Conditions for Answered Prayer
Read John 14:12-14
Jesus taught many things about prayer and its central role in believer’s life. He also promised that our petitions will be answered when we meet certain requirements.
One condition is mentioned in John 14:14: after receiving Christ as our personal Savior, we have the right to present requests in Jesus’ name, which means praying something that the Lord Himself might pray. Whenever we exercise this privilege, we must come to the Father, depending not on our own good works or character but on the merits of Christ alone. Jesus’ atoning death on the cross is the only basis for approaching God and being assured of receiving an answer to our petitions.
A second requirement is separation from all know sin. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” This refers to ungodly behaviors and thought patterns which we know are wrong but refuse to give up. Remember, God looks at our heart attitude. If we struggle against our sinful ways, grieve over them, and ask for forgiveness, He will hear our cries and respond. But when He sees a hard heart, He is not obligated to listen.
Next time you pray, start with words of praise to God for His sacrificial love (1 John 4:10) and gratitude to Jesus for dying in your place. Express that you understand why your prayers are heard—because you have a relationship with the Father through Christ, and not because of anything you have done. Confess all know sin and ask for forgiveness. Then, present your requests to God with anticipation that He will answer.
Receiving Answers to Our Prayers
In response to our prayers, the Lord uses His power to penetrate closed minds and hard hearts. In that way, He brings people to salvation and transforms unrighteous lives.
We all want our petitions fulfilled, so it is important to understand God’s conditions for answered prayer. Besides having a relationship with Him (John 3:3) and confessing all know sin, we must have faith that His Word is true and His promises reliable. The Bible, which was divinely written by God through man, is without error. In this amazing book, the Lord reveals His nature—holy, sovereign, and perfect—and presents His plan of salvation (Romans 10:9). Because God’s promises are based on His perfect character, we can be certain He will do what He says; otherwise He would not be God. And Jesus’ promises can be trusted because He always spoken the Father’s words (John 12:49).
Another condition is that we ask according to the Lord’s purposes. We’re to pray for things that are in keeping with His divine plan and character. God wants us to discern His will, to pray that it would be carried out, and to do our part in fulfilling it (Matthew 6:9-10). The Holy Spirit will help us know what to pray. And as we consider which petitions to make, we should ask ourselves, Is my request based on God’s Word? How will an answer to this prayer bring me or someone else closer to Him?
It takes an investment of time to meet the Lord’s requirements for prayer. But in response, He will provide answers beyond anything we could ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20).
In Touch by Dr. Charles Stanley