From: Jesus’ Personal Prayer Life Return to Home
By Roland H. Worth, Jr. © 2014
Jesus’ Personal Prayer Life:
A Personal and Class Workbook
Roland H. Worth, Jr.
Copyright © 2014 by author
Reproduction of this book for non-profit circulation by any electronic or print media means is hereby freely granted at no cost—provided the text is not altered in any manner.
If accompanied by additional, supplemental material—in agreement or disagreement—it must be clearly and visibly distinguishable from the original text.
Although hundreds if not thousands of books and pamphlets have been written on the subject of Christian prayer (and an equally abundant collection of Bible class workbooks), only a modest percentage have chosen to zero in on Jesus’ own personal prayer life. This volume chooses the latter as its key interest.
This is not a “theory” centered book; it is a text-centered one. It divides the subject into five major themes and ten supporting topics. It brings together a wide variety of texts that touch upon the subject of how Christ’s actions exhibited the characteristics of prayer that He taught His followers to embrace.
For example, Jesus’ prayer concerning unity has been preached upon a multitude of times, but how often do we notice His own practice as a unifier? Hence this study endeavors to blend together His life, His prayer doctrine, and His own practice into a synthesis that provides the reader perspectives that might otherwise be missed.
Furthermore, Jesus was a Jew and lived under the Jewish Law. It would be expected that that Law would have a tremendous impact upon His thought and behavior. (After all Jesus is pictured as morally perfect even though He lived under that rigorous system.) Yet when the subject of prayer is raised, the Old Testament teaching is often isolated into a separate chapter or book all to itself. This work removes that artificial barrier and feels free to demonstrate that what He taught and practiced was built on that reliable ancient foundation.
As a detailed outline, this work was completed in the winter of 1992 and in this revision I have expanded the material where appropriate and removed parts that had the least tie-in with Jesus’ own prayer life: Material that would be useful in other contexts, of course, but not to what was being “zeroed in” on here. I have also reorganized significant segments to better emphasize the “Jesus-centric” approach of these particular lessons.
As in the case of the original, space is provided for the insertion of concise answers to the “fill in the blank” and comment sections. Suggested answers are provided in a different typeface for personal consultation if you choose to use this strictly for your own study. If you should decide to use it for teaching a class, you can “copy and paste” the materials into your own files and delete the answers—and if you wish, the supporting texts that are quoted—only retaining them for your own “teacher’s copy.” The “copyright” remarks at the beginning of the book are meant in no way or fashion to hinder such a usage.
Added are the complete texts referred to—in the New King James Version and with alternate versions included where appropriate and useful. A comparison of these will often provide additional insight into what the passages are saying. Representative commentator and other data are included where it was deemed they might be particularly useful. We have kept these to a minimum in order to provide minimum intrusion into the volume’s “work book” intention.
In its present form, this book is intended to bring together a wide selection of data that liberates you from the many hours of textual compilation that would be required to duplicate it. It allows you to center on what the texts say and permits you to center your meditation upon their application in your own prayer life.
Roland H. Worth, Jr.
Chapter Numbers and Contents
In Part One:
1 Why the Prayer Life of Jesus is Useful to Us
ATTITUDES IN PRAYER
3 Faith and Submissiveness
PRAYERS CONCERNING GOD
6 Respect for God
In Part Two:
PRAYERS CONCERNING OTHER PEOPLE
7 Forgiveness of Those Who Have Done Us Wrong
8 The Quest for Religious Unity
OTHER ASPECTS OF PRAYER
9 Jesus’ Public Prayers Seen By His Apostles and Disciples
10 Irrelevancies of Prayer
NKJV = New King James Version (Basic Text)
BBE = Bible in Basic English
CEV = Contemporary English Version
ESV = English Standard Version
ISV = International Standard Version
GW = God’s Word
Holman = Holman Christian Standard Bible
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NET = New English Translation (Bible)
NIV = New International Version
TEV = Today’s English Version
WEB = World English Bible
Why the Prayer Life of Jesus is Useful to Us
J. W. McGarvey:
Even though Jesus was so prayerful Himself, He was not persistent like the apostle Paul in urging this duty on the disciples. Even in His well known remarks on the subject in the Sermon on the Mount, He did not exhort them to pray; but assuming that they would pray, He was content with telling them how.
And so, in the subsequent course of His ministry He depended on the force of His example, rather than on repeated precept for their training in this respect. His method had the desired effect; for after what I have thus far narrated, “it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place that when he ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught His disciples.’ ”
Having been a disciple of John, this man knew what John had taught on the subject, and he also knew what Jesus Himself had taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Why then was he not satisfied? Evidently he thought from the protracted prayers of Jesus, and perhaps what he saw or thought he saw, of their effects on the life of Jesus, that there was yet a secret in prayer which he had not discovered. None of the disciples could as yet pray all night; and none since then have learned to do so. Who ever tried it without falling asleep? And who has prayed so effectually as to guard himself against all sin?
It is high credit to this disciple—and probably he spoke for the others as well as for himself—that he aspired to His Master’s devotion in this respect. He was disappointed. Jesus answered only by repeating the major part of the simple prayer which He had taught them before, and by adding a parable to show the value of importunity [persistence] in pleading for what we need (Luke 11:5-13).
-- From the sermon “The Prayers of Jesus,” as reprinted in Warren W. Wiersbe, Treasury of the World’s Great Sermons (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1977), pages 388-389.
Hence to learn from Jesus about prayer, we must pay at least as much attention to what He actually did in prayer as to what He explicitly taught on the subject.
I. Jesus’ Life Was Designed To Be an Example for Us
A. The principle laid down: 1 Corinthians 11:1
NKJV: Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
NIV: Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
NKJV: For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
God’s Word (GW): Christ did not think only of himself. Rather, as Scripture says, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."
B. Jesus’ life was cited as an example in what specific areas?
John 13:4-15: [The social courtesies owed one’s guests; Jesus washed
His own disciples’ feet.]
Was this done as part of church worship?
[No. The church wasn’t in existence yet.]
What lesson was He trying to convey (-17)? [Humility]
NKJV: 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is He who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Why would Jesus doing this be a splendid example of His frame of mind (13:3)? [He did it even though He had all power.]
NKJV: Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God.
GW: The Father had put everything in Jesus' control. Jesus knew that. He also knew that he had come from God and was going back to God.
John 15:20-21: [Endure persecution / mistreatment / injustice.]
NKJV: 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
1 Peter 2:20-23: [Similar to above; also enduring wrongful insult, verse
NKJV: For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commend-able before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.
Philippians 2:5-8 (especially verse 5): [Humility]
NKJV: 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
II. JESUS ENDURED A LIFE LIKE OURS: FULL OF DIFFICULTY AND STRESS
What kind of difficulties did Jesus encounter in the following passages?
Matthew 8:18-20: [Few earthly possessions]
NKJV: 18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
John 5:16; 7:1: [Examples of variety of texts concerning how His
foes in the Jewish religious leadership wished to
NKJV: For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
7:1 NKJV: After these things Jesus walked in
Luke 13:31-34: [Political leaders weren’t friendly to Him.]
NKJV: 31 On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.” 32 And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ 33 Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
John 7:3-5: [His family recognized His miracle-working
abilities but were upset with Him for not
immediately using them in
NKJV: 3 His brothers
therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into
[For thought: does this prove that the relatives did not believe in His miracle working powers (the typical view) or that they did not believe in His restraint in using them, because He was not using them to create a larger following?]
Mark -21: [His “own people” (family? relatives?
neighbors?) thought He had lost His
NKJV: 20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”
NASB: When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses."
John 6:60-68: [“Many” disciples deserted because of His teaching.]
NKJV: 60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” 61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
6:66 Holman: From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him.
Matthew 26:55-56: [ALL disciples fled at His arrest.]
55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes,
“Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to
take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize
At times these things drove Him to the point of despair. Comment on the following passages:
Matthew 26:37: [
NKJV: And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
World English Bible (WEB): He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and severely troubled.
Mark 14:33-34: [Again in
NKJV: 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
ESV: 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.
Luke 22:44: [
NKJV: And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Matthew 27:46 / Mark 15:34: [Anguished cry to God: Why have you
27:46 NKJV: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
NKJV: And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
In an earlier generation who else felt similarly despondent (Psalms 22:1)? [The Psalmist]
(Note the eerie foreshadowing of what happened during Jesus’ betrayal, trials, and crucifixion that lay yet centuries in the future. Hence the reason the chapter is considered prophetic.) NKJV: 1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. 7 All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” 9 But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother's breasts. 10 I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother's womb You have been My God. 11 Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 14 I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has
enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and
My feet; 17 I can count all My bones. They
look and stare at
20 Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog.
III. HE PRACTICED WHAT HE TAUGHT. HENCE HIS PRAYER LIFE REFLECTED HIS TEACHING.
The fact that He was consistent is indicated by facts such as these. . . .
Matthew 23:25-26 where He demanded . . . [Consistency]
NKJV: 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Matthew 6:5 where He denounced . . . [Hypocrisy]
NKJV: “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
John where He challenged His
foes to . . . [Prove any sin in His actions.]
NKJV: Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?
NIV: Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me?
IV. PRAYER WAS TO BE ACCORDING TO WHAT JESUS TAUGHT, WHICH COVERS BOTH DIRECT TEACHING AND WHAT HE TAUGHT THROUGH EXAMPLE
What difference was to be in the disciples’ prayers after
He died and was resurrected (John -24, 26)?
[Ask in His name.]
NKJV: 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. 23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you.
Jesus promised that if they invoked His “name”
(authority, approval, example) in prayer that
(John 14:13-14) . . . [They would receive a positive
NKJV: 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
Can a prayer truly be of this nature if Jesus
never authorized / taught / gave the example
that something was desirable and hence
was a desirable thing to pray for? [No.]
Does attaching the word Christ (“in Christ’s
Name”) automatically make it such? [No.]
V. JESUS’ DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE OF PRAYER WAS BASED UPON OLD TESTAMENT PRECEDENT SINCE THAT WAS THE RELIGIOUS SYTEM HE LIVED UNDER.
Galatians 4:4-5: [Jesus “born under the law,” i.e., subject to it;
it still in effect.]
NKJV: 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Matthew 23:23-24: [Even “minor” matters of it to be obeyed—but
not at cost of neglecting the “major” ones, however.]
NKJV: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!’
ISV: "How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your mint, dill, and cummin, but have neglected the more important matters of the Law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the things you should have practiced, without neglecting the others.”
Colossians 2:13-17: [It did not cease being authority until it was
nailed to the cross at Jesus’ death.]
NKJV: 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. 16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths.
ISV: having erased the charges that were brought against us, along with their obligations that were hostile to us. He took those charges away when he nailed them to the cross.
Hebrews 9:15-17: [New Testament only came into effect at Jesus’ death.]
NKJV: And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.
HENCE WE CAN OPEN ITS PAGES AND FIND EXAMPLE AFTER EXAMPLE OF THE SAME THING BEING TAUGHT AND DONE.
Speaking after His resurrection through the apostles and prophets whom He inspired (John -15), Jesus decreed both minor and major departures from the Old Testament system. But on the subject of prayer, however, one would be hard pressed to find the rejection of much of anything.
NKJV: 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
I. JESUS’ TEACHING ON PERSISTENCY IN PRAYER
A. DIRECT TEACHING ON THE SUBJECT
Luke 21:36: “Watch therefore and pray ____________.” [Always.]
What particular reason does He have for giving this teaching? (Read closely the remainder of the verse.)
[Concern that the disciples might not escape the
various dangers prior to His return.]
In addition to the dangers of war and persecution (verses 5-28), what other dangers does He have in mind that prayer may help us escape (verses 34-35)?
[Discouragement, despair, reckless living.]
34 “But take heed to
yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and
cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all
those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36
Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted
worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before
the Son of
TEV: "34 “Be careful not to let
yourselves become occupied with too much feasting and drinking and with the
worries of this life, or that Day may suddenly catch you 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all people
everywhere on earth. 36 Be on watch
and pray always that you will have the strength to go safely through all those
things that will happen and to stand before the Son of
B. PARABOLIC TEACHING
Give a name to and describe the contents of the following two parables James gave in Luke to make the point that His followers must persevere in prayer on a regular basis:
(1) Luke 11:5-8: [Parable of neighbor needing emergency help for guest.]
Was this a convenient time to ask for help? What is said that shows that “no” is the answer?
Verse 5: [It was .]
Verse 7 (implied): [The door was “shut” = locked / barred? Also: family
typically all slept in same room in their own spots: To
open the door now would be to disturb every one in the
For whose benefit was help being sought?
For the neighbor himself? [No; but for a friend who had just
arrived, probably unexpectedly. The neighbor
is looking for “leftovers” from the previous day
to give him something immediate to eat.
How much would ultimately be given (verse 8b)?
[What “he needs”--which, as in other cases,
might or might not be fully identical with all
that is “wanted.”]
NKJV: 5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
What two differences are there between God and the neighbor of whom help was requested (11:9-13)?
Verses 9-10: [God far more willing to give than any mortal.]
Verses 11-13: [God will only give good; although this neighbor gave
the best available, some neighbors would not.]
NKJV: 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
(2) Luke 18:1-8: [unjustly treated widow insisting on justice.]
NKJV: 1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
The purpose of this parable was (verse 1):
[Don’t give up on prayer out of despair; when God acts is a decision
He must make, not us. He promises action but not necessarily on our
What warning is here for those who mistreat
the innocent (verse 7): [God will bring justice; punish the unjust.]
NKJV: And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?
Weymouth: And will not God avenge the wrongs of His own People who cry aloud to Him day and night, although He seems slow in taking action on their behalf?
NIV: And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
Consider the warning about the unjust in 2 Thessalonians 1:4-9.
[God will punish.]
NKJV: 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
II. JESUS CITED AS AN EXAMPLE OF PRAYER
What is said that points
As a rule, Jesus’ prayers were answered (5:7):
“And was heard because of His _________ _______.”
In the immediate
sense, God answered His prayer with a “no” because His death was necessary to
redeem mankind and it was necessary for Him to demonstrate His “_______________
by the things which He suffered” (Verse 8).
Yet, in a very real sense even this prayer was ultimately answered in the affirmative. How?
[By raising Him from the dead; death triumphed but only temporarily.]
NKJV: 7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek.”
III. JESUS’ LIFE EXEMPLIFIED PERSISTENCY IN PRAYER
He did not engage in a mere occasional prayer; He did so as a regular part of His life, as can be seen by how much it is mentioned. Describe the circumstances in each of the following cases and why it especially appropriate.
Luke 3:21: [At baptism; inauguration of His public ministry.]
NKJV: When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.
Luke 5:15-16: [He took time out from His busy teaching and
healing ministry. Even Jesus needed a “break”
from His labor!]
NKJV: 15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
Luke 6:12-13: [Before appointing the apostles He prayed all night.
They were to play the pivotal role after His death in
spreading His message.]
NKJV: 12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles.
Luke 9:28-36: [Transfiguration; the event showed His unique importance.]
NKJV: 28 Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. 30 And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. 33 Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 36 When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet, and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen.
Luke 10:17, 21-22: [When the 70 came back; prayer of gratitude for their
success. Even Jesus did not forget to give thanks!]
NKJV: 17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 22 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
Luke 22:39-45: [What more appropriate time to pray than when you
know you are facing death?]
39 Coming out, He went to the
IV. OLD TESTAMENT PRECEDENT FOR PERSISTENCY IN PRAYER
How do the following passages touch on the subject?
Psalms 88:1-3: [He prayed both at night and in the day because
he had many problems facing him including
danger of death.]
NKJV: 1 O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You. 2 Let my prayer come before You; incline Your ear to my cry. 3 For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to the grave.
Psalms 116:1-2: [Because God had answered prayer, he felt every
reason to continue to pray.]
NKJV: 1 I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.
Because of the severity of the danger, Moses
once prayed (Deuteronomy -29) . . . [Forty days and nights.]
25 “Thus I prostrated myself before the Lord; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating
myself, because the Lord had said He would
destroy you. 26 Therefore I prayed to the Lord, and said: ‘O Lord God,
do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through
Your greatness, whom You have brought out of
When faced with the ongoing problem of unjust enemies and liars, what did the Psalmist do (109:1-4)?
[Prayed; since an ongoing problem the implication is that
the prayer was ongoing as well.]
NKJV: 1 Do not keep silent, O God of my praise! 2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful have opened against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. 3 They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. 4 In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.
The Psalmist recognized that God does not always immediately answer one’s prayer so he (40:1; 37:7-9) . . . . [Kept on praying.]
40:1 NKJV: I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.
37:7-9 NKJV: 7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
Faith and Submissiveness to God’s Will
as Prerequisites for Answered Prayer
I. BOTH JESUS AND THE OLD TESTAMENT TAUGHT THE NEED FOR FAITH—IN LIVING LIFE AND IN PRAYER IN PARTICULAR
A. THE TEACHING OF JESUS
Faith backed prayer works because one is dealing with
(Luke 11:19-21 / Matthew 7:7-11) a loving . . . [Heavenly Father.]
Luke 11:1, 19-21 NKJV: 1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV: 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
Faith backed prayer can work such powerful results
that it can be as if a miracle were being performed.
Mark -24 compares its power to that of being able to . . . [Cast a mountain into the sea.]
NKJV: 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
B. THE TEACHING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
Why did the Psalmist pray
(Psalms 20:5-7; 55:16-18; 56:9-13)? [Had faith/convinced that God
20:5-7 NKJV: 5 We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions. 6 Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
55:16-18 NKJV: 16 As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. 17 Evening and morning and at I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. 18 He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me.
55:17 NIV: Evening, morning and I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
56:9-11 NKJV: 9 When I cry out to You, then
my enemies will turn back; this I know, because God is for me. 10 In God (I will praise His
word), in the Lord (I
will praise His word), 11 In God I have put my trust; I
will not be afraid. What can man do to
me? 12 Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God; I will render praises to You,
13 For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?
God will answer because of His for
us (Psalms 17:6-8): [Love.]
NKJV: 6 I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your
ear to me, and hear my speech.
7 Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand,
O You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them. 8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings.
17:8 NIV: Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.
God’s action is not guaranteed to
come . . .
(Psalms 57:1-2; 37:4-9) [Immediately.]
57:1-2 NKJV: 1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by. 2 I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me.
37:4-9 NKJV: 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. 6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
II. BOTH JESUS AND THE OLD TESTAMENT EXPECTED A SUBMISSIVE ATTITUDE: THAT ALL OUR PERSONAL WISHES—WHICH INCLUDES THOSE EXPRESSED IN PRAYER—WOULD BE CONDITIONAL UPON WHAT GOD THINKS BEST. HENCE THERE WILL BE “UNANSWERED PRAYERS” . . . PRAYERS ANSWERED WITH A “NO” . . . OR A POSTPONEMENT.
After all, He is smarter than us. Some positive answers would actually hurt us because we consider only the short term view and not the indirect results that would come. Nor has He promised to bail us out of our every self-produced folly: Actions have consequences!
Faith and submissiveness interlock: When we don’t get what we seek, it is our confidence in God’s goodness and wisdom that that causes us to accept His decision rather than using it as an excuse to abandon Him. As humans we think short term, but God thinks long term.
A. Jesus’ unanswered prayers: An example of submissiveness to His Father’s will
The supreme example of not getting what we wish is found in the life of Jesus: He submitted to what decision of His Heavenly Father than He fervently preferred to avoid (Mark -36)?
[He wished to escape dying but submitted to the will of the Father. Unlike
most situations, in this case we even know the reason it was not granted:
The shedding of Jesus’ blood was essential to securing our redemption.]
NKJV: 35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
Weymouth: 35 Going forward a short distance He threw Himself upon His face and prayed repeatedly that, if it was possible, He might be spared that time of agony; 36 and He said, “Abba! my Father! all things are possible for Thee: take this cup of suffering away from me: and yet not what I desire, but what Thou desirest.”
Our prayer for others does not overrule their freedom of choice: We may receive a “no” to preserve that freedom—the example of Jesus’ prayer for Peter (Luke -34, 54-62).
The irony: Jesus knew Peter was going to fail (verses 33-34), but there are times when all we can do is to pray for others; we can’t do the rest for them. Like Jesus, we can only pray that they ultimately see their folly and then do the right thing (verse 32).
[This text is most commonly interpreted as limited to a prayer that Peter’s faith not permanently fail. Even if this is the direct intent (rather than fail at all), does anyone believe that Jesus accepted even the temporary lapse in His prayers? Would not His wish for Peter’s welfare be like ours? You pray that the person do right and, if they fail (like you are convinced they will), change for the better afterwards.]
NKJV: 31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
54 Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest's house. But Peter followed at a distance. 55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.
56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” 57 But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” 58 And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.
60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
ISV: but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail. When you have come back, you must strengthen your brothers.
B. Submisiveness to God’s will being done in the Old Testament --rather than our own preferences
In spite of all he suffered, Job still
(Job -22) . . . [Honored / “blessed” God’s name; did not
accuse God of doing wrong. God would see in it
a wisdom he himself did not.]
NKJV: 20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
Holman: Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.
NET: In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with moral impropriety.
The ancient Israelites showed submissiveness
by being willing to accept whatever God wished
as punishment for their (Judges -16) . . . [Sins.]
15 And the children of
Even when faced with possible military defeat,
Joab’s prayer was simply (2 Samuel 10:9-12) . . .
[That God would do what He thought best.]
9 When Joab saw
that the battle line was against him before and behind, he chose some of
NET: Be strong! Let's fight bravely for the sake of our people and the cities of our God! The Lord will do what he decides is best!
I. JESUS GAVE THANKS FOR FOOD.
What incident occurs in John 6:4-14? [Feeding of 5,000.]
Jesus saw what problem (verse 5)? [They needed to eat.]
Jesus tested the faith or knowledge of the
apostles in what way (verses 5-7)? [Asking them how they could provide for so many even though His prior miraculous acts should have forewarned them that even this situation could be handled by His power]
He distributed the loaves
after He had done what (verse 11)? [Given thanks.]
. . . Why was this appropriate? [There was nothing to eat and now they had food = gratitude.]
. . . What is said in the Disciples’ / Lord’s
Prayer that makes this especially appropriate?
[If our request for daily bread is granted,
shouldn’t we be grateful?]
. . . Find another New Testament reference that shows that the disciples continued to believe one should give thanks for the food one eats: [1 Timothy 4:1-5: “to be received with
thanksgiving,” verse 5).]
. . . Even though the food was given miraculously was any allowed to go to waste (verse 13)? [No; it was gathered up for later
John 6 NKJV: 4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. 7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
1 Timothy 4 NKJV: 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
II. JESUS GAVE THANKS FOR THE ELEMENTS IN THE LORD’S SUPPER
Before distributing the loaf, Jesus did what for it?
Matthew 26:26-27: [“Blessed” it.]
Mark 14:22-25: [“Blessed” it.]
Luke 22:19-20: [“Gave thanks.]
By substituting a different term in Luke 22, the text implies that the two expressions mean essentially the same thing in this context.
Matthew 26:26-27 NKJV: 6 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body. 27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
Mark -25 NKJV: 2 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. 25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 12:19-20 NKJV: 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
Before distributing the fruit of the vine, Jesus did what for it?
Matthew 26:26-27: [“Gave thanks.”]
Mark -25: [“Given thanks.”]
Luke 22:19-20: [“Likewise” in verse 20 most naturally implies
that he did the same as he had for the bread,
“gave thanks” (verse 19).]
WHY would one want to express the thought
Jesus did before partaking of the Lord’s Supper
elements (1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 1 Peter 1:18-20)?
[Because of what the elements represent and how what Jesus sacrificed
was the ultimate price possible for human redemption.]
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 NKJV: 6 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.
1 Peter 1:18-20 NKJV: 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
III. OTHER THINGS JESUS GAVE THANKS FOR
A. For . . . [Children]
Mark 10:13-16 says He . . . [“Blessed them.” In previous section we
saw this was synonymous with giving
thanks for them.]
13 Then they brought little children to
Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But
when Jesus saw it, He was
greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children
come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the
The parallel account in
Matthew 19:13-15 shows that He . . .
[“Prayed” for them, argues that “blessing them” in Mark above
included prayer for them.]
NKJV: 13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.
Why would this be the natural thing to do?
[Affection for children is the human norm as is the desire that they
prosper as much as we did; they are the next generation—the leaders
and followers of tomorrow. They are important.]
What specific reasons may be implied in
Luke’s parallel account (Luke -17)?
[Children have certain desirable traits that adults need to
imitate to enter God’s kingdom.]
NKJV: 15 Then they
also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples
saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me,
and do not forbid them; for of such is the
B. For God revealing His will
to (Matthew -26) . . . [The receptive and not to the prestigious
and “important” people of society.]
NKJV: 25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
NIV: 25 At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
Why, then, are these things hidden from the wise and prudent? It is not their superior wisdom that shuts the door in their faces. It is rather the pride and self-sufficiency growing out of their real or fancied possession of wisdom. Conceit does block the road to a knowledge of God.
But this need not surprise us. For this holds good not only in matters of religion, but everywhere else. Some of you are teachers. Who, let me ask, is the most difficult pupil with whom you have to deal? It is not, as a rule, the one who is exceptionally brilliant, or exceptionally dull, or only mediocre. It is the pupil who was born educated, the one who already knows.
Whatever may be your work, if you fancy that you know all that there is to know about it, if you are sure that you have arrived, then you will never learn any more. All further progress for you is impossible. . . .
Is God to blame because he gives nothing? Not in the least. It is impossible for God to give what we refuse to take or to reveal what we refuse to see.
Consider how looked down upon were the bulk of those who embraced Jesus . . .
John 1:45-46: [People from places like
NKJV: 43 The
following day Jesus wanted to go to
Acts : [They were “uneducated” by the standards of the rabbis.]
NKJV: 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
NIV: 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Paul argued on this general theme that God
intentionally used what type of people in revealing
and teaching His will (1 Corinthians -29) . . .
[Those that would not ordinarily impress the world. God wants
the world to obey His will because it is His will and not because
of the prestige of those who teach it.]
NKJV: 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
C. That God had (John -44) . . . [Answered His prayer.]
NKJV: 37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
WEB: So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, "Father, I thank you that you listened to me.
IV. OLD TESTAMENT PRECEDENT
In the days of Nemeiah there was one whose
worship assignment was to (Nehemiah ) . . . [Lead prayer.]
NKJV: 7 Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the leader who began the thanksgiving with prayer; Bakbukiah, the second among his brethren; and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.
ISV: 7 and Mattaniah son of Mica, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, who led the thanksgiving prayer, and Bakbukiah, second among his relatives, and Abda son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.
Daniel was in the habit of giving thanks how
often (Daniel )? [Three times a day.]
NKJV: 10 Now when
Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room,
with his windows open toward
WEB: When Daniel knew that the writing was signed,
he went into his house (now his windows were open in his room toward
B. SPECIFIC REASONS FOR GIVING THANKS
Psalms 100:5 mentions what three reasons to be thankful to God?
[1: God’s character—“For the Lord is good.”
[2: God’s permanent interest in our behalf—“His mercy is everlasting.”
[3: His word will be available throughout earth history—“His truth (in many translations: faithfulness) endures to all generations.”]
NKJV: 1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.
100:5 NET: For the Lord is good. His loyal love endures, and he is faithful through all generations.
100:5 For Yahweh is good. His loving kindness endures forever, his faithfulness to all generations.
Psalms 116 deals with the Psalmist’s close brush with death, which appears to have been due to illness.
He had been (verse 8) . . . [Near death.]
And (verse 8 also) . . . [Emotionally torn apart: his
eyes had been full of “tears.”]
He was in such despair that he dismissed
everyone around him as (verse 11) . . . [“Liars;” note how this
was “in my haste.”]
NKJV: 1 I love the Lord, because He has heard m voice and my supplications.
2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, terefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.
3 The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!”
8 For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. 9 I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. 10 I believed, therefore I spoke, “I am greatly afflicted.” 11 I said in my haste, “All men are liars.”
12 What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward
me? 13 I will take up
the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. 14 I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His
people. 17 I will
offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. 18 I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His
people, 19 In the
courts of the Lord's
house, in the midst of you, O
116:8 GW: You saved me from death. You saved my eyes from tears and my feet from stumbling.
116:11 NET: I rashly declared, “All men are liars.”
116:11 GW: I also said when I was panic-stricken, “Everyone is undependable.”
2 Samuel 22:49-50 and Psalms 35:17-18 and 76:10-13
have in common what reason for giving thanks?
[Escaping death and injury from those who wish to harm us.]
2 Samuel 22 NKJV: 49 He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man. 50 Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.
Psalms 35 NKJV: 17 Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue me from their destructions, my precious life from the lions. 18 I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.
Psalms 76 NKJV: 10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let there be known among the nations in our sight the avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed. 11 Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You; according to the greatness of Your power preserve those who are appointed to die; 12 And return to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom their reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord. 13 So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, will give You thanks forever; we will show forth Your praise to all generations.
I. JESUS’ LIFE MANIFESTED SINCERITY
Even His enemies admitted
(Matthew 22:15-16) . . . [That who a person was did not affect
what Jesus said or did in the least.]
NKJV: 15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.
GW: They sent their disciples to him along with Herod's followers. They said to him, "Teacher, we know that you tell the truth and that you teach the truth about the way of God. You don't favor individuals because of who they are.
He was willing to be cordial to--and accept as His
disciples—people as widely different as
(Luke 7:36-39) . . . [The Pharisee (verse 36) and the outcast (verse 37). The
Pharisees thought it a sign of weakness; actually it was a willingness
to accept anyone on the basis of spiritual commitment.]
NKJV: 36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
He was not stopped from consistently teaching the same thing even by the threat of (John 11:7-8, 14-16) . . . [Death.]
7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us
II. JESUS’ PRAYER LIFE MANIFESTED SINCERITY
One evidence for Jesus’ sincerity in His prayer life was the regularity of prayer in His life (see Chapter 2 on “Persistence”). It wasn’t just on “special” or “self-serving” occasions.
It was also demonstrated in the intensity with which it was sometimes accompanied. Consider Luke where . . .
[It was as if blood were coming from His sweating body.]
NKJV: And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Holman: Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.
It was also demonstrated in the fact that the kind of prayer
Jesus condemned, we have no evidence He practiced:
After rebuking those who were not sincere
in regard to (Matthew 6:1-4) . . . [prayer]
He denounces two specific types of prayer.
First (Matthew 6:5) . . . [Praying publicly in such a manner as to be
trying to impress others rather than to be communicating with the Heavenly Father.]
NKJV: And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
NIV: And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
GW: When you pray, don't be like hypocrites. They like to stand in synagogues and on street corners to pray so that everyone can see them. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward.
And (Matthew 6:7) . . . [Meaningless repetition which relies on its
“value” being established by the amount
prayed rather than the sincerity.]
NKJV: And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
NET: When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard.
ISV: When you are praying, don't say meaningless things like the unbelievers do, because they think they will be heard by being so wordy.
Can you think of modern ways that people fall into this kind of trap . . . [Repetition of the “Lord’s Prayer;” “prayer books” since what is said
is determined by what is printed there rather than because it is of
importance to us at the moment.]
III. OLD TESTAMENT PRECEDENT FOR SINCERITY IN PRAYER
The Psalmist expressed the idea of sincerity in prayer in
several ways . . .
Psalms 17:1: [His prayers were not attempting to deceive;
did not grow out of “deceit.”]
NKJV: 1 Hear a just cause, O Lord, attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips. 2 Let my vindication come from Your presence; let Your eyes look on the things that are upright. 3 You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
17:1 ISV: Lord, hear my just plea! Pay attention to my cry! Listen to my prayer, since it does not come from lying lips.
17:1 ISV: Lord, consider my just cause! Pay attention to my cry for help! Listen to the prayer I sincerely offer!
Psalms 145:18: [His prayers are given “in truth,” i.e., sincerely.]
NKJV: 18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. 20 The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
145:18 ISV: The Lord remains near to all who call out to him, to everyone who calls out to him sincerely.
Psalms 103:1: [“And all that is within me:” Must be totally
sincere (“all”) and must be from our hearts
(“within me”) rather than just our lips.]
NKJV: 1 Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, 4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
NIV: Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
How the prophets expressed the necessity
of sincerity in prayer . . .
Isaiah 26:8-9: [Both his “soul” and his “spirit” sought God; i.e., the entire
person. How can this avoid including sincerity?]
NKJV: 8 Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for You; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You. 9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
26:9 ESV: My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
26:9 GW: With my soul I long for you at night. Yes, with my spirit I eagerly look for you. When your guiding principles are on earth, those who live in the world learn to do what is right.
Jeremiah 29:12-13: [“With all your heart,” which rules out pretense
or just “going through the motions.”]
NKJV: 10 For thus
says the Lord: After seventy years are completed
Respect for God
I. JESUS RESPECTED GOD IN HIS PRAYERS
A. BY RESPECTING GOD AS
A few examples of such use by Jesus:
John 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24, 25
17:1 NKJV: Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You.
17:5 NKJV: And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
NKJV: Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
17:21 NKJV: That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
17:24 NKJV: Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
NKJV: O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.
B. BY BEING WILLING TO DO WHATEVER THE FATHER WISHED
This theme is brought out repeatedly in the gospel of John (explain the meaning or significance of each reference):
John 4:34: His “nourishment” came from the word of God; His
body “fed” on it; the imagery carrying the idea that
it was essential to His very life.]
NKJV: Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
GW: Jesus told them, “My food is to do what the one who sent me wants me to do and to finish the work he has given me.”
John 5:36: [The actions of His life and ministry demonstrated the
activities (“works”) His Father had assigned to Him.]
NKJV: But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
ISV: But I have a greater testimony than John's, because the actions that the Father has given me to complete—the very actions that I am doing—testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.
John 14:31: [He did whatever the Father said to do.]
NKJV: But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.
NASB: But so that the world may know
that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded
John 17:4: [He did what the Father wanted while on earth.]
NKJV: I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
. . . HE DID SO EVEN WHEN IT INCLUDED WHAT
DID NOT MATCH HIS PERSONAL PREFERENCES
(Luke 22:39-45) . . . [By being willing to die.]
39 Coming out, He went to the
C. BY SAYING EXACTLY WHAT THE FATHER WANTED AND NEVER ANYTHING DIFFERENT
…Which would logically include His prayer life as well.
He acknowledged this in
His prayer in (John 17:8)
. . . [
NKJV: For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
ISV: Because the words that you gave me I passed on to them. They have received them and know for sure that I came from you. They have believed that you sent me.
Why are Jesus’ words a satisfactory standard of authority
in the final Judgment Day (John -50):
[He stuck faithfully and exclusively to what the Father wanted
-50 NKJV: 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”
12:49-50 BBE: 49 For I have not said it on my authority, but the Father who sent me gave me orders what to say and how to say it. 50 And I have knowledge that his order is eternal life: so that the things which I say, I say to them even as the Father says them to me.
-50 TEV: 49 This is true, because I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has commanded me what I must say and speak. 50 And I know that his command brings eternal life. What I say, then, is what the Father has told me to say.
Was it just the IDEAS or THOUGHTS of God that
Jesus taught or was it rooted in something even deeper
(John 8:46-47; 17:6-8)? [Jesus communicated the “words” of God, not
just a formulation of the “thoughts.”]
-47 NKJV: 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe
-47 ISV: 45 But it is because I speak the truth that you do not believe me. 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? 47 The one who belongs to God listens to the words of God. The reason you do not listen is because you do not belong to God.
17:6-8 NKJV: 6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
17:6-8 BBE: 6 I have given knowledge of your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world: yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your words. 7 Now it is clear to them that whatever you have given to me comes from you: 8 Because I have given them the words which you gave to me; and they have taken them to heart, and have certain knowledge that I came from you, and they have faith that you sent me.
II. OLD TESTAMENT PRECEDENT FOR RESPECT FOR GOD
A. EVERY OLD TESTAMENT COMMAND TO OBEY GOD CARRIES AN IMPLICIT DEMAND FOR RESPECT OF GOD AS WELL
—FOR SHOULD NOT THE ONE WHO HAS THE POWERS ATTRIBUTED TO GOD HAVE AN INHERENT CLAIM TO OUR RESPECT (AS CREATOR, RULER, ETC.)?
B. THE INSTRUCTION TO “HALLOW” GOD’S NAME (= COUNT HOLY) CARRIES WITH IT THE IMPLICIT DEMAND THAT WE HONOR AND RESPECT HIM.
One way this was done was by
(Leviticus 22:31-33). . . [Obeying His will.]
NKJV: 31 “Therefore
you shall keep My commandments, and perform them: I am the Lord.
32 You shall not profane My holy name, but I
will be hallowed among the children of
TEV: 31 The LORD said, “Obey my commands; I am the
Lord. Do not bring disgrace on my holy
name; all the people of
BBE: 31 So then, keep my orders and do them: I am the Lord. 32 And do not make my holy name common; so that it may be kept holy by the children of Israel: I am the Lord who make you holy, 33 Who took you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God: I am the Lord.
In Isaiah God’s name is also
hallowed by . . . [His “righteousness” (= right, proper, helpful)
actions on behalf of His people.]
NKJV: But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.
NIV: But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.
GW: The Lord of Armies will be honored when he judges. The holy God will show himself to be holy when he does what is right.
Another way it was done was by His
unique power to punish the rejection of His rules
(Isaiah 8:13). [Recognizing.]
NKJV: The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.
Holman: You are to regard only the Lord of Hosts as holy. Only He should be feared; only He should be held in awe.
NET: You must recognize the authority of the Lord who commands armies. He is the one you must respect; he is the one you must fear.
C. THE EXPLICIT LANGUAGE DEMANDING THAT WE “HONOR” GOD IS ALSO FOUND.
The basic argument of Malachi 1:6-8 is
that God such honor. [Deserves.]
NKJV: 6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ 7 “You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’ 8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts.
1:6 NET: “A son naturally honors his father and a slave respects his master. If I am your father, where is my honor? If I am your master, where is my respect? The Lord who rules over all asks you this, you priests who make light of my name! But you reply, ‘How have we made light of your name?’ ”
If we expect to receive from God we
must give Him the same—especially since He is
infinitely greater than us (1 Samuel ). [“Honor.”]
NKJV: Therefore the Lord
Holman: Therefore, this is the declaration of the
Lord, the God of
GW: Therefore, the Lord God of
Some learn to give Him the honor He deserves only after God (Daniel in context). . . [Brings His wrath upon them.]
NKJV: 30 The king
spoke, saying, “Is not this great
34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven,
and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised
and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?”
ISV: When that period of time was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven and my sanity returned to me. I blessed the Most High, praising and honoring the one who lives forever: For his sovereignty is eternal, and his kingdom continues from generation to generation.