Course: The Importance of Effective Prayer
Lesson Title: The Foundation of Prayer - The Nature and Character of God
Text: Hebrews 11:6 ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’
Theme: The prayer of faith must be founded upon the nature and character of God.
Introduction: The two characteristics of the prayer of faith, Hebrews 11:6.
Introductory illustration: When we need help. Who we ask depends on two things.
· Are they able to help
· Are they willing to help or can I persuade them to help me.
There are times when a person is able and willing but will expect a lot back in return. Accepting their provision will be too costly.
Think of a time of need. Who did you ask? Why did you ask them?
Personal Story: The best friends are not only willing to help but they also do not keep records of what they have given.
We will always ask the person who wants to give before we ask one who will give grudgingly.
Question: Is there anything God is not able or not willing to do?
There are some things that even God cannot do.
There are some things God is not willing to do.
But there is no limit to how much God is willing to give His children.
1. The foundation of prayer is the nature and character of God.
· Approaching God must be on the basis of His nature and character. We ‘must believe that HE IS’, Hebrews 11:6. This does not mean 'the existence of God' but that He is who He is. He revealed Himself to Moses as the ‘I AM THAT I AM’, Exodus 3:14.
· We can pray when we know Him. God revealed Himself to His people through the revelation of His name. Yahweh (Jehovah) - God revealed Himself as the Lord our provider (Jireh), our healer (Ropheka),, our banner (Nissi), our peace (Shalom), our shepherd (Rohi), our righteousness (Tsidkenu). Jehovah Shammah - the Lord is there.
· We must approach God with 'godly fear and reverence' because of who He is (Hebrews 12:28-29). We must not take God lightly. God will forgive the repentant sinner but He will not deny His holiness. Therefore we can only receive forgiveness on the basis of the atonement. But God wants all to repent, 2 Peter 3:9.
2. Confidence to pray comes through our relationship with God as our Heavenly Father, Matthew 6:9.
· Secret prayer with our heavenly Father. Pray in secret – rewarded in the open, Matthew 6:6.
· Our Heavenly Father will give good gifts to His children, Matthew 7:11.
· The Father gave His Son for us so He is willing to give all things. He that spared not His own Son – will give all things, Romans 8:32.
· The Father loves us because He is delighted in His Son. Ask the Father in the name of Jesus, John 15:16.
Consider the words of the hymn ‘All the Father’s heart mine own- Mine -and yet His Son’s alone.’
‘One with Him, O Lord, before Thee,
There I live, and yet not I;
Christ it is who there adores Thee;
Who more dear, or who more nigh?
All the Father’s heart mine own –
Mine – and yet His Son’s alone.’
3. Faith for answered prayer comes by knowing that the Lord is watching His people and ready to answer prayer. Psalm 34:15 ‘The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their cry'.
· Testimony of answered prayer.
· Faith knows that God will answer prayer because He ‘is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’, Hebrews 11:6.
Because of the nature and character of God…
1. …we must approach God in a right manner with godly fear and reverence. Knowing that we have access to the Father because of the sacrifice of the Son of God.
2. …we have confidence in prayer. We can come boldly into His presence because we have been brought into the family of God. We can say 'Our Father'.
3. …we have faith in prayer knowing that God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.