Relationships of the Believer


Lesson Goal: Our goal in this lesson is to better understand the characteristics of God-pleasing prayer and the conditions to be met in order to see our prayers answered.

Introduction: Prayers are made up of many different elements and any one prayer can contain several such elements. Thus, there might be such things as praise, thanksgiving, repentance, confession of sin, reciting of Allah's past works, claiming of a promise, intercession for others or requests for oneself.


1. Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-12-- After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. 2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar" (that is, En Gedi). 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of Allah, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from Allah; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. 5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of Allah in the front of the new courtyard 6 and said: "O Allah, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Ibrahim your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 `If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.' 10 But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

In the two columns below, the left column contains verse numbers or phrases from that prayer. The right column contains different elements that can go into making up a prayer. Match the prayer element with the corresponding verse or phrase which illustrates that prayer element from the prayer in question.

(The first is done by way of example)

Verse 6. "Power and might are in your hand." a) A description of their danger and plea for Allah's help
Verse 7. How Allah helped the people in the past. b) Remembering Allah's promise that he would save any who called on him from the temple. (2 Chronicles 6:12-16)
Verses 8-9. c) Praise to Allah.
Verses 10-13. "We have no power to face this vast army...We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." d) A recitation of Allah's past works.

2. Read 2 Kings 19:14-19-- Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of Allah and spread it out before Allah. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to Allah: "O Allah, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, O Allah, and hear; open your eyes, O Allah, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God. 17 It is true, O Allah, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands. 19 Now, O Allah our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Allah, are God."

As you did in the above question, match the prayer item in the left column below with the verse from the prayer in the right column that demonstrates that item.

verse 15  a) A description of how the powerful Assyrian kings threaten their destruction.
verses 16-18 b) Praise to Allah
verse 19 c) Requesting Allah's help and salvation so that all nations would know that Israel's God is the one true God.

3. Read Nehemiah 1:1-11-- The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said: "O Allah, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Musa. 8 "Remember the instruction you gave your servant Musa, saying, `If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.' 10 "They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man." I was cupbearer to the king.

Work through the below in the same way you have done the two examples above.

verses 8-9 a) Confession of sin.
verse 6b,7 b) Requesting Allah's help and blessing.
verse 5 "O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God" c) Remembering Allah's command and promise to Ibrahim.
verses 10-11 d) Praise to Allah.

We see that the above Scriptural examples of prayers contain many different elements. Unfortunately, the prayers of many believers today are not so. They contain only one or two elements, usually intercession and supplication. Think about your own prayers. What elements are frequently present in your prayers?

What other elements do you think should also be there?

We have seen that prayer contains many different elements. One of the most common and important of those elements is supplication - the making of a request of Allah. Yet, if we want our request to be answered, there are some clear conditions that Allah has set down in his word. We shall look at those below.

4. Read Matthew 21:22--If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." According to this verse, if we want to receive what we ask for in prayer, what attitude must we have in asking?

5. Read Luke 18:1-8-- Then Isa told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared Allah nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, `Grant me justice against my adversary.' 4 "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, `Even though I don't fear Allah or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' " 6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not Allah bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

a. If we want to see our prayers answered, what should we not do according to verse one?

b. Had the widow not gone to the judge again and again, would she have received her request?

c. If we do not grow tired in prayer but continue coming to Allah, what can we expect from our prayer?

6. Read John 15:7-- If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

a. What two things are necessary if our prayer requests are to be fulfilled?



b. Which of the below items would be the proper subject of prayer for one who is a follower of Isa al-Masih? Place a check mark next to all appropriate items.

1) My family's daily food. (Matthew 6:11)
2) The death of an enemy. (Matthew 5:44)
3) Enough money to be rich. (James 4:3)
4) Healing of my sick friend. (James 5:14)
5) My country's leaders. (1 Timothy 2:1,2)
6) My being kept from suffering and pain. (2 Timothy 3:12)

7. Read James 4:1-3-- What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask Allah. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

a. According to verse one, where do fights and quarrels come from? 

b. Why do we often not receive what we ask for in prayer? 

c. What would you tell the person who says, "I am not going to pray any more; it's no use. I prayed hard for a new television set and never got one"? 

8. Read 1 John 5:14-15-- This is the confidence we have in approaching Allah: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.

a. What must we do to be sure our prayers will be heard by Allah?

b. If we know that Allah has heard our prayer, then what else are we assured of?

c. How would you explain the relationship between asking according to Allah's will and having Isa's words abiding in us? 

9. Read Matthew 6:9-13-- "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'

a. How is Allah addressed in this passage?

b. Think back to Lesson 2, Section 9, on a child verses a slave. What are some of the differences between a father/child relationship and a master/slave relationship?

10. a. Those who pray within Islam most commonly do so how - as a child addressing their spiritual father, or as a slave addressing their master?

b. From your own experience, what would you say are the characteristics of prayer within Islam?

11. When do you usually pray? Do you think your prayer times are adequate? What could you do to improve the quality or quantity of your prayer?


TO MEMORIZE - 1 JOHN 5:14,15

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching Allah: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.

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