Principles for Powerful Prayer
Lesson 2 The Prerequisites for Powerful Prayer
Prerequisites for Prayer
1. The Steadfastness of the Saint Luke 11:5-10
And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
A prerequisite is an accomplishment, action or knowledge that must precede another accomplishment, action or knowledge. Without the proper prerequisite as your first step, there can be no success in the following steps.
After Jesus gave his disciples the framework for their own prayers, He then gave them some examples. I believe that the examples Jesus uses in Luke 11 are a description of prerequisites for powerful prayer. These truths must be understood and implemented before I can move on to powerful pray. These truths are first about myself and how I pray and then about God who I pray to.
Read through the story in Luke 11:5-10 and think about the following questions.
Considering the context what is the purpose of the example?
To teach further about prayer.
What is the main action of the friend who needs bread.
Persistent asking, importunity.
How does Jesus sum up the truth He is teaching? He tells them to keep asking, seeking and knocking.
What is His promise to those who learn and practice this truth? They will receive, find, and have it opened to them.
According to this passage, the first prerequisite I need in my prayer life is persistence. Jesus uses the word "importunity" in the parable to describe the man who will not go away. It is used only this once in the Bible, it literally means shamelessness. The man seeking the bread was not embarrassed or ashamed to go to a friend and ask for it. Nor was he ashamed to continue knocking until his friend inside relented and gave him the bread. Why? Because they were friends, they had a relationship.
How does this attitude apply to the Christian prayer life? We are approaching our Heavenly Father, there is no embarrassment or shame in coming before Him to express our needs. Because of that relationship we not only will come asking, we will continue seeking and stay knocking because of the relationship we share as Father and child. The only thing we could do wrong is to quit before we receive our answer.
Read the following scriptures about boldness in our relationship with God. It is this boldness that translates into persistence and persistence that translates into successful prayer.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Ro 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Ga 4:6-7 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Eph 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
1Jo 3:19-21 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.
Quote: Adinirom Judson – God loves importunate prayer so much that He will not give us much blessing without it.
2. Prerequisite 2: Believing in The Goodness of God Luke 11: 11-13
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
The second prerequisite flows from the first and is so closely associated with it, that in practice they are inseparable. Jesus talked about an earthly father and son relationship and then uses this strong, simple truth to explain and encourage those who had asked about learning to pray.
Read this parallel passage in Matthew 5:9-11 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
What is the truth that Jesus is teaching about those who go to God in prayer? That God their heavenly Father loves them. Even as they themselves would not hurt the children they love when they come to them, God wants for us good things because He loves us.
In my prayer life I must be aware of and truly depend upon the love of God. If I prayer filled with doubt about how God feels about me how can I be successful in prayer. God does not count how many hours I pray and then when I reach a certain number I gain my request. Time with God is not like the Green or Gold stamps that my mom used to collect at the grocery store and then redeem at the Redemption Centers. If my concept of prayer is no greater than "God who giveth me things", then my prayer life will be one of shallowness and disappointment.
Consider the following verses about God's love for us. Do you really believe them? Do they make a difference in the way you pray?
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1John 4:8-10 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
1Jo 4:16-19 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.
Psalms 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
It is love that should drive prayer, because it is love that drives God to answer my prayer. When I know this and go to God because of it, then my prayers will be something more than just a duty, or ritual or a formality. Only a deepening relationship built upon love will form the foundation for a persistent, insistent, and consistent prayer life.