Keys To Answered Prayer
Duane Vander Klok
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).
God cares about the details of your life, and Hebrews 4:15 tells us that He is “touched by the feeling of our infirmities”. He not only wants to have communication with you, He wants you to be able to run to Him with confidence, knowing that He is both willing and able to listen and give you what you need.
Talking With Your Father
In a healthy family, the father is someone you can go to when you have a problem. You can ask him for things because you know he loves you and wants to take care of you. You don’t have to be afraid to go to him when you don’t understand something. Even though he’s not perfect, you can turn to a good father when you need comfort security or love and he’ll be there for you.
Your Heavenly Father is like that – only He’s perfect! He wants you to come to Him all the time for everything you need because He loves you, and you’re His child. Security, confidence and peace can be yours when you pray because God can be trusted to take care of everything you put in His hands. He longs to exchange your worries and cares with His peace and provision whenever you pray.
Answers to prayer are a benefit that Jesus Himself promised to every believer when He said, “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22). Still, it is apparent that some prayers go unanswered despite God’s willingness and ability to provide.
One explanation for unanswered prayer is found in James 4:3 where it says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” If we ask God for something with an impure motive, or without a clear understanding of how to pray, we do not receive. However, when we understand how God wants us to pray and our motives are pure, we can expect to receive!
Since our Heavenly Father wants to have constant communication with us and answer our prayers, He is the best source for information on how to pray. In the Bible, God gives us many keys that can unlock the door of unanswered prayer.
Biblical Keys to Answered Prayer:
Abide in God and His Word – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7).
Jesus promised that if we live in close fellowship with Him and allow His Word to live in us, we will see results in prayer. The opposite is also true: if our hearts are distant from Him and we don’t make God’s Word the top priority in our lives, how can we expect answers to prayer?
Have Faith – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
No one can please God without faith. When you believe He exists and that He can answer your prayers, you are on the way to receiving what you need when you pray.
You might say, “I know God is able, but I’m not sure He is willing to answer my prayers.” Take a step of faith, and take Him at His Word. He will reward you when you wholeheartedly seek Him.
Don’t Doubt – “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord”(James 1:6-7).
If your faith is based on your feelings, emotions or circumstances, it will be unstable: up one day and down the next. But a stable faith will enable you to believe and receive. The kind of stable faith you need comes and grows as you hear more and more of God’s Word (Romans 10:17), and can be built up as you pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20).
Pray According to God’s Will – “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
When you pray according to God’s will, you can be confident that He hears you and that He will answer. But how can you be sure you know the will of God?
God reveals His will through His Word. You could say it this way: God’s Word is His will. Praying according to God’s will is as easy as finding a promise in God’s Word that applies to your situation and praying to receive the benefit of that promise. With over 7000 promises in the Bible, you can be sure God has made provision for your need! It’s His will to do what His Word promises.
Turn Away From Evil – “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).
Sin interrupts the flow of God’s blessings as David wrote in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” Thank God that through His grace, we have the promise of cleansing. 1 John 1:9-10 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Seek to Please the Lord – “Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).
Prayers are answered when we seek to do God’s will and please Him with our life. This doesn’t mean we try to earn something from God. Rather, we take care to put our faith into action. Jesus said, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). Living with this focus will bring you great results in prayer!
Speak to Your Situation – “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says” (Mark 11:23).
Jesus indicated that we will all sometimes encounter mountains (big obstacles and problems) that we literally need to speak to, telling them to move in Jesus’ name.
Proverbs 18:21 teaches that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” When you speak to the mountains in your life, God’s power to move them goes through your words and, as He promises, you will have whatever you say.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”(Galatians 6:9).
Possibly the greatest reason prayers go unanswered is because many stop praying and believing before they receive their answer. As long as you have the promise of God’s Word, be persistent and patient. Keep believing, and don’t quit, no matter how long it takes! God has a “due season” and He will bring the answer to pass.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 TLB).
So, right now as you read this, do you have needs? Are you worried or anxious about anything? Don’t hesitate to trust your Heavenly Father. Run to Him in prayer. He is listening and waiting for you to call out to Him, and He is eager to exchange what is troubling you with His wonderful peace!
(All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.)