Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Class Purpose, Foundation, and Prayer Basics
Purpose of the Course:
The first four lessons are focused on ourselves, and key points that should help us all be on what some call - the same page – concerning the topic of Praying Together. The first lesson focuses on laying a foundation. I Cor 3 vs 11 says ‘For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ It is a foundation that focuses on who God is according to I John 4 vs 8 and what Jesus has sacrificially done for us due to that Love. That is not only a foundation, but could be called a banner. The lesson also takes us back to the roots of prayer looking at Hebrew.
The next lesson will help us find God’s purposes or keys that can help the focus of our prayers.
Following that lesson we will be looking at what prayer involves and why it can be difficult.
The forth lesson will be dealing with are we praying from the Head Prayer or with Heart Prayer.
Then as the lessons move on we will be looking at preparing ourselves to pray with a prayer partner or praying with someone else.
Then we will look at some ways a church of a group of people can pray together.
Finally we will be looking at training our children to pray. This instruction is in the 2nd module.
I believe that as you study God’s word and let His Holy Spirit minister to you, that much will be gleamed from this material that will help us all to learn from each other and grow in our prayer life.
It is my prayer that the words these words may be a reality in all of us when it comes to prayer:
‘It only takes a spark
to set a fire glowing,
And soon all those around
will wake up in its glowing;
That’s how it is with God’s Love,
Once you’ve experienced it.
It is fresh like Spring,
You want to sing,
You want to pass it on!’
I encourage each of us to ask the Lord to let His Holy Spirit help us in this course to allow His Love to grow in our hearts and in our prayers.
Now moving forward in our first lesson:
Starting with the foundation of prayer, we should take time to think about what moves us to pray. It is a need? Are we praying because something happened to us that we do not understand or something that has hurt us? Are we praying to help someone else? Are we praying to get to know God more closely? Possibly there are other reasons. All of these may encourage us to pray, but looking at scripture what really should be our motivation to pray?
There is a motivation that I want to present for us to ponder.
God has set two commandments before us to live by. Matt 22 vs 36-40 says:
“36. Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38. This is the first and great commandment.
39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.,
These commandments represent a foundational principle of our faith and should be guide our prayers.
Let’s look at that foundational principle: the *Foundation of prayer: God’s Love
Look at I John 4:8. It states: “God is love.” The greatest two commandments found in Matt 22:36-40 are:
These commandments are relational and show us that God wants us to operate in His love, which is His law of love. – God’s Love sent Christ to sacrifice His life for us. That demonstration of God’s love shown by Christ, shows that we should love others with a love that is willing to make significant sacrifices for others. Sacrificial love that comes from the heart, can help open the hearts of others so they may be receptive to what God has done for them at Calvary. Christ said ‘By this shall all men know you are my disciples if you have ‘love one to another’ John 13:35. When we show that love, we are also lifting up Jesus. Lifting up Jesus is lifting up God’s love, and there is a wonderful thing that will happen when we lift Jesus up. John 12:32 says ‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.’ That is a wonderful promise. Christ gave us an example of this love by his demonstrating sacrificial love coming from the heart of God, by dying for us on the Cross. The source of that sacrificial love is God, who is love.
How does that Love relate to prayer? If we want to see God’s love in action when we pray, then we must let God’s love be a motivating factor behind each prayer we pray, which may involve action -- sacrificial action as part of our prayer. When we do, prayer becomes an act of love.
God wants us to depend on Him for His power which operates through love for others, whom we come across in our lives. God’s power is in His love that shed Christ’s blood for us a Calvary. That love has made a relationship with God possible and it can direct our prayers in the way of love.
We should ask ourselves when we pray, do we want to see the Love of God encourage and work in others?
With the understanding that the foundation of prayer is Love, God’s Love, sacrificial love, we are perhaps ready to understand what praying really is?
The next article shows prayer in a different light—not just asking—but much more. Prayer is part of a relationship. A relationship of love that draws us to pray!
Let’s look at the Biblical root of the word pray. The Biblical root of the word pray will help in our understanding of where the word pray comes from. Much of what we think about prayer comes from modern concepts. Prayer has been around for a long, long time and a study of the root will help us to recognize basic principles in prayer.
Biblical Root of the Word: Pray
If most of us were asked to define prayer, probably the majority would say ‘asking God for something’. Unfortunately that may be the limit of our understanding of prayer.
There is much more to prayer, and the Hebrew language used in writing the Old Testament in the Bible is a good place to go to teach us about prayer.
In the Bible, in the Old Testament, which was originally written in Hebrew, the word used for prayer is tephillah written תְּפִלָּה. It means intercession, or supplication (earnest prayer of petition); In implication - a hymn. A Prayer can be a Psalm and many of the Psalms in the Bible are actually prayers, and are a part of communication with God. A closer examination of the word tephillah we find the root word palal written: פָּלַל. It means to judge; by extension to intercede, pray: entreat, judge(-ment), make pray(-er,-ing), make supplication. We usually think of supplication as a presentation of requests. A close study of the Hebrew letters use in the word for prayer and the word for supplication shows that prayer and supplication are related to the covenant of God—God’s word, and that speaking is involved. To make that easier to understand, prayer involves speaking in accordance with God’s Word.
Prayer is not just speaking, but praying is an act of communication with God, indicating that a relationship exists.
From what we saw in the word meanings above, there are some basics that we can conclude are true about prayer.
Relationship, intercession and supplication, and worship are what we could call basics of prayer. Today, we may view aspects of prayer a bit differently with more detail, but these basic of prayer will be seen again and again as we pray.
Truly, prayer that comes out of a relationship with God and is built upon a solid foundation found in God’s Word. That foundation is God’s Love. (I John 4:8)
1. Take time to review this lesson, and as you pray, Make notes for yourselves where you are in your prayer. Ask yourself what motivated you to make prayer a focus in your life. If prayer is an act of God’s Love, does that have an impact on your focus? Let these be a type of reflective notes that will help you as we progress through the course.
2. When Christ draws people to himself—What is he really doing and communicating to those people.
3. If God has set two commandments before us to live by, which represent a fundamental principle of our faith, how should those two commandments affect our prayers?
4. If God’s love is not a motivating our prayers what is????
Reading for next lesson: Recommend reading chapter 1 of our primary text for next week.
Next lesson we will be looking at:
Looking at scripture, and learning to recognize focus points or keys that can guide our prayers.
Putting prayer in the context of the two great commandments is very helpful. It really summarizes what motivates me to pray, because I want to know God more and more and communication is a big part of knowing someone. Thinking about praying for others as an act of love is encouraging too because sometimes it feels like there is nothing else you can do but pray. I sometimes have worship songs playing as I pray and find it really helpful in sensing God's presence. I am enjoying the course already and look forward to it. Blessings
Praying for material success does not mean you are not motivated by Love. What you do with those blessings will.
I pray for my children to be blessed. I also want them to have a close relationship with Jesus. I pray for that too. In reading the Bible, I have learned that it is very important to seek Christ first. Matt 6:33. God says that when you do, then all these things (material things?) will be added to you. --
I had to learn to put Christ first. My focus also had to on Him, then He started to guide me.
I do not know if this helps, but I have struggled with those same questions.
I would like to share the following. I really appreciate those who have and those who will yet reply. They are expressing something deep in their heart.
The following is from my journey in praying:
When I first learned to pray, I did not really pray out of love. In time, God sent me through His School of Instruction. He encouraged my wife to teach me about praying from the heart. If our heart is focused on Jesus and His love for others, then what we pray from our heart should reflect that love.
Am I successful in praying this way all the time?—I will admit that I am not, but thanks be to God that His Holy Spirit helps me to refocus on Jesus and His Love for others. Praise be to God for that help!
Susan--I like your answer. If you look at the root of prayer and communion with God, it might imply that when we are in communion with God--through a heart relationship, we will have an attitude of prayer. God's Holy Spirit will help us. I would not set as a goal to pray a specified number of hours. Martin Luther did pray many hours, others pray less. I would encourage communion with God from the heart. Personally I find my self praying through out the day as things come up.
I hope that short discourse helps Tebogo and others.