Prayer (1)

Course:  The Importance of Effective Prayer.

Lesson 9

Lesson Title:  The Time of Prayer.


Text:  Ephesians 6:18 'Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;'


Introduction:  Prayer is to be our lifestyle. 'praying always'

Praying at all times means

·        …remaining in the place of continuous communion with God.  Our daily lives involve thinking about many things.  It is not possible to be continuously praying with words but we must remain in the place of prayer by keeping our heart in right relationship with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5:17  'Pray without ceasing.'


·        …remaining in prayer in all circumstances and situations.  We need to pray in abundance as well as times of need.  We need to pray when we are prosperous or in poverty.  We need to pray when times are easy as well as when times are difficult.  We need to pray in health as well as sickness.  David fell into sin with Bathsheba when he was at ease, 2 Samuel 11:1-2.  We are often most in danger during the easy times.


Praying for all believers 'for all saints' means

·        continuously praying for each other. This is such a big task it is only possible when we commit ourselves to prayer. We should not be criticising one another, we should learn to pray for one another.  We are not to be judgmental or condemning - we must be prayerful people.  Let God know what is on your heart not man. When we do speak make sure we have the mind of Christ - this is humility, Philippians 2:1-11.


Introductory Story:  Smith Wigglesworth and prayer

Smith Wigglesworth learned the secret of walking in constant communion with God.   Prayer was a life style not just something he set himself to do. When asked how long he prayed, he answered, it was unusual for him to spend 30 minutes without praying.

(Colin Whittaker, 'Seven Pentecostal Pioneers', Marshalls:Hants, UK, 1983, p.36.)

It is not how long we pray that is most important.  It is how close we are to the Lord that is most important and prayer should be a continuous part of our daily fellowship with the Lord.



1.      Praying at all times - Remaining in the place of prayer.

Keeping our minds and hearts in communion with God.

·        This involves keeping both our thoughts and our actions holy. Philippians 4:8-9  'Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.'


·        We must keep our hearts from sinful desires so that our spirit remains in continuous fellowship with God.  If we allow the love of the world to have a hold on our hearts then we will not remain in communion with the Lord.  1 John 2:15-17  'Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.'


2.      Praying in the early morning.  Beginning the day with prayer so that the day will be the Lord's. 

·        David wrote that he would seek the Lord early. 'O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;' (Psalms 63:1).  At the very beginning of the day David prayed.  'My voice shall you hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto you, and will look up.'  (Psalms 5:3)


·        Jesus prayed in the early morning alone with the Father.  'And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.' (Mark 1:35).  Prayer was the Lord's lifestyle.  We need to be like Jesus and pray at the beginning of the day as a regular practice. 


·        We need to pray so that we know the leading of the Holy Spirit during the day.  We will make mistakes and act presumptuously without early morning prayer.  David prayed to be kept from presumptuous sins. Psalms 19:13  'Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.'  We will also miss opportunities to be witnesses unless we spend time with the Lord in prayer.


3.      Special times of prayer. 

Scripture shows us that we need to be continuously in the place of prayer and we need to pray daily as a normal practice, but there are also special times of prayer.

·        Jesus gave Himself to prayer before times of great importance. 

a)     Jesus spent all night in prayer and then He called His disciples and from them He chose twelve whom He called Apostles. Luke 6:12-13 'And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.  And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;' This was a very important time.  Jesus was choosing the one who would betray Him and called him an Apostle.  There were others who were more suitable than Judas, see Acts 1:21-23 (Barsabas and Matthias).  But Judas was chosen because of the plan and purpose of God.  Satan planned to use Judas to destroy Jesus.


Our prayer life must always seek the will of the Lord to be fulfilled.  Many times this is contrary to human reasoning.  Praying all night was not something Jesus did all the time.  We must be careful not to become extreme or legalistic in regard to special times of prayer.


b)      Jesus agonised in prayer the night before He was crucified, 'Then comes Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and says unto the disciples, Sit you here, while I go and pray yonder.' (Matthew 26:36). The Lord sweat drops of blood as He prayed.  It was not the human suffering that caused Him to agonise in prayer, but it was the realisation that He was to take upon Himself the sins of His people.  The One who knew no sin became sin (2 Corinthian 5:21).  The One whom the Father loved became the object of His wrath.  This is why He cried 'Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.' (Luke 22:42).


·        Jesus took the time to pray at busy times. Luke 5:15-16 'But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.  And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.'

The more busy we are the more important it is to pray.  All the great men and women of God who have had extremely busy lives have had to set time aside for prayer.

We must give ourselves to prayer.


·        The Apostles gave themselves to prayer when times were busy.  There was much work to be taken care of, but the Apostles set themselves aside to the word of God and to prayer.  The work of serving was appointed to Spirit filled men of God who were chosen by the people and appointed by the Apostles.  Acts 6:3-4 'Wherefore, brethren, look you out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.  But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.'



1)     We must pray at all times by remaining in communion with the Lord so that we are continuously in the place of prayer.

2)     Praying at the start of the day enables us to present the affairs of the day to the Lord for leading and guiding us.

3)     There are special times of prayer when we must commit ourselves to prayer.  The more busy we are the more essential it is to pray.