Grace, peace, and mercy to you Beloved, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I thank God constantly for those of you that are able to join us with these video studies in God’s word. (Jn.17:17, 2 Tim.3:14-17, Rom.10:1-17) If I say anything that you need clarification on, or you have a question from any of our studies, please contact me via our church website contact section (www.covenantpensacola.org) Also, make sure to use the printed manuscript and study questions with Scripture proofs that we try to attach as a link to these videos.
Let’s go to the Lord together in prayer and ask His blessing on our time in His word today.
Today we will begin with a different Bible passage. Turn in your Bible to Jeremiah chapter twenty-nine. I think this has application to our time. God is telling His exiled people, that they will pray to Him. He will hear their prayers. He will deliver them.
Jeremiah 29:10. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.12 ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.13 ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.14 ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’
I do believe that the church of Christ in a senseexists in exile. We live in Egypt, Babylon and Sodom. (Ps.137:1, I Pt.5:13, Rev.11:8, I Pt.1:1, I Pt.2:11, Heb.11) And we long for home. God promises to hear His exiled children when they pray to Him for deliverance.
Jeremiah 33:14-16 teaches us that God will restore the exiles by Christ and in Christ. Now that we see our Biblical warrant to pray, let’s begin our third study on prayer.
Our need motivates our prayers.
Last week we looked at one particular kind of prayer, and that was prayer as a petition.
I would argue this is perhaps the most common kind of prayer that we offer to God. Most of our prayers consist of asking God for something. As our catechism has it, offering up our desires to God in the name of Christ. (WSC 98) By this I am not being critical at all. I will exhort us in a later study that we should add thanksgiving and praises to our petitions.
But I would never instruct anyone to curtail their requests to God. Just the opposite. I want all of us to be constantly asking God for everything. (I Pt.5:7, Mt.7:7, I Tim.2:1) And then, constantly watching to see His answer. And then constantly waiting to thank Him. This is the life of living faith in God related to prayer to God.
Now, petitions are so normative for the fundamental reason that we are so needy. We are physically needy. We are spiritually needy. We need something from the moment we come forth from the womb until the moment our Lord calls for our spirit. (Ecc.12:7) Then, and only then, we will never be in need again. And then out petitions will be changed into eternal praises.
Our God motivates our prayers.
Today, I want to look at certain things about the Triune God that should motivate and encourage us to pray. It is not my purpose with this study to give a lengthy lesson on proving the doctrine of the Trinity from Scripture. Briefly however, look in Scripture for divine names, attributes, works, worship assigned to all Three Persons of the Godhead. (Acts 17:29, WCF 2.3)
The existence of God motivates us to pray.
I am aware there are various schools of thought on proving the existence of God using varying arguments. Here are two of the most famous.
The conception of God.
Anselm’s ontological argument. God is a Being than which no greater can be conceived, that His non-existence is inconceivable.As the Bible says, even a fool knows that God exists though he denies it. (Ps.14:1) The idea is, since we can conceive of God this Supreme Being that proves He exists, because we could not conceive of something that did not exist.
The effects of God.
Thomas Aquinas codified what is known as the cosmological argument, which had five sub-arguments for the existence of God proved by the effects of God. For example, a watch proves the existence of a watchmaker.
Some of these arguments to prove the existence of God are so intricate and philosophical that I confess my head gets a little dizzy, a little bit beyond my capacities.
But the main idea is this, man knows that there is a God and he is trying to prove why he knows. This is man trying to understand and to prove that a Supreme Being exists and is the Primary One from which everything else derives its being. This of course necessitates that God be worshipped and honored as the Supreme One, which would require saying so in prayer.
The presupposition of God.
Forrest Gump said this famous line in the movie of the same name, I am not a smart man Jenny. Well, Beloved, I am not a smart man Jenny. I am a simple man. I strive to live on the word of God the Bible and God has called me to teach others to do the same. (Mt.4:4, 2 Tim.4:1-5, I Tim.4:12-16, 2 Tim.3:14-17, Isa.8:20)
The Bible opens presupposing the existence of God. There is no detailed intricate argument given for His existence. The God that is, says that He is. In the beginning God. (Gen.1:1) God is truth and He cannot lie. Nor can He deny Himself. (Titus 1:2, Rom.3:4)
Implied here and explicitly stated elsewhere is that God is eternal, uncreated, infinite, and independent. God is the great self-existent I AM. (Exod.3:14) Hear God’s word…
Isaiah 43: 9.You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.
Hebrews 11: 6.And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Romans 1:18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
So the existence of God requires and compels us to pray.
The nature of God motivates us to pray.
Now let’s consider this nature of God to motivate us to pray. And we understand the nature of God as He reveals Himself to us in nature and in Scripture. For our purposes today, I will focus on God’s self-revelation in the Bible. Listen to these things looking for reasons to pray to God. And how to pray to God as well.
God is the living and the true God as He says in Jeremiah 10:10.
Deuteronomy 6:3.O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
(Mk.12:29, I Cor.8:1-6)
Every other god is no god. Other so-called gods have no life in themselves. They are pieces of gilded wood or metal as the Scripture says. They can receive no worship, nor impart any good.
But the God of the Bible has life in Himself as we have been saying. And He is the fountain or the source of all other life. He gives us physical life. He gives us spiritual life. And He is truth personified. And all He says is true. There is no lie in Him. All that He said He will do, He will do! (Num.23:19) We can trust in His word. We can trust our eternal souls on His word.
Listen to what God tells the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 1:11.The word of the LORD came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.”12 Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.”
Aren’t you encouraged to pray to Him?!
Next, let’s look at the infinite perfections of God.
Theologians speak about the incommunicable attributes of God and the communicable attributes of God. Let’s look at attributes of God that He retains to Himself. He does not share these with the creature. These provide fodder for our praise-prayers. His metaphysical attributes: God is infinite. He is boundless. He is eternal. He has no beginning and no end. He is the alpha and the omega. The ancient of days. He is unchangeable. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
God is transcendent. He is distinct from His creation. He is high above His creation.
Psalm 90:1.A Prayer of Moses, the man of God. Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.2 Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
I Timothy 1:17. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
And then when we think of God’s ethical attributes and theseattributesHe does communicate to us. God is holy, love, good, wise, merciful, kind, just, and true. Everything about Him is perfect. All that is does is right and perfect and good. Even when we cannot understand it. What fuel for our prayers! (WCF 2.1)
Think of some of the names of God that He gives Himself in Scripture to encourage yourself to pray. And God’s names are especially helpful to us in our invocations at the beginning of our prayers. For example, God, Lord, LORD, the Holy One, the Righteous One, a consuming fire, a Father, our Friend, and so on.
The salvation of God motivates us to pray.
We pray to God because we were originally created to worship God or to adore God as we commune with God. When God came to Adam in the “cool of the day” the idea is that God and Adam would meet together, walk and talk together. (Gen.3:8) Prayer is talking with God. Adam’s Fall ruined that for us.
The work of Christ.
But praise God Christ has redeemed us or saved us to restore what Adam lost. Now in Christ we can walk and talk with God by faith. Christ has saved us so that God can hear and receive our prayers and that we receive His love and support. He is our blessed Mediator.
We come to God the Father, through the mediation of God the Son – this is what it means to prayer in Christ’s name, in reliance upon God the Holy Spirit. (I Tim.2:5, Mt.13:25-30)
On earth. During the time of Christ’s earthly ministry,He taught us to pray in two ways, by precept and by example or practice. (Mt.19:13, 26:39-45, Mk.6:46, 14:32-39, Lk.6:12, 9:28-29, Lk.22:32) Hear some Scripture…
Luke 11:1.It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”
2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.3 ‘Give us each day our daily bread.4 ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'” (Mt.6:5-6)
Luke 18:1.Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,
Luke 22:39. And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Jesus sought out solitary places to pray. Jesus sent people away to pray. Jesus left the company of other people to pray. Jesus neglected sleep in order to pray. Jesus went out into the wilderness or up on a mountain to pray. Jesus prayed alone for extended lengths of time.
Jesus prayed that God the Father would be glorified. Jesus prayed that He Himself, God the Son-Savior would be glorified. Jesus prayed for the salvation of the elect. Jesus prayed for the preservation of the elect. Jesus prayed for the success of His gospel.
Jesus prayed during His darkest hour. Jesus prayed and sweat drops of blood His prayer was so intense. (Lk.22:44) Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done. Jesus prayed in His pain. Jesus prayed for His persecutors. He prayed for God to forgive them. Jesus prayed and committed His Spirit to His Father.
Luke 23:33.When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
Matthew 27:43. The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
Father into Thy hands I commit My spirit. (Lk.23:46)
In heaven. Christ is now in heaven. And even in this estate He is teaching us to pray. He lives at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. (Rom.8:34, WSC 25)
Hebrews 4:14.Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb.10:19-22, 5:5-10)
To intercede. Our High Priest Christ prays. (Jn.17:1-26) Therefore, we are to pray. Christ has saved us to be a holy royal priesthood. Part of this is topraise to pray and to intercede before God.
Revelation. 1:5. and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood–
6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father– to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
To worship. Christ has fundamentally saved us for the purpose of worshipping God as Christ tells the Samaritan woman in John 4:20-26. Christ purchases sinners by His blood and makes us worshippers. And part of worshipping God is prayer. (Ps.65:1-5)
This is how our WCF connects worship and prayer or prayer as an aspect of worship.
WCF 21.3 Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship,(1) is by God required of all men;(2) and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son,(3) by the help of His Spirit,(4) according to His will,(5) with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance;(6) and, if vocal, in a known tongue.(7)
(1) Phil. 4:6. (2) Ps. 65:2.(3) John 14:13,14; 1 Pet. 2:5.(4) Rom. 8:26.(5) 1 John 5:14.
(6) Ps. 47:7; Eccl. 5:1,2; Heb. 12:28; Gen. 18:27; James 5:16; James 1:6,7; Mark 11:24; Matt. 6:12,14,15; Col. 4:2; Eph. 6:18. (7) 1 Cor. 14:14.
The work of the Spirit.
Now briefly I want to look at the work of the Holy Spirit motivating us to pray. I am still treating this under the heading of God’s salvation as motive to pray.
I know this is a bit simple. The Father plans our salvation. The Son purchases our salvation. And the Spirit applies our salvation. Let me put it another way. The Father and the Son send the Spirit to us. The Spirit regenerates us, makes us spiritually alive from spiritual death. The Spirit gives us the gift of saving faith in Jesus. And thus, we are joined to Jesus. And thus, we have access to the Father.This is what we are taught in Romans eight.
Romans 8:9.However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, (Gal.4:6)
The Holy Spirit then gives us the ability to hear God in His word. The Spirit gives us the desire and the ability to speak to God as His beloved children in His Beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit also helps our prayers by His prayers. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. (Rom.8:26)
Finally, Scripture refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of supplication or the Spirit OF prayer.
Zechariah 12:10.I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication.
Oh Beloved, do we need any more motivation to pray?! How great is our God! Lift your voice to Him in prayer. Amen.
1. In what way are true Christians living as aliens and strangers in exile in this world? In what way are we different than the non-Christian living in the world. How does our faith in Christ affect our pilgrimage? (Jer.29:10-14, Ps.137:1-6, I Pt.5:13, Rev.11:8, I Pt.1:1, I Pt.2:11, Heb.11:1-40, Jer.33:14-16)
2. How many persons in the Godhead are there? From Scripture how would you prove the Deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?How would you prove Christ is God in the Flesh? (Dt.6:4, Jer.10:10, Isa.45:22, KJV 1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; John 10:30, Gen.1:26-27, Gen.18:1-21, 19:1-22, Mt.11:27, Jn.1:1-18, Isa.48:16-17, Acts 5:3-4, WCF 2.3)
3. Who codified the ontological argument to prove the existence of God? Can you summarize it? Who codified the cosmological argument? Can you summarize it? What is the goal of both arguments? Who is the superior and the inferior in these arguments? How does this motivate us to pray?
4. How does God in the Bible “prove” that He exists? How does Genesis 1:1 open? What do we learn by this? Where do we go to learn about God and His will for our salvation? Therefore, where do we go to be instructed to whom to pray and how to pray? (Mt.4:4, 2 Tim.4:1-5, I Tim.4:12-16, 2 Tim.3:14-17, Isa.8:20, Titus 1:2, Rom.3:4, Isa.43:9, Heb.11:6, Rom.1:18-21)
5. How does the fact that the God of the Bible is the living and true God motivate you to pray to Him? (Dt.6:3-6, Mk.12:29, I Cor.8:1-6, Num.23:19, Jer.10:10, I Thess.1:9, Isa.44:1-21)
6. List some of the incommunicable attributes of God. How do they motivate you to pray? Deut. 6:4, 1 Cor. 8:4-6, 1 Thess. 1:9; Jer. 10:10, Job 11:7-9; Job 26:14, John 4:24, 1 Tim. 1:17, Deut. 4:15-16; John 4:24; Luke 24:39, Acts 14:11-15, James 1:17; Mal. 3:6, 1 Kings 8:27)
7. List some communicable attributes of God. How do they motivate you to pray? (Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8., Rom. 16:27, Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8, Ps. 15:3, Exod. 3:14. Eph. 1:11, Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36, 1 John 4:8-16, Exod. 34:6-7, Heb. 11:6, Neh. 9:32-33)
8. What are the two ways Christ teaches us to pray. Cite some of Christ’s prayers. Cite His manner in prayer – how, where, when, and why. What do we learn by this? (Mt.19:13, 26:39-45, Mk.6:46, 14:32-39, Lk.6:12, 9:28-29, Lk.22:32, Lk.11:1-4, Lk.18:1, Lk.22:39-44, Mt.27:43-46, Lk.23:46, Rom.8:34, WSC 25, Heb.4:14-16, Heb.10:19-22, 5:5-10, Jn.17:1-26, Rev.1:5-6)
9. How does prayer as an aspect of worship motivate you to pray? (Phil. 4:6., Ps. 65:2, John 14:13,14; 1 Pet. 2:5, Rom. 8:26, 1 John 5:14, Ps. 47:7; Eccl. 5:1,2; Heb. 12:28; Gen. 18:27; James 5:16; James 1:6,7; Mark 11:24; Matt. 6:12,14,15; Col. 4:2; Eph. 6:18, 1 Cor. 14:14)
10. How does the person and the work of the Holy Spirit inform and help you to pray? (Rom.8:9-26, Gal.4:6, Zech.12:10, WCF 10.1-2)