Class 8: Let God Hear From You (Part 4)
Allow me to begin with a word from Amy Carmichael. She said: “We have one crystal clear reason apart from the blessed happiness of this way of life. It is this: prayer is the core of our day. Take prayer out, and the day would collapse, would be pithless, a straw blown in the wind. But how can you pray — really pray, I mean — with one against who you have a grudge or whom you have been discussing critically with another? Try it. You will find it cannot be done.”
Joan D. Chittister said, “Spirituality without a prayer life is no spirituality at all, and it will not last beyond the first defeats. Prayer is an opening of the self so that the Word of God can break in and make us new. Prayer unmasks. Prayer converts. Prayer impels. Prayer sustains us on the way. Pray for the grace it will take to continue what you would like to quit.”
Let’s begin by reviewing what we covered in our last class:
You might recall from our last class that we discussed the first three parts of the Lord’s Prayer. They are: a. Thank the Lord (verse 9); b. Ask God’s will for your life (verse 10); and c. Ask for your daily needs (verse 11). We learned that in our prayers, we ought to praise and recognize God. Also, when we pray, our first request for the Kingdom of God ought to be for the establishing of God’s rule in our hearts. And we also saw the importance of asking God for our daily bread.
Now, please pull out your text and your digital study guide or follow along on the screen. First, I will read the corresponding letter in the book, Letters to Young Black Women. I am not going to read the entire chapter. I am just going to read the portion we will be dealing with today.
If you have a hard time praying as well, here’s how to get started:
How To Pray: In praying, follow the example our Lord Jesus Christ laid down in Matthew 6:9-13:
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 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.
From this prayer, we get the following example of how to pray:
- Thank the Lord (verse 9)
- Ask God’s will for your life (verse 10)
- Ask for your daily needs (verse 11)
- Confess your sins and ask for forgiveness (verse 12)
- Ask God to deliver you from temptation, evil, and sin (verse 13a)
- Praise the Lord (verse 13b)
Now, please follow along as we continue our study:
d. Confess your sins and ask for forgiveness
Verse 12 says, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Even though we are saved, even though we strive to do what is right, it is inevitable that we will sometimes act or think in a manner that is displeasing to God. When we pray, if we are sensitive to God’s Spirit, we will confess each of our sins no matter how big or small we think they are. 1 John 1:9 says, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins.” Just as salvation is conditional on our acceptance of the gift offered through Jesus Christ, forgiveness is conditional based on the confession of our sins. So, in prayer, we must confess our sins and ask God to forgive us of our sins. However, there is something we must do before we ask God to forgive us of our sins, and that is: forgive those who have sinned against us. We ought to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” We cannot go to God asking for forgiveness of our sins if we refuse to forgive those who have sinned against us. You ought to forgive freely because you have been freely forgiven by God. We are commanded in Ephesians 4:32 to ‘forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ God will not forgive us if we do not forgive those who have sinned against us. We all have sinned against God and others. And others have sinned against us. There is a remedy for this: to forgive, to confess, and to pray: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
e. Ask God to deliver you from temptation, evil, and sin
Verse 13a says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”
Every day we are faced with the temptation to do wrong. Every day, opportunities present themselves before us where we have to choose the path of good or evil. Jesus Christ gives us a prayer for times like these. He tells us that we can ask of God, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” As children of God, our desire should be to not have any part in sin or temptation. However, if we are honest, we have to admit that we will face temptation. And since we face that possibility every day, our “request” is, “Lord, when I am faced with temptation, deliver me from it. Give me the grace and the power of your Holy Spirit to say ‘no.'” Whether you are facing a temptation from the devil or a test from God, you can always go to our Heavenly Father in prayer for deliverance. No matter how difficult it may seem to resist temptation, and no matter how difficult it may seem to endure a trial, if you lean on God through prayer, He promises to carry you through.
f. Praise the Lord
Verse 13b says, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
The kingdom is God’s reign in the hearts of all those who have accepted Christ as Savior. When we pray for the purpose of the kingdom, we are expressing our desire for the kingdom to be built up and strengthened in our lives and in the lives of all believers. Furthermore, when we pray for God’s kingdom, we are also expressing our desire to see the second coming of Christ. When we pray, we ought to be looking for God’s power to be manifested in our lives and in the lives of those around us. When we pray, we are inviting God to act in our lives and on our behalf, not solely for ourselves, but for His glory. In fact, the very act of prayer is a way of glorifying God. We ought to keep in mind that our ultimate focus ought not to be on our needs, wants, and desires, but on God’s kingdom, power, and glory. No request is too small for God. No petition is too insignificant. No prayer is not worth praying if you are praying for the sake of God’s kingdom, God’s power, and God’s glory.
Each day this week, take a few minutes to genuinely pray the Lord’s Prayer — not just as a prayer that Jesus prayed, but as a prayer that all of us should pray as well.
In our next class, we will continue our study “LET GOD HEAR FROM YOU”.
Elizabeth Ann Seton said, “We must pray without ceasing, in every occurrence and employment of our lives – that prayer which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with Him.”
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 church people 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.
God bless you and keep you until we meet for our next class.