1. What is prayer?  
    Ask for ideas
    Is it just asking?  – ACTS can be a useful framework

    • (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication)

1. How do we start? – what should our attitude be

  • Remember who God is: 1 Tim.1.17
    a. Holy – we come reverently eg Lev. 19.1, Heb.12.28 (Deut.5.4-5)
    b. Great – we come humbly  Eccl. 5 v 1-7 (not GNB)
    c. All-powerful – able to answer Eph. 3.20
    d. All-knowing – Ps. 147.5; Ps. 139. - we submit to his greater wisdom 1 Cor.3.19
    e. Our Father – we come confidently. (Unashamed, unfearing boldness that comes from complete confidence)
       i. Heb.4.16 (GNB ‘brave’ – bad translation).
       ii. Eph.3.12.  same word – lit ‘free utterance’ (Acts 4.29,31 ‘boldly’)
       iii. Heb 10.19
    f. Example of Jesus’ attitude  Heb.5.7 – reverent submission, loud cries, tears…


2. This leads us into ADORATION.

  1. God is too big for us to take everything in.  It may help if we focus our mind on certain aspects of his attributes - who he is and what he is like
  2. What in God’s character leads you to expect him to answer your specific prayer?

    Acts 4.24-30 – sovereignty, foreknowledge, his name, his purposes, his glory
          . Tell him – praise him for it
          . Thank him for what he has done in similar situations in the past
    • Why isn’t this flattery?  Why is it important?  
      .  Our confidence is based upon it
      .  This is WHY God acts as he does – he always acts in character
      .  This will build our faith up
    • Consider in the light of the above
      .  Eph.3.14-21.  ‘For this reason’ – what reason?  (see 3.1, and previous verses)
      .  Phil. 1.3-8

3. Confession

    • Confess = agreeing with God’s assessment:
      • admit your sinfulness – acknowledge it to God, agreeing he is right in the way he sees it and ask him to forgive and cleanse us.
        I John 1.9
        II Sam. Chaps 11.1-12.13.  Psalm 51 is David’s response
      • Daniel 9.4-23 – agreeing with God’s assessment (Daniel has in mind such passages as Deut 28, esp. v.62-63; Deut 30.1-5…)
      • Why is this important?  Ps.66.18-20; 1 Peter 3.7
      • Ezra 9 and 10 – eg Ezra 9.13.  Confession of sin and repentance not enough – it also needed action to put things right.

4. Tell him what you want to ask - Supplication

  • Argue your case – give reasons why he should answer.  Eg Exodus 32.9-14.  Can you think of other passages?  (Gen 18.22-26)

 5 Thank him for answers to previous prayers

  •  Don’t forget what you pray for – watch for the answer so you can thank him for it.  
    •  Col. 4.2  II Cor.1.11. 
    • Suggestion: make a list of what you pray for
    • Be specific – if you don’t ask for specifics, you won’t recognise answers
  •  Do we expect God to answer?  Paul did – Phil.1.19, Philemon 22.  So did Jesus – John 17
  •  But also Acts 12 v.5, 16.
  •  Thank him for circumstances he has placed you in.  1 Thess.5.17-18
    •  How can we thank him for adverse circumstances?
          .  Rom 8.28
          .  1 Cor.10.13

   .  2 Cor.1.3-11

   .  Eph.1.11  

   .  Eph.1.6,14 it’s about being ‘to the praise of his glory’ – not our own comfort cf. Eph 3.10

   .  Phil.1.12-14;

   .  Heb.12.11

 6. What does it mean to pray in Jesus name?

 Eph.3.11-12

 2 Cor.1.20

 John 14.13

 

           Why do we say ‘Amen’?

 

        1 Cor. 14.16

Still to come…
Where can I pray?
When do I pray?
Why doesn’t God answer my  prayer?
Can I ask God for anything?
How long do I keep asking for something?
How can we ask confidently?
What if we don’t pray?
What can I pray for? – a few suggestions
What else will help me?