When I started this post, some questions came to mind.
The first question is, how do you pray to God?
Do you pray to God for help when hurting or experiencing tough times?
Or, do you pray for your family, friends and country leaders?
I’m almost certain you and I talk to God for most of these. But, today we’ll see what Jesus told His disciples about praying.
This Bible study lesson about forgiveness and faith teaches us how to pray for the right things for the right reasons.
Here, we’ll discover guidelines we need to use in prayer as Christ taught. So, let’s follow Scripture from Mark 11 to find the answers to prayer.
What’s the Definition of Prayer?
Just for curiosity, I did a quick search on Wikipedia to find their definition of prayer. It states:
“Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity (a god), or a deified ancestor. More generally, prayer can also have the purpose of thanksgiving or praise..”
Personally, I like to call it talking to God (I first heard this definition from Pastor Randy at First Baptist Lancaster, SC).
Why did Jesus pray?
Did Jesus really need to pray? Since Christ is a Deity (John 1:14), I can’t think of any reason He would need to pray for Himself, can you?
But, I believe one reason Jesus prayed was to set an example for the disciples – and for us!
Faith and Prayer
The Bible verses below tell a story of faith in God, and forgiveness.
Jesus teaches that we can pray for anything, and God will answer in His own time and in His own way.
I know I’ve listed three ways God answers prayer in other posts. But, it’s worth repeating in case you are new here.
God’s answers to prayer are simply:
- or Wait
The reason God answers in these three ways shows that the outcome might affect situations and lives in a way we can’t foretell.
God sees present, past and future (which we can’t grasp). So, when He says wait, there’s a reason – His reason.
One more thing; If you didn’t read the first part about the withered fig tree, you can see it here.
Jesus Says the Disciples Can Pray for Anything – Mark 11:20-25
As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up.
Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”
And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God.
Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.
Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. – Mark 11:20-25 NASB
Pray for Anything in the Name of Jesus Christ
Could our prayers really cause a mountain to jump into the sea?
Jesus said if we believe in the power of God it will be done.
Here, Jesus is talking about faith. I do believe this because God can grant any prayer request He desires.
But, there are some stipulations Jesus put on our prayers ..
- You must be a believer
- You must be willing to forgive and not hold a grudge against another person
- You must not pray for your own selfish motives
- Your request must be for the good of God’s kingdom
Confession: I have really trouble with the second one. I’m not sure about you but, forgiving people who have done me wrong is not in my nature.
But, the few times I’ve forgiven, I felt relief and a real peace with myself – and God.
So, if you are holding on the the past for wrongs done to you, try to forgive. It’s a weight we don’t need to carry.
Prayer for Needs
Is it okay to pray for things we want?
Sure it is! Just as a child asks for things he/she wants from us as parents, we can ask God for things we want.
But remember, we don’t always give our children everything they want, especially when it’s not good for them; neither does God.
I wrote a post about this when studying Matthew. It asks the question: “What did Jesus say about asking?”
You can read it along with the verses here.
Selfless Prayer – Or Self Serving?
Yes, I am guilty of selfish prayer too.
Let’s ask through prayer for what we want or need.
And, add that we ask these things only if it is God’s will that we have our prayers answered.
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 to find where to begin.