Since God is Sovereign and the believer’s identity, life and purpose are set by God in eternity, why pray? Does prayer change anything? Scripture tells us to pray always, without ceasing. Really, is that realistic? Can I pray for the fulfillment of my dreams? What does God guarantee in His Word about prayer? Are there wrong prayers?
With all of these questions, where does one start address them? Well – let’s first start with a prayer and go from there.
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. … For I was born a sinner–yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me–now let me rejoice. … Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. … Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. … Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you. You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. – Psalm 51:2-3, 5-8, 10, 12, 15-17 NLT
The LORD wanted a man “after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) to be King over Israel and He sent Samuel to anoint David (the seventh son of Jessie) to be future King over Israel (1 Samuel 16). Imagine the thoughts of David’s family or even Samuel: how on earth would this boy replace Saul and when? God had a plan. The plan not only would place David on the throne, but it included developing David through his human weaknesses by revealing the selfish inclinations of his heart; and, then providing forgiveness after David repented. Psalm 51 was the prayer David offered when Nathan the prophet confronted him about adultery with Bathsheba. The entire account can be read in 2 Samuel 11:1-27 and 2 Samuel 12:1-13.
We understand that prayer for repentance brings us back into right relationship with our Saviour, and certainly repentance should not be the only reason to talk to the Person who loves us so completely. Some people pray thinking that their petitions will change God’s mind and others do not pray because they believe God’s sovereignty negates the need for prayer. What do you think? Does prayer alter God’s plan?
The approach taken to digest God’s Word on prayer is outlined as follows: (1) what we should pray for; (2) why we are commanded to pray; and then, (3) what the outcomes we can expect; followed by (4) a brief conclusion which may change the way we look at prayer.
Section 1: What Should We Pray For?
The book of Colossians was written by Paul to address the Christians in Colosse and Laodicea (Colossians 1:2; 4:16) warning them against the heresy that had developed within their gatherings.
It is particularly interesting that Paul gave instructions to the Colossians to send this letter to the Laodicean church after they had read it because later Jesus sent a warning to the Laodiceans. “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing‘–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— – Revelation 3:15-17 NKJV
The solution to the false teachings about works-based lifestyles and earthly philosophies for contentment was to focus on Christ and stop focusing on the world. Paul’s letter reminds these Christians to …seek those things which are above, where Christ is…. He tells them: Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:1-3 NKJV
- human philosophies (which denied the sufficiency and pre-eminence of Christ – Colossians 2:8)
- Judaist ceremonialism (which enforced legalistic Old Testament regulations – Col 2:11,16-17)
- angel worship – which was idolatry and minimized the deity of Christ – Colossians 2:18)
- asceticism – which called for harsh treatment of the body to subdue its cravings – Colossians 2:20-23)
In the final instructions in Colossians, these brief and key instructions are provided which aligns with Christ’s parables:
- Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – Colossians 4:2-6 NIV
Such a simple solution to living a satisfying life free of deception and full of liberty! Just for illustrative purposes, the above passage briefly outlines what we are to pray for and can be grouped as follows:
What to Pray For (Based on the collective counsel of Scripture)
|Set Our Minds on Things Above|
(Colossians 3:1-3 and 4:3-4)
Love God Pre-eminently (Mark 12:30)
|Devote Ourselves to Prayer |
(Colossians 4:2, 5-6)
Love Others as Yourself (Mark 12:31)
Note: Wherever the word “specified” appears, it is intended to be instructional by recommending specific names be lifted up to the LORD to avoid generic prayers.
- Pray for increased Knowledge of Christ through His Word
- Pray for the Kingdom of God to be established on earth through:
- the glorification of the LORD
- the direct and clear proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by you and specified leaders
- His drawing of specified souls (their conviction of sin and regeneration /salvation and sanctification)
- revival within a specified church, community and nation
- deliverance from the works of the enemy (trouble, enemies, sickness) for specified church and area
- blessing over specified churches and God-centred business activities
- blessing over specified saints of God and the poor.
- Pray for communion with the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and His body/the church for:
- adoration of who He is acknowledging character (what you sincerely know of Him now)
- thanksgiving for His works within your life and for answered prayers
- request for more knowledge of His Divinity
- request to give you boldness, grace, salt/peace and opportunity to have conversations about the LORD
- request to increase personal consecration & sanctification (repentance, revival, persistence, obedience including the alignment of priorities, increased development Christ-like character)
- deliverance from the works of the enemy (trouble, enemies, sickness) for yourself and family and other specified peoples
- requests for abilities: watchfulness and discernment concerning spiritual strategies
- requests for blessing over self, family and specified people and business activities for the day
- thanksgiving before meals and other provision
- So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” – Luke 11:2-4 NKJV
While Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread, I wonder if He was teaching us to be content with receiving our provision day by day which would require the development of trust and dependence, as well as acknowledgment of the Father as our source. Jesus also said that He came to give us the abundant life (John 10:10) which starts at conversion which He provides; abundant life may – or – may not include the abundance of wealth, health, and things. He loves us so much, He will not give us anything that will cause us to sin. What can He give us for our good that we will not turn into an idol or cause someone else to stumble?
While our prayer life can include our earthly needs, it truly should be focused on the spiritual matters. Prayer is for conversation and connectedness with God in order to glorify His name and fulfill His purposes for us and through us for others (Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13; Philippians 2:1-2). The beautiful result of this privilege is that our hearts are so filled with a sense of release, joy and peace, it can be difficult to differentiate the outcome from the purpose of prayer.
- “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. “For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. – Luke 12:29-31 NKJV.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. … “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29, 31 NKJV
So with our main focus on the Kingdom of God, the LORD invites us to talk to Him about our needs because we have relationship with Him and He cares for us. We are after-all a part of the Kingdom of God, we are His subjects/servants and His beneficiaries. He wants to talk to us and He will sustain us. And if we have failed to be responsible with His sustenance, (i.e., not been a good steward of time, energy and resources) there may be consequences for our action/inaction and yet the LORD is still faithful to us; He will not allow lasting harm. Instead He will deliver us while correcting us.
SECTION 2: WhY WE ARE COMMANDED TO PRAY?
Reason #1: Prayer Develops Enduring Faith
There are many cross references for devotion to prayer, watchfulness and thankfulness in our key passage – Colossians 4:2 (such as 1 Samuel 12:23; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18; Matthew 26:41; Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36; 1 Peter 4:7; Colossians 2:7; Colossians 3:15, 17). Luke 18:1 and its context adds additional clarity surrounding why we ought to pray always and with persistence.
- Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’ ” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:1-8 NIV
From this passage it becomes clear that Jesus instructs believers to pray for justice against the adversary. Scripture states: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12 NKJV. In addition, Christ is highlighting persistence specifically in relation to faith. Notice the parable ends with a question pertaining to faith in the end times.
Food for thought:
- Do the pressures and lures of today’s world distract many from an active and intimate devotion to our LORD? Our demanding lives compete for precious time. Even good, Godly “obligations” can pull us away from time with the LORD.
- Is the illusion self-sufficiency deceiving many into a denial of the value of/need for prayer? The lukewarm church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-17 was warned of this very thing – faith in themselves/wealth as their source.
Praying persistently is an exercise of faith that deepens our hope/expectation and our relationship. One can not hope for something that they do not believe can happen. Faith and hope will help us stand firm until the day of our glorification.
Without a strong consistent prayer life, our confidence in the LORD’s ability and nature can be eroded causing us to drift from Him due to the cares of life, the worldly pursuit of happiness, and the enemy assaults. If we drift, we may involve ourselves in thoughts, behaviours and activities that result in negative consequences for us and others. In contrast, when we persist in prayer, we access more and more of the grace of God. His grace is sufficient to help in our time of need and His presence soothes are inner being:
- Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:1-5 NKJV
- And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
- Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me–A prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:7-8 NKJV
Reason #2: Prayer Heightens our Spiritual Awareness/Watchfulness
When we maintain fellowship with Him in prayer, our words access the very throne of God. Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest makes intercession for us to the Father (Hebrews 7:24-25; Hebrews 4:14), and the Holy Spirit within us ministers to our spirits about the conversation they are having about us (1 John 5:7; John 14:26; 1 John 2:27). This maintains our faith and peace (Jude 1:20-21, 24-25) specifically since our loving Father has gone to the greatest extent to secure us. He did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, (Romans 8:32) and calls us beloved (John 16:27).
In addition to a heightened awareness of our LORD’s love for us, when we pray, we gain clarity about: (1) Scripture; (2) dangers to avoid; (3) ways to help people; and, (4) anything else we need to know for the day. The very Word of God who spoke the universe into being, is speaking words of protection and blessing over us when we invite Him to act on our behalf in our day.
The Holy Spirit is warning us when necessary, bringing Scripture we have read back to our remembrance, and providing peace. This peace stops us from panicking and helps us to remain watchful, examining, calm, and focused in order to render wise decisions. He will tell us what we ought to do (Matthew 10:20, 24). The enemy is unable to do anything to a believer without expressed consent from the LORD (Matthew 10: 29; John 19:11; Job 42:2) and many times we can cause our own issues by being unwise. If the LORD allows the enemy to test us, we know our Sovereign Omniscient LORD has already worked out everything in advance for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28). The LORD has removed all evil authority/power over those who have turned away from darkness and have placed their trust in the LORD.
- He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, – Colossians 1:13 NKJV
- We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. – 1 John 5:18 NKJV
- “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. – Revelation 3:10 NKJV
- … to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ – Acts 26:18 NKJV
- Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
When we read God’s Word, our faith increases (Romans 10:17); and when we pray, our spirits are strengthened so that with faith and prayer (in watchfulness and thanksgiving) we can stand against any adversary seeking to destroy those in His kingdom. When we see the outcomes, our confidence and trust grow deeper yielding even deeper faith. When we have the peace about our security in God and His goodness, there is nothing the enemy can throw at us because we KNOW whom we have believed in.
- Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— – Ephesians 6:13-18 NKJV
Reason #3: Prayer Cultivates Gratitude which Brings Contentment
There are Scripture passages explaining why the children of Israel repeatedly fell into grumbling and idolatry historically; much like our current world. It usually stemmed from a lack of gratitude. Gratitude comes from a realization of goodness in our lives but it is only momentary unless there is a commitment to recall into remembrance a list of the LORD’s blessings as well as our deliverance. If memory is not what it used to be, start keeping a list of answered prayer with dates plus any other blessings. Psalm 106 is just one of the many accounts where God blessed people, and they disregarded His gracious and His awesome power after some passing of time. The desires for other things and ways aided in their repeated compromise with sin.
- … they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known. He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; …. Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. In the desert they gave in to their craving; …. In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the LORD. ... At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. … Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD. … They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; …. they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. … Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy…
- Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
Gratitude brings lasting contentment because it glorifies God who in turn continues to pour about His blessings. When our minds rest in His peace, our thoughts are focused on the positive truth of His Word which naturally flow back out of us to Him as prayers of thanksgiving and to others as encouragement. Thanksgiving also causes us to remember how loathsome sin really is. Sin may seem appealing to the flesh until it is time to pay its price which Scripture says is death and the lake of fire (Romans 6:23; Matthew 10:28; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8). When we see the God’s grace and forgiveness in the light of His perfection, we ought to repent and be thankful for His mercies. Unfortunately, some consequences of sin (i.e., sickness, addiction, horrible memories, broken people/families, wars, etc.) may have taken effect prior to salvation – or – be still unfolding. Praise God, our LORD is our healer and redeemer! Pray.
- But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV
If you have would like to know how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, please visit https://desiringfruitfulness.ca and scroll down section that explains THE WAY to Reconciliation with God.
Reason #4: Prayer Aligns our Priorities and Purifies our Motives
It is very difficult to go to the LORD and ask Him for something we know He does not agree with. We know what His will is by reading His Word, yet we have a flesh that is contrary to the will of God. We should be very thankful for His gift of the Holy Spirit within us. The Holy Spirit within us is also praying (Romans 8:26-27) and so when we pray, the entire Godhead is strengthening us (Galatians 5:16-17). The Spirit will reveal things we need to confess and will soften our hearts so that we are more fruitful through His whispering of Scriptures we have read. If we are not praying in accordance with God’s will, God is good enough to deny our request and realign our desires (James 4:3). Read the following Scripture with the focus of God giving us desires that align with His will by placing them in our hearts; changing our hearts so that the desires are aligned with God’s will.
- Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4 NKJV.
This can be our prayer: LORD, please give me the right desires in my heart. Imagine always having the right desires and getting them!
Prayer and Scripture reading is how we abide in the Word. It is the exchange of love letters and songs of the heart between two who are devoted to each other above anything else.
- Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 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. – Romans 8:26-27 NKJV
Each time we earnestly go to God in prayer, as our Maker hears us and He is intimately aware of what type of refreshing we need for our journey. He is faithful to respond to our souls like no other could and deepens our faith and confidence.
Reason #5: Prayer Increases our Love and Forgiveness for Others
- “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, – Matthew 5:44 NKJV
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21 NKJV
Praying to the LORD to help us overcome hurts, betrayals, and bad behaviours/words that came from a person. Praying for His assistance is the best thing we can do to be able to forgive and move on. Regardless if the reason or nature of the wrong doing, holding on to unforgiveness robs us of joy and hinders our relationship with our loving Father. If you are still angry, you can think this way: I’m not going to allow the enemy to separate my fellowship with the LORD over this. In Christ, we have authority over evil.
- “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
The wonderful thing about asking the LORD to help us with forgiveness is that He is the expert, and His Spirit that dwells within us knows how to heal our hurts. When we start blessing those who trespass against us and start to intercede for their wellness, our capacity to love and forgive others grows by virtue of practice. Our hearts start begin to soften like Christ (and Stephen) who asked forgiveness for their aggressors (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). Because the LORD already knows our thoughts, we can confess to Him that we may not even have the desire to forgive but that we want to be obedient to Him. Our Father will readily help us with this as a first step, while we continue to pray and bless offenders daily until true forgiveness is achieved. Over time, it will become more difficult to offend us; the power of love will reign stronger in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. This ability will also enable us to speak the truth to others in love because there will be no evil in the thinking or intent.
- Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV
The LORD’s sanctification work in us, will produce the results. He knows our humanity and has already foreseen our journeys. Our role is to submit to His Will/Word and depend on Him through prayer.
Reason #6: Prayer Fulfills a Duty to the LORD
Scripture informs us that we are to … fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. – Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NLT. Praying, reading Scripture, assembling together with believers and communion are a few of the duties for Christians. These are notably considered to be worship for it acknowledges God as Jehovah Adonai, The Word of God and rightly places ourselves beneath Him. There are numerous Scriptures teaching us to pray and the following remind us of the immanence of the same.
- “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21:36 NKJV
- But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. – 1 Peter 4:7 NKJV
When we come before for the Lord in prayer, we humble ourselves and pray to the Father in Christ’s name believing in Him (which qualifies us to talk to Him – justification through faith). If we do this, and we pray sincerely, forgiving one another and confessing our sins, we know He hears us and will answer us as we abide in His Word and in communion with Him through the Holy Spirit (John 15).
Reason #7: Prayer Gives God Glory – Which is our Primary Purpose
Our LORD is the ultimate good and He is love. He is perfectly righteous while being gracious and merciful to us who believe in Him. It is only because of His grace that we are allowed to be participants of His Divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4). God’s plan is to fulfill His own good pleasure which is to bring everything together under the authority of Christ; for us to be His people and He our God. Because we are united with Christ, He has given us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him (Ephesians 1:9-11, 13-14). He tells us to pray for our good (Revelation 14:7; Revelation 16:9).
- No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. … All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. – 1 John 4:12-13, 15-19 NLT
Jesus prayed frequently. He only did as His Father did (John 5:19; John 15:15). When we pray, we open our spirits to communication with our Saviour which allows Him to perfect us. Our triune God is constantly in complete fellowship with each other in unity. They are One. The more we reflect His image by joining with Him, the more we give God glory. God alone, as the supreme over all creation, is worthy of all glory and honour. He remains the all-powerful, eternal, and the infinite being over all that exists. He is truly good and gracious to condescend into our fallen world redeeming us and transforming us into His glorious nature. As such, whatever we ..do in word or deed, we do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)
- Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! – 1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV
- And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Ephesians 5:20 NLT
- Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. – Hebrews 13:15 NLT
SECTION 3: WhAT OUTCOMES CAN WE EXPECT?
The fact that God knows what will happen guarantees certain outcomes. Although we may not understand all the things God does/permits or why, we are obedient because we love Him and we trust His character – so we pray and wait for circumstances to align with God’s declared will.
God is holy which means He is set apart and there is none like Him. Even in eternity when we have been translated, we will never be exactly like Him – we will always be the created. I’m so thankful we will be better reflections of our LORD. Because we were created in His image, there are some things we can relate to at a certain level; however, we can not truly comprehend how all of His attributes play out especially as it pertains to answering pray.
God has brought and permitted people and situations to enter our lives for His purposes. To give us success in fulfilling these works of righteousness ordained beforehand (Ephesians 2:10), He has given us an unlimited invitation to pray. Prayer gives Him the righteous and just reason to intervene on our behalf because He has already declared:
- ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ – Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV
- The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. – Psalm 145:18 NKJV
Therefore since prayer changes things, we expect:
- His answers are either yes or no. A “yes” can include wait.
- His timing is “on-time” which means it is never early, never late; and it can mean never, or in eternity.
- His ultimate reason for the answer to prayer is for His glory and our good.
- His answer will never contradict His Word.
- His answer will ultimately change us and therefore bring us into agreement, provide comfort and peace.
- He will give us His presence which is the best answer because with Him we can endure and overcome everything.
Are there conditions attached to receiving answered prayer? Of course! If there were no conditions, God could not be righteous. The wonderful thing is that the conditions are very achievable. Humanity would continue to ask for things that are against God’s righteousness and His complete knowledge of what is good for man. The following is not exhaustive; it is an example of conditions but we can grasp the principles from this.
|His Word||Condition||Sample Scripture|
|He will hear us/listen to us||When we are living in obedience or repenting||Psalm 34:4-5; Psalm 138:3; 1Peter 3:12|
|He will save us eternally||When we have placed our faith in Him||John 3:16; John 10:28; Romans 10:9,12|
|He will forgive us||When we have placed our faith in Him||1 John 1:9|
|He will heal us eternally||Upon translation/glorification by either death or catching away if we have placed our faith in Him||1 Corinthians 15:54; Revelation 21:4|
|He will heal us physically temporarily||When it does not contradict what He has declared||Psalm 30:2; James 5:16; 2Corinthians 12:8-9|
|He will deliver you||When it does not contradict what He has declared||Psalm 50:15; Psalm 34:4-5; Hebrews 4:15|
|He will direct your paths||When you pray and acknowledge Him||Proverbs 3:6; Hebrews 4:15|
|It may not be what we want||Frequently||Matthew 7:7-11|
|He will sanctify you||For those who have placed their faith in Him – Always occurring while in the body||1 John 1:9 Isaiah 40:30-31; John 17:17; 1Thessalonians 5:23|
|He will save your family||As He has declared/predestined||Acts 2:39; John 6:37; Matthew 10:34-39|
|He will bless you financially||When it does not contradict what He has declared; When it does not cause us to sin.||James 4:3; Malachi 3:10-11|
|He will provide your needs (food, shelter, clothing)||Always||Matthew 6:31-34; Luke 12:29-32, 34|
|He will give you a family (may in include spouse, children, friends)||He will be your all in all. Additionally, He will add to you relationships that will be for your good and for His glory.||Proverbs 18:24; John 15:15; Psalms 68:6; Isaiah 61:1; Acts 12:24; Revelation 1:9; Galatians 6:10; 1Peter 2:17; 1Peter 5:9|
|He will provide justice||Whether you see it or not||Psalm 10:17-18; Luke 18:7-8|
|He will intervene in nature||When it does not contradict what He has declared||James 5:17-18|
When we are praying about a specific situation, we ought to remember God’s attributes are not exclusive/independent of each other. When we invite our LORD into our situations, we should remember that every attribute is co-contributing in His presence. We can be certain that all of Him will intervene in our petitions: His eternality, mercy, goodness, omnipotence, grace, omnipresence, holiness, omniscience, immanence, righteousness, immutability, Self-existence, justice, sovereignty, love, transcendence. This gives some insight in to His responses to prayer.
Whatever He has willed; I am humbled and thankful that He has so decided to include me. My emotions may not always enjoy the process, but I enjoy my journey IN HIM! Be blessed!
Additional Scriptural Reference Information
|Originating Scripture||Cross Reference||Comment|
|Luke 18:1-8||Isaiah 40:30-31; Ephesians 6:18; 1Thessalonians 5:17-24; Acts 1:14; Romans 12:12; Luke 11:5-8; |
|Prayer brings hope which renews strength. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Bold prayers demonstrate absolute confidence in God’s nature and ability which is faith and worship.|
|Isaiah 40:31||2Corinthians 4:16-18; |
|Prayer focuses our thoughts on the eternal which renews us daily. Prayer enables us to fulfill the kingdom purposes despite trials.|
|2 Corinthians 4:1||2Corinthians 3:17-18||Prayer focused on the LORD provides a release through the Holy Spirit producing freedom in the heart.|
|Luke 18:7; Isaiah 40:31 Eagles Wings||Exodus 19:4||Justice for those who cry out|
|Colossians 4:3||Acts 14:27 ; Revelation 3:8;|
|Door of Faith, Ambassador for Christ, Boldness|
|Colossians 4:6||Ephesians 4:29; Mark 9:50; 1Peter 3:15||Conversation, Salt, Peace, Testimony with Respect and Gentleness|