Class 18: Tap Into Unlimited Power (Part 3)
Today, we are going to continue our study from Letters to Young Black Men titled, “Tap Into Unlimited Power” (Part 3).
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Jim Cymbala: “I learned as never before that persistent calling upon the Lord breaks through every stronghold of the devil, for nothing is impossible with God. For Christians in these troubled times, there is simply no other way.”
Let’s begin by reading a portion from Letters to Young Black Men:
As I close this letter, dear friend, I would like to leave you with some suggestions on how to pray and when to pray. First, the best and only pattern to follow that our Lord gave to us is what is commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer,” which is found in Matthew 6:9-13:
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Now you do not have to pray this same prayer, but you can use it as a guide in your own prayer life. According to Jesus’ pattern of prayer, you should:
- Praise God first.
- Put His will before yours.
- Ask for your daily provisions.
- Ask for forgiveness of sin.
- Ask God to keep you from evil.
- Give God the glory.
Lay everything on your heart and mind before God and enjoy His peace.
As far as when to pray, pray as God leads you, as I mentioned to you in a previous letter. But it is also good to follow the example of David and Daniel of old and pray at appointed times. In other words, schedule your time so that you include special quality periods in your day for nothing else but for prayer unto God. It is good to keep regular times to pray as well as to pray in between those times as God’s Holy Spirit prompts you.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
We have clearly established the fact that prayer is an essential practice in the life of any Christian. So, how in the world do we pray? How can we possibly connect with God when we cannot see Him or audibly hear His voice? Prayer is a dialogue between our spirit and the Spirit of God.
Read the following verses and note further instructions they give for how to pray.
- Matthew 6:5-8: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
You can pray no matter where you are, but it is important to take time to pray in solitude. Jesus recommended going inside your closet and shutting the door. Basically, you would be wise to find a place where you can be alone without distractions. Prayer is communication with the Father, and you will be unable to hear Him speak if the television is on, if siblings are running around, or if you have to focus on other things.
Prayer can be intimidating at first. It is difficult to know how to communicate with someone you cannot see. However, the good news is that God already knows what is on your heart. He merely desires to hear you intentionally share it with Him. To better understand this concept, think about someone you are very close to. If this person has had a great day you can probably read it all over his face when he walks in the door. Likewise, if they have had an awful day you know it also without them saying a word. However, in order for your relationship to remain intimate, do you not desire that they tell you exactly why they are overjoyed or completely bummed? It is the same with God. He knows when we love life and when we hate it. At the same time, though, He wants to be close to you and longs to communicate with you, heart to heart — without distractions. So, when you pray, get to the point. Don’t ramble on, trying to please God with your words. What pleases Him more than anything is when His children trust Him enough to be vulnerable in the presence of the Holy Father. For, only when we are vulnerable can He work mightily within us. Only by the acknowledgment of our weakness is He able to transform it into our strength.
- Philippians 4:6: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
It is appropriate for your prayer to include both thanksgiving and requests. Do not be afraid to ask God to meet your needs and the needs of others. At the same, though, do not neglect to praise God for His mercy and grace.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.”
Though it is necessary to set aside time to pray in solitude, your prayer life should not be limited to such occasions. Rather, you are to have the things of God on your mind throughout the day. Constantly thank Him for His blessings. Continually pray for those you pass on the street, in the store, etc. who need to feel His touch. Pray for the forgiveness of your sins the second you commit them. Such awareness of the presence of God will significantly help you to grow in your faith.
Now, Just Do It
In conclusion to this lesson it only seems appropriate to close this study by finding a quiet place and spending some time in prayer. I am not going to tell you what to pray, for only you and God know the desires and burdens of your heart. Spend some time talking to God as if He were your best friend. Before you know it, that is exactly what He just might become.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.