Sabbath Bible Lessons

Prayer

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Lesson 3 Sabbath, July 21, 2018

Prayer in the Psalms

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1).

“I have been referred by the Spirit of God to the many encouragements given to us in the Psalms. . . . If our people would realize the possibilities that lie in increased faith and prayer, there would be a decided change in our churches. Those who are now downcast and worried, would be lifted up from their discouragements, and would rejoice in the Lord.”—Australasian Union Conference Record, April 29, 1907.

Suggested Reading:   Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 270–278.

Sunday July 15

1. ACCESS TO THE THRONE OF GRACE

a. What are some of the themes expressed by David in the Psalms regarding the Christian’s experience? Psalm 25:16–18; 28:2, 7, 8.

b. What may a repentant sinner confidently expect when he sincerely asks for God’s forgiveness? Psalm 51:1–6.

“A repentance such as this [David’s], is beyond the reach of our own power to accomplish; it is obtained only from Christ, who ascended up on high and has given gifts unto men.

“Just here is a point on which many may err, and hence they fail of receiving the help that Christ desires to give them. They think that they cannot come to Christ unless they first repent, and that repentance prepares for the forgiveness of their sins. It is true that repentance does precede the forgiveness of sins; for it is only the broken and contrite heart that will feel the need of a Saviour. But must the sinner wait till he has repented before he can come to Jesus? Is repentance to be made an obstacle between the sinner and the Saviour?”—Steps to Christ, pp. 25, 26.


Monday July 16

2. WHEN GOD FORGIVES

a. Under what conditions can a sinner obtain God’s mercy? Psalm 32:5.

“The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy.”—Steps to Christ, p. 37.

“When He permits trials and afflictions, it is ‘for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.’ If received in faith, the trial that seems so bitter and hard to bear will prove a blessing. The cruel blow that blights the joys of earth will be the means of turning our eyes to heaven. How many there are who would never have known Jesus had not sorrow led them to seek comfort in Him! . . .

“The Lord will work for all who put their trust in Him. Precious victories will be gained by the faithful. Precious lessons will be learned. Precious experiences will be realized. . . .

“Christ lifts up the contrite heart, and refines the mourning soul, until it becomes His abode.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 302.

b. What did David do as He approached God, and what was God’s response? Psalm 66:17–20.

“Our Saviour is always ready to hear and answer the prayer of the contrite heart, and grace and peace are multiplied to His faithful ones. Gladly He grants them the blessings they need in their struggle against the evils that beset them.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 532.

c. To what degree does God forgive our sins? Psalm 103:3, 12–14.

“Let Christ, the divine Life, dwell in you and through you reveal the heaven-born love that will inspire hope in the hopeless and bring heaven’s peace to the sin-stricken heart.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 114, 115.


Tuesday July 17

3. THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

a. With what spirit did David seek the Lord in prayer? How did his practical life reflect his heart condition? Psalm 26:2–5, 8; 119:58.

b. What actions reveal an inward change of heart? Isaiah 1:16, 17; Ezekiel 33:15.

“Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin.”—Steps to Christ, p. 39.

“A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. . . . But this union costs us something. . . . There must be a painful work of detachment, as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness—sin in all its forms—must be overcome, if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is, they try to attach themselves to Christ without detaching themselves from these cherished idols.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 221.

c. What attitude does God desire us to have as we come before Him? Psalm 95:2; 100:4.

“God desires His obedient children to claim His blessing and to come before Him with praise and thanksgiving. God is the Fountain of life and power. He can make the wilderness a fruitful field for the people that keep His commandments, for this is for the glory of His name. He has done for His chosen people that which should inspire every heart with thanksgiving, and it grieves Him that so little praise is offered. He desires to have a stronger expression from His people, showing that they know they have reason for joy and gladness.

“The dealings of God with His people should be often repeated. How frequently were the waymarks set up by the Lord in His dealings with ancient Israel! . . . We need often to recount God’s goodness and to praise Him for His wonderful works.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 364, 365.


Wednesday July 18

4. FAITH AND CONFIDENCE

a. With what words did David express his faith in the Lord? Psalm 27:1–5.

“Our God has heaven and earth at His command, and He knows just what we need. We can see only a little way before us; ‘but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do’ (Hebrews 4:13). Above the distractions of the earth He sits enthroned; all things are open to His divine survey; and from His great and calm eternity He orders that which His providence sees best.

“Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father’s notice. Satan’s hatred against God leads him to delight in destroying even the dumb creatures. It is only through God’s protecting care that the birds are preserved to gladden us with their songs of joy. But He does not forget even the sparrows. ‘Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows’ (Matthew 10:31).”—Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 272, 273.

b. How did David express his confidence in God when outnumbered by earthly foes? Psalm 56:2, 9, 11.

“Why do we not show that we have a living Saviour, one who can walk with us in the darkness as well as in the light, and that we can trust in Him? . . .

“We have seen clouds interpose between us and the sun, but we did not mourn and clothe ourselves in sackcloth for fear that we should never see the sun again. We manifested no anxiety about it, but waited as cheerfully as possible until the cloud passed away and revealed the sun. Just so in our trials and temptations. Clouds may seem to shut from us the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness; but we know that the face of our Redeemer is not forever hidden. He is looking upon us with love and tender compassion. Let us not cast away our confidence, which hath great recompense of reward, but when clouds hang over the soul, let us keep our eyes fixed where we can see the Sun of Righteousness, and rejoice that we have a living Saviour. Think how beautiful was the light which we enjoyed, keep the mind stayed on Jesus, and the light will again shine upon us, and dismal thoughts will flee. We shall have joy in Christ, and shall go singing on our way to Mount Zion.”—Our High Calling, p. 65.


Thursday July 19

5. GOD SATISFIES THE THIRSTING SOUL

a. Describe the fervor that should accompany our prayers. Psalm 42:1–4.

“Let us put away the listless, sluggish habit into which we have fallen, and pray as though we meant it. ‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’ [James 5:16.] Faith takes a firm hold of the promises of God, and urges her petitions with fervor; but when the life of the soul stagnates, the outward devotions become formal and powerless.”—Gospel Workers (1892), p. 426.

b. As we approach God in the midst of our trials and struggles, what assurance do we have? Psalm 77:1, 14, 15.

“To all who are reaching out to feel the guiding hand of God, the moment of greatest discouragement is the time when divine help is nearest. They will look back with thankfulness upon the darkest part of their way. . . . From every temptation and every trial He will bring them forth with firmer faith and a richer experience.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 528.

“In every trial, if we seek Him, Christ will give us help. Our eyes will be opened to discern the healing promises recorded in His word. The Holy Spirit will teach us how to appropriate every blessing that will be an antidote to grief. For every bitter draft that is placed to our lips, we shall find a branch of healing.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 248.


Friday July 20

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. On what point do many err and fail to receive the promised blessing?

2. Instead of performing great acts of self-sacrifice in order to obtain forgiveness and mercy, what steps do we need to take?

3. What attitude will lead us to make a genuine confession?

4. What should we do when trials seem to hide the face of the Sun of Righteousness from our vision?

5. With what type of spirit should we approach God? What is the promise that we have when we do this?

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