GOD'S PROMISE AND CONDITIONS TO ANSWER PRAYER
I. THE LORD HAS MOST ASSUREDLY PROMISED TO ANSWER PRAYER.
Following are twelve passages of Scripture in which the Lord tells us that He wants us to pray to Him and that He wants to answer our prayers:
"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." (Matthew 18:19)
"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)
"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:24)
"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?" (Luke 11:13)
"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." (John 14:13-14)
"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." (John 16:23)
"For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him." (Romans 10:12)
"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." (Ephesians 2:18)
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. . (Hebrews 10:19)
"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." (1 John 5:14-15)
These passages from God's word tell us there can be no question that God wants us to pray and that He promises to answer our prayers.
However, does this mean that God will answer our every prayer and that He is at our beckon and call to answer our requests? I think a lot of people have that idea and never consider that God has placed very specific restrictions or limits on how He answers us. If you preach one without the other you will mislead people. Lots of people wonder why their prayers are not answered and they think God does not hear them. Some even wonder if God is real. The problem with unanswered prayer does not lie with God but with us. Let's look at what God has to say about this.
B. There are prohibitions or conditions on having our prayers answered.
First a person must be a child of God. God only hears one prayer from a lost man and that is the prayer of faith when an unsaved person asks for forgiveness and receives Christ as their Savior. God does not answer the prayers of those that reject Him as they Lord and Savior.
During Jesus' ministry they brought to him a child that had a evil spirit. Jesus ask the boy's father, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).
In Hebrews 11, which is called the Bible's Hall of Faith, the Lord says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).
We must come to the Lord with unwavering faith in Him.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" (James 1:5-7)
This does not mean that using the name of Jesus gives us some magical power. Jesus in Matthew 6:9, instructs us to address our prayers to God the Father. Therefore it is not the saying of the name of Jesus or addressing our prayer to Him that is the point here, but praying as a believer in Jesus Christ. It means that we come to God redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, not in our own name or in our own power or strength, but come in faith in the spirit of dependence on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2)
4. Cannot expect the Lord to answer prayer when we are not living for the Lord.
"And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight". (1 John 3:22) If we obey God then He will answer our prayers.
What are some clear commandments of God that we are to obey?
Prayer, Bible study, witnessing, Christian leadership in the Home, teaching children, being an example, being faithful in attending church, tithing, confessing sin, and putting Christ first in your life.
All these are clear commandments. One who is not faithful in these things are being disobedient and they will not be blessed of God.
This involves more than just keeping the written commandments of the Lord. It involves doing what God wants us to do in our lives.
Hebrews 10:25 tells us God's will is for us to attend church.
Lots of people take comfort in the fact that Christians are not under the Law and we do not have to keep the Sabbath. But before the Law God set a principle in place that one day of the week was set aside to worship Him and for rest. Israel paid a high price for ignoring God's Law concerning worshiping Him. Believers will too.
It is God's will that the Lord Jesus Christ be first in our lives before all else. Folks putting Christ first is the best thing we can do. That means before our pleasures whatever they might be.
6. God does not answer the prayers of those who are not at peace with each other. We need to be a peace with one another to have our prayers answered.
Do you realize the prayers that fathers and mothers for their children are not answered when they do not dwell in peace and honor one another. The husband might say, "Well, my wife is the problem she is always fighting with me. Or the wife might say, "Its my husband's fault." Well, we do not have to fight back, and rarely is there not blame on both sides. The cure is to turn the matter over to the Lord, confessing first one's sins and then making the commitment to live for the Lord. If one partner does this....it will surely end at least half the problem and will make the way for reconciliation.
Harmony in the church family, each doing their share, plus helping others, seeking one another's well being. God will honor that.
8. We must be persistent in our prayers.
In the parallel account of the Lord teaching the Model prayer in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus followed it with a parable:
"It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24)
2. The promise of God.
"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Do you believe that? What ever the past....the future is clean. We can decide this very morning to live as God would have us too that we might have God's blessings on all we do.
If there is sin and unfaithfulness in your life, now is the time to confess it to the Lord and have Him cleanse you from it. God is the God of new beginnings. Thank the Lord He loves us so much he does not scold and promises to give his help to us liberally....if we ask in faith.
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