February 20-26, 2000
MEMORY VERSE: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1, 2.
STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 93–104.
INTRODUCTION: “Through faith in Christ, every deficiency of character may be supplied, every defilement cleansed, every fault corrected, every excellence developed. ‘Ye are complete in Him.’ Colossians 2:10. Prayer and faith are closely allied, and they need to be studied together. In the prayer of faith there is a divine science; it is a science that everyone who would make his lifework a success must understand. Christ says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11: 24. He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal. 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, 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. To live thus by the word of God means the surrender to Him of the whole life. There will be felt a continual sense of need and dependence, a drawing out of the heart after God. Prayer is a necessity; for it is the life of the soul.” Education, 257, 258. [Emphasis supplied.]
“Your Heavenly Father Knoweth”
1 How did Jesus explain the providential watchcare of God? Matthew 6:26–30.
NOTE: “If God cares to make these inanimate things so beautiful, that will be cut down and perish in a day, how much more careful will He be to supply the needs of His obedient children, whose lives may be as enduring as eternity. How readily will He give them the adornment of His grace, the strength of wisdom, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. The love of God to man is incomprehensible, broad as the world, high as heaven, and as enduring as eternity.”
In Heavenly Places, 115.
2 What counsel did Christ give about trusting God? Matthew 6:31–34.
NOTE: “As He thus presents eternal life to His followers, is it not of more consequence to them than the life of this world? Your attention should not be turned in the direction of anxiety, fear, and solicitude, in regard to your meat and drink, and the clothing you are to put upon these bodies. Is not the better life to be sought after with far greater carefulness, and we engage in the work with greater earnestness than we should in making unnecessary preparations for this life? While we are engaged almost wholly in the preparation for this life, we are losing the opportunity of gaining eternal life. But can we not invest more in this enterprise of everlasting life than in the things of this short life? We may gather, and gather, and lay up our treasures upon earth, but they are only a snare to us.” Review and Herald, April 12, 1870.
“Christ is here teaching a precious lesson in regard to His service. Whatever experiences may come to you, He says, serve God. Whatever inconveniences and hardships you may encounter, trust in the Lord. We have no cause to worry and fear, if we take our position for the truth, that we and our families will suffer. To do this is to manifest unbelief in God. ‘Your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things,’ the Saviour says. If we would study the Word more faithfully, we would increase in faith.” Evangelism, 238.
“God is Not a Man that He Should Lie”
3 What has God given us to enable us to become partakers of the divine nature and to overcome sin? 2 Peter 1:4.
NOTE: “The words and promises of God are the only foundation of our faith. Take the Word of God as truth, as a living, speaking voice to you, and obey faithfully every requirement. God is faithful, who hath promised…Our blessings are limited by the weakness of our faith. God is not unwilling to bestow; He is a reservoir of power.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 72.
“Invisible armies of light and power attend the meek and lowly ones who believe and claim the promises of God. Cherubim and seraphim, and angels that excel in strength, stand at God’s right hand, ‘all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Hebrews 1: 14. Christ’s Object Lessons, 176. (See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 176; Acts of the Apostles, 563, 564; Testimonies, vol. 7, 69.)
4 What assurance do we have that God will keep His promises? Numbers 23:19.
NOTE: “When you find yourself depressed, and you have a sinking time, pray. Hold on by prayer to that arm that was stretched out to hold up a sinking Peter. It will give you courage, vital energy, and pure, unadulterated wisdom . . . In your weakness, lay hold of infinite strength, and the people will see that you have the solid rock of God’s promises beneath your feet. Your heart must turn away from human supports. If your heart goes out to Jesus in living trust, you will be strong.” Testimonies to Southern Africa, 68.
“Ye Ask Amiss”
5 What things may prevent our prayers from being answered? Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2.
NOTE: “If we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will not hear us; but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always accepted. When all known wrongs are righted, we may believe that God will answer our petitions.” Steps to Christ, 95.
6 What other kind of prayer is not answered? James 4:3.
NOTE: “But there are thousands of prayers daily offered that God does not answer…There are selfish prayers, proceeding from a heart that is cherishing idols…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.
“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”
7 In order to receive God’s blessings, what did Christ say we must do? Matthew 7:7.
NOTE: “Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith?” Steps to Christ, 94.
8 How did John express his faith in God? 1 John 5:14, 15.
NOTE: “If we take Him at His word and forsake our sins, He is ready and willing to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will give us a pure heart and the abiding presence of His Spirit, for Jesus lives to intercede for us. But . . . spiritual things are spiritually discerned. It is a living, active, abiding faith that discerns the will of God, that appropriates the promises, and profits by the truths of His word.”
In Heavenly Places, 23.
“When you pray for temporal blessings, remember that the Lord may see that it is not for your good or for His glory to give you just what you desire. But He will answer your prayer, giving you just what is best for you.” In Heavenly Places, 82.
“Believe that Ye Receive”
9 What did Christ reveal was a further condition for answered prayer? Mark 11:24.
NOTE: “True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realized and felt. We must send up our petitions in faith within the second veil, and let our faith take hold of the promised blessing, and claim it as ours. We are then to believe that we receive the blessing, because our faith has hold of it, and according to the word it is ours. ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. Here is faith, naked faith, to believe that we receive the blessing, even before we realize it. When the promised blessing is realized and enjoyed, faith is swallowed up.” Christian Experience and Teachings, 126.
10 What warning are we given concerning prayers made without faith? James 1: 6, 7.
NOTE: “Another element of prevailing prayer is faith. ‘He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.’ Hebrews 11:6. Jesus said to His disciples, ‘What things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. Do we take Him at His word? The assurance is broad and unlimited, and He is faithful who has promised. When we do not receive the very things we asked for, at the time we ask, we are still to believe that the Lord hears and that He will answer our prayers.” Steps to Christ, 96.
“I Thank Thee that Thou Hast Heard Me”
11 When we make our supplications to God, what should always accompany our request? 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, 257 – 258.
12 What example did Christ demonstrate of giving thanks before seeing the answer to the prayer of faith? John 11:41, 42.
NOTE: “In all that He did, Christ was cooperating with His Father. Ever He had been careful to make it evident that He did not work independently; it was by faith and prayer that He wrought His miracles. Christ desired all to know His relationship with His Father.” Desire of Ages, 535.
“God stands back of every promise He has made. With your Bible in your hands say, I have done as Thou hast said. I present Thy promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’” Christ’s Object Lessons, 147.