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TITLE: Requirements For Answered Prayer
By Paul Weaver

1Thessalonians 5:17 is one of the most fascinating verses of the Bible, offering a foundation for success in all avenues of life in three words, “Pray without ceasing.” Are we to go around praying all day and night? What does praying without ceasing mean?

Before I dig into the concept of endless prayer, I want to look at something we hear so much about. A powerful ally is in our possession if we only learn to put it to use. This ally is our subconscious.

The human mind is divided into two parts: the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is where we imagine, think, sense things, and solve our problems. We are in total control of our conscious mind. The subconscious mind is where your emotions and intuition lie.

The subconscious mind is fed by the thoughts of the conscious mind. Good or bad, our subconscious mind will always provide a response to our conscious thoughts. The subconscious mind exists to provide answers to our questions and petitions.

If the subconscious is fed by the thoughts of our conscious mind, then it's in our best interest to maintain control of our conscious mind. Paul tells us to meditate, or to think on things which are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Php. 4:8). This is why the psalmist writes, “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Ps. 119:11 NKJV).” God's Word in our hearts is God's Word in our thoughts.

The subconscious mind is our direct link to God. Prayer is communicating with God. Prayer is the most powerful tool in the toolbox of the Christian believer. Prayer is the one thing the enemy of our soul doesn't want us doing, especially praying without ever stopping. How can we pray without ceasing? We can pray without stopping through our subconscious mind.

The direct link with God remains open always when we continue to feed our subconscious mind with right thoughts and with the Word placed within our conscious mind. The line of communication, which is prayer, will always be intact. We can take the thoughts of our conscious mind and feed them to our subconscious mind through prayer.

How many of us are often surprised when God answers one of our prayers? We get ecstatic when God answers prayer because it seems such a rarity for so many of us. I contend that answered prayer should be the norm for the Christian believer and not the exception.

The interesting fact concerning answered prayer is only two requirements are necessary for God to answer. I personally believe the number one cause of unanswered prayer is the first requirement: faith.

James 1:6 says when we pray, we are to ask in faith, with no doubting. Prayer and faith are tightly connected and can't be separated. Our faith in God answering our prayers must be absolute. Faith is such an important part of Christian belief the word is defined in the Bible. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1 NIV).”

Faith is having no doubts about the outcome of any endeavor. Faith is not wanting, hoping, longing, having the “it's my turn” attitude, or “God will answer my prayer because I deserve it” mentality. Faith is knowing the end result is never in doubt. Faith in prayer is knowing God will answer, not God can answer.

The second requirement necessary for answered prayer is God's will. How can we pray if we aren't sure what God's will is? Believers are continually questioning what God's will is. That's another subject for another time. However, praying God's will is an area which confuses many.

James 4:3 tells us we ask and don't receive because we're only asking for something to consume for our pleasure. This is a prime example of asking for something which isn't in accordance with the will of God. Let me pose a question. Do you think God's will is for us to suffer? Do you think God's will is for people to be hungry, to be in severe pain, to sorrow deeply, to be depressed to the point of taking their life, or to go into eternity never experiencing the goodness of God?

To pray with faith leaves no room for an “if clause”. I've heard prayers ending with the statement, “If it's your will God.” Why are we giving our doubt an out? This is such a convenient excuse for us to make when our prayers haven't been answered, “Well, it wasn't God's will.” Like I said, do you think God's will is for us to suffer sickness, pain, poverty, or anything else we can think of? No, a thousand times no!

I want to tie together the will of God and the subconscious mind. The Bible says we have an intercessor when we don't understand what we should pray for. This is where controlling the thoughts of the conscious mind becomes so vital for the Christian believer. This is where the simple truth of Philippians 4:8 becomes so real.

“Now he who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Ro. 8:27)”. God is the one who searches the hearts of men. This verse tells us clearly God reads the thoughts of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer is constantly making intercession for us in our subconscious mind, in our direct link to God. This is why our conscious thoughts are important. What thoughts are you feeding the Holy Spirit within you?

It's not so much what we're praying for, it's the why of what we're praying for which determines the answer. Is the answer to your prayer going to advance the Kingdom of heaven and bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ? If you can answer this question with a yes, you're praying in the will of God. Is the answer to your prayer something you want to satisfy lustful desires as per James 4:3? If you answer this question yes, than it's not likely to be in God's will. Don't leave escape clauses in your prayers.

Pray specifically, not generally. “God heal this cold I've got!”, or “God, I need $300 more to pay this month's bills!” These are specific prayers. Pray with confidence. Doubt is unbelief. Doubt is lack of faith. We believe God can answer. Faith is knowing God will answer. Our faith must be absolute. The end result of our prayer must never be in doubt. God will answer our ceaseless prayers.
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