Bible Study Guides – The Effectual Fervent Prayer

February 10, 2001 – February 16, 2001

MEMORY VERSE: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1:6.

STUDY HELP: Education, 253–261.


“When as a people our works correspond with our profession, we shall see very much more accomplished than now. When we have men as devoted as Elijah, and possessing the faith which he possessed, we shall see that God will reveal Himself to us as He did to holy men of old. When we have men who, while they acknowledge their deficiencies, will plead with God in earnest faith as did Jacob, we shall see the same results. Power will come from God to man in answer to the prayer of faith.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 402.

“The Just Shall Live by Faith”

1 What has God given to everyone? Romans 12:3.

NOTE: “God has given to every man his measure of faith, and each is to walk in faith. He is to show that he has that faith that will rely upon God for help. As God has given to every man his measure of faith, he is to put it into exercise. He is to let his light shine.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 133.

“Faith is not a happy flight of feeling; it is simply taking God at His word, believing that He will fulfil His promises because He said He would.” Our High Calling, 119.

2 What are we to do with the faith that God has given to each of us? Mark 11:22, 23.

NOTE: “How to exercise faith. This is the science of the gospel. The Scripture declares, ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ The knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith, is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired. We suffer much trouble and grief because of our unbelief, and our ignorance of how to exercise faith. We must break through the clouds of unbelief. We cannot have a healthy Christian experience, we can not obey the gospel unto salvation, until the science of faith is better understood, and until more faith is exercised. There can be no perfection of Christian character without that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul.” Review and Herald, October 18, 1898. (Emphasis supplied.)

See also Desire of Ages, 347.

“The Prayer of Faith”

3 What example of the prayer of faith are we given? James 5:17, 18.

NOTE: “True faith rests on the promises contained in the word of God, and those only who obey that word can claim its glorious promises. ‘If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ John 15:7. ‘Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.’ 1 John 3:22. We should be much in secret prayer. Christ is the Vine, we are the branches. And if we would grow and flourish, we must continually draw sap and nourishment from the Living Vine; for separated from the Vine, we have no strength. I asked the angel why there was no more faith and power in Israel. He said: ‘Ye let go of the arm of the Lord too soon. Press your petitions to the throne, and hold on by strong faith. The promises are sure. Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them.’ I was then pointed to Elijah. He was subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly. His faith endured the trial. Seven times he prayed before the Lord, and at last the cloud was seen. I saw that we had doubted the sure promises, and wounded the Saviour by our lack of faith.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 126, 127.

4 What will the promises of God do for us when we lay hold of them in faith? 2 Peter 1:3, 4.

NOTE: “Christ has promised, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.’ He will hear and answer our prayers, and faith appropriates the rich promises of God, believing they are for us. As we accept the promises of God, we grow stronger in faith, and find the word of the Lord fulfilled as He has spoken it. We may feel our weakness and unworthiness, and because of this, realize our dependence upon God. Every one of us can have a rich experience in the things of God if we will utterly forsake our sin and submit ourselves to God. Oh, how can we cherish impurity in the soul when Christ has died for us, that we may become partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust? We are to be sanctified through the truth, and this sanctification is not the work of a moment, but of a lifetime. We must all learn to lean upon Jesus; for the time will come when we shall be scattered, and we cannot lean upon one another. Christ is ready to give us the help we need.” Review and Herald, April 14, 1891. (See also The Desire of Ages, 121.)

“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”

5 What must we do to lay hold of the promises of God? Matthew 7:7–11.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 564.

6 What promises do we have that our requests will be heard? Psalm 34:4; John 6:37; 1 John 5:14, 15.

NOTE: See Steps to Christ, 96.

“Believe that Ye Receive”

7 What necessary pre-condition for answered prayer did Jesus reveal? Mark 11:24.

NOTE: “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; then we are to believe that we receive.” Education, 258.

8 What are we told about the prayer not presented in faith? James 1:6, 7.

NOTE: “God is behind every promise, and we cannot dishonor Him more than by questioning and hesitating, by asking and not believing, and then by talking doubt. If you do not immediately receive what you have asked for, will you go on in sullenness and unbelief? Believe; believe that God will do just what He has promised. Keep your prayers ascending, and watch, work, and wait. Fight the good fight of faith. Say to your heart, ‘God has invited me to come. He has heard my prayer. He has pledged His word that He will receive me, and He will fulfil His promise. I can trust God; for He so loved me that He gave His only-begotten Son to die for me. The Son of God is my Redeemer.’ ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?’” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 300.

9 How did Jesus demonstrate the necessity of faith in making one’s requests to God? Matthew 21:19–22.

NOTE: “The promise is… ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them. Now in the first place you have the promise that if you ask you shall receive. Then think what you most need to overcome. Acquaint yourselves with your failings, and then as you feel you cannot overcome in your own strength, ask God to help you. By doing this you acknowledge your own weakness, and throw yourselves upon God’s arm. He will sustain you in your efforts to do right. But be careful and do not rely too much on your own strength and efforts. Ever realize that Satan is continually trying to lead your … minds to do wrong. In order to resist his temptations, you must rely upon a power stronger than your own. ‘Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them.’ Do not merely come to God and ask; but believe that He will do just as He has said He would. As you ask, believe He answers, and believe you do receive strength from Him.’” An Appeal to the Youth, 54. (See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 147.)

“Ye Ask and Receive Not”

10 What may be one of the reasons for unanswered prayers? James 4:3.

NOTE: “There are thousands of prayers daily offered that God does not answer. There are faithless prayers. ‘He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.’ There are selfish prayers, proceeding from a heart that is cherishing idols. ‘If any man regard iniquity in his heart, the Lord will not hear him.’ There are petulant, fretful prayers, murmuring because of the burdens and cares of life, instead of humbly seeking grace to lighten them. Those who offer such petitions are not abiding in Christ. They have not submitted their will to the will of God. They do not comply with the condition of the promise, and it is not fulfilled to them.” Review and Herald, September 11, 1883.

11 What other things may lead to our prayers not being heard? Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 28:9.

NOTE: “Many are forfeiting the condition of acceptance with the Father. We need to examine closely the deed of trust wherewith we approach God. If we are disobedient, we bring to the Lord a note to be cashed when we have not fulfilled the conditions that would make it payable to us. We present to God His promises, and ask Him to fulfil them, when by so doing He would dishonor His own name. The promise is ‘If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ John 15:7. And John declares: ‘Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.’ 1 John 2:3–5.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 144. (See also Steps to Christ, 95.)

“Prayer and Supplication with Thanksgiving”

12 Besides faith, what must also accompany our requests to God? Philippians 4:6.

NOTE “For any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received. We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most.” Education, 258.

13 What example do we have of Jesus giving thanks to His heavenly Father for a prayer whose answer He had not yet seen? John 11:41–44.

NOTE: “‘In every thing give thanks’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18) for the keeping power of God through Jesus Christ…. At the moment when you are offering your prayer for help you may not feel all the joy and blessing that you would like to feel, but if you believe that Christ will hear and answer your petition, the peace of Christ will come…. If you take hold of the strength of the mighty Helper, and not reason with your adversary and never complain of God, His promises will be verified. The experience that you gain today in trusting Him will help you in meeting the difficulties of tomorrow. Each day you are to come, trusting as a little child drawing nearer to Jesus and heaven. In meeting with unwavering trust in God the daily trials and difficulties, you will again and again test the promises of Heaven, and each time you will learn a lesson of faith. Thus you will gain strength to resist temptation, and when the harder trials come, you will be able to endure.” Our High Calling, 326. (See also Testimonies to Ministers, 485.)