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Answered Prayer - Ken's Copy

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"Great Questions:   Are There Conditions for My Prayers Being Answered" John 15August 19, 2001

 

 

 


 


* You've probably heard people say, "I've tried praying, but nothing happened. Didn't get any results.  So I don't believe in prayer."

  • Truth is that there are millions of prayers sent up every day but not as many answers coming back (at least answers in the sense of getting what was requested).
  • Why is that? Is prayer just a superstition that we hope will work when we are in a bad situation, but that really doesn't work most of the time?
  • There is a deeper question -- "Does God answer everyone's prayers?"
  • The technical answer is "Yes", but the reality is that God ignores many of our requests.  The Bible says that that God has laid out some conditions (5 to be exact) that must be met before He will respond to our requests.
  • We have a relationship based on God's unconditional Grace -- but our prayer life is based upon many conditions which we must meet before we can expect that God will respond to what we ask Him to do.

What are the five conditions for answered prayer?

 

1. You Must Have an Honest Relationship With God

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you."    John 15:7 (NIV) 

 

How do I remain in Jesus?  By keeping His words in our lives! God simply says, "You must prove yourself to be a good listener to Me.  You listen to Me and I will pay attention to you."

 

Am I saying that you must study your Bible night & day before God will answer your prayers?  No, I am saying that your prayer life will never be more effective that the level of your understanding of Scripture.

 

The more you know God's Word, the more you will know how to pray!

 

      3 Questions To Help You Do A Self-Check:

v      Do I or have I refused to admit things that I have done wrong in the past? 

Psalm 66:18  - If I hide sin, the Lord will not hear             

Isaiah 59:2 - Our sin separates us from God     

Proverbs 28:13 - "He who tries to conceal his sins cannot prosper, but he who admits them confesses them, forsakes them, will have mercy."

1 John 1:8 - "If we claim to be without sin, we're just deceiving ourselves. The truth is not in us. However if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sin."

v      Am I currently ignoring any of God's principles?

 1 John 3:21-22 "Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us we have confidence before God and we receive from Him anything we ask [That's the promise] because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.  This is His command: To believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and to love one another as He has commanded us." 

-          God doesn't demand perfection, He demands obedience.

-          Remember being asked to clean your room. You knew what that meant, but you scaled new heights in creativity as you  found places to stuff and hide things rather than really clean up?"

-          Obedience is an attitude before it is an action

 

v      Do I really want God's will for my life? 

1 John 5:14 "This is the assurance we have in approaching God that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know that He hears us then whatever we ask we know that we have what we've asked of Him." 

·         I want to make what may seem a radical statement.  I believe it is a mistake to run through your day asking about every little detail, "God is this your will?"

  • The real issue is not, "God is it your will that I wear the red dress or the black dress.  The real issue is "Lord, am I in your will as a person?"  Is my life aligned with you, God?
  • Augustine said, "Love God and do what you please."
  • To get back to the foundational point -- how do you know you desperately want to be in God's will?  You'll be reading the Bible, because God's will is revealed in God's Word.

2.  You Must Have a Forgiving Attitude Toward Other

     People.

-          Few things will kill your prayer life faster than resentment.

 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you've received it

  and it will be yours. [Condition:]  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything   against anyone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins."      Mark 11:24-25.  

Hebrews 12:15 (Living Bible) "Watch out that no bitterness take root among you for as it springs up among you it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives."

According to Peter, 1 big reason for a blocked prayer-life is in how husbands & wives treat each other:

(1 Peter 3:7 NIV)  "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."

 

3.      You Must Be Willing to Share the Results. 

Proverbs 21:13 "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered." 

 

1 John 3:22 (NIV)  "and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him."

 

1 John 3:17 (NIV)  "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?"

 

God's Generosity Principle:   "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."  2 Corinthians 9:6 (NIV) 

v   If you expect God to bless your life you must be willing to bless other people's lives with the same benefits God has given to you. 

 

We are supposed to be a conduit - carrying God's blessings to those around us.  How can I ask God to financially bless me or my business if I'm not already giving God my tithe and looking for additional ways to express generosity to those around me?

 

James 4:1 "What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but you don't get it.  You kill and you covet but you can't have what you want.  You quarrel and you fight.  But you have not because you don't ask God...

 

à Biggest need may be to ask God to clean up your motives and balance your desires.

à God is not interested in simply satisfying our own selfishness.

 

4.  You Must Believe God Will Answer Your Prayer

(James 1:5-7 NIV)  "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. {6} But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. {7} That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;"

 

(Matthew 9:29 NIV)  "Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you";"

 

Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

 

            Faith is not:

ð      Believing God can do it

ð      Desiring God to do it

 

Faith is:

ð      Believing God will do it.

ð      Many things are so tied into God's promises that all He asks of us is to do life the way He told us and there are almost automatic results.

Not unlike placing those pinto beans in the ground, watering them and watching them emerge, grow and produce more beans - it is simply the laws of the universe at work

 

Similarly God says, this is what I will do.  Do you believe me?

5.  You Must Pray in Jesus' Name

(John 14:13-14 NIV)  "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. {14} You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

·         What it isn't:

è     A secret code-word

è     The sign-off - <doesn't mean, sit down>

·         What it is:

è     An acknowledgement that I am spiritually bankrupt and have no right to expect God to hear me.  But, I come in the name of the One that the Father does listen to - Jesus!

è     Before it is words, it is an attitude.

Dad took his son and 3 friends to a carnival for his birthday.  Dad played the dutiful role of purchasing tickets, standing out in the open, and handing them to his son and friends when they needed them.  After a while a little boy he'd never seen stood with his hand out.  "Son, are you with my son's party."  "No sir."  "Then why should I give you a ticket?"  "Because your son said you would!"

"You haven't tried this before, (but begin now). Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow."   John 16:24 (TLB) 

 

Look, don't try to turn God into a vending machine, spitting out merchandise each time you push a button.  Remember this is all about a relationship we are building with the God who gave us life, watched us throw it away, and then gave us another opportunity for life through Jesus Christ.

 

First, we come to know Him, then we learn His heart and then we know what we can ask Him to do.

 

I'll tell you one prayer He always answers --  the one a person prays asking for forgiveness and inviting Jesus into their heart to take over.  He will always hear that prayer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.

Psalm 66:18 says that if I regard or cherish or try to hide sin in my heart the Lord will not hear.  Isaiah 59:2 says our sins, our wrongness, separates us from God.  Proverbs 28:13 says "He who tries to conceal his sins cannot prosper but he who admits them, confesses them, forsakes them will have mercy." 

What do you do?  1 John 1:8 "If we claim to be without sin, we're just deceiving ourselves.  The truth is not in us.  However, if we confess our sins, He's faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."  What is confession?  Confession is simply being honest with God.  It's saying, "God, You're right.  I was wrong.  That jealousy or that impatience was wrong.  Please forgive me."  The first way we can tell if we have an honest relationship with God is are we being honest when we make mistakes.  "God, You're right.  That was a mistake.  That was wrong.  It was an error."

 

 

3.

 

Most Christians make a big mistake in prayer.  They go around constantly saying, "God, is it Your will that I ask for this?" over every little item.  The real issue is not "God, what is Your will regarding this specific circumstance?"  The real issue is "Am I in God's will as a person?"  If my life is in harmony with God, then my desires are going to be in harmony with God. 

St. Augustine said this:  "Love God and do what you please."  Why did he say that?  Because if you really love God with all your heart, you're not going to want to do what displeases God.

 

 

1 Peter 3:7 says why sometimes you haven't had an answer to prayer. Peter is talking about marriage.  Anyone knows that one of the easiest places to have resentment build up is in families. Family members hurt each other's feelings, husbands hurt wives, wives hurt husbands, parents hurt their children and vice versa. Bitterness and resentment are a common experience in family relationships.  Peter has given the low-down to the women then in verse 7 he starts talking to the husbands.  He says "Husbands, in the same way [just like he's talked to the wives in the previous verses] be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect.... so that nothing will hinder your prayers." 

 

 

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