"What is Prayer & Why is it Important?"

KEY VERSE:  "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:16 (NASB)

A.  What is Prayer?

1.  "Prayer is the expression of man's dependence upon God for all things." - Merill F. Unger

*2. Hebrew words translated "prayer" in the Old Testament:

There are six different words used to denote prayer, but the one most frequently used is "Tefillah" (tef il law), which means supplication or intercession.  The other terms used carry meanings such as "to plead a cause", "to interpose as mediator", to "burn incense", "to whisper".

   3.  Greek words translated "prayer" in the New Testament:

a.      Deesis - prayer for particular benefits

b.      Proseuche - prayer in general, not restricted as respects to

its' contents

c.      Enteuxis - confidence in access to God

d.      Euche - a vow (only used once, in James 5:15)

e.      Aitema - petition, requests                                                  ^

4.  Prayer is most simply just "talking to God"

Relationship with God

  a)     ask & receive "good gifts"
  b)     discuss our feelings, desires,needs,problems,etc

Service for God

  a) receive "OJT" in overcoming evil

  b) cause God's will to be done in  the earth.


5.  Talking involves LISTENING__________________ as well as speaking.  We need

to  HEAR  from God as well as talk to Him.


B.  Why is Prayer Important?

1.       Jesus wants us to do it - (Luke 18:1)

2.     The apostles exhorted the early believers to do it

(Col 4:2, I Thes 5:17, I Tim 2:1&8, I Peter 4:7, Jude 20 , Ephesians 6:18)

3.     The example of those in the past:

a)    The Old Testament Saints - (Enoch-Gen 4:26, Abraham-12:8, 13:4, 21:33,     David-Psalms 1-72, Daniel-Daniel 6:10,  Elijah-James 5:17,18)

 b)      Jesus - (Mk 1:35. Lu 5:16. 6:12, 9:18, 11:1. John 17, Heb 5:7)

 c)      The Apostles - (Acts 1:14, 3:1, 6:2-4, 10:9, Rom 1: 9 & 10,

Eph 1:15-18, Philippians 1:3-5,  II Tim 1:3. Philemon 4-6)

 d)    The Apostles & Co-Workers - (Col 1:3&4, 9 & 10, 4:12, I Thes. 1:2, II Thes. 1:11)

 e)   The Early Church - (Acts  2:42, 4:23-31, 12:5)


4.    Because:  "Prayer Changes Things"

                        Prayer changes “much”- James 5:16

              Prayer changes “whatever” (Matt. 18:19, 21:22, John 14:13 & 14, 15: 7 & 16, 16:23,24)


Let's be more specific:

a)   Provide  daily food  (Mt 6:11, Luke 11:3)  

 b)      Change the weather   (James 5:17 & 18)

c)    Influence government leaders (I Tim 2: 1 & 2)

 d)      Obtain release from prison   (Acts 12:1-19, Phil 22, Heb 13: 18 & 19)

 e)      Physical healing  (James 5:14 & 15)

 f)      Deliverance from bodily harm (Rom. 15:30 & 31, II Cor. 1:8-11, II Thes. 3:2)

 g)    Deliverance from spiritual attack  (Mt 6:13, Mk 9:29,John 17:6-9,15, Luke 22:31,32)

h)    Forgiveness of sin (Mt 6:12, Lu 11:4)

 i)      Receive the Holy Spirit  (Luke 11:13)

 j)      Protect your mind (Philippians 4:6 & 7)

k)    Maturity of believers (Eph 1:15-19, 3:13-19, Phil 1:9-11, Col 1:9-12, 4:12,II Cor.13:9,I Thes. 3:10-13)

 l)      Effectiveness of the ministry of the Word:

               Open doors of opportunity- Col.4:3,  II Thes. 3:1

               Ability to speak boldly- Acts 4:29,31, Ephesians 6:19,20

               Ability to speak clearly- Col. 4:4

               Be received positively – Romans 15:30,31, II Thes. 3:1

              Signs and wonders accompany the Word- Acts 4:30

 m)  Things beyond our ability to ask or even think- Ephesians 3:20,21


5. Prayer changes us!

   a) We are reminded of our dependence upon God- our weakness and His strength

   b) Our own sins and hindrances are revealed, we are humbled by them, confess and find forgiveness

   c) Praying relieves our anxiety, improve our mental and physical health

   d) Our character is developed-i.e. patience, perseverance, compassion, faith,etc.


Summary and conclusion:

We are privileged to speak to Almighty God personally as our Father. As His children, we are privileged to ask and receive “good gifts” that He has for us: our basic life needs and more.  As members of His Body, we are privileged to share in Christ’s priestly ministry of prayer. We have a responsibility to exercise His power and authority in prayer so that God’s will might be done “in earth as it is in heaven” in the lives of others.

Prayer Workshop Lesson 1-1.docx