Tonight we continue in our study on prayer. We come to the one aspect that we are most familiar with...petition. Petition is that aspect of prayer given over to asking God for specific personal things. To seek an unselfish spiritual or material blessing is not unscriptural. We looked at the prayer of Jabez last Sunday evening. Jabez asked for God to bless him and God gave him his request.
We find this principle throughout the Scriptures. It is a rule of God. Consider this evenings text: Mt. 7:7-11. Jesus told us to "ask and it shall be given". When Jesus faced the blind man in Mark chapter 10 He asked, "What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" Certainly the Lord knew the man was blind, but He wanted him to declare his need. Petition is not so much our opening heaven's door to release God's power as it is our opening hearts to receive what God is already anxious to give us. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread". Tonight we want to consider some important keys to petitioning God.
I. Our Petitions Should Be Specific.
A. We desire specific answers to our prayers, so we should offer specific petitions to the Lord.
B. Our petitions should never be so general that we wouldn't recognize it whenever God would answer our prayers.
C. Nor should our petitions be such that we forget what we have prayed for previously.
D. A great help in this is carefully keeping a prayer list and updating it periodically.
II. Our Petitions Should Be Complete.
A. Each request should be carefully thought through before it is presented.
B. We need to avoid shallow petitions such as "Lord, bless... and Lord, help...".
C. The more specific and complete the petition, the more faith is generated when we bring it to God.
III. Our Petitions Should Be Sincere.
A. Personal attitudes are important when we bring our petitions before God.
B. When we get up from our knees we ought to be able to say, "I know what I asked from my Father, and I expect an answer."
C. God knows our hearts...we may fool others, but we cannot fool God!
D. Wrong motives in prayer often are the reason we do not see the results we desire.
E. James admonishes us concerning our petitions in chapter four:
1. "Ye have not, because ye ask not"
2. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss"
3. God is truly concerned with our attitudes in prayer.
IV. Our Petitions Should Be Simple.
A. Although we should analyze a problem and think it through before bringing it to God.
B. It does not and should not be long and complicated.
C. Some of the greatest prayers are prayed by children...simple and specific. D. Some helps in asking God.
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help us claim only those desires that will bring honor and glory to God.
2. Make a list (mental or actual) of specific needs that we have and offer each need to God.
3. Take the time to explain why we desire an answer to our request.
4. Frequently examine our motives for claiming a petition.