TEXT: Ps. 91:15: “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”
Many of us pray and we don’t seem to get answers to our prayers; and we have concluded in our hearts (sometimes subconsciously that prayers do not work). Some of us on the other hand have made prayer more like a mandatory and obligatory routine that we turn to only when we have crisis. Prayer to a lot of us have become so mechanical that it no longer produces the result and the effect expected of the prayer of the righteous. Some of us still have a pre-conditioned mind about certain things before we bring them to God in prayers, only looking to God for ‘approval’ as it were. God is never a rubber stamp – He has provided guidelines in the scriptures for us to follow if we want our prayers to be answered.
Why are prayers not answered? Simply because there are guidelines and conditions guiding prayers for it to be answered. Until we fulfill these conditions we would only be wasting our precious time, making unnecessary noise in the church.
We must however not leave these write up today without this assurance that God answers prayer (Ish.65:24: “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”). We only need to stand firm in His word. I hope to answer the questions in the heart of many of us as we consider the conditions that must be fulfilled for our prayers to be answered.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS FOR ANSWERED PRAYERS?
1. Come To God By Faith. (Heb.11:6; 4:16)
Clearly put, anything done outside of faith can never receive God’s approval. Our prayers must be much more than a routine, it must be done in faith. That is, faith must be the motivation for our prayers. Access God’s presence with the confidence of a child entering to his father’s bedroom to make a request for the day.
God is not at all embarrass at your ‘barging in’ on Him. He wants you to come with the faith of a child that wants to tell his Daddy something important. This is the picture I want you to have in your mind as you go to God in prayers next time – come with a conviction that you cannot be turned back and down.
God delights in showing Himself strong on your behalf (2Chr.16:9). He was to showcase His power on your behalf and put your enemies to shame.
2. Know What The Will of God Is Concerning What You Are Praying About. (1Jn.5:14; Mat.6:10)
God is not a rubber-stamp. The reason a lot of us don’t get answers to our prayers is because we already have an alternative before we come to God in prayers. God will never show up for as long as you have alternatives. God always wants the praise to Himself and will only show up when you have exhausted all your options and you are at a cross road.
3. Put Away Unrighteousness. (Pro.15:8; Ish.58:9)
A story was told us how our father-in-the-Lord went to a country in one of his mission trips. When he arrived at the airport, observing the dryness and the harshness of the weather, the ministers of God who came to receive him confirmed to him that it had not rained for a while. As a matter of fact it was a matter of national concern as prayer meetings have been held by very senior Christian leaders for God to release rain. And it did not rain for months!
But in his very simple and unassuming way he said it will rain before we get to the hotel. As they approached the airport and he was about to enter the hotel, it rained for the first time in many months!
When one of the concerned pastor asked him for the secret, he simply said, “…holiness”.
The prayer of an unrighteous man is an abomination to God. Simple!
4. Constantly Abide In God’s Word. (Jn.15:7)
The more of the word of God you have in you, the easier it is for you to communicate to God what His will concerning issues are. God is always looking for a witness on earth – someone who will confirm His word and return it to Him with effect.
Anytime we go to God in prayer it is similar to a lawyer in the court of law and we have got to argue ‘our case’ before the Judge, bringing ‘strong reasons’ to Him. A lawyer cannot make a good case outside of what the constitution says, so also a believer cannot make an enough good case outside of the word.
5. Ask In His name. (Jn.14:14)
Someone might say, “but I pray in the name of Jesus; why then are my prayers not answered?” Praying in the name of Jesus is much more than appending the name to your words. It is not the amount of ‘in Jesus name’ that you put in your prayers that guarantee the answer (remember our edition [Vol. 1 No.8] titled: “…In Jesus’ name” that we treated sometime ago?).
Rather praying in the name of Jesus is about the relationship you have with that name. The name of Jesus on the lips of someone who is not born again is empty and lacks the power to produce answers.
The story of the sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-16 is a classic example to this fact. The name of Jesus is just another name in the mouth of the one who has not accepted Him and the Lord and personal Saviour.
6. Receive The Answers By Faith. (1Jn.3:22; Mark 11:24)
We started with the action of faith, and we will be closing with another action of faith.
To receive in the scripture above is the Greek word “lambano”, which means “to take a hold of without letting go; to seize something and remove it”. The implication of this is that we must get the hold on our answers and let them go till we see them manifest in the physical.
This is an act of faith. It is not something you do passively – you believe God for the answers and thank Him for the answers and thereafter begin to live like you have received it.
Develop a confidence and a knowing that God has done what you have requested of Him and then act like it (1Jn.5:14).
THE PRIVILEGES OF PRAYERS
1. Until You Pray There Cannot Be Answers. (Luke 11:9: “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”).
2. There Is Always Revelation Backing Up Great Prayers. (Jer. 33:3: ”Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”).