Teaching Prayer Habits to Readers

Plans and Methods, Experiences and Problems.

By Mary Hartwell, Bible Instructor, Northern California, Conference

For steady Christian growth, prayer habits should be encouraged early in the course of a series of Bible studies. This may be done by a special study or two on the subject of prayer. Or it might be done by emphasis on particular points denoting prayer habits, even though the study is on an entirely different subject.


To illustrate, in the study on Daniel 2 there are at least two factors which can be emphasized in such a way as to lay the foundation for enduring and beneficial prayer habits.

When giving the background for the dream of the image, I like to acquaint my reader with the man Daniel. He was a noble, stalwart youth, true to principle, and desirous of 'pleasing his God in all his actions. Not only was he mighty in power, but he was mighty in prayer. Even after becom­ing the prime minister of a flourishing nation, he was not too busy to find recourse to prayer three times daily (Dan. 6:10), a habit doubtless estab­lished in his youth and, practiced by him all through his lifetime.

Incidentally, here, too, is given the correct pos­ture for prayer—"he kneeled upon his knees" while praying. This little side light in Daniel's life, enforced by the words of the psalmist, "0 come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Psalms 95:6), can serve readily to acquaint the reader with the proper position in prayer—possibly something for­eign to his past thinking and procedure.

Coming back to Daniel 2, we read that when the crisis came to Daniel, he immediately thought of prayer. Daniel knew the meaning and efficacy of Matthew 18 :20—the presence of divine power, es­pecially when two or three are gathered together. Besides prayer, the prayer nr,eeting was undoubt­edly an established habit with Daniel and his young friends. Might not we, too, receive bless­ings and answers to prayer—ah, yes, and more power—by emulating Daniel's prayer meeting habit?

Daniel's prayer life did not always consist of asking. He was quick to praise and thank his God for answered prayer. We find Daniel again pray­ing to his heavenly Father before going in to the king with his important message. How many times we make a request of God, and when the re­quest is granted, what do we do? Yes, we can well afford to follow Daniel's example of praising and thanking our Father for all His showers of blessing to us.

Thus, even in a study on prophecy, principles can be emphasized that should form basic prayer habits for new Seventh-day Adventists. Not only should we pray, but we should kneel in prayer. Not only should we ask in our prayers, but we should be quick to give God the praise and thanks­giving He longs to hear from His children. Not only should we pray, but we should be found at prayer meeting or wherever prayer is wont to be made.

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By Mary Hartwell, Bible Instructor, Northern California, Conference

December 1946

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