1. ATTITUDE IN PRAYER
a. What posture should we observe in prayer? Psalm 95:6; Ephesians 3:14.
b. Where and how should we pray our personal prayers? Matthew 6:6.
“It is impossible for the soul to flourish while prayer is not a special exercise of the mind. Family or public prayer alone is not sufficient. Secret prayer is very important; in solitude the soul is laid bare to the inspecting eye of God, and every motive is scrutinized. Secret prayer! How precious! The soul communing with God! Secret prayer is to be heard only by the prayer-hearing God. No curious ear is to receive the burden of such petitions. In secret prayer the soul is free from surrounding influences, free from excitement. Calmly, yet fervently, will it reach out after God. Secret prayer is frequently perverted, and its sweet designs lost, by loud vocal prayer. Instead of the calm, quiet trust and faith in God, the soul drawn out in low, humble tones, the voice is raised to a loud pitch, and excitement is encouraged, and secret prayer loses its softening, sacred influence. There is a storm of feeling, a storm of words, making it impossible to discern the still, small voice that speaks to the soul while engaged in its secret, true, heartfelt devotion.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 189, 190.
2. INTERCESSORY PRAYER
a. As Daniel considered that the prophecy of the 70 years of the desolation of Jerusalem was drawing to a close, what was he inspired to pray about? Daniel 9:3–19. Whom did Daniel see as guilty of sin? Whom did he blame?
“With faith founded on the sure word of prophecy, Daniel pleaded with the Lord for the speedy fulfillment of these promises. He pleaded for the honor of God to be preserved. In his petition he identified himself fully with those who had fallen short of the divine purpose, confessing their sins as his own. . . .
“Though Daniel had long been in the service of God, and had been spoken of by heaven as ‘greatly beloved,’ yet he now appeared before God as a sinner, urging the great need of the people he loved. His prayer was eloquent in its simplicity, and intensely earnest.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 554, 555.
“The Lord who heard Daniel’s prayer will hear yours if you will approach Him as Daniel did.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 75.
b. What was the answer to Daniel’s prayer? Daniel 9:20–23.
c. How does God, by His Spirit, intercede for us? Romans 8:26. What does God want us to do for others? James 5:16.
“Christ, our Mediator, and the Holy Spirit are constantly interceding in man’s behalf, but the Spirit pleads not for us as does Christ who presents His blood, shed from the foundation of the world; the Spirit works upon our hearts, drawing out prayers and penitence, praise and thanksgiving. The gratitude which flows from our lips is the result of the Spirit striking the cords of the soul in holy memories, awakening the music of the heart.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, pp. 1077, 1078.
“Appeals, petitions, entreaties, between man and man, move men and act a part in controlling the affairs of nations. But prayer moves heaven. That power alone that comes in answer to prayer will make men wise in the wisdom of heaven and enable them to work in the unity of the Spirit, joined together by the bonds of peace. Prayer, faith, confidence in God, bring a divine power that sets human calculations at their real worth—nothingness.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 75.
3. PRAYER FOR HOLINESS
a. How did Jesus teach us to pray when we recognize that we are sinners? Luke 18:13.
“God does not give us up because of our sins. We may make mistakes and grieve His Spirit, but when we repent and come to Him with contrite hearts, He will not turn us away.”—Faith and Works, p. 35.
“When we beseech the Lord to pity us in our distress, and to guide us by His Holy Spirit, He will never turn away our prayer.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 207.
b. What attitude must we reject as sinners? Luke 18:11, 12.
“Self-righteousness is the danger of this age; it separates the soul from Christ. Those who trust to their own righteousness cannot understand how salvation comes through Christ. They call sin righteousness and righteousness sin. They have no appreciation of the evil of transgression, no understanding of the terror of the law; for they do not respect God’s moral standard.”—Faith and Works, p. 96.
c. What is the promise of God for every prayer of honest confession? Luke 18:14; 1 John 1:9.
“The enemy will come to you, and say, ‘It is of no use for you to pray. Did you not do that evil thing? Have you not transgressed against God? Have you not violated your conscience?’ Answer him, ‘Yes; but Christ has bidden me pray. He has said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”—The Bible Echo, February 15, 1893.
“Never is one repulsed who comes to Him with a contrite heart. Not one sincere prayer is lost. Amid the anthems of the celestial choir, God hears the cries of the weakest human being. We pour out our heart’s desire in our closets, we breathe a prayer as we walk by the way, and our words reach the throne of the Monarch of the universe. They may be inaudible to any human ear, but they cannot die away into silence, nor can they be lost through the activities of business that are going on. Nothing can drown the soul’s desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the confusion of the multitude, to the heavenly courts. It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 174.
4. PRAYING FOR WISDOM
a. What does God offer to each of us if we will but ask? How are we to ask? James 1:5, 6.
“You need not go to the ends of the earth for wisdom, for God is near. It is not the capabilities you now possess or ever will have that will give you success. It is that which the Lord can do for you. We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill. Put your talents into the work, ask God for wisdom, and it will be given you.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 146.
b. How will God’s wisdom set us apart from those around us? Psalm 119:97–100; Deuteronomy 4:5–9.
“As in obedience to His natural laws the earth should produce its treasures, so in obedience to His moral law the hearts of the people were to reflect the attributes of His character. Even the heathen would recognize the superiority of those who served and worshiped the living God.”—Ibid., p. 289.
c. How should we search for wisdom? What two requirements does God place before us in order for us to receive His wisdom? Proverbs 2:1–6.
“It is impossible to study the Bible with a humble, teachable spirit, without developing and strengthening the intellect. Those who become best acquainted with the wisdom and purpose of God as revealed in His word, become men and women of mental strength; and they may become efficient workers with the great Educator, Jesus Christ.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 432.
5. PRAYING WITH THANKSGIVING
a. What do we often forget in our personal prayers? Philippians 4:6.
“Our devotional exercises should not consist wholly in asking and receiving. Let us not be always thinking of our wants and never of the benefits we receive. We do not pray any too much, but we are too sparing of giving thanks. We are the constant recipients of God’s mercies, and yet how little gratitude we express, how little we praise Him for what He has done for us.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 102, 103.
b. What can we be grateful to God for each day? Psalm 68:19; Lamentations 3:22–25.
“If our senses had not been blunted by sin and by contemplation of the dark pictures that Satan is constantly presenting before us, a fervent and continuous flow of gratitude would go out from our hearts toward Him who daily loads us with benefits of which we are wholly undeserving. The everlasting song of the redeemed will be praise to Him who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood; and if we ever sing that song before the throne of God we must learn it here.”—That I May Know Him, p. 168.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why is it so important that our personal prayers be done in secret?
2. What power is given to us in answer to prayer, and how is this power to be used for others?
3. What prayer does God always answer—without delay?
4. When will those around us see the great benefits in serving and worshipping God?
5. What song do we need to learn here on earth, so that we can join in with the redeemed as they sing it in heaven?