown Christians that hearing w/o doing is of no profit, now he shows that doing w/o controlling one’s tongue makes one’s worship vain!
B. Misuse Of The Tongue Is A Widespread Problem Among Us! – Jas. 3:2-8
1. False teaching – Jas. 3:1.
2. Expressions of bitterness & malice – Jas. 3:10 (Eph. 4:31).
3. Profanity – Eph. 5:29.
4. Gossip – “rumor or report of an intimate nature…a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others.” (Merriam-Webster) – Prov. 20:19
5. Backbiting – secret speech intended to belittle, defame & destroy – Prov. 16:28.
6. Jas. 3:10 – Be warned! These things should not happen!


1. We are all targets of Satan, the great deceiver (Rev. 12:9).
2. We must be strong in the strength of the Lord to not deceive ourselves! – Eph. 6:10
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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                            DO NOT BE DECEIVED (1)



1. Deceive: “to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid”…”synonyms beguile, mislead, delude.” (Merriam-Webster)
a. Deceive – implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness <tried to deceive me about the cost>.
b. Beguile – mean to lead astray or frustrate usually by underhandedness; it “stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving <was beguiled by false promises>.”
c. Mislead – implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional <I was misled by the confusing sign>.
d. Delude – implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth <we were deluded into thinking we were safe>.
2. There is a clear contrast & choice before us – 2 Tim. 3:12-17.
3. God repeatedly warns us! Do not be deceived by…
I. SIN – Heb. 3:13; Rom. 7:11; Jas. 1:12-16.
A. That It Satisfies Our Desires (Lusts) – Titus 3:3.
B. That It Gives Us Lasting Pleasure – Heb. 11:25.
C. That It Brings No Eternal Consequences – 1 Cor. 6:9-10 (Rom. 6:23).
D. That It Is Not Seen & Punished By God – Gal. 6:7-8.
II. THE ERROR OF FALSE TEACHERS – Matt. 24:3-5 (11, 24-25); 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 1 Jno. 2:26.
-“We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.” (Samuel Johnson)
A. That Their Teaching Conforms To The Faith – 1 Tim. 4:1.
B. That Their Teaching Comes From Christ (apostles) – 2 Ths. 2:1-3
C. That Nobody Can Be Sure About All Truth – cf. 1 Jno. 3:7 (Jno. 16:13; Jno. 8:32).
D. That They (teachers of error) Are Not Deceivers – 2 Jno. 7-10; 2 Cor. 11:3-4.
A. Persuasive Words – Col. 2:4 (2-3 – void of divine wisdom & knowledge).
B. Empty Words – Eph. 5:6. (fruitless: don’t be left “empty-handed”).
C. Smooth Words – Rom. 16:17-18 (“good” words & polished speech).
-Testimonials, visions, experiences, emotionalism – Col. 3:17.
A. Where We Live (people we live around – cf. Lot, 2 Pet. 2:7-8).
B. Where We Work – cf. Titus 2:9-10 (Col. 3:22-23).
C. Where We Play – cf. 1 Pet. 4:2-3.


1. Jesus warned us: “Take heed, that no one deceives you.” (Matt. 24:4).
2. We must heed His warning!
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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                On What Are You Building Your Life?


1. Prov. 4:7 (5-9) – Wisdom is the principle thing.
2. Jas. 3:13-18: Two choices: Wisdom from above is shown through its (our) good works (Earthly wisdom seen by its works, too).
3. Matt. 7:24-27 – A simple contrast between wisdom & foolishness that applies to everyone’s life. We are all building our lives on some sort of foundation that carries with it eternal consequences.
-(This person hears but does not obey Jesus – cf. Jas. 4:17; Lk. 8:14)
-Some reasons for (ways of) not obeying Jesus’ words:
A. Rebellion – 1 Sam. 15:22-23.
1. By changing Christ’s words – 15:22; cf. 15:3, 9; Gal. 1:6-7.
a. Call evil good & good evil (Isa. 5:20).
b. When God’s commands of morality, true worship, godliness, etc. are changed in favor of human wisdom, rebellion occurs!
2. Disobedience is rejection of God’s word – 15:23; 13:13-14.
3. Today: Become a Christian; Separate from world; Treat spouse properly; Neighbor; children…….Are you rebelling?
B. Ignorance (cf. Eph. 5:17).
1. Leads to:
a. Error – Matt. 22:29.
b. Alienation from God – Eph. 4:18.
c. Sinful lusts – 1 Pet. 1:14.
2. No excuse for sin – Lev. 5:17. -Doesn’t remove the guilt of sin
3. Can be remedied – Acts 3:17, 19 – Repent & be converted!
-Study – learn – live
C. Apathy.
1. Spiritual indifference is punished – Zeph. 1:12; Matt. 24:48-51.
2. Serve the Lord with diligence – Rom. 12:11; Gal. 6:9.
3. Characteristic of one who hears but doesn’t obey Jesus’ words!
D. Ritualism.
1. Lip service – Matt 15:6-9 — Hypocrisy.
2. Hated by God – Amos 5:21-24.
E. Feelings.
1. Deceptive, yet comforting – Prov. 28:26 (14:12).
2. Feelings can interfere with righteousness – cf. Jas. 1:19-20.
3. Cf. Saul – Acts 26:9-11 (23:1; 24:16).
A. The Rock of Obedience (Two Parts):
1. Hear the words of Christ – Lk. 8:8, 18 (Matt. 13:16, 23).
{Rom. 10:17; Jno. 6:44-45; Acts 17:11-12}
2. Do the words of Christ – Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:9.
-Obedience is faith & love at work – 1 Jno. 5:1-4.


1. Prov. 10:25; 12:7 – The house of the righteous shall stand (cf. Rom. 1:16-17).
2. Jas. 3:13 – Are you building your life upon the sand or the rock?
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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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How Must We Pray So God Will Answer?
How should we pray so God will answer? What conditions must prayer meet? When, where, and how often should we pray? What power does prayer have?
Does God really answer prayer? If so, why are prayers sometimes not answered? What should we pray about: praise, thanks, petition, worship, requests, intercession for others? When and how often should we pray? What conditions must we meet for our prayers to be heard and answered? What power does prayer have?
In Luke 11:1 Jesus’ disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Christians today also need to learn to pray.
The purpose of this study is to help Christians improve in prayer. People who are new in the faith may have never studied about how to pray. Some members do not pray properly so their prayers are not even answered. All of us can improve in this aspect of worship.
We need to learn what to pray about. Should we make requests, be thankful, offer praise, intercede on behalf of others, offer petition? And what power does prayer have? Does God really answer prayer? If so, how should we pray and what conditions must prayer meet in order for God to hear and answer? These and other questions will be considered in this study.
What is prayer? Note Acts 4:24,31. Prayer is simply man talking to God, expressing his thoughts to God (Rom. 10:1; Matt. 6:9ff). Hence, it is a form of communication similar in may ways to simply talking to our earthly father, except that we must remember whom we are addressing and must meet conditions of acceptable prayer.
I. What Should We Pray About?
What should we include in our prayers? Some cannot seem to think of much to say. Others say things that are inappropriate or even unscriptural. Some just repeat memorized phrases they have heard others pray.
Let us examine Bible examples of prayer. What did God’s people in the Scriptures talk about in prayer? How do our prayers compare? Can we improve our prayers by considering what Bible characters prayed about?
A. We Should Praise God’s Character and Work.
Bible prayers quite commonly included many descriptions of the glory and greatness of God. Jesus began the model prayer by praising God’s name (Matt. 6:9). Many psalms are filled with praise (note Psalm 86:5-12).
From the passages below, consider some particular qualities or works of God that were praised in prayer. How do our prayers compare? Do we praise God like this?
* God’s authority and Lordship – He is the true God, in contrast to idols – 1 Chronicles 29:10-13. [Psalm 86:8-10; Neh. 9:4-6; 1 Kings 8:23; 2 Kings 19:15; Matt. 6:13; Rev 11:17; 2 Sam. 7:22]
* God’s power – 1 Chronicles 29:11,12. [Jer. 32:16-23; Eph. 1:16-19; Job 42:1,2; Neh. 9:4-38; Dan. 2:20-23]
* God’s holiness, goodness, and righteousness – Psalm 86:5-12 (note v5). [Psalm 143:1-12; 1 Sam. 2:2]
* God’s mercy, grace, kindness, and willingness to forgive – God has provided redemption and salvation for His people, especially sending Jesus as our Savior – Psalm 86:5. [Col. 1:12-14; 2 Sam. 7:23; Neh. 9:4-38; Luke 2:37,38; 1 Kings 8:23; Ezra 9:8,9; Psalm 17:7]
* God’s wisdom and knowledge – Jeremiah 32:16-23 (note v19). [Dan. 2:20-23; 1 Sam. 2:3]
* God’s justice – God cares for His people and rewards them but punishes the wicked – Jeremiah 32:19,23. [1 Sam. 2:6-10; Gen. 18:25; Psalm 90:7-11]
* God’s eternal existence – Psalm 90:1-4. [Psalm 102:1,12,24-27]
* God’s faithfulness to His word – Nehemiah 9:4-8. [Neh. 1:5; 1 Kings 8:23-30; Dan. 9:4; Psalm 143:1]
* God’s work as Creator and Source of life – Nehemiah 9:4-6. [Jer. 32:17; Psalm 90:2; 102:1,24,25; 2 Kings 19:15; Acts 4:24; 1 Sam. 2:6]
We could never list here all the great qualities and works for which God deserves our praise. Yet surely we ought to praise God in prayer, so we should meditate about why He deserves our praise. Instead of just thinking of more things for God to give us, do we need greater emphasis on describing His greatness?
B. We Should Pray on Behalf of Others.
1 Timothy 2:1,2 says to offer prayer, supplication, intercession, and giving of thanks on behalf of all men. Yet we sometimes neglect to pray for others because we concentrate so much on our own interests.
How often do we think to pray for others, whether or not they request our prayers? Bible prayers are filled with requests and thanksgiving for people other than the one offering the prayer. Consider some groups of people for whom we should pray:
* Rulers – 1 Timothy 2:1,2. [Ezra 6:10; 1 Chron. 29:19]
* Children and family members – our spouse, relatives, etc. – 1 Chron. 29:19. [Matthew 19:13-15; Gen. 25:21,22; 24:12-14; 18:23-33; 1 Sam. 1:10-12; 2 Sam. 12:15,16; Luke 1:13]
* Lost sinners – Romans 10:1-3. Remember, however, that these people must meet the gospel conditions of salvation in order to be forgiven. [Matt. 9:36-38; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60]
* Enemies and persecutors – Luke 6:27,28. [Acts 7:60; Luke 23:34]
* People sick and suffering – 3 John 2. [James 5:16; Num. 11:2; 2 Sam. 12:15,16; Gen. 20:17,18]
* Elders, deacons, preachers, and teachers – Ephesians 6:18-20. [Col. 4:3,4; Acts 4:25-29; 6:6; 14:23; 13:3; 1 Thess. 5:25; Matt. 9:36-38; 2 Thess. 3:1,2; Heb. 13:18]
* All Christians – Ephesians 6:18. [James 5:16]
The Bible contains multitudes of examples in which men of God interceded on behalf of God’s people. Here are just a few of them:
Moses [Num. 11:2; 21:7; 14:13-20; Deut. 9:18-20,25-29; Ex. 32:9-14,31,32].
Samuel [1 Sam. 7:5-11; 12:19-25].
Solomon [1 Kings 8:22-54].
Ezra [Ezra 9:1-15].
Nehemiah [Neh. 1:4-11].
Daniel [Dan. 9:3-20].
Jesus – Luke 22:31,32 (for Peter); John 17:9-22 (for all believers). [Luke 23:34]
Peter – Acts 8:24 (for Simon)
Epaphras [Col. 4:12]
Paul – Col. 1:3,9-14 [Rom. 1:9-12; Eph. 1:15-19; Phil. 1:3-11; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:11,12; 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:3]
Note that most examples were prayers, not just for God’s people in general, but for specific individuals or congregations. Do we show this personal concern for others in our prayers?
Furthermore notice that Paul openly told people he was praying for them. If we would do this, it would motivate us to be more diligent to pray for others, but it would also give Christians a greater sense of love and appreciation for one another.
C. We Should Make Requests and Give Thanks.
We should pray for the things we truly need, however some people forget to thank God for what they have received. Their prayers consist almost entirely of asking for more. God is a generous God, willing to give what we need. But He also expects appreciation for what He gives.
Passages teaching we can request what we need:
Philippians 4:6,7 – Instead of worrying, let your requests be made known to God. “Supplication” refers to requests for needs to be “supplied.”
Matthew 7:7-11 – God is like a loving father who gives what his children need. If we ask, we will receive.
1 Peter 5:7 – Cast your cares on God because He cares for you.
James 4:2,3 – Sometimes we do not receive because we do not ask. On the other hand, God will not answer selfish requests for things we do not need.
1 John 5:14,15 – If we ask according to God’s will, we receive our petitions.
[Cf. 1 John 3:21,22; John 14:13,14; 15:7,16; 16:23,24,26]
Passages teaching we should also give thanks for our blessings:
Philippians 4:6,7 – Our requests should be made known with thanksgiving.
1 Timothy 2:1 – Prayers for others should include thanksgiving.
Ephesians 5:20 – Give thanks to the Father always for all things.
[1 Thess. 5:18; Col. 4:2; 2:7; 3:17]
Bible prayers generally include thanksgiving right alongside requests. God invites us to ask for what we need, but He is displeased by those who are so ungrateful as to offer no thanks when the request is granted (Luke 17:12-17).
D. Some Specific Things We Should Pray about
No one prayer or combination of prayers could mention all the possible subjects there are to pray about. But an examination of Bible prayers can teach us the kind of specific things that are commonly included in Bible prayers. We may pray about these things for ourselves or for others. We may request them and should give thanks when we receive them.
All these things are mentioned in Bible prayers:
* God’s will to be done – Matthew 6:9-13 (note v10). [Matt. 26:39]
* Necessities of life – Matthew 6:11. [Acts 27:35; Matt. 15:36; 14:19; 1 Tim. 4:3-5; Luke 24:30]
* Forgiveness of sins and deliverance from the consequences of sin – Matthew 6:12. But note that one who has not been baptized should not pray for forgiveness but be baptized – Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16. [Acts 8:22,24; James 5:16; Luke 18:13,14; Psalm 32:5-7]
* Ability to recognize and resist temptation – Matthew 6:13. [Matt. 26:41; Eph. 6:11-18; 2 Cor. 13:7; Luke 22:31,32; John 17:14-16]
* Good health and freedom from other threats to life or safety – 3 John 2; 2 Kings 20:1-7 (Hezekiah) [James 5:13-18; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; 1 Kings 8:35-53; 2 Chron. 7:13-15; Jonah 2:1-10; Psalm 50:15; 86:6,7; 32:6,7; 2 Sam. 12:15,16; Num. 11:2; Luke 21:36]
* Deliverance from enemies and persecution – Acts 12:1,5,12. [2 Thess. 3:1,2; 2 Cor. 1:8-11; Acts 4:23-31; 16:25; 1 Kings 8:33-35; 2 Kings 19:4,15-19]
* Freedom from oppression by rulers – 1 Timothy 2:1,2. [Neh. 1:11-2:5]
* Safety in travel and care for loved ones we are separated from – Acts 21:5. [Acts 20:36-38; 28:15; Ezra 8:21-23; Gen. 24:26,27; 1 Thess. 3:9-11; 2 Tim. 1:3-5; Rom. 1:10; 15:30-32; Philem. 22]
* Peace, courage, joy instead of disappointment or discouragement – Philippians 4:6,7. [1 Samuel 8:6-9; 2:1-11; Jer. 29:7; Psalm 122:6; 1 Peter 5:7; Matt. 26:36-46; Col. 1:11; 1 Thess. 3:9; 2 Sam. 7:18-29]
* Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God’s will – Psalm 119:169-172. Note that this comes today through the Scriptures, not by direct revelation. [James 1:5,6; Col. 1:9,10; Phil. 1:9,10; Psalm 86:6,11; 143:1,8,10]
* Salvation of lost sinners – Romans 10:1-3. [Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60]
* Laborers to teach the lost – Matthew 9:36-38.
* Bold, clear preaching – Ephesians 6:18-20. [Col. 4:3,4]
* Opportunities to preach and teach – Colossians 4:3 [2 Thess. 3:1]
* Support for preachers – Philippians 1:3-5.
* Choosing of elders, deacons, teachers, etc. – Acts 14:23. [Acts 6:6; 13:3]
* Jesus’ death, the Lord’s supper – Matthew 26:26-29. [1 Cor. 11:23-26]
* Baptism – Luke 3:21.
* Faithfulness, good works, a life pleasing to God – Philippians 1:3-6,9-11. [Col. 1:9-11; 4:12; John 17:9-12; 1 Thess. 3:10-13; 2 Thess. 1:11]
* Love – Philippians 1:9. [1 Thess. 3:10-12; Eph. 3:14-19]
* Strength – Colossians 1:9-11. [Eph. 3:14-19; 2 Thess. 1:11]
* Patience, long-suffering – Colossians 1:11.
* Grace and mercy – 2 Corinthians 4:15. [Psalm 4:1; 86:3-6; 1 Cor. 1:4]
* Proper speech – Psalm 141:1-3.
* Sanctification – John 17:17.
* Unity – John 17:20-23.
* Eternal life, eternal glory – John 17:24-26.
This is not a complete list, but it suggests many things we could properly pray for. Remember that these are things both to make request for and to give thanks for.
Also note how Bible prayers often concerned spiritual needs and blessings. Some people seem to view prayer like sending a “Christmas list” to Santa for all the physical things they want. Biblical prayers may concern physical needs, but mainly they reflect man’s greatest needs which are spiritual.
How do our prayers compare to Bible prayers? Are there areas where we need to improve?
II. When, Where, How Long, and How Often Should We Pray?
What are the proper circumstances for prayer? Should we pray only in church meetings or as daily routing or spontaneously as circumstances dictate? Should we pray in public or in private? What posture must we use?
A. General Admonitions about Frequency, Place, etc.
Notice these passages that generally discuss where and how often we should pray:
1 Timothy 2:8 – Men should pray “everywhere.”
Acts 2:42 – “Continue steadfastly” in prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:17,18 – Pray “without ceasing”; in everything give thanks.
Ephesians 5:20 – Give thanks “always” for all things.
[Eph. 1:16; 6:18; Col. 1:3,9; 2:7; 3:17; 4:2,12; Luke 18:1-7; Rom. 12:12; Acts 6:4; 1:14; Phil. 1:4; 4:6; 1 Cor. 1:4; 2 Thess. 1:3,11; 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13]
These verses do not mean we should pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for then we could not do the other good works God has commanded. Even Jesus and his apostles did not pray all the time (Luke 11:1).
The passages do mean that prayer should be a regular, frequent part of our daily lives, and that we should never quit or cease the practice of prayer. Further, we should live so that we are always ready to pray at any moment. We should never participate in practices such that we would be ashamed to pray to God in the midst of that activity.
B. Specific Examples of Frequency, Place, etc.
To give us a fuller understanding, consider these examples showing specifically when and where people prayed:
* In public worship assemblies – 1 Corinthians 14:15 (see the context). [1 Kings 8:22; Ezra 9:4,5ff; Neh. 9:1-5]
* In special gatherings regarding special needs – Acts 4:23ff. [Acts 12:5,12; 20:36]
* In one’s own home – Matthew 6:6. [Dan. 6:10,11; 2 Kings 20:1-3]
* Before meals – Acts 27:35. [Matt. 15:36; 14:19; Luke 24:30]
* On a mountain, in a garden, or other deserted place – Matthew 14:23. [Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12; 9:18; Acts 10:9; Matt. 26:36-46]
* In the morning – Mark 1:35 (a long time before day). [Psalm 5:3; 88:13]
* In the evening – Matthew 26:36-46. [Ezra 9:5]
* Morning, noon, and evening – Psalm 55:16,17.
* Three times a day – Daniel 6:10,11.
* For forty days and nights – Deut. 9:18,25,26.
* All night – Luke 6:12.
* Night and day – 1 Thessalonians 3:9,10. [1 Tim. 5:5; Psalm 88:1]
Note: We should pray in private but also in public worship assemblies. We should not pray to make a show before others, but we should not be ashamed to pray around others at times when we otherwise would pray (cf. Acts 27:35). We should pray habitually throughout the day but also at special times when needs arise.
Do we pray regularly like faithful people of God in the Bible?
C. Posture and Physical Conduct During Prayer
Some people believe we should kneel or sit for prayer, but not stand. Must we speak out loud for God to hear us? Must we fold our hands, bow our heads, and close our eyes as we often teach children to do? Consider these Bible examples:
* Kneeling, falling down prostrate – Luke 22:41. [Matt. 26:39; Acts 9:40; 20:36; 21:5; Eph. 3:14; Dan. 6:10,11; Deut. 9:18-20,25; 1 Kings 8:54; Ezra 9:5]
* Sitting – Nehemiah 1:4. [1 Kings 19:4; 2 Sam. 7:18]
* Standing – Mark 11:25; Luke 18:13,14. [1 Sam. 1:26; Gen. 24:12,13; Neh. 9:4,5ff] Note: If someone demands an example of standing in a congregational assembly, I ask where is the example of kneeling in a congregational assembly?
* Bowed heads – 1 Chronicles 29:20 (Israel), Luke 18:13 (the publican would not lift his eyes to heaven). [Gen. 24:27,48; Ex. 34:8,9; 4:31; 12:27; 2 Chron. 20:18; 29:30; Neh. 8:6]
* Eyes lifted toward heaven – John 17:1ff (Jesus). [John 11:41; Matt. 14:19]
* Speaking in the heart, but no sound from the lips – 1 Sam. 1:12,13 (Hannah).
Other postures, due to special circumstances, include: on the cross (Luke 23:46,34); in the belly of a fish (Jonah 2:1); in stocks in prison (Acts 16:24,25).
The variety in these examples shows that the position is a matter of choice or expediency and does not, of itself, determine whether or not God hears us. We can pray anytime or place, yet certain positions may at times better suit our circumstances or reverence.
[Other information regarding posture & related points:
Prayer with fasting – Neh. 1:4; Dan. 9:3ff; Acts 9:9-11; 14:23; Luke 2:37; 5:33-35; 1 Cor. 7:5.
Hands lifted up – 1 Kings 8:54; Ezra 9:5; 1 Tim. 2:8; Isa. 1:15(?); Psalm 28:2. But note: Did Hannah lift her hands (1 Sam. 1:12,13)?
Hands laid on other people – Acts 6:6; 8:14-18; 13:3; Matt. 19:13-15]
III. Can Prayer Really Change the Future?
Does God really answer prayer, or are the benefits of prayer just psychological? Because we have prayed, does God so intervene in the course of history that events occur differently than they would have?
A. Promises that God Will Answer Prayer
Consider several Bible passages expressly stating that God does answer prayer:
1 John 5:14,15 – We can have confidence that, if we pray according to God’s word, He will hear us and grant what we ask.
1 John 3:22 – Whatever we ask we receive because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him.
James 5:16 – The fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah prayed and it did not rain for 3 1/2 years. He prayed again and it rained (v17,18).
Matthew 7:7-11 – If we ask, seek, and knock, we receive what we requested. God is like an earthly father who gives good gifts to His children who ask.
1 Peter 5:7 – Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.
There are conditions we must meet in order for God to answer our prayers. If we meet those conditions and if He can answer our prayers in harmony with His will, He has promised to do what is good for us.
[Mark 11:24; John 14:13,14; 15:7,16; 16:23,24,26; James 1:5,6; Luke 18:1-8; 1 Peter 3:12; Matthew 6:6,8; Psalm 55:22; 86:7; 28:6; 31:22; 118:5; 120:1; 116:1; 21:2]
B. Bible Examples of Answered Prayers.
Many Bible examples show God’s response to prayers of His people. God does not do miracles today (1 Cor. 13:8-10), but He is able to control events according to natural law so as to answer prayer without miracles. We will focus on cases of this nature.
1 Samuel 1:10-20,26-28 – Hanna was barren, having no child. She prayed, and as a result she conceived and bore Samuel. [Luke 1:13]
1 Samuel 7:5-11 – Samuel prayed for Israel’s deliverance from an enemy, and the prayer was answered. [Cf. 2 Kings 19:15-37; 2 Chron. 33:10-13.]
2 Chronicles 7:11-14 – God promised to hear Israel’s prayer for deliverance from pestilence, famine, etc.
2 King 20:1-7 – God said Hezekiah would die, not live. Hezekiah prayed about it, God promised to add 15 years to his life, and Hezekiah recovered.
Exodus 32:9-14 – God said He would destroy Israel, but Moses prayed and God changed His mind.
[Neh. 1:4-2:8; Psalm 32:5-7]
C. Some Conclusions about God’s Answers to Prayers
God does act in response to prayer.
Some people think that, if God does not do miracles, then He must not be acting at all. Others see only psychological benefits in prayer or perhaps just the fact that we have obeyed God’s command to pray. Even though we pray Scripturally, they claim God does not actually intervene in the course of earthly events to bring about what we asked for. But the examples just listed show that God does act in response to prayer, acting in harmony with natural law, without miracle.
Note Matthew 18:19 – When we ask God to do something, it will be done by the Father in heaven. God does act. This is true of “anything” we ask. Every kind of Scriptural request is included. [Cf. John 14:13,14; 15:7]
If God does not act to change the course of events in response to prayer, the same effect could be produced by a person praying with sincere faith to an idol! The idol could not do anything, but the worshiper would receive the psychological benefits.
Yet the Bible clearly teaches that Scriptural prayer to God produces results that cannot be achieved by people who do not serve the true God (James 5:16; 1 John 3:22; Prov. 15:8,29; Psalm 34:15-19; etc.). These promises can be valid only if prayer produces results beyond psychological benefits.
However, we must also work, to the extent of our ability, to achieve what we prayed for.
God does act in response to Scriptural prayers, but He will not act if we are not willing to do our part.
Matthew 6:11 teaches us to pray for our daily bread, but we must still work for it (2 Thess. 3:10). God does not answer through miracle (as by manna from heaven). But He does work through natural law to bless our effort so the needed result is achieved where it may not have been achieved had we worked but not prayed.
James 1:5 says to pray for wisdom (cf. Col. 1:9), but we must still study the word (Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 3:15-17). The prayer is answered, not by miraculous direct revelation, but through the natural process of study. God gives us opportunities to learn and blesses our study so we learn what we might not have known had we not prayed.
3 John 2 – A prayer for good health requires us to care for our bodies, not knowingly damaging our health for personal pleasures.
In a similar way, we should pray for the spread of the gospel, but we must also work to teach it to the lost. But because we prayed, God blesses our work so it accomplishes good that may not have been accomplished had we not prayed.
God gives, not necessarily what we want, but what is best for everyone involved.
Matthew 7:7-11 – Like an earthly father, God gives good things, not things that do harm.
Matthew 26:36-46 – Jesus prayed to avoid the cross, but said, “Thy will be done.” He still had to die, but an angel strengthened Him (Luke 22:43). God met His need while still doing what was needed for mankind.
Psalm 34:10 – Those who seek God will not lack any good thing. [Rom. 8:28; James 1:17]
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Paul prayed for his thorn in the flesh to be removed. God did not grant the request but instead did what was best for Paul.
[Matt. 6:8; Eph. 3:20; 1 Kings 3:5-13]
God is infinite, where our knowledge is limited. We may not know what is best, but God does. This is why we ought always to pray for God’s will to be done. He can then give us what we asked, something greater, or something different, according to what He knows to be best.
We further may not understand how God can control the universe without miracles, yet the Bible affirms that He does (consider also the story of Esther). Those who believe in God must believe in His power to answer prayer, even though we cannot explain how He does it.
IV. What Conditions Must Prayer Meet?
God had promised to answer prayer, yet some prayers are not answered. How can this be? The only possible explanation is that there are conditions prayer must meet in order for God to answer, just as there are conditions we must meet in order for God to forgive our sins. What conditions must prayer meet in order for God to answer?
A. We Must Pray in Jesus’ Name (though Him as Mediator).
Consider these verses:
John 14:13,14 – If we ask anything in Jesus’ name, He will do it. [Cf. John 15:16; 16:23,24,26; Eph. 5:20]
Romans 1:8 – Paul thanked God through Jesus Christ. [Col. 3:17]
1 Timothy 2:5 – Jesus is the one mediator between God and man. The immediate context refers to salvation, but the broader context refers to prayer (see v1,2,8). Jesus is the mediator in prayer because He is our mediator in salvation. He is our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16).
What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?
Are these just meaningless words we mouth at the end of a prayer to make it effective [like a magic spell – “Open, Sesame”]?
A person’s name stands for the person and all that He is. God’s name is “hallowed” because God Himself is hallowed (Matt. 6:9). More specifically, a person’s name represents his will and authority. Your name signed on a check or other legal document authorizes it as acceptable to you. “Halt in the name of the law” means the authority of the law requires you to stop.
Further, Jesus is the mediator who makes it possible for us to approach God in prayer. We pray “through Him” because His authority enables us to be heard. Because of our sins, we could never approach God. We need a “go-between” to reconcile us to God so we can communicate with Him. Because Jesus died as our sacrifice, He is the only one who can authorize us to approach God in prayer.
Why then would anyone pray through Mary or a dead “saint”? They did not redeem us by their death, hence they cannot mediate our prayers. No one can mediate instead of or in addition to Jesus. He is the “one mediator” between God and man.
To pray in Jesus’ name means we are appealing to His authority as the one mediator between us and God. We are trusting His power to make it possible for God to hear our prayer. We should understand this if we are to avoid praying with “vain repetition.”
B. We Must Pray According to God’s Will.
This follows from the concept of prayer “in Jesus’ name.” Note further:
1 John 5:14,15 – God hears us if we ask according to His will.
Matthew 26:39 – Jesus prayed for the Father’s will to be done. [Matt. 6:10]
But God’s will may fall into one of two categories:
In things essential to salvation, God’s will is revealed in the Scriptures.
Note 2 Tim. 3:16,17; 1 Cor. 14:37; etc. Regarding such matters, we must never pray for things that do not harmonize with God’s revealed will.
For example, God says we should not pray for things just to satisfy our selfish lusts (James 4:3). Such would not be praying according to His will.
Likewise, God’s has revealed that sinners must meet conditions, including baptism, to be forgiven (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16; etc.). We must never pray for God to save such people without them meeting these conditions.
Since the gospel came into effect, no passage ever tells an unbaptized person to pray for forgiveness of sins. Yet preachers often tell such people to “pray through” or “pray the sinner’s prayer” to be saved. Such a prayer would not be answered because it is not according to God’s will.
In things not essential to salvation, God’s will may not be expressly revealed in Scripture.
Many events of everyday life may not be a matter of right or wrong, so we may not know God’s expressed will. For example, we know God allows suffering and death, so in a particular instance of illness we may not know whether God would be willing for the person to get better or not. [2 Cor. 12:7-10]
In these cases we may pray for what we believe to be best, but then we should ask God to do what He knows to be best. Then by faith we accept the outcome.
C. We Must Pray with Understanding and Meaning.
1 Corinthians 14:15,16 – Pray with the spirit and the understanding. Think about the words to be sure you mean what is said. When you lead public prayer, help people understand so they can say “amen” (cf. vv19,26,40). Use words people can understand. Speak loudly and distinctly.
Matthew 6:7 – Do not use vain (meaningless) repetition. Even if we understand the words, if we repeat them frequently, we may be tempted to just mouth the words without meaning them. This does not prove it is wrong to repeat a request (Matt. 26:36-46; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Luke 18:1-7), but we should mean it every time we pray it!
D. We Must Pray with Sincerity and Earnestness.
1 Samuel 1:10,15 – Hannah poured out her soul in prayer.
Jeremiah 29:12,13 – God promised He would hear His people when they prayed with “all their hearts.”
Luke 22:44 – In Gethsemane Jesus prayed earnestly.
Matthew 6:5 – Do not pray from hypocritical motives such as to be seen of men. Pleasing, impressing, and entertaining people are not proper motives for prayer. We must pray to please God and honor Him. [Mark 12:40]
Prayer must never become a mere formality or outward ritual that we go through without meaning what we do. Our hearts must be involved in fervent prayer, thanksgiving, and appeals to God.
[1 Cor. 14:15; Psalm 17:1; 145:18; James 5:16,17]
E. We Must Pray in Faith.
James 1:5-8 – Ask in faith without doubting. One who doubts will received nothing from God. First we must believe that God exists, then believe that He has power to answer prayer. The skeptic or agnostic who prays (“just in case there is a God”) is wasting his breath.
Mark 11:24 – To receive the blessing we request, we must believe that God will answer. The context discusses miracles, which do not occur today (1 Cor. 13:8-10), but the principle still applies. God answers prayer today through natural law, but we must believe He does answer else we can be sure He will not.
Remember, as discussed previously, that there are some things God has expressly revealed that He is willing to give, such as forgiveness to a penitent child of God. Faith requires us to believe He will give what He has promised. In other matters He has not necessarily revealed what He will give (such as good health), so we must pray “Thy will be done.” Then we must believe He will do what is best.
Praying in faith also requires us to accept what God sends as being what is best. Too often, when we do not receive exactly what we asked for, we complain or think God broke His promise. Faith requires us to believe He will give the best thing at the best time, and then believe that the result is what is best.
F. We Must Pray with Humility and Respect for God.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – God will hear His people if they “humble themselves” and pray.
Luke 18:9-14 – The self-righteous Pharisee praised and exalted himself in prayer, instead of exalting God. Such a person will be abased by God, not justified.
Matthew 6:9 – Pray, “Hallowed be Thy name.” Prayer must express respect and reverence for God.
God should not be approached casually as another human (“Hi, Pop!”), nor as a servant at our beck and call. Our attitudes and speech should exalt His greatness while recognizing our weaknesses, sins, and human limitations. [2 Chron. 33:10-13; Gen. 18:27]
G. We Must Pray with Repentance for Sin.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – In order for God to hear His people’s prayers, they must turn from their wicked ways.
Acts 8:21-23 – When a child of God has sinned, they must repent and pray for forgiveness. (See our earlier list of other passages teaching this.)
Luke 18:13,14 – The publican received justification because he was willing to admit his sins.
Forgiveness is not granted to those who persist in sin, excuse it, rationalize it, overlook it, or hide it. To receive forgiveness when we pray, we must be truly sorry for sin and determine to overcome it. [Psalm 32:5-7; Dan. 9:3-12; James 5:16; 1 Kings 8:33-36,46-53]
H. We Must Pray with Forgiveness for Others.
Matthew 6:12,14,15 – God will forgive us only if we willingly forgive others. [Mark 11:25; Matt. 18:21-35]
To have a right relationship with God we must pursue right relationships with people (Matt. 5:23,24). Have others apologized to you requesting your forgiveness, yet you continue to hold a grudge? Do you seek revenge, wishing harm to come to those who have wronged you, unwilling to pursue peace and harmony?
To receive God’s forgiveness when we pray, we must have the same attitude toward others that we expect Him to have toward us!
I. We Must Pray While Living a Faithful Life.
James 5:16 – The supplication of a righteous man avails much.
1 John 3:21,22 – We receive what we ask from God because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him.
Proverbs 28:9; 15:8,29 – If someone turns away from God’s law, his prayer is an abomination. But God hears the prayer of the righteous.
Psalm 66:18 – God will not hear me if I regard iniquity in my heart.
Isaiah 1:15-17 – God would not hear the prayers even of His own people because of their sins. They needed to cease doing evil and learn to do well. [Jer. 11:9-14; 14:10-12; Ezek. 8:17,18; Micah 3:4; Zech. 7:11-13; Isa. 58:1-9]
Isaiah 59:1,2 – Your sins and iniquities separate you from God so that He will not hear. It surely follows that God will not hear the prayers of alien sinners, but the direct application in the context of many of these passages is to unfaithful children of God.
God heard the prayer of Cornelius before he was baptized (Acts 10:4,31). If a person in sin is sincerely seeking to know the truth, God may give him an opportunity to learn it. Beyond that, God there is nothing God has promised to give alien sinners in answer to prayer.
But God likewise rejects the prayer of the impenitent child of God. Too many people want to live their lives for themselves, then go running to God in time of need. They expect Him to do service to them despite the fact they refuse to serve Him! God says it will not work. If you want God to hear your prayers, first repent of your sins and live in obedience to Him.
[1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 34:15-19; 109:7; John 9:31; Lam 3:1,8; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Tim. 2:8; Prov. 1:24-29; 21:13; 2 Chron. 7:14]
God will answer prayer for you. He desires to meet your needs and offer you everything He has promised to His faithful children. But first you must become a faithful child of His and must meet the conditions of prayer.
Are you a child of God? If not, you cannot pray for forgiveness. Instead you must believe in Jesus, repent of sins, confess Him, and be baptized to receive remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 10:9,10; 6:3,4; etc.). Then if you live a faithful life, He has promised to hear your prayers according to His will. Why not begin now to accept His offer?
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


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1. Compassion is a trait of our Savior and one we are expected to possess and develop in our hearts and lives, Col. 3:12-13.
2. Compassion is not overlooking/tolerating sin. It is “to have pity, a feeling of distress through the ills of others” (Vine); Compassion is the seed bed of mercy (the outward manifestation of pity, Matt. 5:7).
3. We need compassion and mercy from God and each other, 1 Pet. 3:8.
4. We need to have compassion and mercy for others.
I. THE COMPASSION OF A SHEPHERD, Isa. 40:11; Ezek. 34:15-16 (Matt. 15:24).
A. Compassion Gives Help to the Helpless, Lk. 15:1-7.
1. Mercy for the fallen, Lk. 6:36-38.
2. Heaven rejoices; those without compassion cannot effectively help the fallen.
B. Compassion Sacrifices for the Safety of Others, Jno. 10:11-15.
1. Such commitment to save the lost that Jesus laid down His life.
2. We must have this level of commitment toward the lost and those struggling with and suffering in sin, Matt. 18:11-14.
A. Compassion is Willing to Act Out of Pity for Others, Matt. 8:2-3.
1. Jesus was moved with compassion to heal, Matt. 14:14.
a. “Jesus in pity touched their eyes…” (ESV), Matt. 20:34.
b. Note: Those without compassion tried to stop their cries for mercy!
c. Do we silence pleas of mercy by our lack of compassion?!
2. We must be willing to be compassionate; it is a choice that does not come without a decision of the mind.
3. Keeping a compassionate, forgiving heart in the face of abuse is a tremendous test of faith and character, Lk 23:34.
4. Knowing what sin does to the soul and being compassionate when the sins of others hurt us is a mark of faith, Acts 7:59-60.
B. Compassion Recognizes the Trouble that Exists, Matt. 9:36.
1. We may feel sorry for the trouble of others but lack compassion. Why? Because we lack empathy for them.
a. Sympathy: “Sympathy is harmony of or agreement in feeling. The fact or power of sharing the feelings of another…inclination to support or be loyal to or to agree with an opinion; sharing the feelings of others (especially feelings of sorrow or anguish)” (
b. Empathy: “One dictionary says that empathy is the ‘identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.’ It has also been described as the ability to put oneself in the other fellow’s place. ¶ Empathy requires first of all that we comprehend the circumstances of someone else and second that we share the feelings that those circumstances provoke in him. Empathy involves our feeling another person’s pain in our heart.” (
c. “Empathy means understanding and entering into another’s feelings while sympathy is an inclination to support or be loyal to or to agree with an opinion.” (
d. Empathy is the ability to relate to the thoughts, emotions and experiences of another. Sympathy is the ability to understand and give support to another. Rom. 12:15; 1 Cor. 12:25-26
2. Jesus understands our plight and fight, Heb. 4:15.
3. As sinners we understand the pain of sin and the trials we face – including those we face when captured by sin, 1 Pet. 3:8.
a. We know the personal pain of sin and need for compassion from God and others in our lives, cf. Matt. 18:23-27.
b. Compassionate heart remembers to show it, Matt. 18:33.
c. We must not be too quick to condemn and too slow to have compassion, Jno. 8:7; Gal. 6:1-2.
C. Compassion takes Effort, Matt. 18:11-12.
1. Christ’s compassion moved him to teach, Mk. 6:34. (effort)
2. See the effort in Jude 20-23; Jas. 5:19-20.
3. Application: The fallen Christian:
a. Do not “keep company” with him/her; withdraw, 2 Ths. 3:14, 6.
b. That does not/must not prevent you from admonishing the fallen, 2 Ths. 3:15.
c. All contact is not prohibited – compassionate contact seeking to save is most certainly expected of us! Jas. 5:19-20
1. Compassion exists in the heart that has not given up! There is still hope, so compassion responds toward those hurting and in need of merciful help.
2. Compassion exists in the heart that grasps its own need for mercy, Matt. 5:7.
3. Compassion exists in the heart that also looks for mercy, Jude 21.
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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                       The Bible is the Word of God


TEXT: 1 Pet. 3:15; Heb. 1:1-2



Part One
Not one, but 66 books written by about 40 men over a period of approximately 1500 years. They had different backgrounds, spoke several languages, lived in different areas, yet their writings made a complete and harmonious whole. There are links or threads of evidence that tie all of these books together and prove that they all stemmed from one mind, the mind of God. There is one underlying theme of the Bible. That theme is of man’s reconciliation to God through Christ.
1. Common origin of civilization – The Fertile Crescent.
2. Jewish history as recorded in the Bible as compared with other
contemporary histories.
1. Early writing. Until fairly recently it was thought that writing was not known until after the time of Moses. The Code of Hammurabi, the Weld Prism, and the Pre-flood Tablets have now proven the use of writing in Abraham’s day, and in some cases, much earlier.
2. Early use of metals. Until recently the “Iron Age” was supposed to be from 1200 BC onward. Now the “Iron Age” has been pushed back another 1500 years to 2700 BC.
3. The flood. Geologists are daily finding evidence that large areas of the earth were once covered by water. Many other ancient histories record great floods.
4. Solomon’s wealth has been established by extensive digging and searching in the Palestine area.
5. The building of the great Egyptian cities of Pithon and Ramses was by slave labor about the time of the Exodus. At Pithon the bricks which are in the lower walls are full of straw; the higher you go, the less straw you find until there is none in the top (Compare Ex. 5).
6. King Belshazzar of Babylon (Dan. 5). For many years all Babylonian records give no such name, listing Nabonidus as the last king before the Persian invasion. However, the British Museum discovered a number of clay tablets that listed Nabonidus as having a son, Belshazzar, who ruled jointly with him and was killed in the Persian conquest. (See Archaeology and the Bible, J.A. Thompson for more.)
1. The rotundity of the earth (Prov. 8:27; Isa. 40:22).
2. The suspension of the earth (Job 26:7).
3. The paths of the sea…Matthew Fontaine Maury charted the currents of
the sea after reading Psa. 8:8.
The writers of the Bible were completely impartial, unlike others. The worst moments of the greatest heroes of the Bible are presented in glaring candidness. Such as Noah’s drunkenness, Abraham’s lie, Jacob’s deceit, David’s adultery, Peter’s cowardice, Paul’s blasphemy, etc.
The Old Testament writers lived in a country surrounded and influenced by heathens whose religions and immoralities are shocking to think about. The New Testament writers were surrounded by the immoralities and vices of pagan Rome and Greece. Yet the moral standard they set forth is far above anything known to their generations. How can the skeptic account for the fact that the world’s greatest literature and highest moral standard comes not from the geniuses of Rome, the philosophers or of Greece, or the scholars and moralists of today, but from a handful of Jewish fishermen who never went to college and never had another book published? What is the basis for the Bible’s moral standard?( Mat. 22:37-40; Rom. 13:8ff. ).
Part Two
A. CONCERNING ISHMAEL( Gen. 16:10-12; 17:20 ).
1. Balaam’s prophecy( Numbers 23:9-10; 24:17-18 ).
2. Concerning Israel’s downfall( Deut. 28:14-64 ).
a. 400 years before their king( vs. 36 ).
b. “Hiss & byword”( vs. 37; Jer. 29:18 ).
c. Captors speak a strange tongue( vs. 49-50 ).
d. Siege, cannibalism, death( vs. 49-57 ). Literally fulfilled in the Syrian
siege( 2 Kings 6:24-31 ) and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
e. Many Jews would perish( vs. 62 ). 1,200,000 died in the
destruction of Jerusalem.
f. Slavery( vs. 68 ). 99,000 Jews were sold by Rome.
1. Babylon( Isa. 13:17-22 ).
2. Cyrus and the Medo-Persian Empire( Isa. 41:21-27; 44:6-21; 44:22-5:7 ).
No book has been so loved and so cherished as the Bible. Yet no book has come under greater attack than this book. Voltaire boasted that by the end of his life or shortly thereafter, the philosophers of his day would cause men to forget the Bible. Today who remembers Voltaire?


Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall never pass away”( Mark 13:31 ). We believe the word of God is in our possession right now. We believe it is complete( 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ). We believe it is indeed what it claims to be( 1 Thes. 2:13 ). We believe it to be verbally inspired( 1 Cor. 2:13, 16 ).
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Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


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