Review, Weeks 1 through 10 – Expanded Notes
WEEK 1 9-11-16
Definitions and differences – a number of Hebrew and Greek words are used for prayer, several other words are used for intercession. There is a difference. Prayer means approaching God, requesting something for yourself or others. Intercession stops the law of sowing and reaping – it stops the judgment which sin deserves and brings mercy instead.
Prayer and intercession are God’s idea, his way of accomplishing his will on planet earth.
I John 5:14-15 – for prayer to be answered, it must be God’s will, allowing him to do something he already wants to do. He needs the permission of human beings in order to do it. Ex. the Lord’s Prayer – “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Discussion of why that is true.
Ez. 22:30 ff- God sought for a man to stand in the gap and make up the hedge / wall – refers to a soldier standing in the hole in the wall to keep the enemy out. God desires mercy. Hhe wants someone to allow Him to keep the law of sowing and reaping from working, bringing destruction to the wicked nation.
Example: Elijah. James 5:17 says Elijah prayed earnestly and it did not rain, 3 1/2 years later it did rain. But in I Kings 17:1 – 18:1 – Elijah did not pray about rain. He stood in the presence of God’s face, then went where God wanted and said what God wanted, to Ahab.
Jesus prayed often, getting God’s assignment, not asking God to do something. He taught the disciples by show and tell, then sent them out to do same and they did, first the 12, later the 70. He never prayed and asked God to do the work, he himself did it.
Jesus preached the kingdom of heaven is near because he himself was near and he was the king. Jesus had authority from birth because he had no sin. He demonstrated it and gave that same authority to the disciples when he sent them out. They said what he wanted them to say and did what he wanted them to do, and got the same results.
Matthew 28:18-20 – Jesus told the 11 to go into the whole world and make disciples and teach them to obey whatsoever he had commanded them – not only the sermons but also the actions.
Mark 16:20 – says the disciples went everywhere and preached, and Jesus went with them and confirmed his word with signs (results) following. Signs follow Jesus’ words. If His words are not preached, signs can’t follow.
WEEK 2 9-18-16
Review – difference between prayer and intercession.
Abraham – Gen. 18 – God himself came to get Abraham to intercede. In Isaiah 59:5-18 the nation was wicked and God needed a man to ask for mercy. Ezekiel 22 – God was amazed there was no-one to intercede so he brought Jesus, who still intercedes for us (Heb. 7:25); he also gave us the Holy Spirit who intercedes in and through us for others, John 14-16.
(Paraklete, one called alongside to help with whatever you need, includes praying.)
Any answer to our prayer will result in:
1 – God’s will being done – Lord’s prayer, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
2 – God’s kingdom being built – when Jesus left, he gave disciples an assignment to do the same things he had been doing. God created people – Jesus came as a person, he created the universe for our habitat and he loves us. He wants to fill his kingdom and will need us to do that.
3 – God will be glorified. “If a man could do it, a man could get credit for it. “
Eph. 3:20 – God can do more than we ask or think according to the power (Holy Spirit) that works in us.
Patience is necessary – God’s timetable and ours are sometimes very different. We need patience and obedience to do what the Holy Spirit tells us to do all during that time. And we need steady faith, not wavering.
The enemy will try to cause us to question, doubt, unbelieve, to demolish our faith. Any and every sort of distraction will arise to prevent us from arriving at our answer – in Paul’s case, preaching in Rome. In David’s case, ruling in Jerusalem. Both answers took a very long time.
Heb. 10:35-36 – “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” James 1:3-4 – “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work (complete, mature), that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
Example: Thomas Edison – “I have not failed, not even one time. I have succeeded in finding 10,000 things that do not work.” (inventing a storage battery)
God’s will – How can we learn what God’s will is so that we can pray that?
John 7:17 – if anyone will DO his will, he will know of the doctrine, whether it is from God or not.
John 17:3 – Jesus said, this is eternal life, that we know God and Jesus whom he has sent.
To learn God’s will, we must know his character, know his word, and learn to recognize his voice. The key to recognizing his voice is to know him, and know him well.
Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice, John 10:27. How did they learn? The shepherd is always speaking to them, from the very beginning. God is always talking to us.
Sometimes his voice comes in the form of just knowing that you know what you know. Sometimes it’s a “gut feeling,” sometimes it’s advice from someone else. God speaks and leads and instructs in a wide variety of ways, but all of it is in harmony with his word.
When trying to decide, an important tip: Let the peace of God rule in your hearts (lit. act as an umpire), Col. 3:15. The peace of God will keep (guard) your heart and mind (Phil. 4:7).
Unsettled? Doubtful? Fearful? A yucky feeling inside? Probably not God’s will.
WEEK 3 9-25-16
Samuel’s statement to Israel (I Sam. 12:23) – God forbid that I should sin against God in ceasing to pray for you. He knew the importance of praying for the nation, though they were going the wrong way. It would take a long time for them to repent… but he continued to pray.
Samuel anointed David to be king as a young boy, but it took many years for him to become king. And during those years, he was being chased by King Saul – his enemy.
The enemy – we also have an enemy.
John 10:10 – the thief (enemy) comes, not may come, but does come, to do specific things:
(1) Steal – your faith is what he aims to steal, stealing the word from your mind and heart because faith comes by hearing the word,
(2) Kill you – thus potentially preventing hundreds of others from being born again; he was a murderer from the beginning, the Bible says.,
(3) Destroy – whatever he can’t steal or kill;- your testimony, your marriage, your health, etc.
One common tactic he uses is distraction – flat tire, sick child, argument with spouse – he uses lots of ways, all designed to steal / nullify your faith. Remember, let the peace of God rule in our heart (lit. be our umpire), if a decision makes us feel “yucky,” it’s probably not God’s will.
Remember, God’s timetable and ours are sometimes very different. Thus we need patience, obedience and steady faith to overcome the enemy’s tactic while awaiting the answer.
So, how do you know what God’s will is? To learn his will, know his character, know his word, and learn to recognize his voice. Practice makes perfect.
Assignment: Please read John chapters 14-17 for the next class. (Week 4)
WEEK 4 10-2-16
We have a far more powerful Helper, the Holy Spirit. John 14-17, Jesus’ most important teachings to the disciples.
(Note – Judas had left and only the other 11 were still there.) For the first time, Jesus told them that after he was raised from the dead, he was going away. Maybe they had thought he would overthrow Rome and become King of Israel – but him leaving them was probably the last thing they thought. But he reassured them that he would not leave them as orphans.
He would send them someone like himself, except that instead of just being WITH them, as he was, the Holy Spirit would be IN them.
On the sea of Galilee when the storm arose, in a panic the disciples woke Jesus up. They probably wanted him to help bail out the boat, but instead he stopped the storm.
Then he asked them, Where is your faith? They had just been part of the miracle of feeding the 5,000 – it was multiplied in their hands. They should have been able to stop the storm themselves.
That is one of those greater things Jesus said that they and we would have power and authority to do. Speak peace to the storm, take authority and rebuke it, and keep doing that. Command the storm to be still. So, where was their faith? They were mis-believing.
MIS-belief – believing the wrong thing – is a hindrance to receiving a miracle, i.e. the greater work. This is believing a lie of the enemy, such as:
– You don’t deserve answers to prayer because of sin – blood of Jesus paid for ALL your sin.
– Miracles not for today, ceased with the apostles – miracles occur more today than ever.
– God is making you sick to teach you something – nowhere in scripture.
– Healing is not always God’s will – but Jesus healed ALL that came to him. Read Matthew. The word for healing is the same word for salvation (sozo / soteria).
– “Whatever will be, will be” – an Eastern religion belief, not a Christian principle.
– We can’t really know God’s will – He wants us to know it more than we do. Col. 1:9.
(Other belief problems considered later, see Week 6.)
WEEK 5 10-16-16 (Note – no class last Sunday due to hurricane)
John 14-17, Holy Spirit, continued.
Jesus told them the Holy Spirit would be their paraclete – one called alongside / inside to help do whatever the Lord wants you to do. That includes helper, comforter, counselor, advocate, or assistant. He described the works of the Holy Spirit, 14:26 – 15:26 – 16:8-11 – 16:13 – 16:14.
This includes helping us to intercede and/or pray what God desires to happen by way of our prayer. Jesus’ promised:
14:13-14 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. Also 15:16 – 16:23 – 16:24.
The armor of God, and why we need it: To pray. Note, every place a piece of armor fit, was a place where the blood of Jesus flowed.
Ephesians 6:10, 11, 18. The verbs here are commands, not suggestions. The class was asked to be quiet for a moment, ask the Lord what to pray for, then shared what they felt the Lord was saying to them.
For the remainder of the class time we prayed for these specific areas, beginning with thanksgiving and praise.
WEEK 6 10-23-16
Authority of believers in praying
Eternal life doesn’t start when we die. How did Jesus define eternal life? John 17:3 – “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Eternal life begins the moment you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and begin to know him and his Father. Our authority and power for prayer / intercession starts then, too.
Mark 11, Jesus is on the way to the cross. They came into the city from the east where the Mt. of Olives was. Jesus and the disciples did some sight-seeing, including the Temple, then left the city and went to Bethany to stay the night.
Mark 11:14 The next morning, on the way into the city, Jesus cursed the fig tree (it withered and died overnight). If it had leaves, it should have had fruit or the precursor to fruit which was also edible. But it didn’t. The tree was an aberration, deceptive.
11:16 – Jesus entered the Temple and threw out the merchants and money-changers. He told them, God said the Temple was to be a house of prayer, they had made it a den of robbers.
Nearing the time of his death, he was making a statement about prayer – it is primary.
He then sat down and began teaching the people. The religious leaders determined more than ever to kill him. Jesus and the disciples left town again, and returned the next morning, when the disciples noticed that the tree was already dead and withered up. They were amazed.
Mark 11:23-24 “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
He was pointing out that they already had the authority and the power to do that – he had given it to them.
The only way a believer can do such a thing is with God’s (Jesus / the Holy Spirit’s) power and at his instructions.
HINDRANCES TO RECEIVING RESULTS FROM OUR PRAYERS
If we are inhabited by God himself and praying what he wishes us to pray, what can hinder our getting answers?
(1) UN-belief (lack of belief)
Unbelief or nonbelief, lack of faith (faith and belief are the same Greek word, pistis), by refusing to accept it.
Matt. 13:58, Mark 6:5-6 – Jesus could do no mighty works in Nazareth because of unbelief.
Matt. 9:25, Mark 5:40 – Jesus put unbelievers out of the room (ruler’s daughter)
Acts 9:40 – Peter put unbelievers out of the room – Tabitha/Dorcas.
(First read the passage about Aeneas earlier in this chapter, then this passage. He didn’t pray for Aeneas, he just spoke a statement of faith to him.)
Peter first put the unbelievers out of the room, then prayed – not for the dead woman, but to get God’s instructions on what to do. Then he turned and spoke to her, just as he had done to Aeneas, telling her to do something she could not do. And she did it.
There was a good reason to put unbelievers out – unbelief is deadly, it will kill you.
WEEK 7 10-30-16
HINDRANCES / BELIEF problems, continued.
(1) UN-belief – continued
In addition to refusing to believe (DIS-belief), there is a form of wishful, half-doubting, half-hoping unbelief attitude.
Example: Mark 9:23-24. The father of the demonized boy came to Jesus after the disciples couldn’t help him.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Honoring the father’s small faith, Jesus helped his unbelief – he healed / delivered the boy.
(2) MIS-belief (mistaken belief), believing the wrong thing, lies of the enemy, modern culture. (Discussed in Week 4.)
(3) NON-belief, ignorance of who God is, his character, his love, his grace, his will.
All belief problems can be corrected by the Word, since faith comes by hearing (present tense) the word of God, Romans 10:17.
Doubt simply means trying to decide between two things. Diakrino G1252 (diakrisis is the noun form of this verb; disputation; discernment) “Dia” meaning through or by means of, plus “krino,” to separate, pick out, select, choose; i.e. to examine in order to distinguish, make a determination, decide; judge, pass sentence. This is the word used most often for doubt. Also translated judge, discern, waver.
Doubt is not bad in itself. It may come before faith but eventually you have to make a decision or you won’t get what you request, because you’re not praying in faith.
Recall Mark 11:23, “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Also
Matt: 21:21, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”
WEEK 8 11-06-16
HINDRANCES / DOUBT, continued.
Doubt is bad if you remain there, never coming to a decision. (Like Peter, walking on the water.)
Note – sometimes you have to decide quickly. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God can you make the right decision when you don’t have much time, like Peter walking on the water. That is why studying the Word and getting to know God’s character is essential.
PUTTING THE WORD INTO PRACTICE
I Timothy 2:1-4 says, “First of all,” pray.
Today I want us to pray for SC’s Congressional Delegation, the seven U.S. Representatives and two Senators who represent South Carolina in Washington. (Gave handout of the list.)
I had emailed the list and requested class members earlier in the week to seek the Lord on what you should pray for them. Several shared what they had prayed for these men.
As I myself asked the Lord that question, Paul’s prayers to the Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians kept coming to my mind. I made notes of the specific things the Apostle Paul prayed for each group. He gave thanks for them first, also said he prayed for them always, not just one time. I read those notes to the class. We then prayed for these men.
WEEK 9 11-13-16
(1) DON’T TALK YOURSELF OUT OF IT.
What you say after you pray is important. If you pray in faith but then talk in doubt (to yourself or to others, comment, mention, discuss in casual or serious conversation), you’re still in doubt.
In Genesis 1, “God said… ” over and over. He used spoken words to create everything that exists, not just his thoughts, ideas or imagination.
The 10 Commandments are God’s standards expressed in words and engraved by God himself on tablets of stone, and given by him to Moses.
These were important enough that God promised they would be engraved on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. They do not expire – Jesus said that the law would not pass away until completely fulfilled, which he did. He did not cancel it out.
Example: Numbers 13-14, the 12 spies sent into the promised land.
The land contained trade routes where travelers were always coming and going so their presence was not suspicious. They saw the sons of Anak (giants) at Hebron, and 10 of them became afraid. Suddenly they believed those men were more powerful than Jehovah.
Num. 13:30-31, the fearful ten believed and said “We can’t…” and the other two, Caleb and Joshua, believed and said, “We can.” Both were right.
The 10 negative speakers stirred up the people enough that they wanted to choose a different leader and return to Egypt (14:4). This situation was so dangerous that the Lord destroyed them right away (14:37). He would have destroyed everyone except Caleb and Joshua and Moses, except for Moses’ intercession (14:11 ff). Instead, they were made to travel around and around in the wilderness for 40 years. All those above 20 years old died in the wilderness, and only Caleb, Joshua, and those under 20 were allowed to go into the promised land.
Prov. 18:21 says – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Spoken words are powerfully creative, for good and for bad.
James (see chapters 3-4) was written to believers, and stresses the importance of our words. James 3:10 says blessing and cursing come from the same mouth – and that should not be.
Why do negative words come out of our mouth? Because they are in our hearts (minds, memories, experiences, etc.)
Matt. 15:18-19 – “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”
(2) HOW TO PREVENT IT? (talking yourself out of it) You have to be intentional about it, you have to work at it be persistent. It’s often a “left-over” habit pattern.
(a) Guard your heart / thoughts – remember, whatever comes out of your mouth was in your heart first (Matt. 15:18-19, above).
(b) Fill your heart / mind with God’s things, not the world’s things or the enemy’s words. See Phil. 4:8 – John 14:26 – The Holy Spirit will remind you of whatever Jesus said, but he can’t “re-mind” you of it if you didn’t put it in your mind it to begin with.
(c) Guard your tongue. Prov. 30:32 says, if you think evil, clap a hand over your mouth! Don’t let those words come out of your mouth. Do NOT say, “my arthritis,” or “my headache” – those may attack you but they are not yours, they are the enemy’s. Do not accept them as your own.
WEEK 10 11-20-16
(2) HOW TO PREVENT IT, continued.
You are in control of your heart and mouth. The Holy Spirit will help but you have to do it.
Psalm 19:14 – David’s prayer, “Let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, my strength (lit. rock) and my redeemer.”
“Words of my mouth” means spoken words.
“Meditate” means to mutter or murmur, not think – i.e. words spoken under your breath, to yourself rather than others.
“Thy sight” means God’s face, his presence, that indicates an intimate closeness.
“Acceptable” means to give pleasure, cause delight.
Those are the kinds of words that we should think, and speak – the ones that make God happy.
Avoid unacceptable words. The 3rd Commandment says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Ex. 20:7)
This is not just using curse words, it means to claim God did or said something that he did not do or say, such as giving someone a Word from the Lord or prophecy.
Ephesians 5:4 ff – this book was addressed to Christians! We must avoid obscenity, coarse joking, foolish jesting, etc. Someone is listening – you yourself and/or someone else. The wrong use of words will damage your testimony, to you yourself and to others. It is not harmless.
This takes work – a conscious effort, and repeated efforts – habits are made and broken by repetition.
He suggests a new habit in Eph. 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
“Yourselves” can be singular or plural, and especially means YOU yourself.
Eph. 4:29 says “Let” – we control this. Let no corrupt communication come out of our mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, i.e. building up.
Words are creative or destructive. We need to be creating good things with our speech, not destroying something.
II Cor. 10:4-5 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
That includes thoughts of fear or doubt about the answers to your prayers.
Our mighty weapons include God’s word and the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit (Helper) will help us do it, but he won’t do it for us. The control is up to us.