More On Prayer
By Grant Phillips
I would like to say a few more words about prayer. For one thing, prayer mixed thoroughly with God’s Word is a Christian’s greatest weapon.
Prayer is like flour and the Bible like the egg. Flour would be flying all over the kitchen if it weren’t for the egg to bind it all together. Sometimes our prayers are thrown out haphazardly like the flour, but the Word of God brings it all together to form what will soon be the blessing … the cake.
The subject of prayer is somewhat like the subject of salvation. To obtain salvation is very simple. God made it that way. Even a child can understand it. So why do adults have such a hard time with it? Maybe it is because we try to complicate the simple. So how does one become saved? How does John 3:16 (and many other passages) work? Put all your trust in Jesus. Believe Him and follow Him. Otherwise, that’s it. There is no other way. Jesus is the only way God provides for us to know Him as one of His own.
(Why do I say, “Believe Him and follow Him?” If we believe Him, we will follow Him. We may stumble and fall along the way, but our desire will be to follow Him. If we do not believe Him, we will not follow Him. There will be little to no real interest in Him.)
So is prayer a simple subject to understand? It is, when we understand a few basic truths.
God only listens to the prayers of those who have come to Him through His Son Jesus, the true Christian.
He will listen to the non-Christian IF they are calling upon His Son (Jesus) to be saved (the sinner’s prayer). Otherwise, He never listens to those who are not a Christian.
“We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.” (John 9:31)
What is the will of God?
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”” (John 6:40)
Does God listen to the prayers of His own children if they are out of fellowship? I think David and Solomon can answer that question.
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.” (Psalms 66:18-19 emphasis mine)
“Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD.” (Proverbs 1:28-29 emphasis mine)
So if a true Christian wants to resolve the problem of sin in their life so they can be restored to fellowship with the Father, how do they do that?
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
– God WILL listen to the prayers of His children if they are in fellowship.
– God WILL NOT listen to the prayers of His children if they are out of fellowship.
– God WILL NOT listen to the prayers of anyone who is not one of His children (a true Christian).
– BUT He WILL listen to the lost sinner’s prayer to be saved through His Son Jesus.
But wait! Am I saying that if I am His child, and I am not in sinful rebellion against Him that He will hear my prayers and give me everything I ask for? Absolutely not!
How many prayers have gone up for someone who is sick or dying? How about those under addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, spending, gambling, etc.? What about the prayers for those who are jobless, in financial straits, and having marriage problems? Have ALL of those prayers been answered in the way we asked? We both know that is not the case.
I realize that prayer can be confusing to many. I’ve been in that confused state myself at times and most assuredly will again at some point. Maybe this verse is the answer.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
All I can say is that our God answers many of our prayers as we ask, but usually in a much better way. However, there are also many times it seems that those prayers didn’t get past the tree line.
The only answer I can give is the one provided to us from Jesus, our Savior and Lord. He said the following:
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10 emphasis mine)
“He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42 emphasis mine)
Folks, we cannot get a better example for prayer than from the lips of Jesus Himself. “Your will be done.” That is the best place to leave our prayers.