<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Untitled Document Prayer Is A Privilege
Let us not take it for granted.

When we realize what a privilege prayer is, we like the disciples of old will plead, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
I am afraid that many of us take prayer for granted.
We are not as prayerful as we ought to be simply because we have forgotten what a grand privilege it is.

What Is Prayer?
Prayer is not merely wishing for something.
Nor is it simply thinking about something or reciting some lines.
Prayer is our means of speaking to God (Luke 18:10-14).

What Is Prayer?
It is the act of communicating the thoughts of man to the infinite mind of God.
From Romans 10:1 we learn that it is the heart’s desire expressed to God.
It is making our request and thanksgiving known unto God (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Consider the following quotes…..
“Prayer is the avenue through which one approaches the Almighty.”
It is “making personal contact with power that transcends time, space and matter”,
“The reach of man after the Absolute Reality.”

What Is Prayer?
“Prayer is the voice of faith”.
“Prayer is a correspondence fixed in heaven”.
“Prayer is so simple; It is like quietly opening a door and slipping into the very presence of God.”

What a privilege to have access to our God (cf. 1 John 3:1).
Can you imagine what it would be like to be invited into the oval office for a private discussion with the president?
If I could tell you that I could go in and talk with the president at any time, you would think that was a special favor unlike any other.
You might even ask how I got such a privilege.
Yet, we are invited to open up our hearts to the Creator and Ruler of the universe!
Oh, what a privilege that is.

The Need For Praying
We can better appreciate the privilege of prayer when we consider its necessity.
Yes, we need to pray.
It is not just a liberty.
We have the right to pray.
Several reasons can be given for this need.

It is a Command
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
“Therefore I want the men in everyplace to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (1 Timothy 2:8).
“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart”(Luke18:1).
The Lord said to “pray then in this way…” (Matthew 6:9-13).

Children want to talk with their Father
It is a natural desire.
Can you imagine never talking to your earthly father?
Can you imagine your children never or very seldom talking to you?
Well with cell-phones and i-pads, it happens more than it should.
Jesus began “The Lord’s Prayer” this way: “Our Father who art in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9).

God is concerned with our wants and needs
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11).
“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7).

We need to find grace to help
“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in tine of need”(Hebrews 4:16).
Because we as humans are weak and frail, we are dependent upon the assistance of Divine power.
We should realize more and more every day our need for the help of God.
We need to find grace to help
We continually stand in need of God’s care and protection.
We simply cannot make it without God’s help.
Apart from Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5).
We can do all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13).

God is the Almighty
“With God, all things are possible”(Matthew 19:26).
God can do more than we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21;
“…Lord God Almighty”(Revelation 4:8).
He has the power to grant and do something about matters.
He is in control.

God is the Almighty
The reason we pray for world problems, peace and rulers is that God is able to do something about those things.
The reason we pray for those with cancer, heart problems and other diseases is that God is able to do something about those things.
God is in control.

God is willing to grant us good things
“and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19)
Ask, knock, seek and God will provide (Matthew 7:7-8).
God gives us what is best for us, even when his answer is “no”.

We need to express our love and adoration
“hallowed be Thy name…” (Matthew 6:9).
We are to offer thanksgiving (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
Prayer is an opportunity to express our appreciation to God.
It is an act of worship, a time to praise God.

We need forgiveness
Simon the sorcerer repented and asked for forgiveness (Acts 8:22:24).
What a privilege to be able to turn to God and start your life over.
What if you couldn’t do that?

We must pray to follow the example of Christ
Christ suffered for us as an example (1 Peter 2:21).
We are also told to be like Christ in all things.

Prayer does good
“…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Prayer is effective.
We pray because we need to pray, not because that is our routine or it satisfies our conscience.

Who Should Pray?
Not everyone has that grand privilege to approach the Almighty, for God does not hear the prayer of sinners.
When the man whom Jesus had healed of his blindness was questioned he replied, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” (John 9:31).
Though this man was not inspired, he stated a truth.
Note that he did not say “I think” or “we think” or even “I know”, rather he said “we know”.
It wasn’t denied.
His statement was based upon some Old Testament passages (cf. Isaiah 59:1-2; Psalm 34:15-16; 66:18; Proverbs 28:9).

Who Should Pray?
The children of God have the privilege of prayer all the time.
Notice again John 9:31. God hears one that is “a worshipper of God, and doeth his will”.
This is descriptive of a Christian.
Prayer must be offered in faith (James 1:16) and addressed to “our Father” (Matthew 6:9-13) by a righteous man (James 5:16).

Who Should Pray?
We are assured that God hears our prayers when we “keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22).
Peter said, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Peter 3:12,).
Consider other passages such as Proverbs 15:29; Romans 8:14-15 and 1 Timothy 2:8.

What Can The Sinner Pray For?
Did not God hear and answer the prayers of Cornelius and Saul (Acts 10:31; 9:11)?
The problem is that everyone is a sinner before they obey the gospel.
Most are sinners after they obey the gospel.
The privilege of the faithful even though they sin from time to time is that they can receive forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive our sin” (1 John 1:9).

What Can The Sinner Pray For?
God may “hear” the prayer.
That we wouldn’t argue.
I’m sure that God is aware of what the sinner says.
God may even respond somehow as he did in the case of Cornelius and Saul.
But that is not answering the prayer.
His ears are not open unto their prayers (1 Peter 3:12) unless...
If a willful, unforgiven sinner (alien or saint) has the privilege to pray, it seems that all of the passages mentioned earlier are meaningless.

What Can The Sinner Pray For?
Certainly the alien could not pray for salvation and obtain it by prayer (e.g. at the mourner’s bench).
In the case of Saul he was told to quit praying and arise and be baptized (Acts 9:11; 22:16).
Cornelius was to hear words that instructed him in things he must do to be saved (Acts 10:6; 11:14).
There is not a passage anywhere in Scripture telling the alien sinner to pray a prayer which brings salvation.
For what could he/she pray?

What Can The Sinner Pray For?
Who ever heard of a convicted sinner praying for anything but pardon anyway?
Now we know that it is the will of God that all men everywhere repent (2 Peter 3:9).
“And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).
Any other prayer a sinner prays will be rejected by God.

We have seen that prayer is a privilege.
We have seen that prayer puts us into the presence of God.
We have seen why we should pray.
We have seen that only in one case can the sinner pray to God and be heard.
Do you enjoy and take advantage of the privilege of prayer?

By Carey Scott from an article by Donnie V. Rader

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