Summary: To be effective intercessors, we must learn how to pray according to God’s will and how to access the power availalbe because of the cross.
As we have looked at the various principles of intercession, we have talked about the principle of Applied Priesthood, and how we need to be willing to develop a sacrificial, submissive, sympathetic faith as we come before God and make requests on behalf of others who do not have a right relationship nor a good standing with God themselves.
And last time, we looked at the Principle of Appropriated Promise, where we learned that God calls us to face Him with the prospect of seeing others come to faith in Christ.
Today, we are going to consider two other Principles of Intercession: the Principle of Answered Prayer and the Principle of Available Power.
3. The Principle of Answered Prayer - 1 John 5:14-15
John says that if we pray according to God’s will, we can be confident that He hears us; and if He hears us, we know we have what we desire. The Principle of Answered Prayer then, relates to the idea of praying according to the will of God. Let’s apply this principle to intercessory prayer. What does it mean to pray “according to God’s will”?
A. To approach God with a surrendered life.
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” - Psalm 66:18 (Amplified)
Daniel Henderson points out that when Jesus told us to go into our “closet” to pray, he wasn’t referring to a small space where we hang our wardrobe. When the KJV was translated in 1611, it was common knowledge that Jesus was referring to an audience chamber, where groups would have meetings. The people in 1611 would have understood that their king and queen had such “closets” where they received guests and heard requests. If I had an audience with a King, I would wouldn’t enter his
“closet” wearing something that was stained and filthy if I wanted him to give me a hearing. Why then would I think my heavenly King should give me a hearing, when my heart is stained with sin?
“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” - 1 John 1:9 (Amplified)
B. To approach God with a submissive heart.
If I pray according to God’s will, I will want God’s will above all else. This relates to being willing for God to answer in whatever way He desires. To pray with a submissive attitude means that we accept what Jesus told us in Matthew 7:9-11 about the goodness of God:
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” - Matthew 7:9-11 (NIV)
“Give to a pig when it grunts and a child when he cries,and you will have a fine pig and a bad child.” - Danish proverb
Our Father is raising children, not pigs. John says our confidence in approaching God comes from knowing He only gives what is best.