Bible Lesson 59

MATTHEW 6:5-13

Over the years that I have ministered for the Lord, I have been asked many questions; but one of the most thought-provoking questions that I have ever been asked is, “If God already knows, why pray” In this series of lessons we will open our Bibles and ask God to give us the answers to that question. We all have to admit that God knows all things about all things, and in fact, God knows the answer to things for which we have not asked a question. God is God and as such, He is the repository of all knowledge and there is no knowledge outside His mind. That being true it is fair that some would ask, “If God already knows, why should we pray?

Perhaps it will help if we begin at the beginning and that would be in the Creation. God created all things including mankind, and because we came directly from the hand of God, as His special creation, created to exercise dominion over the rest of creation, we have a God-shaped vacuum inside us that seeks for, not only knowledge of God but also a relationship with Him.

Prayer is much more than the creature asking provision from God and “getting things from God”. Charles Blanchard wrote a book on that subject and in that book, he said, “Prayer essentially is communion, a desire to enter into a conscious and intimate relationship with the Thou who is our life.” The Psalmist speaks of that desire in Psalms 63:1-8, when he says, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.

Because Thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee. Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I will lift my hands in Thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: When I remember Thee upon my bed and meditate on Thee in the night watches. Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice? My soul followed hard after Thee; Thy right hand upholds me”. King David in this Psalm makes it clear where his desires rest.

It is in God and he says in the genesis of this Psalm, that he desires and thirsts after God. Not late in the day when all activities are done; but early will he seek God because his very soul and flesh long for that communion with God”..even as in a desert where there is no water. King David was being hounded by his enemies, and just as the pressures of the world press in upon us at times, he had sought the only power that can sustain one who has met trouble from all quarters. They had cornered Israel”s King, and his desire was now for the power and presence of God to sustain him.

Though probably tired, hungry, and thirsty, David needed that power and presence and provision of the Almighty to comfort and reassure him and he arose early and sought that communion with God through prayer. David was not alone in his quest to have that intimacy with his Creator; because we can look at Psalms 73:25-26 and we find Asaph the Psalmist there saying, “Who have I in heaven but Thee” And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.

My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”. Every one of us who has been brought by God into the light of His Sovereign power, a desire that relationship with God to be maintained; because there is nothing in heaven or hell that can keep us from the power of death and hell, except the power of God.

The Apostle John writes under the inspiration of God, in First John chapter one and verse three”.”That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ”.

That is the result of Biblical salvation when God comes in the form and person of His Holy Spirit to take up residence in us and empowers us to live according to the laws of God”we take up a relationship with God and we fellowship and talk to Him and adore Him and receive guidance from Him daily through our prayer life. Just as His only begotten Son Jesus Christ kept in touch with the Father through His prayers, we must maintain active and instant communication with the Father. We live in an attitude of prayerfulness and on occasion, in times of distress, we should probably do as the Savior did in Luke 6:12, when He went into a mountain and prayed all night.

Man has that nagging desire to know God, and be in step with God, and that means even lost and undone men at times know where God is and that it is my prayer that anyone can reach God. The worst atheist, when they get into deep trouble, knows that prayer looks up and that speaking to God is the usual thing to do. It is well known by sinner and saints that the ultimate authority and power belong to God, and many times even the most depraved of men will find themselves on their knees attempting to get a hearing from God. That has to be because we are God”s creatures and that we know instinctively that our source is God.

We need to let God know that we know that we have that need and that we adore Him, as we tell Him our need, and that we adore Him, as we tell Him that we love and need Him. Does that mean that everyone bows the knee to the true God” Absolutely not, untold millions worship lesser gods, gods that are not gods at all, because either they have never heard the truth about Jehovah God and how it was He who created all we know and more, or that it is He who provides all that we need to sustain life as we live here on the earth? That means that they have never heard about the only Savior of man, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ who is the Son of God, who came to pay the sin debt of those who would obey Him (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Even those who have not heard know that there is something or someone above and beyond them and that there should be the worship of something or someone. We said earlier that much of worship around the world is focused on gods that are not gods at all, but people will find something to worship if it is only their selves. We adore Jehovah because He is the Creator of all things and He alone sustains the creation.

We adore Him because He is the God who manifests Himself in our daily lives and has provided paradise for those who know Him intimately through His Son Jesus Christ. Our God is one God that manifests Himself to us in three distinct persons”.Father in heaven, Only-begotten Son who came to earth and made the payment the Father required for our sin. The Father planned our Salvation, the Son Jesus Christ paid the price (death), and the Holy Spirit who is the third person in the God-Head, applies the benefits of salvation to us at the time we are regenerated. Our God exists as One God but manifests Himself to us in three distinct personalities, Father, Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit.

We adore our God because He is that perfect entity who fulfills all we require and much more, of power, purity, piety, and Grace. As we pray we always begin our prayer with adoration, and there is much to adore about Jehovah; because it was who spoke he universes into being, who made provision to save those who would believe and obey Him, the God who paid the price that He had demanded sin, by going to the Cross Himself in the body of His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus was dead and buried; and praise God, on the third day He arose to live forever as our advocate in heaven. He sits today on the right hand of the Father; and is going to return someday, perhaps soon, to judge the quick and the dead and to establish His Kingdom on the earth. We adore Him because He does not save anyone and leave them beside the road to either sink or swim on their own. Our God is a God that never sleeps, who sees us at all times and has the power to help us in any situation, as we live for Him. If you know Him through His Son Jesus Christ, you have the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and empower you as you worship Him and live every moment for Him.

As a personal note, I adore God because He rescued me from condemnation and hell by sacrificing His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. I love God and adore Him because He allows me multitudes of special blessings that most of the rest of civilization does not have. He allowed me to be born to great parents and to live in a loving family with good siblings.

It was God that allowed me to be born in America, the greatest country that exists in the world today. I hope that we have enough corporate sense to vote for people who can keep our country safe so that we can continue to enjoy God”s blessing. God gave me a wonderful wife, who gave me three great sons and now I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, which are a joy. I could take each of these blessings and break down under each one, many associated blessings. We worship the God whose nature is love and because of that, He provides for His creatures. That alone should give us cause to pray and commune and adore our wonderful, gracious, and Holy God.

Daily, God showers me with the provision to live and enjoy His world. I adore God because He loved us all enough to leave us the book of absolute truths, the Bible. I have said all of that to show you who read this, that we all have many blessings to thank God for. We should all be praying more and we never need to take God”s goodness for granted. People who do not pray except in times of grief and trouble, are people who should reevaluate their relationship with the Creator; because God has commanded us to pray and has even given us a model by which we should style our prayers.

In Luke chapter 18:1-43, God speaks to us through His Son Jesus Christ, and admonishes us that we should “always pray and not to faint”. In that chapter of Luke, Jesus Christ tells us of a widow, who had a problem and she came to a Judge, who the Bible says “did not fear God nor regard man” who would not rule in her favor, but because she continued to bring her case up to that Judge, he finally relented and found in her favor.

That should remind us that we should pray until God gives us our request or makes it plain that it is not in His plan for us. That chapter of Luke also tells us of the Pharisee and the Publican who came to pray, and how each prayed. It seems that the Pharisee, who was a very proud man, took his prayer before God, to brag on how good he was personally, while the Publican would not so much as look toward heaven, and beat upon his breast and asked God for mercy because he was a sinner.

The Bible says that the Publican was justified but the Pharisee was not. That tells us that God is never impressed by our works. God heard the Publican”s prayer because it came from a contrite heart, that was asking God for mercy, while the Pharisee”s prayer seemed to say to God that everything with him was alright, and he was thankful that he was not as bad as some others he knew. When we pray we must come to God with hearts and minds like little children, open to God and without any pride or desire other than to be near God. That eighteenth chapter of Luke deals with the love of money and riches, so we can learn much about how to pray and how to approach the Throne of Grace from Luke chapter 18.

Ephesians chapter 6 and verses 10-17, commands us who are saved and come to pray in faith, to come in the armor of God (loins gird about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness; our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, having the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit/Bible). Then in verse 18 of Ephesians chapter 6, we are told to pray always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. How many saints do you pray for or do you know any saints” Are you a saint or a sinner” If you are truly saved you are a saint”.that”s what a saint is, a truly saved person.

God created man to commune with Him; and He desires to commune with us (Rev.3:20). We know from the creation account in Genesis chapters 1-3, that God created the first couple, Adam and Eve, and prepared for them a paradise, the Garden of Eden. God did not put that couple there and then close up heaven to them, instead, God came down in the cool of the evening, and walked and talked with them there (Genesis 3:8). God has always been available to His creation and His Creatures. We can look back to Genesis chapter 4 and find God speaking to the child of Adam and Eve (Cain) concerning his brother Abel.

God spoke with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others and we find those accounts in the Old Testament. If we today, were aware of our situation and felt any thankfulness to God who provides, we would surely spend more time thanking and praising God and spending time with Him in prayer. We spend a lot of time in this generation talking on the phone and corresponding on the internet. We do not neglect our friends and loved ones because we are continually speaking to them via cell-phones, landlines, or the net; and it has become so universal that some states are outlawing using the phone while driving. Yet our prayer life remains cool or non-existent!

Prayer has to be on a higher level than our conversations with each other on our phones, but it is even easier and certainly more economical to speak directly to God. Of course, I don”t think God will accept text-messaging. Prayer is free, but there are certain criteria that anyone must meet to gain access to the Throne of Grace in prayer. These criteria are set by God and they require that we be one of His Children.

God does not receive the prayers of those who have unrepented sin, or those who are the devil”s children. Only those who have saving faith, have been born again and are that new creature in Christ, obedient to God and indwelled by the Holy Spirit, have an open line to God; because as someone as said “Prayer at it”s best is the expression of the total life”. That”s why many have prayed millions of words but never received an answer from God.

I believe it was A.W. Tozer who said: “Effective prayer requires that there be no unblessed areas in our lives, no part of mind or soul that are not inhabited by the Spirit, no impure desires allowed to live within us, no disparity between our prayers and our conduct”. Only those who have been called out by God, brought back to spiritual life and recreated by God as that new creature that we find in 2nd Cor. 5:17, can ever be sure that God hears their prayers. Sin still separates us from God; and no person (saved or lost) gets to commune God if there is unrepented sin in their life (Isaiah 59:1-2).

We asked the question in the title of this series and it was “If God already knows, why to pray”? Can our prayers change God”s mine” Absolutely not! Once God has decreed or declared anything, nothing can change it; however, we have to remember that God not only ordains ends, He also ordains the means to that end, and our prayers are not intended to change God”s mind but to change us who pray. Martin Luther said of prayer, “As a shoemaker makes a shoe, and a tailor makes a coat, so ought a Christian to pray, prayer is the daily business of a Christian”. The Bible agrees with Luther on prayer, or at least Luther agrees with the Bible, so let”s ask ourselves are we performing the duty of communion with God, (Prayer)”

If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, despite its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top. The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place.

If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then at once, it takes off like a flash. A bumble-bee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom.

It will seek a way where none exists until it destroys itself. In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumble-bee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is to look up! Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up! Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and trust in God as you pray and adore Him and live for His glory.

Understanding now, how great our God is and mindful of His willingness to commune with His prime creatures, how can we who call ourselves Christians and who depend upon God for every breath and heartbeat”not pray” I don”t know about you but in revisiting the duty of real prayer, I have found myself needing to pray more and to show God how much I love and need Him to supervise my life.

Probably, if you have thought seriously about prayer, you need to pray more and better also. I”m not talking about practiced prayer, that we are so often treated to in our churches; but spontaneous prayers, sincere prayers that come fresh and original from the heart of one who truly loves God.

We will continue in our next lesson to learn more about prayer and how it can be such a blessing to us. Begin to make it a point that you look first to God and then to the Holy Spirit in you, as you seek an audience with God. Make sure your prayer comes from your heart and that your heart is pure before God, as you pray and adore your Creator

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob