Introduction: 1. (John 14-16) Jesus spoke to His apostles so their hearts would not be troubled. 2. Last Sunday evening we examined the Lord's comments in John 14:1-6. 3. This evening we are concentrating on the subject that Jesus mentioned in John 16:23-24 -- "prayer." 4. The purpose for our lesson is to remind us of some general principles that relate to prayer. 5. Let us begin our study by showing . . .
I. WHAT PRAYER IS
A. "Prayer" is the means that we have of talking to God. B. (1 Timothy 2:1) There are various forms of communicating with God, including: 1. prayers: addresses made to God 2. supplications: asking God to supply needs (Matthew 6:11) 3. intercessions: making petitions on behalf of others (James 5:16a) 4. giving of thanks: expressions of gratitude. C. Now that we understand what prayer is, we need to point out that . . .
II. ALL 3 MEMBERS OF THE GODHEAD ARE INVOLVED IN OUR PRAYERS
A. Our prayers are to be addressed to the Father (Matthew 6:9). B. Our prayers are to be addressed to the Father through the Son (John 16:23). 1. (1 Timothy 2:5) Jesus serves as mediator between God and men. 2. We pray to the Father through Christ. C. (Romans 8:26-27) The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf when we pray. 1. The Spirit helps us with our "infirmities" [weaknesses]. 2. He reveals what is in our hearts to the Father.
III. THE BIBLE ASSURES US THAT GOD ANSWERS PRAYER
A. Jesus made this very clear in John 16:23. B. However, we must understand that God answers our prayers according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). C. When we pray, God's will may be: 1. "yes" (James 5:17-18) 2. "no" (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44) 3. different from ours. D. Because God may not answer our prayers according to the way we make our requests, we must pray: 1. patiently (Psalm 40:1) 2. persistently (Luke 18:1). E. Because God answers our prayers, we ought to pray with the confidence expressed in: 1. Psalm 86:7 2. Psalm 116:1-2 F. The Scriptures affirm that God answers prayer; however, . . .
IV. WE MUST MEET CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS FOR OUR PRAYERS TO BE ACCEPTABLE
A. (Matthew 21:22) We must pray "believing" [in faith]. B. (John 15:7) We must abide in Christ, and His words must abide in us. C. (James 4:3) We must pray with the proper motives. D. We must be living "righteous" lives (James 5:16b). E. We must be obedient to God's commandments (1 John 3:22).
1. God's children certainly enjoy a great blessing in being able to talk to Him through prayer. 2. As we conclude this lesson, are you among those who can address God as "Father?" 3. We learn from Galatians 3:26-27 how to become His children.