Summary: God answers prayer when His conditions are met.

A pastor had earned a vacation from his flock and he decided to make it a golfing holiday. He went to a golfing resort, and on his first day out on the course he learned that Arnold Palmer played the course frequently.

The toughest hole was the 17th, and as the pastor approached the tee his caddie said, “When Arnold Palmer plays this hole he uses a No. 3 iron and says a little prayer.”

“I’ll give it a try,” said the pastor. But the ball landed in a sand trap. “Ah, well,” he said, “I guess the good Lord didn’t hear me.”

“He probably heard you,” said the caddie, “but when Mr.. Palmer says his prayer, he keeps his head down.” —Submitted by BBFI Missionary to Kenya, Jerry Daniels

It is amazing to discover how many people think that God is obligated to answer their prayers positively, and, of those, how many think He is obligated to answer their way, on their terms according to their schedules. NO THAT IS FUZZY THINKING.

James has several passages dealing with prayer and specifically conditions to answered prayer.

James 1:6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

7. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

8. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

James 4:2. “. . . ye have not, because ye ask not.

3. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

James 4:7. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

9. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

17. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

18. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

The 1st condition is: Asking (James 4:2), “Ye have not because you ask not.”

* We don’t ask because we don’t think God can.

* The problem is not with God.

James 1:5. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask (invited) of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him

* We don’t ask because we can take care of ourselves. We don’t need God.

Eleven leaders of conservative renewal movements, representing eight groups from within six Protestant denominations, pooled common concerns at a third annual meeting. . . . One concern of the group: prayerlessness. They cited recent studies showing that “the average pastor surveyed prays only three minutes each day.” —Christianity Today, April 6, 1979

No Time to Pray

I got up early one morning

and rushed right into the day;

I had so much to accomplish

that I didn’t have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,

and heavier came each task.

“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.

He answered, “You didn’t ask.”

I wanted to see joy and beauty,

but the day toiled on, gray and bleak;

I wondered why God didn’t show me.

He said, “But you didn’t seek.”

I tried to come into God’s presence;

I used all my keys at the lock.

God gently and lovingly chided,

“My child, you didn’t knock.”

I woke up early this morning,

and paused before entering the day;

I had so much to accomplish

that I had to take time to pray.

2nd condition: Faith

James talks a lot about faith in prayer.

James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering”

7. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

James 5:15, “the prayer of faith shall save the sick.”

Faith is stated as a condition!

In chapter 1 the lack of faith is to be a double minded man who wavers. Faith to many people has become believing what we say God will do, (name and claim or blab and grab). but James has previously stated that faith shows in your actions. Perhaps a better example of faith than an individual telling God what he wants and then beliving with all of his being is the example of the three Hebrew children in Daniel who didn’t know if God would deliver them yet refused to bow to a pagan idol. That is unwavering faith. Other examples of unwavering faith might be the example of Joseph who would not commit immorality with Potiphars wife because he believed it was wrong regardless of the personal cost. To paraphrase James had they wavered they could not expect anything from God. For the Hebrews in Daniel they would have been spared from the fire but would also have never experienced the protection and presence of God. In the case of Joseph he would not have gone to prison but neither would have been used of God as prime minister in Egypt for the saving of a nation. Those are examples of unwavering faith.

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