8 Teachings of Jesus on Prayer — Teaching #8

Prayer A to Z

Jesus taught that prayer must be with forgiveness (Matthew 5:23, 24; 6:14-15; Mark 11:25-26) 

In these passages Jesus seems to be teaching us that if we have not forgiven someone we may as well not pray at all.  Mark 11:26 says, “If you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Jesus is not saying here that if you don’t forgive others you have lost your salvation; but He is saying that in your unwillingness to forgive someone you have cut off your fellowship with God.  Why?  Because in your sin against others (in not forgiving them) you sin against God too.  Sin always separates us from God, and so this is why when we sin He will not regard our prayers (Ps. 66:18, Jn. 9:31).

Now we know that there are many different kinds of sin, and all of them, if unconfessed will separate us…

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8 Teachings of Jesus On Prayer — Teaching #7

Prayer A to Z

Jesus taught that prayer must be with faith (Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 11:22-26) 

In theses verses I see three aspects of faith in prayer that Jesus teaches.  First of all…

(1) Faith must be in God.  Matthew 21:22 says, “Have faith in God.”  Prayer with faith, therefore, is prayer that believes in God and in the promises that He has given us.  Then it is prayer that expects God to answer based on those promises; it is prayer that has a continuing hope for the answer and a lasting energy to pray until the answer comes.  Secondly…

(2) Faith must be with obedience.  Prayer with faith is prayer that doesn’t just pray and then believe that God will do it by Himself without us; it is prayer that counts on God to help usdo it; it is prayer that stops praying and starts obeying.

In Mark 11:23 Jesus…

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8 Teachings of Jesus on Prayer — Teaching #6

Prayer A to Z

 Jesus taught that prayer should be in unity with others (Matthew 18:19-20) 

Sometimes when we pray we are not in unity and in agreement with others.  But we should always strive for unity—that is, unity in the body of Christ.  We can never have unity and agreement with those outside of the body of Christ, but we should always strive for unity within the body.  For the body of Christ is one, of which we are all part.  Therefore, since each of us (in the Christian church) is a part for the body of Christ it is natural that our prayers should be united and flow together in agreement by the power of the Holy Spirit.

At first it was hard for me to find in the gospels where Jesus taught this idea of unity in prayer (other then in Matthew 18:19-20); but then, as I studied it, it…

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8 Teachings of Jesus on Prayer — Teaching #5

Prayer A to Z

Jesus taught that prayer must be in His name (John 14:12-14; 15:7, 16; 16:23, 24). 

In these verses Jesus teaches clearly that if we expect to receive what we ask for we must ask for those things in His name.  What does that mean?  Well, in the first passage (Jn. 14:10-14), Jesus shows us that praying in His name is praying in oneness or in unity with Him—that just as Jesus is one with the Father, we demonstrate that we are one with Jesus (and the Father) when we pray in His name.  For when Jesus ascended to the Father, the Holy Spirit came to us and united us with the Father and Son.  And so when we pray in His name we demonstrate our oneness with Him, because we pray in unity with the Son who is one with the Father.  And we do it by the Spirit.  Then…

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8 Teachings of Jesus on Prayer — Teaching #4

Prayer A to Z

Jesus taught that prayer should sometimes be with fasting (Mark 9:29).

On one occasion, when Jesus cast out a demon from a boy, and His disciples earlier were not able to cast out the demon, they came to Him privately and said, “Why could we not cast him out?” Jesus response was: “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

So here Jesus was teaching that the most difficult things (in this case, casting out a demon) require both prayer and fasting. Why? Because when we fast we depend more on God, and so our prayers become stronger. I suppose you could say that when we fast we receive an extra portion of the Holy Spirit, or perhaps we receive extra strength from the Holy Spirit. However you want to put it, you will find that fasting will strengthen prayer.

Now we know that we should always…

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8 Teachings of Jesus on Prayer — Teaching #3

Prayer A to Z

Jesus taught that prayer must be with expectation—expecting the best from God (from Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:8-13; Luke 18:6-8). 

When you read these passages you will see that the emphasis of Jesus’ teaching on prayer is not entirely on the persistence of prayer, but I think it is more on the sure answers that God will give when we are persistent in prayer.  Hence, when we pray, God does not want us to be so focused on our own persistence in prayer, but rather on how loving He is and how He wants to answer our prayers quickly.  In both the Matthew passage and the Luke passage the emphasis is not so much on the asking but on the receiving, not on the seeking but on the finding; again, it is not on the knocking but on the door being opened.

The teaching Jesus uses in these three passages to…

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Be Not Overcome of Evil, But Overcome Evil with Good

That verse, from Romans 12:21, was put in front of me last night after I prayed, “Lord, give me a Scripture verse to guide me.”

Sometimes, occasionally, I feel overcome by evil. But here, I reasoned, is a way to counter it. I can overcome evil when it comes against me by doing good. It does not have to overcome me—and get me down.

Another verse, earlier, verse nine, says “Let love be without dissimulation (hypocrisy). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

I am wondering how exactly to read these verses; in what context? Well, certainly, as it is here, it is regarding evil men of the world. But in a broader sense we can take it as all the evils of the devil and the world and the flesh. It all will overcome us if we let it. How many ways can evil overcome us? Many ways! But we can overcome it all by doing good—in the will of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit. I think there are as many good things we can do as there is evil. And in every good deed there is prayer behind it, and hospitality. And in all the good we do we are loving God and are looking up to Him. If we are weary and feel beaten down, we can have hope in Him and rely on Him in all we do and in all we think about.

8 Teachings of Jesus on Prayer – Teaching #2

Prayer A to Z

 

  Jesus taught that prayer must be with persistence—not losing heart (from Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:5-10, and Luke 18:1-8)

 

Jesus taught this lesson of persistence in prayer from two different stories, on two different occasions.  One of His stories, recorded in Luke 11:5-10, is about a man who needed bread and who goes to his friend at midnight and begs for it until his friend gives him the bread.  The other story, in Luke 18:1-18, similarly, is about a widow who goes before an unjust judge and pleads for justice from her adversary; and she continues to come to him, begging for justice, until he finally gives it to her.   

We will not go into all the details of the stories (you can read the stories yourself).  However, I want to emphasize the central teaching: that when we pray we must pray with persistence and not lose heart

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