Lesson 14 - The First Local Church cont.

We are considering the apostolic teaching in "PRAYER." In our last study we dealt with Scriptures teaching us "How to Pray." we continue on the theme of praying, looking at the

2 Requisites for Prayer

a) Faith

James 1:5-7 (JBP) - "If any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God — who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty - and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. But he must ask in SINCERE FAITH without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God's help or not. The man who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next, That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from the Lord, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn."

Prayer is based on the revelation of the nature of God, God has clearly revealed His willingness to answer prayers properly presented, wisdom for daily living is promised without qualification. For a believer to ask God for wisdom and doubt that God is going to give it to him is to insult God and break the line of communication which is faith. "To doubt is to have a divided mind that draws him two ways, like the poor donkey that starved because he could not choose between two stacks of hay."

b) Rightly directed desire

Jas. 4:2,3 (JBP) — "You crave for something and don't get it; you are murderously jealous of what others have got and which you can't possess yourselves; you struggle and fight with one another. You don't get what you want because you don't ask God for it. And when you do ask he doesn't give it to you, for YOU ASK IN QUITE THE WRONG SPIRIT - you only want to satisfy YOUR OWN DESIRES."

Right desire is a requisite to answered prayer. Uncontrolled passion and appetite will stop at nothing to gain their ends." A carnal Christian will even try to "use" God to get what he wants. If your wants were disciplined by truth, then God would answer. But when your "own (unholy) desires" dictate your prayers, God will not answer. Our motives must be judged and purified by the Word and Spirit when we pray. "The use of the name of Jesus does not cause the door of grace to spring open for us unless we first put ourselves under the rule of Jesus."

c) Domestic agreement

1 Pet. 3:7 (JBP) - "You husbands should try to understand the wives you live with, honoring them as physically weaker yet equally heirs with you of the grace of life. If you don’t do this, YOU WILL FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO PRAY PROPERLY."

1 Cor. 7:5 (Amp.) - "Do not refuse and deprave and defraud each other (of your due marital right), except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, that you may devote yourselves UNHINDERED TO PRAYER. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you (to sin) through your lack of restraint of sexual desire."

These two Scriptures teach that right husband and wife relationships are essential to a sound prayer life. Disobedient Christians do not get their prayers answered! The "apostolic doctrine" is very clear on the necessity of right domestic relationships. The Bible teaches that husband and wife are "one flesh" (Eph. 5:31). It also gives much instruction as to how this God-ordained union is to be maintained and protected. Any violation of the true nature of marriage involves also disobedience to God's Word. This brings guilt, disrupted fellowship, and hindered praying. This is assuming of course, that both husband and wife are Christians and mutually desirous of walking in obedience to God's will.

d) Sobriety

1 Pet. 4:7 (JBP) ~ "We are near the end of all things now, and you should therefore be calm, SELF CONTROLLED men of prayer."


Moff.— "Steady then, KEEP COOL and pray!"

An instructed Christian conducts his life with a view to "the end," whether that be his going "to be with the Lord," or the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not knowing when either might occur, he is urged to be a "calm, selfcontrolled man of prayer." "It is a warning against all kinds of intoxication." A Christian should be soundly instructed in the Word of God, enabling him to think soundly. His conduct should then be "self-controlled and temperate" and free of all excesses which would keep him from undistracted praying. "Don’t give way to any excitement which will make life grotesque and foolish! We are to wait the coming of the King with mind and heart delivered from the distractions of panic, from the taint of corruption, and from a feverish sensationalism which is destructive of the higher ministries of fellowship and prayer."

e) Obedience

1 John 3:22 (Amp.) ~ "And we receive from Him whatever we ask for, because we (watchfully) OBEY HIS ORDERS — observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us — and (habitually) practice what is pleasing to Him."

JBP - "We receive whatever we ask for, because WE ARE OBEYING HIS ORDERS AND following His plans."

Implicit obedience is absolutely essential to successful praying. Jesus could say, "Father, I thank Thee that thou hast heard me. And I know that Thou hearest me always" (John 11:41-42). Jesus could also say, "I do always THOSE THINGS THAT PLEASE HIM" (John 8:29). The prayers that are heard and answered are the prayers that proceed from hearts that are living in unbroken fellowship with God. Such prayers are "prophecies of what God will do."

f) "Holy hands" and holy attitudes

1 Tim. 2:8 (Amp.) - "I desire therefore that in every place men should pray, WITHOUT ANGER or QUARRELING or RESENTMENT or DOUBT (in their minds) LIFTING UP HOLY HANDS."

Wey. — "...lifting heavenward UNSULLIED HANDS, nursing the while NO SECRET GRUDGE, harbouring no LURKING SCEPTICISM."

"It was the Jewish habit in prayer to lift the hands, palms upward, as if to receive the answer." A fit symbol of utter dependence on God and of humble dependency. The hands must be "holy". They must be "unsullied," "Hands" in the Bible, when referred to symbolically, speak of work, or the things men do. Hands raised in prayer and worship must be hands that have been kept free from unholy activities. Not only must we be free from external uncleanness, but also from internal contamination. We are to be "without wrath," "Wrath" is "settled indignation against a brother," a "secret grudge," "Doubting" means "an evil deliberation of any kind." "The word used in the original is related to our English word 'dialogue'

The soul of man is so constituted that it can carry on a dialogue with itself. Thus a man can debate within himself whether he shall do this to his neighbor or that, balancing one thought against another." when such a dialogue is evil, whether the subject be God or man, prayer is ineffective and hypocritical.

g) Righteousness

James 5:16 (Amp.) - "The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a RIGHTEOUS man makes tremendous power available - dynamic in its working."

JBP - "Tremendous power is made available through A GOOD MAN'S earnest prayer."

Wey. — "The heartfelt ('inwardly prompted' by the Holy Spirit) supplications of a RIGHTEOUS man exert a mighty influence."

1 Pet. 3:12 (Amp.) - "The eyes of the Lord are upon THE RIGHTEOUS - those who are upright and in right standing with God - and His ears are attentive to their prayer."

The simple meaning of "righteousness" is "rightness." A righteous man is a right man. He is "right" with God through Jesus Christ and "right" in all his human relationships through the enlightenment of the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter describes the "righteous man" in verse 1O and 11 just preceding his statement about prayer. "Let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days (good whether apparent or not), keep his tongue free from evil, and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit). Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it; and let him do right. Let him search for peace - harmony, undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions and moral conflicts - and seek it eagerly. - Do not merely desire peaceful relations (with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself), but pursue, go after them!"


  1. What will "doubt" do to our prayers?
  2. What is the relationship of desire and motive to prayer?
  3. Does our home life have anything to do with our prayer life?
  4. Does inordinate excitement affect our prayers?
  5. Can a disobedient Christian expect his prayer to be answered?
  6. According to 1 Timothy 2:8 what is required if we would have our prayers heard?
  7. According to James 5:16 what secures power through prayer?