GETTING ANSWERS TO PRAYER PART 8

GOD WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE WHEN YOU PRAY

Faith is a requirement for answered prayer. But what, exactly, does God want us to believe. We believe in Him. We believe He’s the one and only real, true God. We believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. We believe Jesus is the Divine Son of God, born of a virgin. We believe in Heaven and Hell. We believe Jesus is coming back to Earth again. We believe a lot of things that are right and true because we believe God and the Bible.

Even though we believe right, Biblical doctrine, this isn’t the kind of faith that God wants us to have when we pray. To be sure, He wants us to believe right doctrine. But that’s not what gets us answers to prayer. So what are we supposed to believe when we pray.

1. BELIEVE THAT GOD’S PROMISE IS TRUEIf you want answers to prayer you’ve got to believe that what God promised or told you is true.

When Jesus went to Bethany to raise Lazarus up from the dead, He turned to Martha and gave her a promise: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die (John 11:25-26a). After He made her the promise He asked Martha, Do you believe this?

Like Martha, God has made us many promises. He promised to do a lot of things for us. And like Jesus’ question to Martha, God’s asking us, Do you believe this? Do you believe what I’ve told you or promised you?   TO   GET   ANSWERS    TO PRAYER YOU’VE GOT TO BELIEVE THAT WHAT GOD TOLD YOU, OR PROMISED YOU, IS TRUE. It’s not a lie. It’s true because He said it.

2. BELIEVE THAT GOD IS ABLE TO DO WHAT HE PROMISED. When you pray and ask God to do something for you, you’ve got to believe that He’s able to do whatever it is you’re asking Him to do.

Two blind men followed Jesus one day. They cried out for Jesus to have mercy on them and heal them. When Jesus heard their cry He asked them, Do you believe that I am able to do this (Matthew 9:28)? They answered Yes. And, as a result, they got their sight back.

God wants you to believe that He can do whatever you need Him to do. You see, the concept of God that so many people have is, God is just like men. If men can’t heal a disease, then neither can God. If men can’t protect you from a calamity, then neither can God. If men can’t do anything for you, then neither can God. Do you see what I mean? So many people limit God’s ability because God, to them, is just like men. Consequently, they only ask God to do what men can do. They ask God to do only what’s possible with men.

The problem is, we need a God who can do what men can’t do. We need Him to do the impossible for us. Whether it’s healing from cancer or AIDS, protection from a rapist, murderer, or stalker, deliverance from a menacing hurricane or tornado; we need God to help us when men just can’t do anything for us. And in order for Him to help us we’ve got to believe that He can help us. He’s smart enough to know how to help us. And He’s strong enough to do just that—even when no one else can help us.

Matthew 19:26 comforts us with the knowledge that with God all things are possible. Luke 1:37 echoes the same truth, For with God nothing shall be impossible. Now these words nothing and all things assure us that God can do whatever we need Him to do for us. Nothing is beyond God’s ability or power to do—even if it’s humanly, naturally, medically, or scientifically impossible.

Brethren, DO NOT LET YOUR CARNAL MIND, MEN, NATURE, OR THE DEVIL, TELL YOU WHAT GOD CAN, AND CANNOT, DO. DON’T LET ANYONE OR ANYTHING TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN BELIEVE GOD FOR.  If God promised it, if He said you can have it; then don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise. IF YOU WANT MIRACLES AND ANSWERS FROM GOD, TAKE THE LIMITS OFF OF HIM.

If you don’t believe that God can do what you need to have done, then don’t ask God to do it because this is a prayer that He won’t answer. IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE HE CAN, HE WON’T. GOD ANSWERS THE PRAYER OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE HE CAN.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post In This Series, Part 9. I’m gonna post a couple more things to believe that will probly blow most of you away, but it’s true nevertheless because it’s what God said and requires. I’ve found that believing God can either be very, very difficult, or else very, very easy. The difference between the two is my concept of God. If your God really is all-powerful and can do anything, and I mean anything (except sin), then drop by for a visit next week and you’ll see that what seems so hard to believe at first really isn’t that hard after all. See you then and may God shower you with His blessings!

GETTING ANSWERS TO PRAYER PART 7

We all want answers to prayer. That’s why we pray in the first place. To get the help we need from God. Unfortunately, prayer by itself doesn’t guarantee an answer from God. Asking by itself doesn’t automatically mean we’re gonna get what we asked God for. It’s not because God doesn’t want to answer our prayer. Rather, it’s because God laid out several conditions that we must meet: He wants us to do certain things before He’ll answer our prayer. That may not seem right or fair to a lot of people. But that’s just the way it is. God is God and the conditions that He’s set for answered prayer are, no joke, for our good. They keep us dependent on Him instead of using Him as a celestial Santa Claus to become greedy, selfish, and materialistic.

For organization’s sake, I’ve categorized the conditions for answered prayer into three broad categories: conditions we must meet before we pray, conditions we must meet when we pray, and finally, conditions we must meet after we pray.

In the six preceding posts we looked at the things God wants us to do before we pray. Let’s turn our attention now to the things God wants us to do when we pray.

IF YOU WANT ANSWERS TO PRAYER, BELIEVE

God wants you to believe when you pray. That’s how you get answers to prayer. By believing. Jesus taught us how to pray or ask in Matthew 21:22, And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Mark 11:24 similarly reads, Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

IF YOU WANT ANSWERS TO PRAYER, YOU’VE GOT TO BELIEVE. BELIEVING COMES BEFORE RECEIVING. IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE, YOU DON’T RECEIVE. It’s just that simple.

Another way of saying it is doubters receive nothing. James 1:6-8 makes this very clear. But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm.  (7 & 8)  If you are that kind of person, you can’t make up your mind, and you surely can’t be trusted. So don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.

Brethren, if you want your prayers answered you mustn’t doubt. DOUBT AND UNBELIEF WILL KEEP YOU FROM RECEIVING THE ANSWERS TO YOUR PRAYER. Jesus very plainly told us this in Mark 11:23, 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.

THE POWER OF FAITH

Faith is such an amazing thing. IT WILL MOVE THE HAND OF GOD TO DO WHATEVER YOU NEED TO HAVE DONE. Of course, you’ve got to meet the other conditions for answered prayer. And when you do, FAITH MAKES ALL THINGS POSSIBLE, no matter how hopeless or impossible things may look.

Do yourself a favor and instead of doubting what I just said, instead of looking at your circumstances and reinforcing your fears and doubts; focus on what Jesus said in Mark 9:23. FOCUS! He said, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. He knows how hard it is for us to believe sometimes. So He repeats Himself in Matthew 17:20, hoping to drive the point home and get all the doubt out of our heart and mind. He said, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Is Jesus true or not? Is He lying? If He isn’t, and He isn’t, then it’s really true: everything is possible. God can do whatever we need Him to do for us! If we believe!

  • The Roman centurion didn’t want his servant to die. He trusted Jesus to heal him even though he was dying. Jesus told him, as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee, Matthew 8:13. Of course, the guy believed and his servant got well again that very hour.
  • Two men were incurably blind. Back in those days there was nothing that could be done for them. They lived without the hope of ever seeing again. But the blind men chose to believe Jesus for healing and sight. Jesus said to them, According to your faith be it unto you, Matthew 9:29. They believed. And as a result, they saw.
  • The Syro-Phoenician woman was the same way. At first, Jesus refused to pay any attention to her. Then He flat out denied her and insulted her. But the woman would not be denied. She persisted in her prayer request. Jesus told her in Matthew 15:28, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. Do I need to tell you what happened after that? The lady got what she asked Jesus for.

FAITH, I AM SAYING, WILL GET YOU MIRACLES. IT WILL GET YOU ANSWERS TO PRAYER. PEOPLE, NATURE, AND DEMONS CANNOT STOP YOU FROM GETTING YOUR MIRACLE OR ANSWER TO PRAYER AS LONG AS YOU’RE BELIEVING AND MEETING GOD’S OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR ANSWERED PRAYER.

Let me hasten to say here that, while faith is indeed a powerful substance or force for good; the real power behind faith is not faith itself, but the object of our faith—that is God. Jesus told us in Mark 11:22, Have faith in God. It’s God who answers prayer. It’s God who works miracles. It’s God who makes people, nature, and demons do His will. It’s God who makes our bodies, the forces of nature, and demons line up with whatever it is we’re believing and asking God to do. GOD IS THE POWER. So don’t be foolish and have faith in yourself or have faith in the power of faith. Look to God. Have faith in Him. And God will give you the desires of your heart.

Coming Up On My Next Post In This Series, Part 8. Okay, we know that we need to believe. But what exactly are we supposed to believe? Trust me, you don’t want to miss this next post! See you in a week. And in the mean time I’ll be praying and asking God to help us all believe. It isn’t easy sometimes. I know. But as we focus our eyes on God and settle the fact that nothing is impossible for God to do, then faith becomes so much easier! It really does! Don’t despair, my friend. We have hope. Because we have God. See you next week. And may the blessings of God be on you.

GETTING ANSWERS TO PRAYER PART 6

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; (3) being right yourself; (4) asking for the right things; and now (5) asking for the right reason.

5. ASK FOR THE RIGHT REASON

There’s more to answered prayer than just asking for the right things or asking in accordance with God’s will. What you’ve also got to consider is, What’s the motive of my heart? What’s motivating me to ask what I’m asking for? You see, IT’S POSSIBLE TO ASK FOR THE RIGHT THINGS AND STILL NOT GET YOUR PRAYER ANSWERED. Why is that? Because you’re asking for the wrong reason.

Psalm 66:18 tells us, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. To regard simply means to look upon or consider. If you’ve got sin in mind—if you’re planning to commit sin or would like to commit sin—you may as well forget about praying because God isn’t going to hear you. Friends, GOD ISN’T GOING TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYER WHEN YOU’VE GOT SINFUL MOTIVES AND INTENTS.

James 4:3 tells us the same thing: Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss [with evil or wicked intent], that ye may consume it upon your lusts. In other words, you’re planning to use God’s answer to prayer to commit sin.

THE MOTIVES AND INTENTS OF YOUR HEART HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH WHETHER OR NOT GOD IS GOING TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYER. If your motive isn’t pure or right, your prayer isn’t going to be answered.

Sometimes our motives aren’t necessarily sinful. We’re just too preoccupied with ourself, our needs, our desires, that we leave God out of the picture.

Do you know why God promised to answer our prayers? It’s so that He can be glorified. John 14:13-14 tells us in no unmistakable terms, And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  (14)  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

GOD ANSWERS PRAYER SO THAT HE CAN BE GLORIFIED. OUR NUMBER ONE REASON FOR ASKING GOD FOR WHATEVER WE NEED OR WANT IS SO THAT HE CAN BE GLORIFIED.

So before you ask God for whatever it is you’re asking, ask yourself these questions: Am I asking just for myself? Or am I asking so that God can be glorified? Will God be glorified if He answers my prayer? Will I glorify God after He’s answered my prayer? 

When you don’t testify of God’s goodness and faithfulness after He’s answered your prayer you’re robbing God of the glory that He rightfully deserves. So whenever you ask God for something be willing and prepared to thank Him and give a testimony of God’s wondrous works.

Look again at what James say in James 4:3, Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

ANSWERED PRAYER ISN’T JUST ALL ABOUT MOTIVES: IT’S ALSO ABOUT THE IMPACT THAT THE ANSWER WILL HAVE UPON YOU. If you’re going to use the answer to support a fleshly, sinful habit or lifestyle; if the answer is going to take you farther away from God; God isn’t going to answer you. He’s not going to do, or give you, something that will have a detrimental impact on your life and imperil your soul. The devil will. But not God.

Brethren, IF YOU’RE LIVING A FLESHLY, CARNAL, SINFUL LIFESTYLE; IF YOU’RE NOT LIVING THE CRUCIFIED LIFE; YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET A WHOLE LOT OF YOUR PRAYERS ANSWERED—EVEN IF YOU’RE ASKING GOD FOR THE RIGHT THINGS. If you ask for the wrong reason you’re not going to get what you asked for.

GETTING IT RIGHT

If you’re not right with God, or not right with someone, or not righteous right now because you’ve sinned or you’re in disobedience to God; if you’re not asking for the right thing or for the right reason; then, before you go to God in prayer you’ve got to get things right with God. How do you do that?

  • Repent and ask God to forgive you—that’s one prayer that the Lord will hear. After you’ve asked God to forgive you, get things right with Him by doing whatever it is He’s been wanting you to do.
  •  If you’re having problems with someone, get things right with that person. Ask him or her for forgiveness. If restitution is involved, pay up or make it right. Reconcile if possible. If the other person isn’t ready for reconciliation, then make sure that you’re not harboring any bitterness, resentment, or unforgiveness towards that person. 
  • Check your heart. Get rid of any wrong motives you may have.
  •  Make sure you’re asking for something’s that’s right. If what you’re wanting is wrong, then don’t bother asking God because you’re wasting your time. If you’re asking for something’s that right, ask the Lord if it’s His will for you to have it right now or anytime soon. God will let you know.

Having said that, there are times when you just don’t know what God’s will is at the present time. If that’s the case, then, pray in the Spirit. The Spirit knows exactly what God’s will is in the matter. When you pray in the Spirit, the Spirit petitions the Father on your behalf.

When you don’t know what God’s will is, you can also pray, if it be thy will. Ask God for what you want. Then end your prayer with, nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. 

Now when you pray this way—whether for yourself or for someone else; be prepared to accept the outcome. You may not get the answer you wanted. Or you may get the answer you wanted, but not in the time you wanted it. In any case, since you’ve resigned your will to God’s will and are willing to let God’s will be done; then be prepared to accept whatever answer God gives you.

Coming Up On My Next Post In This Series, we’ll begin looking at some of the things God wants us to do when we pray. The Scriptures have so much to teach us and I’m excited about what we’ve learned so far and will continue to learn. Drop by for a visit and let God show you how He wants you to pray. Until then, walk with God and may He fill your life with His love and blessings.

GETTING ANSWERS TO PRAYER PART 5

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. (3) being right yourself. And now, (4) asking for the right things.

4. ASK FOR THE RIGHT THINGS

A CARDINAL RULE OF ANSWERED PRAYER IS YOU’VE GOT TO PRAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOD’S WILL. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us, And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: {15} And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

IF YOU WANT ANSWERS TO PRAYER YOU MUST KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS BEFORE YOU PRAY. Then once you know what God’s will is, you pray in accordance or agreement  with  His  will. 

Brethren, YOU JUST CAN’T RUSH INTO PRAYER WITHOUT FIRST TAKING THE TIME TO ASK GOD WHAT HIS WILL IS! This is where a lot of us miss it and it’s the reason why a lot of us, a lot of times, don’t get answers to prayer–it’s because we asked God for what we wanted without taking the time to find out if it’s what He wanted. ANSWERED PRAYER IS FIRST AND FOREMOST WHAT GOD WANTS. If God doesn’t want us to have whatever it is we’re asking for, then He isn’t going to answer our prayer no matter how hard or how long we pray.

So how do you find out what God’s will is? You read the Bible and pray. And wait. That’s where a lot of us miss it. We don’t wait and listen. God wants to show you His will and, if you’re listening, God will speak to you by His Spirit. Sometimes He uses other people to tell you what He wants you to do. No matter how God chooses to speak to you, He will let you know His will if you really want to know it. And do it.

The good news is the promises of God are a revelation of what God’s will is. When you read the promise of salvation, forgiveness, healing, deliverance, provision, wisdom, and all the others; God is letting you know what His will is. When you ask for these provisions of God you’re praying in accordance with His will. Thus, you can be confident that God will hear and answer your prayer.

IF YOU WANT ANSWERS TO PRAYER YOU MUST ASK FOR SOMETHING THAT GOD HAS PROMISED. YOU CAN’T ASK GOD FOR SOMETHING THAT ISN’T HIS WILL. THUS, YOU CAN’T ASK HIM FOR SOMETHING THAT HE HASN’T PROMISED. So a crucial part of getting answers to prayer is knowing in advance what you can ask God for and what you can’t.

Some things, like healing and forgiveness, are understood by every people in every generation of time. It doesn’t matter if you live in the first century or the twenty-first: you know what sickness is and you have need of healing.

But because there are so many different cultures in this world and because each new generation brings new inventions; God couldn’t be specific about everything that He was wanting to give His people. For example, He couldn’t write a  verse  of  Scripture that promised you a new car because those poor saints in the first through the nineteenth centuries just wouldn’t know what a car is. So to clear up any confusions, God decided to lump all these specific provisions in one general word, the word ALL.

Jesus promised us in Matthew 21:22, ALL things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. The furniture, computer, house, job, vacation, and all the other things you’d like to have are covered in Jesus’ all-inclusive promise.

All things, brethren, applies not only to the things you need: it also applies to the things you desire. Mark 11:24 makes this fact resoundingly clear: Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Brethren, Jesus couldn’t make it any clearer than this. And His saying it trumps whatever anyone else says to the contrary. According to Jesus,  IT’S GOD’S WILL TO GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART! Hallelujah for that! But don’t stop here. Read on cuz there’s more.

Your heart has to be right! I’ll talk about this in my next post. But if you’re righteous and walking close to God, God can trust you with the desires of your heart. THE RIGHTEOUS DESIRE RIGHT OR RIGHTEOUS THINGS. That’s why God isn’t afraid to give them what they desire. Psalms 37:4  makes this truth abundantly clear: Delight thyself  also in the Lord; [find your pleasure or happiness in God; let God be the desire of your life]  and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Coming Up On My Next Blog In This Series. Having wrong motives or reasons won’t get your prayer answered. Surf on in and let’s get things right.

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.

GETTING ANSWERS TO PRAYER PART 3

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) In my last post we looked at being right with God. (2) Now, in the second place, we’ve got to be right with people.  

2. YOU’VE GOT TO BE RIGHT WITH PEOPLE

How you treat others has a profound effect on your prayers. IF YOU’RE NOT TREATING PEOPLE RIGHT, DON’T EXPECT GOD TO HEAR OR ANSWER YOUR PRAYER. HE WON’T.

Look at Zechariah 7:9-10 with me: This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.  (10)  Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other. 

What the Lord wanted the Israelites to do wasn’t rocket science. He wasn’t speaking to them in tongues. The people understood full well what God was telling them to do. Start treating people right. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, the immigrants or foreigners living among you, and the poor. Don’t be thinking of bad things that you can do to people. Treat everybody right. Don’t be messing people up.

Well, God’s people didn’t take God’s words to heart. Zechariah 7:11-12 records their stubborn response: Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing.  (12a)  They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by His Spirit through the earlier prophets.

God, in turn, got mad with His people (verse 12b). And in His anger, this is what God did: And it came about that as they would not give ear to his voice, so I would not give ear to their voice, says the Lord of armies (Zechariah 7:13). God, in a word, didn’t listen to, or answer, their prayers.

Isaiah 58 pretty much tells the same story. God’s people were boohooing on God’s shoulders, asking why God wasn’t paying any attention to them even though they were praying, fasting, and seeking His face. They were crying out to Him! But God wasn’t answering! Why not? He told them why in Isaiah 58:3-4, Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.  (4)  Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.

God says, Do this. This is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.  (7)  Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help (Isaiah 58:6-7).

And if we do what God says, this is what God does: Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.  (9a)  Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ He will quickly reply (Isaiah 58:8-9a).

Harboring unforgiveness and ill feelings towards a person has a hindering effect on our prayers: it’s like stuffing cotton in God’s ears. I love the promise of Mark 11:24, but Jesus quickly follows the promise with a command to forgive if we haven’t done that yet:  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.  (25)  And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses (Mark 11:24-25).

God’s so concerned about how we treat people that even a man’s mistreatment of his wife is a cause for unanswered prayer: Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

Are you beginning to get the drift here? If we’re unforgiving, unloving, abusive, and malicious towards people—towards a person—whether they’re in the family or church, whether they’re a Christian or not; we’re putting ourself in a position where God won’t answer our prayer. GOD DOESN’T ANSWER OUR PRAYER WHEN WE DON’T TREAT PEOPLE RIGHT.

Friends, if you haven’t gotten an answer to prayer, or if your prayers are going unanswered; then it would be worth your while to examine the state of your relationship with people. If there’s  someone  that  you’re  not getting  along  with, someone that you’re harboring bad feelings towards, or someone that you’re hurting; then you’ve found the reason why your prayers aren’t being answered.

YOU HAVE TO TREAT PEOPLE JUSTLY AND RESPECTFULLY IF YOU WANT GOD TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS. If you want God to do you right, you’ve got to do people right. Treat them right first. Then ask God for what you want. That’s how you get answers to prayer.

Coming Up On My Next Blog In This Series. Being righteous. Think you can get answers to prayer without living the right way? Do you seriously think how you live your life doesn’t matter to God or affect His hearing? Wow, are you in for a surprise! Surf on in and God will have your surprise waiting for you.

GETTING ANSWERS TO PRAYER PART 2

Like I said in my previous post, I’m not much for formulas or secrets when it comes to anything having to do with God. I started out with a lot of formulas a long, long time ago and I slowly, painfully, learned that God isn’t going to allow Himself to be put in a box and made to do things for us whenever we push the right buttons. So when it comes to answered prayers I don’t have any formulas or secrets to give you.

Here’s what I’d like to do for you. I read through the Bible a number of times and I noticed that God said a lot of things—I mean a whole lot of things—about prayer. So I collected what God said about getting answers to prayer. Since I’m a pretty organized, structured fellow, this is how I organized my findings. If we want 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.  

IF YOU WANT ANSWERS, BE RIGHT

IF YOU WANT GOD TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS YOU’VE GOT TO BE RIGHT. There are five aspects of being right. (1) Be right with God; (2) Be right with men; (3) Be righteous; (4) You’ve got to ask for the right thing; and (5) You’ve got to ask for the right reason. Let’s look at each of these individually.

1. YOU’VE GOT TO BE RIGHT WITH GOD. Jesus tells us in John 15:7, If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

I’d like to you to focus on the latter part of this verse because Jesus very clearly promises to answer our prayers: Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Notice however that before Jesus gives us the promise He tells us what His condition is: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you. There’s a two-fold condition for answered prayer here: (1) We have to abide in Christ; and (2) Christ’s words have to abide in us. Let’s look at each of these conditions individually.

First, we have to abide in Christ. What does that mean? To abide means exactly what it means: to live, dwell, remain, stay, or continue, in a certain place. In the vernacular, if we want God to answer our prayers we’ve got to hang out with Him. We’ve got to go and find out where He is, then when we find Him we stay with Him. We walk with Him. We develop a close, intimate friendship and relationship with Him.

If you’re an occasional visitor to the throne room; if you’re a Sunday Christian or a Holiday Christian; if you don’t talk a whole lot to God; don’t think a whole lot about Him; don’t spend a whole lot of time with Him; if God doesn’t live in your house; if He isn’t your constant companion throughout the day or week; if God’s a stranger to you; then the promise of answered prayer doesn’t apply to you.

Read it again in John 15:7. The prayers that Jesus promises to answer are the prayers of those who are always at Jesus’ side. Answered prayer isn’t a formula or a secret: it’s a close, intimate relationship with God. This is where answered prayer begins.

The second condition for answered prayer that we find in John 15:7 is Jesus’ words have to abide in us. What does that mean? The word abide means the same thing as before: God’s Word has to live with us, stay with us, always be in us. It’s like a soldier who carries his backpack full of MRE’s (Meals Ready To Eat). When he’s hungry, when it’s time to eat, he pulls an MRE out, tears it open, and eats it. The food goes out of the package and goes into his stomach.

That’s the way it must be with God’s Word. If the Bible is a closed book, if we’re not reading it, learning it, memorizing it; then it’s like an MRE that stays in the backpack but never makes it to our stomach.

The Word doesn’t benefit us until we open it, read it, understand it, believe it, memorize it, and obey it.  It’s like the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.  The only seed that produces fruit is the seed that goes into the fertile soil of the heart. When we open our Bible, read it, and open our heart to it so that we understand it, then God’s words abide in us. When this happens—when we’re with Jesus and His words are with us—then Jesus promises to answer our prayer.

Another way of looking at it is this. If you’re not living close to God, THE FARTHER YOU ARE FROM GOD, THE LESS INCLINED GOD IS TO HEAR YOU.

Isaiah 59:1-2 says it best, Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  (2)  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

If you’re in sin and are disobeying the Lord, then the only prayer God will hear from you is your prayer of repentance; your prayer for forgiveness and/or salvation.

The principle of answered prayer is this. IF YOU DON’T LISTEN TO GOD, GOD’S NOT OBLIGED TO LISTEN TO YOU.  Proverbs 28:9, He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. (Read Proverbs 1:24-32.)

THE MORE LUKEWARM YOU ARE; THE MORE WORLDLY, SELFISH, UNHOLY, AND DISOBEDIENT YOU ARE; THE LESS CHANCE YOU HAVE OF BEING HEARD.

If you want God to hear and help you, you’ve got to turn around and head in His direction. 2 Chronicles 7:14 comforts us with this promise,  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

I John 3:22 sums it up, And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. Brethren, IF YOU WANT ANSWERS TO PRAYER YOU’VE GOT TO BE RIGHT WITH GOD. BE OBEDIENT TO HIM.

Coming Up On My Next Blog In This Series. Being right with people. Think that answered prayer is strictly something between you and God? Not so. People are involved and they’ll have some say or pull on whether or not your prayers get answered. Stay tuned.

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!