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Wally

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 Lesson 3 January 11-17





Discipleship and Prayer



SABBATH AFTERNOON

Read for This Weekís Study: Dan. 9:2-19; Matt. 14:22-23; 26:36; John 17:6-26; Heb. 2:17; 1 Pet. 4:7.

Memory Text: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:20-21, NKJV).

Whatever else we do in the work for souls, whatever outreach programs we create, we are to earnestly pray for those whom we are seeking to reach. This is central to what it means to be a Christian, even more so a disciple-maker. What powerful changes might occur if constant, fervent prayer was central to our methodology in seeking to make and keep disciples!

"Let the workers grasp the promises of God, saying, "Thou hast promised, "Ask, and ye shall receive. "I must have this soul converted to Jesus Christ." Solicit prayer for the souls for whom you labor; present them before the church as objects for the supplication. . . . Select another and still another soul, daily seeking guidance from God, laying everything before Him in earnest prayer, and working in divine wisdom."-Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, pp. 244, 245.

Sunday January 12

Time-tested Compassion

Frequently, prayer assumes a self-centered posture. Believers present their wish lists before God, hoping to get that which they ask for. Though, of course, we are told to set our petitions before God, sometimes our motives are not pure. After all, are not our hearts corrupt, wicked, and deceitful? Might not our prayers, at times, simply reflect the sinfulness that lies within?

Intercessory prayer, however, focuses on another personís needs, thus removing the likelihood of selfish motivation. Throughout history, intercessory prayers have represented the highest expressions of spiritual discourse. Untainted by the desire for personal gratification, these conversations demonstrate selflessness, compassion, and earnest longing for the salvation of others.

Read Daniel 9:2-19. What burdens Daniel throughout this prayer? What role does confession play within the prayer? Because of advanced age, Daniel would not likely personally benefit from Jerusalemís restoration. Therefore, what motivated this prayer?

Seventy years have passed since Jeremiah uttered the prophecy that Daniel now considers. After so many years, Danielís Jerusalem friends have likely already perished. Jerusalemís restoration would not restore Danielís personal fortunes, either. Nothing in Danielís prayer suggests selfish concerns. The ancient prophet expressly implores God regarding the future of the exiled Jewish nation and the reputation of Jehovah Himself. Extended confession precedes his requests. In confession Daniel includes himself among the disobedient. The prophet is unwilling to presume his own innocence. Daniel himself takes responsibility while primarily pursuing restoration in order to benefit others.

Think about your prayer life: what you pray for, why, and for whom. How much death to self is involved in it? How can you learn to be less self-centered in your prayer life? That is, how can your prayers, even the ones for yourself, be less selfish?

Monday January 13

Time for Prayer

Think through what prayer really is: fallen sinful beings, worthy of death, are able, instantly, to have direct communication with the Creator of the universe-our Holy God.

Also, when God in Christ clothed Himself in human flesh, accepting humanityís limitations, He, too, sensed the necessity of prayer. Though not standing before the Father in the same position that we as fallen sinners are, Jesus as a human still saw the necessity for prayer.

Read Matthew 14:22-23; 26:36; Mark 1:35-37; Luke 5:15-16; 6:12-13. What characterized Jesusí personal prayer life? Describe the circumstances that surrounded Jesusí praying. What lessons can we glean from the particulars of Christís prayer life such as frequency, location, and timing?

Christ certainly modeled the prayer life that He enjoined on His disciples. Mornings, evenings, after preaching, before preaching, whenever possible-Jesus prayed. Gardens, mountains, solitary places, wherever distractions subsided-Jesus prayed. Separated from the Fatherís presence spatially, Jesus united with the Father through prayer spiritually. Christís spiritual lifeblood came coursing through the spiritual artery of prayer. Should Christís modern followers-weakened by sinful tendencies, choked by worldly cares, frustrated by failures-settle for something less than Jesusí prayer life?

"Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him."-Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 93.

Read Mark 11:22-26, Luke 11:13, John 14:12-14. How are we to understand the promises written here about prayer? How have you experienced what Jesus said here? At the same time, how have you learned to cope when things you have prayed for havenít come as you have hoped?
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Wally

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 03:17:46 PM »
Tuesday January 14

Timeless Teaching

Prayer miraculously bonds finite souls with their infinite Creator. Prayer is spiritual adhesive. Bonded with the heavenly Father, believers transcend their earthly natures and sinful tendencies. This transformation separates them from the world. Should Satan successfully recast prayer into a self-centered mold, thus robbing prayer of its potential for our transformation, we could be powerfully compromised and our witness stymied.

Read Matthew 6:7-8; 7:7-11; 18:19-20. What do these verses teach us about prayer?

The sincere believer trusts in Godís ability to honor His promises. Never has anyone lodged a request that intimidates God. His authority is unlimited, His strength unmatched. Godís people approach heavenís portals with trust in the Lord-that He will do what is best for us, even if we canít see it at the time. Faith is not simply trusting in what we can see; true faith is trusting God when we canít see the outcome that we want and anticipate (see Heb. 11:1-7). No doubt, as long as you serve the Lord, as long as you walk in faith, you will have to trust in God even when you donít see things working out as you have hoped, or even prayed, for. Even a quick reading of the Bible will show you that you will not be alone, either.

Read Matthew 6:9-15, 26:39. What do these verses teach?

Trust should not be confused with arrogance or insolence. Boldly approaching Godís throne involves no sense of entitlement. The believerís demeanor is characterized by boldness and humility. In Gethsemane Christ plainly declared His preference but concluded, "Not My will, but Yours." In addition to complete surrender, the forgiving spirit is another indication of humility. We ourselves, having been forgiven so much, must do the same to others.

Are you angry with someone, finding it hard to forgive? Take it to the Lord in prayer. Pray for yourself that you will learn to forgive. Pray for that person. Over time, what do you think will happen?

Wednesday January 15

Timeless Compassion

Christ was the embodiment of perfection; that is, all of Godís perfections were revealed in Him. Thus, was anyone ever more compassionate than Christ? Who possessed a stronger desire than Jesus to alleviate human distress?

We, therefore, ask: what relationship did Christís compassion and intercession have with discipleship?

Read Luke 22:31-32 and John 17:6-26 (see also Heb. 2:17). How did Jesusí identification with humanity influence His intercessory prayers? What are the ultimate objectives of Christís intercessory prayers?

Jesus could effectively intercede on His disciplesí behalf because He was actively engaged in their lives, thoroughly understood them, and passionately desired their good. Effective intercession today demands nothing less. The twenty-first century disciple-maker will discard time-consuming pursuits that interfere with their relationships with lost souls. Making money, achieving fame, even educational excellence must become subservient to the greater goal of the redemption of the lost. This is an important truth that so easily slips from sight, because we are so often caught in the daily grind of living.

Jesus invested Himself in the lives of His disciples. He visited their homes, became acquainted with their relatives, spent leisure time in their company, and worked alongside them. Nothing significant to their lives escaped His notice. Disciple-making today requires more than tract distribution and airtight biblical argumentation. Praying in a sympathetic consciousness of anotherís distress, and with a passionate desire to alleviate that distress, is still the standard of intercessory prayer in effective disciple-making.

Though it can sound quaint, thereís a lot of truth in the statement, "People care little about what you know until they know how much you care."
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Wally

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 03:19:32 PM »
Thursday January 16

Timeless Compassion Replicated

The sincerest offering of praise is imitation. Christís earliest disciples imitated their Masterís prayer life. Naturally they prayed for personal safety, for their daily necessities, and for individual spiritual guidance. Nevertheless, intercessory prayer became an important component of their discipleship.

Read Acts 1:13-14; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:16; Jude 20-22; 1 Peter 4:7. What role did prayer assume in the early church? What were some of the specific situations for which they prayed? What can we learn from these examples?

Constant prayer anchored the early church. Whenever Paul departed for missionary purposes, he was commissioned through prayer (Acts 13:3, 14:23). Even their farewells were clothed in prayer (Acts 20:36, 21:5). Frequently their prayers assumed the form of intercession. They prayed for government leaders, fellow believers, and, generally speaking, everyone! Paul interceded for the father of Publius, the chief official who suffered from dysentery. Even when he lay dying Stephen interceded for his murderers. The centrality of prayer among the earliest believers can hardly be overstated. Scripture says that prayer pleases God because He desires salvation for everyone and seeks the advancement of truth. Through prayer-combined with apostolic teaching, fervent preaching, miraculous wonders, and loving fellowship-the early church rapidly multiplied. Despite vigorous persecution, Christianity enveloped the empire. Thousands upon thousands accepted the gospel. Transformed lives burned as living lights from Caesarís palace to points unknown.

How much time do you spend in intercessory prayer? Think through your answer. Better yet, perhaps the question should be, How much more time should you spend in intercessory prayer?

Friday January 17

Further Study: Read Ellen G. White, A Reformatory Movement, p. 126, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9; By Personal Efforts and Living Faith, pp. 244, 245, in Medical Ministry.

"He who does nothing but pray will soon cease to pray, or his prayers will become a formal routine. When men take themselves out of social life, away from the sphere of Christian duty and cross bearing; when they cease to work earnestly for the Master, who worked earnestly for them, they lose the subject matter of prayer and have no incentive to devotion. Their prayers become personal and selfish. They cannot pray in regard to the wants of humanity or the upbuilding of Christís kingdom, pleading for strength wherewith to work."-Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 101.
Discussion Questions:

    Why does an absence of intercessory prayer stunt the growth of the church? Conversely, how does an active intercessory prayer life stimulate disciple-making activity? What are the keys to effective intercessory prayer? How can the intercessor know what to pray about?

    What should members do on behalf of those for whom they pray that goes beyond their private petitions at home? How can members build relationships with the neighbors, relatives, and coworkers for whom they pray? Why should private prayers for others always be accompanied by sustained efforts to be friends with those same people?

    What steps should twenty-first-century Christians take to experience dynamic prayer lives? What is the relationship between successful disciple-making and the encountering of Godís divine presence through prayer? Can prayer change those prayed for without first changing those who pray for them? How might the subject matter for prayer be altered by having passion for lost souls? What impact does personal holiness and prayer have on the would-be soul-winnerís capacity for the sharing of truth?

    What specific things can believers do to expand their contacts with those who have not accepted Christ? What can Christians do to get beyond surface relationships with their peers so that they will know specific needs for which to pray?

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2014, 10:29:16 AM »


SABBATH AFTERNOON

Read for This Weekís Study: Dan. 9:2-19; Matt. 14:22-23; 26:36; John 17:6-26; Heb. 2:17; 1 Pet. 4:7.

Memory Text: "   Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." John 17:20-21

Whatever else we do in the work for souls, whatever outreach programs we create, we are to earnestly pray for those whom we are seeking to reach. This is central to what it means to be a Christian, even more so a disciple-maker. What powerful changes might occur if constant, fervent prayer was central to our methodology in seeking to make and keep disciples!

Let the workers grasp the promises of God, saying, "Thou hast promised, "Ask, and ye shall receive. "I must have this soul converted to Jesus Christ." Solicit prayer for the souls for whom you labor; present them before the church as objects for the supplication. . . . Select another and still another soul, daily seeking guidance from God, laying everything before Him in earnest prayer, and working in divine wisdom.-Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, pp. 244, 245.

Amen. Because there is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof is the way of death, it would be good to pray more to know the right way of working with people. It is God's Spirit that makes our work effectual. We need that Spirit in order to be in that perfect path Jesus has laid out for us.
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Al

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 04:27:02 PM »
Daniel's prayer has always meant allot to me. It was stepping stone in helping to move me away from being a Pharisee. There was a time I used to look at the church as them and us. The conservatives vs. the liberals or the saints vs. the sinners.  But Daniel only had one view in mind and it was "us".  In fact it was the "us" for whom Christ died. Christ left heaven to save an apostate world. He jumped over the abyss to come this earth as a man to help sinners.

Daniel 9:5  "We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:" This is very powerful and tells us that Daniel was a partaker of the divine nature. We don't have this kind of love naturally. There was a time when this did not make any sense to me it seems like Daniel should have prayed "They have sinned, and have committed iniquity . . .. Why does he say "WE"?

We all know that Daniel was close to God and honored and trusted Him. What would make him include himself in his prayer with the most vile?

Then Daniel goes on in his prayer. "Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land." Daniel 9:6 Why does he use the word "we" when his life was so pure? I really would like to hear your thoughts on this.

There is quite a difference between Daniels prayer and the Pharisees.

"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." Luke 18:11, 12 We don't find this man including himself with sinners. He stands apart better than others and if full of self praise and points out what a holy life he is living. He simply thought himself better than others. 

Daniel also fasted but in a much different manner than did the Pharisee. 

"And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;" Daniel 9:3, 4

It is apparent that Daniel is deeply troubled or concerned about the people of God. In Daniels confession he speaks of how they as a people have committed iniquity and have done wickedly and have rebelled. They for the most part have failed to give glory to God in making His name great among the people.

"And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly." Daniel 9:15  Here it is mentioned that God gave the people "renown" God took the people out of Egypt so that they would be a witness to the world. They were to be kings and priest a holy nation before the known world.

Daniels prayer was not only other centered but God centered. He sees the bigger picture and because of his love for God he was driven to his knees in prayer.
 





Jesus looked upon the distressed and heart burdened, those whose hopes were blighted, and who with earthly joys were seeking to quiet the longing of the soul, and He invited all to find rest in Him.  {DA 328.3}

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2014, 07:25:23 PM »
Amen, Al!  Daniel understood that it was only by the grace of God that he had been faithful. He knew his nature without Christ was fallen and sinful. "Daniel was a devoted servant of the Most High. His long life was filled up with noble deeds of service for his Master. His purity of character, and unwavering fidelity, are equaled only by his humility of heart and his contrition before God. We repeat, The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of true sanctification."

Our prayers need to be just as humble. We need Jesus every moment of every day if we are to be His witnesses. Thanks for sharing Daniel's prayer. It is indeed an illustration of the power of God's grace to transform the character.
I'm going home SOON, come along!!

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2014, 07:51:21 PM »
Sunday January 12

Time-tested Compassion

Frequently, prayer assumes a self-centered posture. Believers present their wish lists before God, hoping to get that which they ask for. Though, of course, we are told to set our petitions before God, sometimes our motives are not pure. After all, are not our hearts corrupt, wicked, and deceitful? Might not our prayers, at times, simply reflect the sinfulness that lies within?

Yes, and no.  If we are fully surrendered and abiding in Christ and He in us, then the heart has been cleansed and is pure. On the other hand, if we take our eyes off of Jesus, we have no protection and self takes possession. We do not have holy flesh. The only way to keep the flesh under subjection is to have a heart fully given to Christ, then our prayers will not be from a deceitful heart.


Intercessory prayer, however, focuses on another personís needs, thus removing the likelihood of selfish motivation. Throughout history, intercessory prayers have represented the highest expressions of spiritual discourse. Untainted by the desire for personal gratification, these conversations demonstrate selflessness, compassion, and earnest longing for the salvation of others.

Read Daniel 9:2-19.

  9:2   In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. 
  9:3   And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: 
  9:4   And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; 
  9:5   We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: 
  9:6   Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 
  9:7   O Lord, righteousness [belongeth] unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, [that are] near, and [that are] far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. 
  9:8   O Lord, to us [belongeth] confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. 
  9:9   To the Lord our God [belong] mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; 
  9:10   Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 
  9:11   Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that [is] written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. 
  9:12   And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. 
  9:13   As [it is] written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. 
  9:14   Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God [is] righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. 
  9:15   And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 
  9:16   O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people [are become] a reproach to all [that are] about us. 
  9:17   Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. 
  9:18   O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. 
  9:19   O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name. 
 


What burdens Daniel throughout this prayer? What role does confession play within the prayer? Because of advanced age, Daniel would not likely personally benefit from Jerusalemís restoration. Therefore, what motivated this prayer?

Seventy years have passed since Jeremiah uttered the prophecy that Daniel now considers. After so many years, Danielís Jerusalem friends have likely already perished. Jerusalemís restoration would not restore Danielís personal fortunes, either. Nothing in Danielís prayer suggests selfish concerns. The ancient prophet expressly implores God regarding the future of the exiled Jewish nation and the reputation of Jehovah Himself. Extended confession precedes his requests. In confession Daniel includes himself among the disobedient. The prophet is unwilling to presume his own innocence. Daniel himself takes responsibility while primarily pursuing restoration in order to benefit others.

Think about your prayer life: what you pray for, why, and for whom. How much death to self is involved in it? How can you learn to be less self-centered in your prayer life? That is, how can your prayers, even the ones for yourself, be less selfish?

The answer is always the same. We need Jesus. We are either fully selfish or fully unselfish. There is no halfway. Unless we give the whole heart to Jesus, we remain selfish and our prayers will reflect that selfishness. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." [Psalm 51:10.] This purity of heart and loveliness of spirit are more precious than gold, both for time and for eternity. Only the pure in heart shall see God.
I'm going home SOON, come along!!

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2014, 08:39:19 PM »
Monday January 13

Time for Prayer


Think through what prayer really is: fallen sinful beings, worthy of death, are able, instantly, to have direct communication with the Creator of the universe-our Holy God.

Yes, and no.  Not all are able to have  direct communication with God. Some prayers are not heard by Him. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Psalms 66:18. It is true that we are all fallen, sinful beings, worthy of death. But, some who have given their hearts fully to God, may have direct communication with God. Of course there is more to it, but this truth must be understood. Some think that they may expect God to answer prayers from a heart that remains full of self. Not true.


Also, when God in Christ clothed Himself in human flesh, accepting humanityís limitations, He, too, sensed the necessity of prayer. Though not standing before the Father in the same position that we as fallen sinners are, Jesus as a human still saw the necessity for prayer.

Read

Matthew 14:22-23
  14:22   And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 
  14:23   And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 

  26:36  Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 

Mark 1:35-37
  1:35   And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. 
  1:36   And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. 
  1:37   And when they had found him, they said unto him, All [men] seek for thee. 

Luke 5:15-16, 6:12, 13
  5:15   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. 
  5:16   And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 
  6:12   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. 
  6:13   And when it was day, he called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 


What characterized Jesusí personal prayer life? Describe the circumstances that surrounded Jesusí praying. What lessons can we glean from the particulars of Christís prayer life such as frequency, location, and timing?

Christ certainly modeled the prayer life that He enjoined on His disciples. Mornings, evenings, after preaching, before preaching, whenever possible-Jesus prayed. Gardens, mountains, solitary places, wherever distractions subsided-Jesus prayed. Separated from the Fatherís presence spatially, Jesus united with the Father through prayer spiritually. Christís spiritual lifeblood came coursing through the spiritual artery of prayer. Should Christís modern followers-weakened by sinful tendencies, choked by worldly cares, frustrated by failures-settle for something less than Jesusí prayer life?

"Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him."-Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 93.

Read

Mark 11:22-26
  11:22   And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 
  11:23   For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 
  11:24   Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them]. 
  11:25   And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 
  11:26   But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. 

Luke 11:13
  11:13   If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? 

John 14:12-14
  14:12   Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 
  14:13   And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 
  14:14   If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 

How are we to understand the promises written here about prayer? How have you experienced what Jesus said here? At the same time, how have you learned to cope when things you have prayed for havenít come as you have hoped?

"If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." 
And if your prayer is not answered, what do you think it means? Is it always the same for all unanswered prayer, or are there different reasons why God does not answer a prayer?
I'm going home SOON, come along!!

Al

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2014, 08:25:30 AM »
Amen, Al!  Daniel understood that it was only by the grace of God that he had been faithful. He knew his nature without Christ was fallen and sinful. "Daniel was a devoted servant of the Most High. His long life was filled up with noble deeds of service for his Master. His purity of character, and unwavering fidelity, are equaled only by his humility of heart and his contrition before God. We repeat, The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of true sanctification."

Our prayers need to be just as humble. We need Jesus every moment of every day if we are to be His witnesses. Thanks for sharing Daniel's prayer. It is indeed an illustration of the power of God's grace to transform the character.

Yes very well stated Richard. From the very beginning we discover that Daniel realized the importance of prayer. He knew without the aid of divine power that the heart was desperately wicked. He knew that he needed to stay close to God in order to give glory to his name.  In Daniel 6:10 We find him praying three times a day in  and in Daniel 9 he prays even much more in earnest with appeal to God by fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

Daniel had something weighing on his heart and he knew where to go for help as it states "I set my face unto the Lord God," what a wonderful statement. I certainly have not arrived when it come to praying like this but I can pray for God to help me to have the same love and care that Daniel did for the cause of God. We need to love each other the way Christ's love us.

I certainly agree that "We need Jesus every moment of every day if we are to be His witnesses."
Jesus looked upon the distressed and heart burdened, those whose hopes were blighted, and who with earthly joys were seeking to quiet the longing of the soul, and He invited all to find rest in Him.  {DA 328.3}

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2014, 05:58:23 PM »
Amen, Al. As you were sharing, my mind also went to Daniel praying three times a day. Let's look at that for a moment.  If we pray three times a day, will we be ok? I don't think so. We need to be in an attitude of prayer continually. What we see with Daniel praying three times a day is a very pointed time of prayer. He removes himself from the world and falls on his knees to connect directly with God. Morning devotions, a noon prayer, and again at the close of the day. If we are having difficulty getting from our devotions to noon, it would be good to stop half way between our devotions and noon, find a quiet place to re-connect with our God. If we allow our minds to wander away from Christ, unplugged, we have no power. It is then impossible to walk on water.
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Al

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 11:06:17 AM »
Richard you ask. "If we pray three times a day, will we be OK? I don't think so." Brings  us to Tuesdays'  lesson.

On Monday's lesson it was pointed out in Matthew 14:22, 23 that Christ took time to pray on the mountain.  There is no record in this context of how long he prayed  Some time back a church member was talking to me about a men's retreat that he went to and he mentioned that this group of men had  spent 4 hours in prayer together. In the course of the conversation the time factor seemed to be the main issue rather than the reason for the prayer. While I cannot judge the hearts of those involved the main point being is that we are not any different than those people in the past. It would be very easy for us to think there might be some kind of merit in spending allot of time in prayer. Jesus prayed all night not to get in his time but because he realized his great need to be in communion with God.

"When the cities were hushed in midnight slumber, when every man had gone to his own house, Christ, our example, would repair to the Mount of Olives, and there, amid the overshadowing trees, would spend the entire night in prayer. He who was himself without the taint of sin,óa treasure-house of blessing; whose voice was heard in the fourth watch of the night by the terrified disciples upon the stormy sea, in heavenly benediction; and whose word could summon the dead from their graves,óhe it was who made supplication with strong crying and tears. He prayed not for himself, but for those whom he came to save. As he became a suppliant, seeking at the hand of his Father fresh supplies of strength, and coming forth refreshed and invigorated as man's substitute, he identified himself with suffering humanity, and gave them an example of the necessity of prayer."  {GW92 28.3}

In Matthew 6:7, 8 Jesus states that we are not to pray as the "heathen" which for the most part is vain repetition. We find an example of this in the Bible in 1 Kings 18:26 "And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made." 

I found this in Clark's Commentary a pray he had found in Devotion Book by Tippo Shahib  a Mohammedan.

O God, O God, O God, O God! -
O Lord, O Lord, O Lord, O Lord! -
O living, O immortal, O living, O immortal,
O living, O immortal, O living, O immortal! -
O Creator of the heavens and the earth! -
O thou who art endowed with majesty and authority!
O wonderful, etc.

What is wrong about this? It destroys any real communication between God and man. There is no talking to God as a friend. There is no real heartfelt confession of sin and praying for others. It also closes down any avenue for listening to God. Christ desires for us to talk to him about what is on our hearts. I really like what it says at the beginning of Tuesdays lesson. "Prayer miraculously bonds the finite soul with their infinite Creator. Prayer is spiritual adhesive.

 Matthew 7:7-11 also brings us back to the illustration of us being the children and God being the father. We are the son's and daughter's of God and we can talk to him as his son's and daughter's. There have been times when I come to God and  as they say lay the cards out on the table. The prayer does not have to be fancy  but it should have purpose. The prayers of the publican was short and to the point and he was justified covered with the robe of Christ's Righteousness.

In Matthew 7:8 it says "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." How many understand what this talking about? I would couple  James 4:3 with this text which says "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." What are your thoughts? What is it we want to receive when in prayer and what and how do we seek?


Jesus looked upon the distressed and heart burdened, those whose hopes were blighted, and who with earthly joys were seeking to quiet the longing of the soul, and He invited all to find rest in Him.  {DA 328.3}

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 01:31:50 PM »
Those are important questions, Al. Let's see what our Bible students have found.
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Al

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2014, 08:03:47 AM »
Bottom of Tuesday Matthew 6:9-15

I would think that most of us are somewhat familiar with the Lord's Prayer. The author of the lesson is asking a very good question. "What do these verses teach?"

Mat 6:9  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Mat 6:10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11  Give us this day our daily bread.
Mat 6:12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Mat 6:14  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Mat 6:15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 
To know that this prayer came directly from Christ tells me that it is full and rich in meaning for each of us today. Since challenged by the question above I had to give this payer some more thought.

Concerning the first part of this prayer the one main difference between heaven and earth is sin. God's will for us on earth is to have the same disposition as the those who dwell in heaven.  It is God's desire for us to do his will which is loving obedience to His commandments.  Christ while on this earth demonstrated a life of constant unselfish labor for others.  "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." John 5:30  When we pray this prayer we must be willing to let go of our selfishness and ask God to work in us the will and to do of his good pleasure.

After quoting the Lord's prayer the SOP makes this statement
 
The darkness of the evil one encloses those who neglect to pray. The whispered temptations of the enemy entice them to sin; and it is all because they do not make use of the privileges that God has given them in the divine appointment of prayer. Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heavenís storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence? Without unceasing prayer and diligent watching we are in danger of growing careless and of deviating from the right path. . . .  There are certain conditions upon which we may expect that God will hear and answer our prayers. One of the first of these is that we feel our need of help from Him. . . . The heart must be open to the Spiritís influence, or Godís blessing cannot be received. . . {CSA 27.3}

What a powerful statement. Notice one of the conditions "One of the first of these is that we feel our need of help from Him." Sometimes we just don't really see the danger before us. I know personally that it is easy to become complacent. There is a storehouse of boundless resources for us to tap into.   

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:14, 15 

This model prayer is also about forgiveness. Christ knows what dwells in the hearts of mankind and knows that we have a great need for a spirit of kindness and tolerance toward others.

"Give the erring one no occasion for discouragement. Suffer not a Pharisaical hardness to come in and hurt your brother. Let no bitter sneer rise in mind or heart. Let no tinge of scorn be manifest in the voice. If you speak a word of your own, if you take an attitude of indifference, or show suspicion or distrust, it may prove the ruin of a soul. He needs a brother with the Elder Brother's heart of sympathy to touch his heart of humanity. Let him feel the strong clasp of a sympathizing hand, and hear the whisper, Let us pray. God will give a rich experience to you both. Prayer unites us with one another and with God. Prayer brings Jesus to our side, and gives to the fainting, perplexed soul new strength to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. Prayer turns aside the attacks of Satan.  {COL 250.2} 

Closing questions in the lesson are very pertinent for today.

Are you angry with someone, finding it hard to forgive? Take it to the Lord in prayer. Pray for yourself that you will learn to forgive. Pray for that person. Over time, what do you think will happen?

There was a time when my wife and I did not attend church for 18 months. My wife was suffering with bitterness from church trials we both had been wounded and hurt. God placed us on a 180 ranch and during this time it afforded for us a place for healing. I found that  praying for those by whom I felt wounded brought healing for my soul. God also put us to work laboring for others which took our minds from ourselves to the great needs of those around us. God knows our trials and our hearts but we must be willing to move on and love those who mistreat us and be willing to forgive them.

Does anyone have an experience they would like to share about forgiveness and healing?



Jesus looked upon the distressed and heart burdened, those whose hopes were blighted, and who with earthly joys were seeking to quiet the longing of the soul, and He invited all to find rest in Him.  {DA 328.3}

Dorine

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2014, 09:13:23 AM »
In Matthew 7:8 it says "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." How many understand what this talking about? I would couple  James 4:3 with this text which says "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." What are your thoughts? What is it we want to receive when in prayer and what and how do we seek?
======================================================================================
Inspriation tells us that "prayer is the life of the soul". When I fully surrender my life to God I will have a deep desire to know Him and to know what He wants for my life. I will have a continual sense of my need of Him. By faith I will claim His promises of pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work and for any gift He has promised. Believing that we have received it we thank Him for what we have received.

When we "ask" it shows we realize our necessity and if it's done in faith, God is faithful to answer our request.

When we "seek" Him we will desire not just His blessing but Himself. Job 22:21 says...Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: Thereby good shall come unto thee.

When we "knock" we are showing we want to abide with Him. Just as his early disciples did in John 1:38, 39... Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
Joh 1:39  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
And I love this text...(Psa 91:1 KJV)  He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

This is the relationship God wants with each one of us.

I did not address James 4:3.



But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Dorine

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2014, 09:30:53 AM »
Thank you for that testimony Al because I needed it. 
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2014, 12:40:47 PM »
Amen! We all need to remember that our fallen nature makes it necessary for us to be fully surrendered in order to love those who are unlovable. "If you speak a word of your own.... it may prove the ruin of a soul."  How many times have I wished I had kept my mouth shut! Or better yet, had prayed before opening it.  Prayer is how we find out what God wants from us. Understanding truth is only the first duty. It must then be manifested at the right time in the right Spirit.

Thank you, Al and Dorine for your very good thoughts on today's lesson.
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Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2014, 01:06:48 PM »
Tuesday January 14

Timeless Teaching

Prayer miraculously bonds finite souls with their infinite Creator. Prayer is spiritual adhesive. Bonded with the heavenly Father, believers transcend their earthly natures and sinful tendencies. This transformation separates them from the world. Should Satan successfully recast prayer into a self-centered mold, thus robbing prayer of its potential for our transformation, we could be powerfully compromised and our witness stymied.

Amen!  "...Believers transcend their earthly natures and sinful tendencies." This is quite a statement. It is the result of true conversion, an abiding presence of Christ in the heart. The Spirit is imparted to all who will allow Christ to take possession of the heart, the whole heart. He then cleanses it of selfishness.

Read

Matthew 6:7-8
  6:7   But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 
  6:8   Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 

7:7-11
  7:7   Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 
  7:8   For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 
  7:9   Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 
  7:10   Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 
  7:11   If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 

18:19-20
  18:19   Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 
  18:20   For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. 

What do these verses teach us about prayer?

The sincere believer trusts in Godís ability to honor His promises. Never has anyone lodged a request that intimidates God. His authority is unlimited, His strength unmatched. Godís people approach heavenís portals with trust in the Lord-that He will do what is best for us, even if we canít see it at the time. Faith is not simply trusting in what we can see; true faith is trusting God when we canít see the outcome that we want and anticipate (see Heb. 11:1-7). No doubt, as long as you serve the Lord, as long as you walk in faith, you will have to trust in God even when you donít see things working out as you have hoped, or even prayed, for. Even a quick reading of the Bible will show you that you will not be alone, either.

Read

Matthew 6:9-15
  6:9   After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 
  6:10   Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. 
  6:11   Give us this day our daily bread. 
  6:12   And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 
  6:13   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 
  6:14   For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 
  6:15   But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

  26:39   And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt]. 


What do these verses teach?

Trust should not be confused with arrogance or insolence. Boldly approaching Godís throne involves no sense of entitlement. The believerís demeanor is characterized by boldness and humility. In Gethsemane Christ plainly declared His preference but concluded, "Not My will, but Yours." In addition to complete surrender, the forgiving spirit is another indication of humility. We ourselves, having been forgiven so much, must do the same to others.

Are you angry with someone, finding it hard to forgive? Take it to the Lord in prayer. Pray for yourself that you will learn to forgive. Pray for that person. Over time, what do you think will happen?

We need to go back to the first statement made in today's lesson where the author said "believers transcend their earthly natures and sinful tendencies."  If we are angry and cannot forgive, then it is not a matter of "learning" how to forgive, but it is a matter of transcending our earthly fallen natures. That can only be done by making a full surrender to Jesus. Talking with Jesus helps, but we must behold Him, we must feed upon Him. We must listen to His Words to us. Listen carefully to the law, then flee to Jesus for grace to obey. "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."  If we cannot love our enemy, then we cannot enter heaven because we have not God's Spirit within us. We must be changed in character to enter heaven. Merely professing to serve God is not enough. We must love God with all the heart. "But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deuteronomy 22:5. And Jesus said "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.  And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."  Mark 12:30,31.  This is the evidence of a true conversion where the heart has been made new by the Spirit of Christ.

Both Al and Dorine understand. There is nothing good in us apart from Christ. We do not have the power to love those who hurt us. We must receive that love from Jesus. As we see, Jesus wants to come into our hearts. He stands at the door knocking. Prayer invites Him in. Try this one: "Lord, take my heart for I cannot give it. Make me willing to be made willing.... I believe, take away my unbelief."  If that cannot be prayed with sincerity, then listen again to the Words of our Savior: "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."


I'm going home SOON, come along!!

Dorine

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2014, 02:21:22 PM »
This is a powerful lesson. The comments being made are helping me to stretch my mind to think beyond the surface.

I came across the following today when I was having my devotions and thought it very interesting....

  In my morning devotions I have regarded it my privilege to close my petition with the prayer that Christ taught to His disciples. There is so much that I really must have to meet the needs of my own case that I sometimes fear that I shall ask amiss; but when in sincerity I offer the model prayer that Christ gave to His disciples I cannot but feel that in these few words all my needs are comprehended. This I offer after I have presented my special private prayer. If with heart and mind and soul I repeat the Lord's prayer, then I can go forth in peace to my work, knowing that I have not asked amiss. . . .  {TMK 261.3} 
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Al

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2014, 08:02:12 PM »
Dorine,

Some good thoughts on Matthew 7:8 it is not about praying for a new home or winning some prize. As you mentioned it "seeking pardon for sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christ like temperament. " The companion text  you used in 1 John 1:38 slipped by me at first then the light bulb came on. In seeking Christ dwelling place He showed them the plan of salvation. They wanted to know more about Jesus. We can never go wrong with seeking out Christ in this manner. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

But there was another seeking crowd in the Bible found in John 6:26 "Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." This is where James 4:3 comes in "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss." Their motives were centered around temporal benefits they were not looking for the things you mentioned.

Dorine glad that my testimony meant something to you. You are not alone we are all going to be tested on different points. My wife during those that dark times which I mentioned earlier hung on to a couple of texts and this is one of them.  "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" Jeremiah 12:5  Our trails are to bring us closer to Christ. "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." Isaiah 53:3, 4 Christ is our advocate in heaven and understand our pain and our sorrows but He is always ready to lift us up above the storm.


Jesus looked upon the distressed and heart burdened, those whose hopes were blighted, and who with earthly joys were seeking to quiet the longing of the soul, and He invited all to find rest in Him.  {DA 328.3}

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3-First Quarter 2014-Discipleship and Prayer
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2014, 11:24:38 AM »
Amen!  He allows our trials that we might give glory to Him, develop a stronger character, and see our continual need of His help. Our prayers are to reveal that we need Him and want Him.  What a privilege to be able to pray for others, as well as for ourselves.
I'm going home SOON, come along!!