GETTING ANSWERS TO PRAYER PART 4

To get answers to prayer (1) there are things God wants us to do BEFORE we pray; (2) there are things God wants us to do WHEN we pray; and (3) there are things God wants us to do AFTER we pray.

We’re looking at the things God wants us to do BEFORE we pray. We said IF YOU WANT GOD TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS YOU’VE GOT TO BE RIGHT. There are five aspects of being right. (1) Being right with God. (2) Being right with people. And now, (3) being right yourself.

3. YOU’VE GOT TO BE RIGHTEOUS

You can’t be hypocritical. You can’t be a Christian on Sunday morning, then live the rest of the week acting like a heathen. You may like living like a heathen. You might enjoy a heathen lifestyle. But that kind of lifestyle doesn’t get you answers to prayer. YOU’VE GOT TO BE RIGHTEOUS TO GET ANSWERS TO PRAYER.

Psalms 34:15-17 puts it this way,  The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.  (16)  The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.  (17)  The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Look at verses 15 and 17 once again. Who does the Lord hear? Whose prayers does He answer? The righteous.

Listen everyone. I’m not for being self-righteous or being holier-than-thou. But no matter how you cut it, Christians are supposed to be different from everyone else. They’re supposed to be right. They’re supposed to live right. Right by the Book.

Yes. We’re all fallen and none of us is perfect. We make mistakes and we’ll continue to make them as long as we’re imperfect and alive. But being imperfect is not an excuse to be unrighteous. You can’t use your imperfection as a reason, incentive, or justification to not be righteous. To not rise about human frailties and live nobly with integrity.

God is very concerned about how we live. No matter what you call it—you can call it rules, laws, commandments, exhortations, admonitions, principles, guidelines, suggestions, opinions, or whatever else suits your fancies. I don’t care. The point is, the Bible is chock full of God telling us how to live. A lot of us don’t like that. But God’s got every right to do that. He’s God. We’re not. He’s the sole Master and Lord of the Universe. He has every right to tell us what to do. It doesn’t bother me because God isn’t a heartless Tyrant or Dictator.

He’s a loving Parent. Everything He does, everything He says and requires, is done because He loves me more than everyone else put together. And everything He says and does is for my good. He’s watching out for me. He has my best interests in His heart and mind. He knows what I don’t. That’s why I don’t have problems listening to Him. I trust Him. I love Him. I owe Him my life. I owe Him my full, unquestioning, unreserved obedience.

At some point in life we’re gonna need God to help us. To be there for us. To hear us. And answer our prayer. A lot of people get along just fine without God or His help. But you can be absolutely sure that one day each one of us will need God in a serious way. And when that day comes, don’t you want to have God’s ear? I do.

God’s telling us here in Psalms 34 how we get His ear. Righteousness gets prayers answered. Unrighteousness doesn’t. It’s as simple as that. WE CAN’T LIVE ANY OLE WAY WE PLEASE AND EXPECT GOD TO HEAR AND HELP US.

James 5:16 repeats the Psalmist’s refrain, The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. That means WHEN YOU’RE RIGHTEOUS YOUR PRAYERS WORK. YOU GET ANSWERS. YOU GET MIRACLES. Your prayers make a difference. That’s because your prayers have power. That’s what availeth means. You know how a muscle man has power or strength in his muscles. That’s what you have in your prayers when you’re righteous: you’re a spiritual muscle man. You’ve got spiritual power. The kind of power that gets things done.

Have you ever listened to a dead, lifeless sermon? Yeah? Lots of them? You ever listen to a sermon that just set your pants on fire, brought you to tears, got you on your knees, and brought you to the altar? Back to the Lord? You remember that sermon well, don’t you? You’ll never forget it. What’s the difference between a lifeless sermon and a soul-stirring one? You can call it power. Soul. Anointing. The Spirit.

Like sermons, prayers can be so dead and lifeless. People quit praying because they don’t get answers. They don’t make a difference. They don’t change anything.

It doesn’t work that way for righteous folks. God made you a promise, dear friends, and He doesn’t lie. If you’re righteous your prayers have muscle and power with God. They get answered. God Himself sees to that. You can count on it. Expect it. When you’re righteous.

1 Peter 3:12 repeats the now-familiar refrain, the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. Who does God hear? Who has His ears? The righteous. If that’s you,  IF YOU’RE RIGHTEOUS, YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO EXPECT GOD TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS.

It’s not a demand. It’s not a pride thing. You ought not be proud or demanding when it comes to God because God doesn’t owe you a thing. God isn’t beholden to anyone. No one’s bossing God around and telling Him what to do.

The expectation of answered prayer is a calm peace and assurance that you have as a righteous person.  God gave you His Word and God, being the Righteous God that He is, will keep His Word. It’s not a demand. It’s an assurance from God Himself.

So you want answers to prayers? Do you have God’s ear? Be right. And God’ll be there for you every time.

What if you need help NOW? What if you’re not right right now? Friend, why don’t you get right right now? Now’s a perfect time and it only takes a minute. Tell Him you’re sorry for what you’ve done. Ask Him to forgive you. Give your life to Him and let Him call the shots. Then call out to Him and ask  Him for help. God will answer you and show you just how loving and merciful He can be. He’d love to have you and help you! Guaranteed!

Coming Up On My Next Blog In This Series. Asking for the right things. You mean there’s some things we can’t ask for? Drop by and find out. I’ll leave the light on for you.

NOT A CHANCE

My sister-in-law’s been fighting an aggressive form of cancer for the last couple of years. She’s been in the hospital for the last couple of weeks fighting for her life. Thankfully, the Lord brought her back from the grave, as it were, and we were able to hear her talk out loud again, smile as always, pray, sing, and have as jolly a time as could be had in a hospital bed.

Anyways, we determined from the outset that we wanted God to be glorified in Doreen’s life. Of course we wanted her healed. But most of all, we wanted God’s will to be done and for Him to be glorified through Doreen. We are not God. He alone holds the power of life and death. If He wanted Doreen bad enough He could have her and we would rejoice through our tears because we know where she’s going and who she’ll be with. There’s nothing grander than heavenly glory and there’s nothing on this earth that can keep a Heaven-bound saint from going home when it’s God’s time for her to be home. But until God lets us know it’s time to let her go we continue to pray and believe for healing—after all, that is His promise and it’s one of the things Christ provided for us at the cross.

So for the last few days we’ve been lifting Doreen up in prayer, joined by a multitude of believers and friends who’ve petitioned the Lord on Doreen’s behalf. I know God’s been blest and glorified as He’s witnessed the love, unity, prayers, and praises of His people. So many people have rallied around Doreen; they’ve lifted up the shield of faith and wielded the sword of the Spirit against satan on Doreen’s behalf. The devil’s got himself a bruising and a licking! I know God’s been so pleased and glorified by that.  He’s graciously blest us with miracles each day as we’ve seen Doreen drink more and more water, eat more broth, mashed sweet potatoes and bread, and converse freely with us.

Among the many Scriptures that we’ve lobbed against the devil are the oft-repeated promises that God has given us: the prayer of faith shall heal the sick and the Lord shall raise her up; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover; He sent His Word and healed her and delivered her from all her destructions; He heals all her diseases and redeems her life from destruction; the shield of faith quenches every fiery dart; with God all things are possible; with faith nothing is impossible; what things soever we desire, when we pray, we believe that we receive them and we shall have them; delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart; resist the devil and he shall flee from you; and many, many more.

You all know what the Word of God that Christ quoted in His wilderness temptation did to the devil: the Word sent the devil packing. The devil couldn’t do anything against God’s Word! He couldn’t win as long as Christ was using the Word against him.

In the same manner, we’ve used the sword of the Spirit against the devil and I mean to tell you, I kid you not, the devil’s been bruised and sent to the canvas time after time after time. What a glutton for punishment!

Anyways, the Lord did a marvelous work of encouragement for me as He took me to a couple of Scriptures that I had never before put together. The first was the promise of James 5:16, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. God wasn’t calling my attention to myself, as if I was going to win this battle on my own. No, this battle belongs to the Lord, the victory is His, and He has won it on His own. So the Lord wasn’t lifting me up necessarily: He was just reminding me that prayer really works when a righteous person’s praying.

Then the Lord took me to Hebrews 7:25 and Romans 8:34 where Christ is at the right hand of the Father, praying and interceding for us. Christ, brethren, is praying for us! He isn’t idle in glory: He’s praying! For us! He lives! To pray! For us!

I don’t know what you think about Christ. Some people think that Christ is only interested in our soul and He’s praying only for our soul to be saved from sin. Nothing else. But let’s face it. Christ is every bit human like us—except He’s sinless. When we have loved ones hurting we rush to their side to help them. When they’re under attack—being slaughtered and killed—we don’t just stand by and watch it happen. We get right smack in the thick of things and we do what we can to protect, save, and help the ones we love.

Jesus does the same. He loves Doreen very much. He died to save her. She belongs to Him. She’s family. From up in Heaven He sees what the devil’s doing to Doreen and what He sees moves Him to action. It moves Him to prayer. And when Jesus prays what do you think is gonna happen? Is God gonna answer His prayer? You bet!

Then the Lord put everything together for me. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Jesus is praying. It hit me like a ton of bricks! With Jesus praying—the most righteous man that ever was—His prayers are going to win out. The devil isn’t just fighting against us by ourselves: he’s fighting against Jesus too, who’s fighting him right back! Just like in His wilderness temptation! With Jesus fighting and praying the devil simply doesn’t stand a chance! Christ has him beat in this battle! The devil really is a loser! We’re victors through Christ! We have nothing to fear  or lose! We’re gonna win this one no matter how it ends because Jesus is praying! Thank you sweet Jesus for praying!