Step 4: The Christian and Prayer

The Purpose of Prayer

By Bill Bright

Jesus set the perfect example of obedience in prayer.

Although His day was filled from morning to night with many pressures and responsibilities -- addressing crowds, healing the sick, granting private interviews, traveling, and training His disciples -- He made prayer a top priority. If Jesus was so dependent upon His fellowship in prayer alone with His Father, how much more you and I should spend time alone with God.

The lives of the disciples and other Christians who have been mightily used of God through the centuries to reach their world for Christ all testify to the necessity of prayer. They are examples of obedience to our Lord's command to pray.

Someone has wisely said, "Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks our wisdom, but trembles when he sees the weakest saint on his knees." Prayer is God's appointed way of doing God's work.

This lesson will help you understand why prayer is so important to our Christian life. Study the lesson carefully, taking time to meditate and apply the principles you will learn.

Why Pray? 

Read John 14:13, I Thessalonians 5:17, Acts 4:23-33, and Matthew 9:38.

  1. Identify at least 3 reasons for prayer.

The Apostle's Motive

Read Acts 4.

  1. What problems did the Apostles face and why did they not ask God to remove the persecution?
  2. For what did they pray? (Verse 29) Why is this significant?
  3. What was their real motive? (John 14:13)

Your Motives for Praying

On the basis of your personal experience, list at least 4 reasons you pray.

God's Motives in Teaching Us About Prayer

Read John 3:5-8 and 4:23-24.

  1. In what form does God exist and what must happen to us before we can have fellowship with Him? What kind of worship does He desire, and what is His delight? (Proverbs 15:8)
  2. List some purposes of prayer from each of the following Bible references: Matthew 7:7 , Matthew 26:41, Luke 18:1.
  3. From your understanding of these passages, what do you think God wants you to realize about Him?

Prayer Meets the Heart's Needs

  1. According to 2 Corinthians 3:5, what is the source of the Christian's sufficiency? How do you tap into that source?
  2. Read Psalm 63. Note the elements of worship and write below the word or phrase that describes how we should worship God; include references (for example, "My soul thirsts for you - Psalm 63:1").

Life Application

  1. What conclusions can you now make concerning your relationship with God in prayer?
  2. Begin a prayer list. Keep a record of the things for which you pray.

Next: To Whom Should We Pray?


Adapted from The 10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity, by Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Campus Crusade for Christ. All rights reserved.