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Sunday, June 10, 2012

God Will Answer "Yes" to These Prayers - According to the Bible

God Will Answer “Yes” to These Prayers – According to the Bible

Scripture says: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the answers that we have asked of Him.”   (1 John 5:14-15)

In this Scripture and in many others, we are given the promise that if we pray for something that is Gods’ Will; God will give us what we ask!  When Jesus was teaching his disciples (and us) how to pray, He taught them the Lord’s Prayer.  In this prayer, Jesus taught this same truth as He prayed: “Your (Gods’) will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)  

Scripture tells us that heaven is a place where God’s will is accomplished – a good place where there is no sin and no death.  Isn’t Jesus teaching us that we should pray that God’s will be accomplished here on earth too?  Since everyone will love  God in heaven we can pray that a family member or friend will come to love God here on earth.  And we can know that it is God’s will that the one we pray for loves Him.  So we know that we are praying according to His will.    

 These scriptures tells us that if we ask in faith for something that is Gods’ will, then we can count on receiving what we have asked for.  That’s a heavy promise- but that’s what the Good Book says.  But there is no promise in Scripture as to how long it may take for our prayers to be answered.  We all want our prayers to be answered quickly. It could take years (centuries) for the answer to arrive – maybe a life time to wait while the “answer is on the way.”  

Let’s read James 4:2-3.  “You do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.”  Isn’t this passage saying that we may not get some of our prayers answered if we ask God to give us things we want that aren’t in His will?  We need to learn to subordinate our wishes to His will?

How do we know what is God’s will anyway?  Scripture says that the Holy Spirit guides us to know the mind of the Father.  And also I would say that we can know much of God’s will by studying the Bible since the Bible is another way that God speaks.  We can listen to what God may want to say to us as we read and study the Bible.  Psalm 119:11 says; “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.”  When we study the Bible (Gods’ Word) we learn what God says about an activity or a relationship and we can obey what He commands.

 We read the Ten Commandments in the Bible (Exodus 20) and we find that we are commanded to honor our parents.  (Fifth Commandment)  We may have excuses for not treating our parents with respect, but this commandment in the Bible brings us back to reality.  And we may have never thought that if we want (desire) something that doesn’t belong to us that that is wrong.  That is until we read the Tenth Commandment, where we are commanded not to covet (want, desire) anything that belongs to other people.  In these cases God’s Word becomes a lamp for our feet and a light on our path as we walk through this life.  (Psalm 119:105)

These passages in the Bible about praying in Gods’ will make our prayer relationship with God sound simple.  But then there are more Biblical teachings about prayer that we need to consider too.  Scripture tells us that unbelief and a lack of faith can be a hindrance to our prayer and to our relationship with God. James 1:6 reads:  “Let him ask in faith without doubting…”  

We can ask God to give us more faith in Him.  I like the prayer in Scripture; “I believe, please God, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) And the Bible says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God,(Romans 10:17) so we should spend time in Bible study, since our faith grows by “feeding on the Word.”  We need to feed the soul as well as the body, and God’s Word is food for our souls. Worshiping and praying with other believers helps our faith to grow as well.  We need to take care of our precious faith.    

Another hindrance to prayer is sin.  If we cling to our stubborn pride or our sin it can hinder our prayer life and our relationship with God.  Psalm 66:18 reads: “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened to my prayer.”  We can pray and ask God to reveal any sin or broken relationship that we need to attend to.  And if He reveals something, we can confess that sin and repent.

 Of course we will never be sinless, but we can turn from the sins that God shows us.  We need to be humble and willing to follow where He leads.  So when we enter into Gods’ presence to pray we need to enter humbly before Him with faith in Him and with a repentant heart.  And then we can pray in agreement with His will and know that we will have the answers.    

Years ago I knew a loving Christian woman whose husband was an agnostic.  This woman began to pray for the salvation of her husband, but nothing happened.  She prayed and she prayed for him but still there was no change.  Years passed and she stood on the promises in Scripture that if she asks anything according to God’s will, He would answer. And she also clung to the passages that tell us that it is always His will for a person to have eternal life.

 Forty long years went by and she continued praying and believing and waiting for her husband to come to Christ.  And her agnostic husband continued holding tightly to his unbelief and nothing seemed to change.  But one day the husband surprised everyone and announced that he would go to church with his praying wife. And not long after that he accepted Christ as his Savior and his whole life changed.  The wife’s many prayers were finally answered and her joy was over the top.  But she waited forty years to see her prayers answered. 

 This woman explained to me that because she knew that it was Gods’ will that every person have eternal life she could continue praying and waiting, knowing that her prayers for her husband would be answered.  She said that when she would get discouraged she would read the many passages in Scripture that say that God wants everyone to know Him and come to eternal life.   One such passage is: “The Lord is …not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9)

I was young when I heard this story, and this older woman and her prayer life was an inspiration to me.  I wanted to learn to stand on the promises in the Bible like she had done.  I too began to pray for things to happen that I knew were in God’s Will and I began to wait for the answers that I knew would eventually come.  Many of my prayers have been answered miraculously.  But some are still on the way.  And I’ve been waiting twenty-five years for one desperate prayer to be answered.  

 It’s an exciting way to live - wondering how the answers to our prayers will come. Waiting and anticipating!  And then over the top rejoicing when our prayers are finally answered!  We have a generous heavenly Father who loves to give His children good gifts.  And we have a wonderful loving God who wants us to ask so that we may receive and to knock so that He may open the door.  We are so very blessed!       

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