Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines:Chapter 4 prayer a

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Based on Donald Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. These are teaching notes from LTCi, Siliguri

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Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines:Chapter 4 prayer a

  1. 1. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life Donald S. WhitneyTuesday 8 May 2012
  2. 2. PRAYER... FOR THE PURPOSE OF GODLINESS Chapter 4Tuesday 8 May 2012
  3. 3. A survey of 17,000 evangelical Christians found that on average they prayed for less than 5 minutes each day A survey of 2,000 pastors and their wives found they prayed for less than 7 minutes per day. Whitney says that prayer is second in importance only to God’s word. Carl Lundqvist said this about prayer and the wog...Tuesday 8 May 2012
  4. 4. “The New Testament church built two other disciplines upon prayer and Bible study, the Lord’s Supper and small cell groups. John Wesley emphasized five works of piety by adding fasting.The medieval mystics wrote about nine disciplines clustered around three experiences: purgation of sin, enlightenment of the spirit and union with God. Later the Keswick Convention approach to practical holiness revolved around five different religious exercises.Today Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline, lists twelve disciplines – all of them relevant to the contemporary Christian. But whatever varying religious exercises we may practice, without the two basic ones of Emmaus – prayer and Bible reading – the others are empty and powerless.”Tuesday 8 May 2012
  5. 5. PRAYER IS EXPECTED Jesus expects us to pray Matt 6:6-9 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father,who is unseen.Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words... 9 “This, then, is how you should pray:“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Lk 11:9, 18:1Tuesday 8 May 2012
  6. 6. GOD’S WORD MAKES IT CLEARTuesday 8 May 2012
  7. 7. GOD’S WORD MAKES IT CLEAR Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.Tuesday 8 May 2012
  8. 8. GOD’S WORD MAKES IT CLEAR Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 1 Thess 5:17 pray continually,Tuesday 8 May 2012
  9. 9. GOD’S WORD MAKES IT CLEAR Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 1 Thess 5:17 pray continually, Did you notice anything about these two verses?Tuesday 8 May 2012
  10. 10. GOD’S WORD MAKES IT CLEAR Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 1 Thess 5:17 pray continually, Did you notice anything about these two verses? They are commandsTuesday 8 May 2012
  11. 11. GOD’S WORD MAKES IT CLEAR Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. How devoted are you to prayer - compare this devotion to your devotion to other things in your life. 1 Thess 5:17 pray continually, This emphasises that prayer is relational - it comes out of an unbroken relationship with the Father. Whitney suggests it is like having two phone lines - God is always on one of them and you are aware of him even when speaking on the other.Tuesday 8 May 2012
  12. 12. Martin Luther, “As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.”Tuesday 8 May 2012
  13. 13. What excuses do you use for not praying? Most people claim other demands, priorities etc. - yet if you asked them they would gladly tell you how important it is to pray! The call to prayer is also an invitation - Heb 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.Tuesday 8 May 2012
  14. 14. Note here that there is no need to be pessimistic about praying - God is happy to hear and give grace - prayer is not an obligation but an opportunity to respond and receive God’s command is a command of love - he wants to hear from us, to communicate with us and to bless us.Tuesday 8 May 2012
  15. 15. Prayer is important in spiritualwarfare: John Piper suggests we cansee prayer as the use of a walkie-talkiein warfare, not for our ownconvenience or ease of life.The example of Jesus in prayer isimportant - he prayed and so shouldwe, he needed it, so do we - Lk5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonelyplaces and prayed.Major reasons for prayerlessness:- a lack of discipline - prayer time isnot planned or prioritisedTuesday 8 May 2012
  16. 16. - the problem of often not “seeing” theresult of prayer - after all it is primarilya spiritual activity- sometimes we do not feel God’snearness when we pray, it is easy topray when we feel God’s closeness- when we don’t see the need to pray,Jn 15:5 “apart from me you can donothing” - yet we are proud and selfsufficient- when we do not see God’s greatness,when we lose focus on the crossTuesday 8 May 2012
  17. 17. PRAYER IS LEARNED We start the Christian lives in need of learning to pray - and continue to grow and learn about prayer throughout our Christian lives. On one level we know instinctively how to pray - much as a baby knows how to ‘talk’ from its earliest days - yet still we need to see, as the disciples did, that we need Jesus to teach us to pray - Lk 11:1 - how do we do this?Tuesday 8 May 2012

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