December 30, 2000 – January 5, 2001
“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.
“When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us.
“Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, ‘in all points tempted like as we are;’ but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer. Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little, and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.” Steps to Christ, 93, 94.
“After This Manner Therefore Pray Ye”
MEMORY VERSE: “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.” Matthew 6:6.
STUDY HELP: Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 102–122.
“Jesus gives them no new form of prayer. That which He has before taught them He repeats, as if He would say, ‘You need to understand what I have already given. It has a depth of meaning you have not yet fathomed.’ The Saviour does not, however, restrict us to the use of these exact words. As one with humanity, He presents His own ideal of prayer, words so simple that they may be adopted by the little child, yet so comprehensive that their significance can never be fully grasped by the greatest minds. We are taught to come to God with our tribute of thanksgiving, to make known our wants, to confess our sins, and to claim His mercy in accordance with His promise.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 103.
“When Ye Pray, Say ‘Our Father’”
How did Jesus teach us to address God? Was this a new insight into God? Luke 11:2. (Compare Psalm 89:26; Psalm 103:13; Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8.)
NOTE: “Jesus teaches us to call His Father our Father. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 2:11. So ready, so eager, is the Saviour’s heart to welcome us as members of the family of God, that in the very first words we are to use in approaching God He places the assurance of our divine relationship, ‘Our Father.’” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 103, 104.
How does Jesus make it possible for us to become sons and daughters of God? John 1:12.
NOTE: “Satan had claimed that it was impossible for man to obey God’s commandments; and in our own strength it is true that we cannot obey them. But Christ came in the form of humanity, and by His perfect obedience He proved that humanity and divinity combined can obey every one of God’s precepts.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 314.
“Hallowed be Thy name”
In our prayers, how should we speak the name of God? Matthew 6:9.
NOTE: “To hallow the name of the Lord requires that the words in which we speak of the Supreme Being be uttered with reverence. ‘Holy and reverend is His name.’ Psalm 111:9.…When you pray, ‘Hallowed be Thy name,’ you ask that it may be hallowed in this world, hallowed in you.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 106, 107.
What prayer and petition should introduce our prayers? Matthew 6:9, 10.
NOTE: “The petition, ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,’ is a prayer that the reign of evil on this earth may be ended, that sin may be forever destroyed, and the kingdom of righteousness be established.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 110.
“Give Us Day by Day Our Daily Bread”
How should our prayers demonstrate our dependence on God? Luke 11:3.
NOTE: “When you have thus made God’s service your first interest, you may ask with confidence that your own needs may be supplied. If you have renounced self and given yourself to Christ you are a member of the family of God, and everything in the Father’s house is for you.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 110.
For what other kind of bread do we need daily to pray? Matthew 4:4; John 6:27, 51.
NOTE: “We receive Christ through His word, and the Holy Spirit is given to open the word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts. We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the truth that will strengthen our souls for the day’s need.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 112, 113.
“Forgive Us Our Sins”
What further petition should also be an essential part of our daily prayer? Luke 11:4, first part.
NOTE: “When God gives the promise that He ‘will abundantly pardon,’ He adds, as if the meaning of that promise exceeded all that we could comprehend: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:7–9. God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 114.
What condition accompanies God’s promise to forgive us as we confess? Matthew 6:14, 15.
NOTE: “We are not forgiven because we forgive, but as we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found in the unmerited love of God, but by our attitude toward others we show whether we have made that love our own. Wherefore Christ says, ‘With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’ Matthew 7:2.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 251.
“Deliver Us From the Evil One”
What petition for divine guidance and protection should form part of our prayer? Luke 11:4, last part.
NOTE: “The prayer, ‘Bring us not into temptation,’ is itself a promise. If we commit ourselves to God we have the assurance, He ‘will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ 1 Corinthians 10:13. The only safeguard against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 118.
What precious promises of deliverance may we claim in prayer? Psalm 50:15; Psalm 86:7; Psalm 91:15.
NOTE: “But the promise, ‘My grace is sufficient’ (2 Corinthians 12:9), has been fulfilled in my case. There can be no doubt on my part. My hours of pain have been hours of prayer, for I have known to whom to take my sorrows. I have the privilege of reinforcing my feeble strength by laying hold upon infinite power. By day and night I stand on the solid rock of God’s promises. My heart goes out to Jesus in loving trust. He knows what is best for me. My nights would be lonely did I not claim the promise, ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me’ (Psalm 50:15).” Selected Messages, Book 2, 240.
“For Thine is the Kingdom”
When Daniel was shown the succession of mighty persecuting powers, what assurance was he given? Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:27.
NOTE: “Fearful perils are before those who bear responsibilities in the cause of God—perils the thought of which make me tremble.…but let us not forget that the three great powers of heaven are working, that a divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring His purposes to pass.” Evangelism, 65.
What blessed hope and assurance should conclude our prayers? Matthew 6:13, last part.
NOTE: “We are now standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. A crisis is before us, such as the world has never witnessed. And sweetly to us, as to the first disciples, comes the assurance that God’s kingdom ruleth over all. The program of coming events is in the hands of our Maker.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 121.