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Matthew 4:1-3:

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

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Prayer

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Prayer is our segway to God. It's how we communicate with Him. God doens't pray to us, we pray to Him. Isn't that interesting? Prayer is about asking, communing with God is about relationship. Praying without ceasing comes when we commune with God 24/7. Because we can't sit in a position and pray all day. It has to be a life style. There is a song that says, "Make my life a prayer to you..." That's my prayer, is it yours?

 

 
Has anyone ever said, “Just pray about it?
  1. What have you have been praying about it, yet nothing is happening?
  2. Perhaps you share your heart, and they say, “I’ll be praying for you.” Why not pray now?  (perhaps because of fear?)
  3. Let’s grab the moment and “pray” at the moment people share their hearts. Waiting until later, you may even forget!

 
Pray Without Ceasing
  1. How do we do that?
  2. What position are we supposed to pray in? We can pray any time and anywhere.
  3. The enemy wants us to think religiously about praying, taking our mind off of what the real issues are.
  4. We fall under guilt when we don’t think we prayed enough.

 

 
Believe what you are praying
  1. Praying a bunch of words without faith are in vain and barely get off the ground let alone to the throne.
  2. If you have a hard time believing, simply tell the Lord you are having a hard time believing.
  3. Stop “trying” to get something from God.. Just begin to thank Him for what you are praying about and rely on Him to complete it in you. He will complete that which he started, until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
 
John 15:14-16
  1. We are to “abide” in Him and what we ask will be done. We need to understand what abide means and do it.
  2. We get to know Him… intimately and personally.
  3. We take God at His word.
  4. We receive His perfect love.
  5. We forgive and love everyone, including ourselves and God.

 

 
Psalm 37
  1. Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
  2. If your desires aren’t being met, what could be wrong? Are we delighting ourself in God? How do we do that?
  3. By believing and doing the word. By abiding in Him, by keeping our eyes focused on Jesus, by desiring to be like Him. We don’t have to work at getting them; He will give them to us. Don’t get condemned if you don’t do everything right because we won’t.  God looks on the intent of the heart because He knows that from the Heart a man does this or that.

 
How Did Jesus Pray?
  1. He prayed for others continually.  I recall three times He prayed for Himself, yet, they were really for us.  “Father let this cup pass from me”; “Yet not my will but thine be done”; and; “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” In John Chapter 17 Jesus lifted up a prayer on our account. Take a moment right now to read it; it’s something we all need to know inside and out describing what Jesus wants for His followers.
  2. Jesus had a powerful ministry, not because He was the Son of God, but because He did what His father said to do.

No Formula or special prayer
  1. There is no formula or special prayer to get answers or be delivered, but we can follow the examples described in the Bible.  Jesus came to set the captives free and the simple truth will set you free. There isn't even such a thing as the "Sinner's prayer" anywhere in scripture even. It says to believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!

 
We need to wait for the answers
  1. Daniel prayed and his answer took 21 days… how long are we willing to wait?
  2. Paul prayed 20 times, and not once did he pray for substance. He prayed for others!

What are some reasons prayers don’t get answered?

  1. Anger, hate and unforgiveness toward others. This is the main reason prayers aren’t answered. It’s clear in Matthew that we are to forgive those who trespass against us. It says we are to love our enemies. It says we are to love ourselves and God. If any of these ring true for you, it could be blocking your blessings. (1 John 3:15)

  2. We aren’t keeping His commandments. And what is the one commandment that fulfills all in all? Matthew 22:37-40 - Love everyone, including God and self. (1 John 3:22-23 says that THEN whatsoever you ask, we shall receive of Him, because we KEEP His commandments – and it goes on to say what that commandments are – to BELIEVE on the name of Jesus Christ and to love one another!!!). Believe means to believe all that Jesus is, that our sins ALL of our sins are forgiven, our old stuff is washed away, and the evidence of this belief is that you have no guilt or shame in your heart. There is no fear in your heart. Because perfect love casts out fear and torment. And if you in fear, then you aren’t “believing” God’s love for you! We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19)

  3. We don’t pray.  This seems like a silly reason, but many people don’t pray.  They wish or whine but don’t ask God anything and they wonder why their prayers aren’t being answered. “You haven not because you ask not, and when you ask you ask for selfish reasons.”

  4. We have hidden iniquity and unconfessed sins in our heart.  I didn’t know what iniquity meant until I did a study on the word.  When I asked God to search my heart to see if there was any iniquity hidden in me, boy was I surprised!  One by one the Lord revealed to me some past relationships that ended up in conflict that I pushed down inside me.  Each day there seems to be a new one to face, but I know God loves me and won’t give me more than I can handle.  I’ve been seeing a difference in my life because I’m being purged of iniquities.  I know that by being purged it is bringing me closer to the throne, my prayers are being heard faster and responded to much quicker. (Jeremiah 5:25; Isaiah 59:1-2)

  5. We haven’t forgiven others for past wrongs.  The Bible says that if we have not forgiven others their trespasses and sins then God won’t forgive us ours.  If you have trouble forgiving others, be sure to access our teaching on forgiveness, it will help you do just that.  Unforgiveness is the #1 block to all healing and health.  Not only are we “commanded” to forgive others, but we are also told to forgive ourselves!

  6. We don’t believe God can cleanse us and restore us  “As you have believed let it be done unto you.”  This is a scripture that talks about believing God.  Do you have a problem believing God?  Then pray this prayer, “Lord help my unbelief, let me know your true existence so I don’t doubt you anymore.”  God cannot give anything to anyone who isn’t expecting it.  “We must believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)  When we pray do we pray with expectation? 

  7. We aren’t receiving God’s love  This is a big problem with believers.  We think we have to earn God’s love.  God’s love is unconditional and was given through Jesus.  When we receive Jesus as Savior, our life to God is restored and we have fellowship with our Heavenly Father.  So why do we think we have to do anything?  If you have problems receiving God’s love or even knowing how to receive it, pray this prayer, “Lord, I want more of your Love.  Help me see your love for me every day more and more.”  Did you know that receiving God’s love is first before we can give it back to Him?  The Bible says, “I love Him because He first loved me.”  I cannot even love God without His love in me to do it!  It is humanly impossible!  So first things first, become diligent in receiving His love.

  8. We aren’t coming Boldly to the Throne of Grace.  I discovered recently that many people aren’t praying boldly as they ought to, myself included.  I caught myself praying “just” prayers.  What I mean is, we have gotten into the habit of saying, “Lord, I just ask you to……”  Where is the boldness?  Where is the confidence in knowing our God answers prayers?  The Lord is looking for JUST people to pray boldly not fearful people praying “just” prayers.  “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  But if we are afraid to approach God, what then?  He’s the ONLY ONE who can help!

  9. Strife is in our life:  I recently learned this one to be a big problem in people’s lives because it is not an apparent condition.  Some of us may not even know what strife means.  This is the Webster’s dictionary definition:  “Exertion or contention for superiority; contest of emulation (emulation means rivalry; desire of superiority, attended with effort to attain, ambition to equal or excel; envy, jealousy, malicious rivalry), contention in anger or enmity; discord, quarrel or war.”  Strife is an undercurrent of unrest.  The scriptures say that where strife is is EVERY EVIL thing!  Can you think of anything evil?  I sure can, and I don’t want it in my life.  Strife steals our peace.  Strife is a swinging door for EVERY bad thing to happen!  Do you ever shout out loud to God,  “What is going on?  What have I done to deserve this?  Why aren’t you answering my prayers?”  Take an inventory on your life to see if there is any strife in you.  If you don’t know for sure ask God to reveal it to you.  The fruit of strife are things like unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, resentment, jealousy, hatred, envy, judgmental, competitive, rejection, and any thing else that is evil.  I have learned that I am not to let the “sun go down on my wrath”.  Why?  Because it is breeding ground for strife to open the door for “every evil thing” to enter.  And since I will be going to sleep, the enemy has time to really get as much “junk” in our heart and mind so by the time morning comes around, we are really mad!  If an offense happens, to keep the door closed for strife, you need to overlook the offense and forgive quickly.  Half the time the person doesn’t even know they offended or hurt you.

    If you are having strife with someone from years ago, the roots are a bit deeper.  It’s a more delicate operation, but fear not, the Holy Spirit is the only one who has a knife that can cut it all away. 

If you have ever asked God for fire in your life then you are asking him to burn away what doesn’t belong and set on fire that which does belong

Scriptures why prayers may not be answered:

Ephesians 5:26 – Word of truth cleanses us and sanctifies us.

Proverbs 28:9 – He that turneth his hear from hearing the law (word of truth) even his prayer shall be an abomination.

Jeremiah 17:15-16 – God reveals the heart of man to man.  The truth is revealed to us by God!

Revelations 3:17-19 – The Lord reveals our faults.

Why does God show us our errors?  So we can see where He wants to work so He can fix it.  First step to abundant living is “RECOGNIZE”

The Lord is my keeper, healer, deliverer, restorer and fixer (I am not!) (Psalm 121:1).

Malachi 3:2 – “…. Like refiners fire and like fuller’s soap.”

Jeremiah 23:29:  “Word of God is like fire – burning away what doesn’t belong” 

Psalm 24:3 – 5 – Pure and clean.  One of the beatitudes says, “The pure in heart shall see God.”  I now realize that a person who has a clean heart toward God, toward self and toward others, shall SEE God by experiencing Him strongly here on earth!”

Isaiah 59:1-2 – “Our sins and iniquities prevent God from blessing us.”

Malachi 3:13-18 Our words have been strong against the Lord saying, what good is it to serve or believe when evil people are getting more blessed than me?

Jeremiah 17:5 - 8   Thus says the Lord, Cursed (diseased) is the man that trusteth in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord.  For he shall be like the heath in the desert and shall not see when good cometh, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.  Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.  For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green, and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither cease from yielding fruit.”

Let me add here that we don’t need to pray the same prayer every day to God.  He heard us the first time and has been working on it ever since.  What I’m supposed to do is praise and thank Him for the answer already and praising Him for who He is and what I already have.

Exercise:

Write down the attributes of God that you want manifested in your own life – peace, joy, longsuffering, patience, love, mercy, thanksgiving, mercy, grace, etc…

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During your day, begin to praise Him for these attributes.  For example, if you want patience begin praising Him for HIS patience toward you.  If you want to love others with kindheartedness, begin thanking Him for His Loving-Kindness toward you.  You see, we cannot give away what we don’t have.  It really works.  These attributes become a part of your nature.  It’s a long life venture but one worth exploring as it is a way that leads to the abundant life in Him.  I will not be fair if I don’t tell you that some of these attributes come through testing.  So don’t be surprised and taken off guard when something begins happening in your life to “test your patience”, or “test your love toward your neighbor.” 

Now choose one person and write down things you want changed in them.  (Be sure that what you ask are aligned with scripture.)

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Now pray for this person but keep it between you and God.  Keep this prayer to yourself and wait upon God.  If your prayer is in line with scripture for that person, God will begin a change in them.  If this person is a believer it may not take very long to see the manifestations of your prayers, however, if this person is not a Christian or a slow believer, it may take a little longer.  Here’s an opportunity to gain one of God’s attributes praising Him for “long-suffering”.



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