January 3, 2004 – January 9, 2004
“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same, with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2.
Suggested Reading: Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 102–122; Steps to Christ, 97–109.
“There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate to offer up a petition to God. There is nothing that can prevent us from lifting up our hearts in the spirit of earnest prayer. In the crowds of the street, in the midst of a business engagement, we may send up a petition to God, and plead for divine guidance.
“We may speak with Jesus as we walk by the way, and He says, I am at thy right hand. We may commune with God in our hearts; we may walk in companionship with Christ. When engaged in our daily labor, we may breathe out our heart’s desire, inaudible to any human ear; but that word cannot die away into silence, nor can it be lost. Nothing can drown the soul’s desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the noise of machinery. It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard.” My Life Today, 16.
1 What special instruction is given concerning prayer? Ephesians 6:18; 1 Timothy 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
note: “There are three watchwords in the Christian life, which must be heeded if we would not have Satan steal a march upon us; namely, Watch, pray, work. Prayer and watching thereunto are necessary for advancement in the divine life. Never was there a time in your history more important than the present. Your only safety is to live like a watchman. Watch and pray always.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 283.
2 What degree of earnestness characterized the psalmist’s prayer? Psalms 42:1, 2; 84:2.
note: “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. The eye of faith will discern God very near, and the suppliant may obtain precious evidence of the divine love and care for him. . . .
“There is need of prayer, earnest, fervent, agonizing prayer, such prayer as David offered . . . .” Gospel Workers, 257.
3 What descriptions are given of Jesus concerning prayer? Luke 9:28; 6:12; Matthew 14:23; 17:1; Mark 9:2.
note: “No other life was ever so crowded with labor and responsibility as was that of Jesus; yet how often He was found in prayer! How constant was His communion with God! Again and again in the history of His earthly life are found records such as these: ‘Rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.’ ‘Great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed.’ Mark 1:35; Luke 5:15, 16.” The Desire of Ages, 362.
4 How was Jesus’ earnestness in prayer manifested? Hebrews 5:7.
note: “The Majesty of heaven, while engaged in His earthly ministry, prayed much to His Father. He was frequently bowed all night in prayer. His spirit was often sorrowful as He felt the powers of the darkness of this world, and He left the busy city and the noisy throng, to seek a retired place to make His intercessions. The Mount of Olives was the favorite resort of the Son of God for His devotions. . . . While the city was hushed in silence, and the disciples had returned to their homes to obtain refreshment in sleep, Jesus slept not. His divine pleadings were ascending to His Father from the Mount of Olives that His disciples might be kept from the evil influences which they would daily encounter in the world, and that His own soul might be strengthened and braced for the duties and trials of the coming day. All night, while His followers were sleeping, was their divine Teacher praying. The dew and frost of night fell upon His head bowed in prayer. His example is left for His followers.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 508.
5 What promises are given to those who pray? Matthew 21:22; Luke 11:9–13.
note: “Prayer is heaven’s ordained means of success in the conflict with sin and the development of Christian character. The divine influences that come in answer to the prayer of faith will accomplish in the soul of the suppliant all for which he pleads. For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; and the promise is, ‘Ye shall receive.’ ” The Acts of the Apostles, 564.
6 What did the Lord promise anciently to do for His people when they prayed to Him? 11 Chronicles 6:24, 25; 7:12–15.
note: “For stricken Israel there was but one remedy,—a turning away from the sins that had brought upon them the chastening hand of the Almighty, and a turning to the Lord with full purpose of heart.” Prophets and Kings, 128.
7 How only can victory be gained over the power of the enemy? Mark 9:29.
note: “The only way for such poor souls [those fascinated with spiritualism] to overcome Satan, is to discern between pure Bible truth and fables. As they acknowledge the claims of truth, they place themselves where they can be helped. . . . Satan will reinforce his evil angels who have controlled these persons; but if the saints of God with deep humility fast and pray, their prayers will prevail. Jesus will commission holy angels to resist Satan, and he will be driven back and his power broken from off the afflicted ones.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 343, 344.
8 As the Saviour was praying, what request did the disciples make? What relationship did He bid us recognize in prayer? Luke 11:1, 2, first part.
note: “Christ’s disciples were much impressed by His prayers and by His habit of communion with God. One day . . . as He ceased praying, they exclaimed, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ [Luke 11:1.]
“In answer, Christ repeated the Lord’s prayer, as He had given it in the sermon on the mount.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 140.
“In order to strengthen our confidence in God, Christ teaches us to address Him by a new name, a name entwined with the dearest associations of the human heart. He gives us the privilege of calling the infinite God our Father.” Ibid., 141, 142.
9 For what are we to pray concerning the kingdom? What concerning God’s will? What daily dependence upon God are we to recognize? Luke 11:2, last part, 3.
note: “The disciples of Christ were looking for the immediate coming of the kingdom of His glory, but in giving them this prayer Jesus taught that the kingdom was not then to be established. They were to pray for its coming as an event yet future. But this petition was also an assurance to them. While they were not to behold the coming of the kingdom in their day, the fact that Jesus bade them pray for it is evidence that in God’s own time it will surely come.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 107, 108.
“The petition, ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’ [Luke 11:2], is a prayer that the reign of evil on this earth may be ended, that sin may be forever destroyed, and the kingdom of righteousness be established.” Ibid., 110.
“The first half of the prayer Jesus has taught us is in regard to the name and kingdom and will of God—that His name may be honored, His kingdom established, His will performed. When you have thus made God’s service your first interest, you may ask with confidence that your own needs may be supplied.” Ibid.
10 What request did Jesus teach us to make concerning our sins? To what extent are we to expect forgiveness? From what are we to be delivered? Luke 11:4. Compare Matthew 6:9–15.
note: “Jesus teaches that we can receive forgiveness from God only as we forgive others. It is the love of God that draws us unto Him, and that love cannot touch our hearts without creating love for our brethren.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 113.
“Satan seeks to bring us into temptation, that the evil of our characters may be revealed before men and angels, that he may claim us as his own. . . .
“God in His great love is seeking to develop in us the precious graces of His Spirit. He permits us to encounter obstacles, persecution, and hardships, not as a curse, but as the greatest blessing of our lives. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne, gives us a new experience and advances us in the work of character building. The soul that through divine power resists temptation reveals to the world and to the heavenly universe the efficiency of the grace of Christ.” Ibid., 116, 117.
11 What were the followers of Jesus doing just before Pentecost? Acts 1:14.
note: “For ten days the disciples prayed before the Pentecostal blessing came. It required all that time to bring them to an understanding of what it meant to offer effectual prayer, drawing nearer and nearer to God, confessing their sins, humbling their hearts before God, and by faith beholding Jesus, and becoming changed into His image.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 170.
12 What admonition should we earnestly heed at this time? Colossians 4:2; Romans 12:12.
note: “Perseverance in prayer has been made a condition of receiving. We must pray always if we would grow in faith and experience. . . . Unceasing prayer is the unbroken union of the soul with God, so that life from God flows into our life; and from our life, purity and holiness flow back to God.
“There is necessity for diligence in prayer; let nothing hinder you. Make every effort to keep open the communion between Jesus and your own soul. Seek every opportunity to go where prayer is wont to be made. Those who are really seeking for communion with God will be seen in the prayer meeting, faithful to do their duty and earnest and anxious to reap all the benefits they can gain. They will improve every opportunity of placing themselves where they can receive the rays of light from heaven.” Steps to Christ, 97, 98.
These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1912.