Fervent Prayer & Study Of The Scriptures

‘We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.’ ~ Acts 6:4

Next to being filled with and led by God’s spirit, prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures are most important disciplines to have in our lives as disciples.

What practical tools has God given us to be filled with strength and power to live this new life? How important is prayer and study of the Holy Scriptures?

1.1        Great Men Of God Are Always Men Of Fervent Prayer

If you want to be great, you follow the lives of great men! All the great men of God in the Bible, who did much for God and the kingdom, were men with powerful prayer lives.

Daniel 6:10 ~ Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

  • Nothing would keep Daniel from his prayer life, not even the threat of death by lions! He was a disciplined man who prayed upon his knees three times a day. We find many other times that he prayed extensively but we notice here that he had a daily discipline of prayer.
  • It is important that we establish a daily discipline of spending time in fervent prayer to God. The three times a day model is a great one to follow as it makes very little room for Satan to get in during the day.

Psalms 119:62 ~ At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

  • The godly man or women not only prays during the day but many times is so filled with God’s spirit that they wake up during the night to pray and seek after God and give him thanks.

Matthew 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.

  • We find many times in the Scriptures that Jesus himself would take special trips out to the mountains or lonely places where he could spend much time in prayer with his Father.
  • Now Jesus was the ultimate Spirit filled powerful Son of God almighty and yet he felt that he needed to be constantly in prayer. How much more do we Disciples need to spend this type of time in prayer!

Luke 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.

  • Again, we see Jesus retreat out to the mountains to pray and this is not just a short prayer but we see him continuing all night in prayer to God.
  • Jesus teaches us by example that it is important that we not only have a daily discipline in prayer as Daniel but that we also take spiritual prayer retreats where there is much focus on extensive prayer and communion with God.

Acts 6:2&4 ~ Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

  • The twelve Apostles were also men of great power with God and had the awesome work of making multitudes of disciples and planting churches.
  • They had followed Christ and his example and realized that they only had two primary functions as Apostles that should not be neglected for lesser duties. The first of these was to give themselves continually to prayer.
  • These men knew that the success of their lives and of ministering the Word of God was only going to be as great as their prayer lives. Therefore, they counted it their most primary duty, to be continually in a state of prayer.

1.2        Have Faith – God Promises He Will Answer All Our Prayers

Matthew 7:7-11 ~ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 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?

  • God is an awesome loving Father, who like any good loving parent, only wants to see his children succeed in their journey.
  • Take great courage and know that He loves to answer prayers and give good things to his children if they will only ask him.

Mark 11:23-24 ~ 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. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

  • Jesus promised that his disciples could have anything they desire if they would only ask for it and believe that God would grant it to them!
  • Prayer is the greatest power known to man. Nothing can accomplish more than prayer! Let this firmly sink into your heart.
  • Also be encourages all you who are bed ridden or locked up or in some other way limited in your ability to physically help in the Kingdom. You are not powerless! You have the greatest power available to you and you can do mighty works in the Kingdom. As long as you can pray, you can move mountains in this world do tremendous things for God!

John 15:7-8 ~ If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

  • Jesus again promises that anything you ask will be done for you. Now he reveals to us the conditions of prayer and why these prayers will be granted.
  • If we abide in Jesus, then we will only want to bear much fruit for God and to see him glorified. It is this state of heart that God will not turn away because we will only ask things that are in accord with God’s will.

1 John 5:14-15 ~ And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

  • Praise God we can have great confidence when we approach him knowing that he will surely give us what we need.
  • For if we ask anything that is according to God’s will [for the purpose of bearing much fruit for him] then we can know assuredly that he hears us and will grant us what we have asked.

1 John 3:22 ~ And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

  • With all these wonderful promises of prayer, the only way we can go wrong is by not abiding in Jesus and doing those things that are pleasing to God.
  • Always remember, God only promises to answer the prayers of those who keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight. For these faithful children he loves to grant prayer requests!

1.3        Disciples Are To Sing, Pray, And Give Thanks Always

Ephesians 5:19-20 ~ Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Disciples are always to be having a great spiritual life inwardly that bubbles out of their hearts in spiritual poems, songs, and melody to the Lord.
  • We are to always be giving thanks in this way to God in the name of his son Jesus for all things. God loves the songs and praises of his children!

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 ~ Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

  • There are only a few scriptures, which directly say ‘this is the will of God’ and this is one of them.
  • God reveals that his will specifically for you is that you pray at all times in all ways and in everything give thanks to God without stopping.

Philippians 4:6 ~ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

  • We are God’s children now and therefore should not worry about anything. Instead, we are to take every concern of ours to our heavenly Father.
  • As we pray and give thanks to our Father for answering our requests we can rest and know that he will take care of everything.
  • It is in this rest that we experience the great peace of God, which is beyond understanding to the world, and it is this peace that keeps our hearts and minds secure from the enemy!

1 Timothy 2:8 ~ I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

  • We are all to pray everywhere, lifting up our hands to God. It is good and right that we should actively stretch out our hands to our Father in heaven!
  • The hands we raise must be holy and pure and the prayers we offer must be in sincerity of heart. We must not have any anger in our hearts and must not doubt but fully believe that God will hear and answer our requests.

Ephesians 6:18 ~ Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

  • We must persevere in these prayers all the time with every kind of request needed.
  • Notice the important element shown here is that these prayers must be in the Spirit. Just as our lives must be led by the Spirit, so also our prayers must be led by the Spirit.

Jude 1:20-21 ~ But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

  • In order to build yourselves up in faith and power with God and with men it is crucial that you pray in the Holy Ghost!
  • It is by this fervent prayer in the Holy Spirit that we are nourished, built up, and strengthened against the enemy.
  • We also have a responsibility to keep ourselves in God’s love and it is through this praying in the Spirit that we do this.

1 Peter 4:7 ~ But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

  • As Peter sees the end of all things in this world approaching, his most earnest exhortation is that we get serious and watchful in prayer.
  • Let us not be jesters, but in these end times let us be serious prayer warriors for God and for others that they may be saved before it is too late.

1.4        We Find Truth & Power In The Holy Scriptures

As we are full of prayer, we must also be full of the truth that we might be saved and save others. Remember the second priority of the Apostles was that they were to minister the Word.

2 Timothy 3:15-17 ~ From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

  • The Holy Scriptures are the only pure source of wisdom and truth that can save us and others.
  • We must understand and believe that these Scriptures were brought to us by direct divine revelation from God and that they contain everything we need for teaching, correcting, and instruction in righteousness.
  • If you have a solid understanding of the contents of The Holy Scriptures then you will be a powerful person of God, able to be used in many ways for many good works!
  • Note that there are many who teach that All Scripture, particularly The Old Testament, is not for today’s Disciples. This is absolutely false because when this passage and the others below were written, the portion of the Bible known as the New Testament did not exist. Therefore, Paul was saying that we should highly value the Old Testament as that which is able to make us wise for salvation and prepared for great works. Sure the New Testament is now included in these scriptures but originally they were made only in relation to the Old.

1 Peter 1:23&25 ~ Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

  • The Word of God is alive, powerful, and is the source of our new birth. It is the seed of Truth from God’s Word that brought salvation to us and it is this same Truth that will keep us until Jesus returns!
  • This holy Word endures forever and is the message we share with others that they may be saved.

Romans 16:25-26 ~ Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

  • The message of the Kingdom and Jesus Christ is fully revealed in the Holy Scriptures and has been made known to us in order to produce the fruit of obedience in our hearts.
  • It is through this message that we and other disciples can be established and rooted firmly so that we will not be tossed by Satan’s deceptions.

Psalms 19:7 ~ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

  • God’s Holy Word is absolutely perfect! It is the source of converting souls from darkness to light. It is the source of life giving wisdom for those lost in foolishness. There is nothing else like it.

Hebrews 4:12 ~ For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

  • The Word of God infused with the power of his Holy Spirit is the most powerful living resource we have to do mighty things in our own lives and the lives of others.
  • The Word of God digs into people’s hearts to reveal their innermost thoughts and convict them of the truth that will set them free and grant them salvation in Christ.

Jeremiah 23:28-29 ~ He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

  • God’s word is like a mighty fire and a hammer that breaks rocks in pieces! What a most powerful weapon to have in your armory both to use in your own heart and in the hearts of others!
  • Men have arguments against surrendering to God’s authority and like straw; these arguments are burnt away in the fire of God’s words. They also hide behind rocks of false teachings and like a hammer; God’s word pulverizes them leaving these men nothing to hide behind.
  • This is why when men are truly confronted with the power of God’s word they will usually go one of two ways. Either they will be repent or they will get hostile. God’s word really reaches deep into the nerves!

Psalms 119:97-100 ~ O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

  • Knowing the great power of God’s word, David studied the Holy Scriptures all day and every day.
  • By doing so, David became powerful and far wiser then all his enemies. Not only that, but he also excelled in wisdom beyond all his teachers and even those who were much older than him.
  • Oh, believe with all your heart that this too will be your experience if you will only make God’s Word your priority!

1.5        Disciples Must Meditate In The Word Of God At All Times

Luke 4:4 ~ And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

  • Jesus lifted up the Word of God as being more important than your daily physical nutrition.
  • We would suffer much physically if we just stopped eating and we can only expect the same if we do not daily eat from God’s Word!

Psalms 1:1-2 ~ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

  • The true disciple does not just study God’s Word but he absolutely delights in it! It is a great joy to him to be in God’s Word, it is no burden. He loves it and meditates in it all day and all night as much as possible.
  • If we find that we are not thrilled to be in God’s Word we should check our hearts and see if there is anything we have let creep into our hearts that is taking the place for this great love of God’s Word.

Joshua 1:8 ~ This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

  • God commands us to meditate on the Holy Scriptures day and night and to keep them in our hearts and in our mouths ready to speak them at any time.
  • The awesome promise is that if we do so, not only will be wiser than everyone around us like David, but also everything that we do in life will prosper and we will be very successful!

Deuteronomy 11:18-20 ~ Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates.

  • Our minds and memories are only human flesh. They are very apt to fail us and the Bible exhorts us to do some practical things to ensure the powerful Words of God stay firmly implanted in our hearts.
  • First, write God’s word everywhere possible. Write it in your home, on your clothes, in your car, etc. The principle is to do everything you can to ensure the Word of God is surrounding your life and affecting you. It may be listening to the Bible on CD on the way to work or hanging posters in the house which contain powerful scriptures, or wearing t-shirts with God’s Word imprinted on them. Get creative!
  • Second, the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. Every time you get a chance, get vocal about the things you have learned in God’s word. When you learn something, the first thing you should do is turn and teach it to your children or others if you have none. Also, speak of these things in your home when you’re going to bed, getting up in the morning, going out for groceries, or whatever you are doing, always be talking about the Word of God and it will become fastened to your heart and soul!

Romans 12:2 ~ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

  • It is through this wholehearted devotion to meditating on and absorbing God’s Words that we will find out what is good, acceptable and perfect in God’s eyes.
  • It is the primary way in which disciples renew their minds and become transformed beings who are not conformed to the deceptive practices of this world, which will destroy them but rather will shine as lights of truth in this dark perverse generation!

1.6        Some Helpful Tools For Diligently Studying The Bible

There are many aids out there to study the Bible and it can get overwhelming when looking through them all.

There are really only a few solid study tools that everyone must have when digging into the scriptures.

The following when coupled with prayer and guidance from God should be all you need to get a solid understanding of your Bible.

A Good High Quality KJV Bible

  • The ‘Cambridge Concord’ or ‘Cambridge Pitt-Minion’ are excellent Bibles. They are a little pricey but will last for years to come. Cambridge also has many other high quality Bible formats.
  • If you are looking for something high quality, but for about half the price, you can find great KJV bibles at ‘Local Church Bible Publishers’.
  • You can also find many other great high quality KJV Bibles at
    http://evangelicalbible.com

Incredible Free Bible Study Software

Before listing all the useful study tools available in print, note that there is a wonderful software package called E-Sword that incredibly has every item below available in electronic form for free.

This software can be obtained either for free [on a PC] or for $10 [on a Mac] from http://www.e-sword.net/

There is also an E-Sword version for iPhone which puts all these resources at your fingertips at any time. Note that E-Sword is not available at this time on Android.

A Concordance and a Scripture Cross-Reference Tool

  • A Good Concordance to Search the Bible
    • ‘Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance’ is the standard and will help you search for English words in the Bible and find all the verses that use those words.
    • If you prefer an electronic version electronic then use the bible software of your choice on your device.
  • A Solid System of Bible Cross-References
    • The ‘Treasury of Scripture Knowledge’ is the standard and contains the largest collected list of cross-references in print. Cross-references are other verses that contain truths related to the verse you are viewing.
    • Be cautious on two points here. One, the cross-references are many times biased. The editors only see connections that fit with their doctrines. That being so about 90% is extremely useful. And two, do not purchase ‘The New TOSK’ The newer version has many helps which are actually interpretations of the scriptures. The original version contains only cross-references and is much safer.

English Dictionaries and Greek & Hebrew Lexicon’s

  • An English Word Dictionary to Define KJV Words
    • ‘Noah Websters 1828 Dictionary’ is the standard and is a great help to understanding all the words in the Bible. Noah Webster was very faithful to the words and even uses scriptures many times to teach the contextual meaning of words. This type of Dictionary is essential as the KJV does use many terms that are not used in everyday speech but that being so; this Dictionary is huge!
    • ‘The KJV Dictionary’ is an easy to use small soft cover [2000+ terms] dictionary that contains all the archaic, thematic, and uncommon terms used in the KJV bible. It defines these words with definitions out of ‘Noah Websters 1828 Dictionary’ without the additional 13 lbs.
    • If you prefer an electronic version, then use your phone or device and look up words in ‘Noah Websters 1828 Dictionary’. Currently this can be found online at: http://webstersdictionary1828.com/
  • A Solid Bible Encyclopedia
    • ‘The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia’ is the standard and will help you understand Biblical people, places, culture, etc.
    • There is an old and a new version. The old is all you need and is very low cost. Also, be careful that you do not allow any interpretations found in this encyclopedia to guide you.
  • Hebrew [Old Testament] and Greek [New Testament] Dictionaries
    • ‘Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon’ is the standard for defining the Hebrew words used in the Old Testament.
    • ‘Thayers Greek-English Lexicon’ is the standard for defining the Greek words used in the New Testament.
    • Both of these use the same numbering system from ‘Strong’s Concordance’. You use these by looking up the word and number in Strong’s and then finding the corresponding number in the Lexicon. In the Lexicon you will then find the Hebrew or Greek word and its English definition.