February 19, 2012 – February 25, 2012
“Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24.
Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 139–149.
“Our prayers are not to be a selfish asking, merely for our own benefit. We are to ask that we may give.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 142.
1 LIVING THE LORD’S PRAYER
- Why is prayer so important? John 16:24; I Corinthians 10:12.
Note: “It is a part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.” The Great Controversy, 525.
“Prayer is both a duty and a privilege. We must have help which God alone can give, and that help will not come unasked. If we are too self-righteous to feel our need of help from God, we shall not have His help when we need it most. If we are too independent and self-sufficient to throw ourselves daily by earnest prayer upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, we shall be left subject to Satan’s temptations.” Our High Calling, 129.
- What desire expressed by Christ’s disciples should also be ours? Luke 11:1. How did the Lord respond to the disciples’ request? Luke 11:2–4.
Note: “The Saviour does not … restrict us to the use of these exact words [as found in the Lord’s prayer]. As one with humanity, He presents His own ideal of prayer. … We are taught to come to God with our tribute of thanksgiving, to make known our wants, to confess our sins, and to claim His mercy in accordance with His promise.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 103.
2 COMPLYING WITH THE CONDITIONS
- How only can we expect the Lord to stand behind His promises? John 15:7.
Note: “Those who bring their petitions to God, claiming His promise while they do not comply with the conditions, insult Jehovah. They bring the name of Christ as their authority for the fulfillment of the promise, but they do not those things that would show faith in Christ and love for Him.
“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 fulfill them, when by so doing He would dishonor His own name.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 143.
“All His gifts are promised on condition of obedience. God has a heaven full of blessings for those who will cooperate with Him. All who obey Him may with confidence claim the fulfillment of His promises.” Ibid., 145.
- What is one reason why many prayers remain unanswered? Malachi 3:6–8.
Note: “If we withhold from Him [God] that which is His own, how can we claim His blessing? If we are unfaithful stewards of earthly things, how can we expect Him to entrust us with the things of heaven? It may be that here is the secret of unanswered prayer.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 144.
- How does Jesus illustrate the importance of persistent prayer? Luke 18:1–7.
Note: “Often He [God] delays to answer us in order to try our faith or test the genuineness of our desire. Having asked according to His word, we should believe His promise and press our petitions with a determination that will not be denied.
“God does not say, Ask once, and you shall receive. He bids us ask. Unwearyingly persist in prayer. The persistent asking brings the petitioner into a more earnest attitude, and gives him an increased desire to receive the things for which he asks.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 145.
3 APPROACHING THE FATHER’S THRONE
- What is a key point regarding prayer, and why? Matthew 5:23, 24; 6:12.
Note: “Are you estranged from your brother, because you think he has injured you? Are there no heart-burnings among you? Is there no bitterness in your hearts, no envy, no jealousy, no evil surmising, no misjudging of your brethren? Is there no emulation, no desire for special favor or honors, no wish to have the supremacy? These feelings should not exist among Christians.” Gospel Workers (1892), 429.
- After completing the Lord’s prayer on the Sermon on the Mount, what essential thought did Jesus specifically reemphasize to aid us? Matthew 6:14, 15.
Note: “He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God we are to pardon all who have done evil to us.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 113, 114.
- Why is a forgiving spirit especially important in these last days? James 5:9.
Note: “He who is full of envy looks upon the one he envies with dislike and seeks to show himself superior to his rival; unless he sees and repents of his sin, he will grudge against the one he envies, and all love of Christ will die out of his heart.” The Signs of the Times, February 5, 1894.
“No resentment must come into our hearts. When reviled, we must not revile again. O jealousy and evil surmising, what mischief have ye wrought! how have ye turned friendship and love into bitterness and hatred! We must be less proud, less sensitive, have less self-love, and be dead to self-interest.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 566.
4 THE FRAGRANT INCENSE OF CHRIST
- How should the attitude of the psalmist be reflected in our prayer life, and especially in how we view others? Psalm 66:18–20; Luke 18:10–14; Romans 2:1–4.
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. Our own merit will never commend us to the favor of God; it is the worthiness of Jesus that will save us, His blood that will cleanse us; yet we have a work to do in complying with the conditions of acceptance.” Steps to Christ, 95.
“How cruel it is to judge, condemn, and pass sentence upon your brother when he has not the slightest suspicion that you are not his friend. …
“Let us reverently inquire, What does the Lord require of me in my relation to my brother?” The Review and Herald, August 16, 1892.
- What assurance comes as we seek a purer relationship with God and with others—including those who may have hurt us? Ephesians 2:13; 4:31, 32.
- What truth is to strengthen our prayer life? Luke 11:5–8, 13; I John 5:14, 15.
Note: “Our prayers do not always seem to receive an immediate answer; but Christ teaches that we should not cease to pray. Prayer is not to work any change in God; it is to bring us into harmony with God. When we make request of Him, He may see that it is necessary for us to search our hearts and repent of sin. Therefore He takes us through test and trial, He brings us through humiliation, that we may see what hinders the working of His Holy Spirit through us.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 143.
- Why are too many of our prayers offered in vain? James 4:2, 3.
Note: “Our prayers are not to be a selfish asking, merely for our own benefit. We are to ask that we may give.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 142.
5 PURSUING OUR MASTER’S MISSION
- What serious, thought-provoking challenge comes to all who truly desire to pray according to Christ’s model? Matthew 6:10.
Note: “Is your interest selfishly shut up to your own family or to your own church? God pity your narrowness! You should have that undying zeal, that far-reaching love, that encircles the world. There are hundreds of millions of men, women, and children who have never heard the truth, and multitudes are constantly going down to the grave without any sense of their accountability to God. How can you who repeat the Lord’s prayer, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ [Matthew 6:10], sit at ease in your homes without helping to carry the torch of truth to others? How can you lift up your hands before God and ask His blessing upon yourselves and your families when you are doing so little to help others?” Historical Sketches, 287, 288.
- What may well be the greatest need for which we should pray? I John 4:16.
Note: “The working out of the principle of love is true sanctification. Those who walk in the light will be the children of the light, and will diffuse light to those who are around them in kindness, in affection, in unmistakable love.” The Youth’s Instructor, November 8, 1894.
“Personal effort for others should be preceded by much secret prayer; for it requires great wisdom to understand the science of saving souls. Before communicating with men, commune with Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 149.
“There are many who long to help others, but they feel that they have no spiritual strength or light to impart. Let them present their petitions at the throne of grace. Plead for the Holy Spirit. God stands back of every promise He has made.” Ibid., 147.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What four elements should be included in our prayers?
2 What are some hindrances that prevent prayers from being answered?
3 Why does God consider deeply our attitude toward His other children?
4 For what purpose may the Lord be delaying the answer to our prayers?
5 What does the Spirit of Prophecy reveal as true sanctification?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.