Summary: This is the first message in a series on faith. God always answers prayer birthed by faith.
Religion has taught us that God decides whether or not He will answer our prayers. And because we believe that teaching we often end our prayers with “if it be thy will”. In other words, “God, I’m not really sure what your will is in this situation, but I’m going to pray and if my prayer is not answered, it’s because you chose not to answer it.”
Sadly, many Christians believe God picks and chooses the prayers He will or will not answer. Contrast this with what Jesus believed when he prayed just before raising Lazarus in John 11.
(41) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou has heard me. (42) And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
When Jesus prayed, he expected his Father to hear his prayers and, not only that, he expected his Father to answer them. No doubting. No “what if.” No “if it be thy will.” Jesus had absolute and unwavering faith that God would answer his prayers. Always. Why? Jesus knew His Father’s heart for people. He had a relationship with the Father that went beyond the weekly and mid-week church services.
Do we truly know our Father’s heart for people?
Are expecting our Father to answer our prayers the way Jesus knew He would answer his?
Be honest. Be brutally honest.
The Bible says in I John 5:14, 15:
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
Now look at 2 Corinthians 1:20. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
When the promises of God manifest, He gets the glory. Wouldn’t the same be true of answered prayer? Why wouldn’t God want to answer our prayers? He wants the world to know His love, mercy and grace.
Do you see the words in him? God is establishing a very simple yet powerful truth: if we are not in him then His promises to us are not “yes” and “amen” (done).
What does it mean to be “in him”?
The word “in” paints the picture of someone being in a fixed, stable, or consistent position. It’s a relationship word. Remember when Jesus said “I and my father are one” (John 10:30) and “he that hath seen me hath seen the father” (John 14:9)? You see relationship. Jesus said what the Father would say. Jesus did what the Father would do.
Jesus agreed with the Father on everything.
We could read 2 Corinthians 1:20 this way and maintain the integrity of scripture: “When we have an intimate relationship with God (when we are in him) and pray for the things He would pray for if He were here (because we are in him), then we will know what Jesus knew (as we walk in him) – He always answers our prayers yea and amen.”
When we approach God with a prayer that is according to His will – a prayer that agrees with what He has said in the Bible – not only does He hear our prayer but He gives us what we ask for. Is that not how you read these verses?
Remember I John 5:15 says “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Are you seeing what I’m seeing in this verse? When we know, without any doubts, that our Father hears us, then we know that He will grant us our prayer request.
Now it’s time to ask the hard questions.
? If this is true, why do we not receive what we “desire of him”? If we pray and our Father hears us, why wasn’t our prayer answered?
? Is it possible that God has already decided the outcome of the situation before we pray?
? If so, was our prayers nothing more than something to make us feel better even though we did not receive the answer we desired?
Now here are the really hard questions.
? If God has already predetermined the outcomes of our unanswered prayers, isn’t praying for a different outcome against His will?
? Doesn’t that mean our unanswered prayers are already destined for failure? (There are Christians who truly believe God is in control and He will have His way. “Whatever happens,” they say, “is God’s will.”)