Summary: How does God respond to our prayers?
What Does God Say When People Pray? (Part 4)
If you had a pressing problem, who would you ask to pray for you? Who would you turn to for help?
The other day, I got an email from a stranger with the heading, “Urgent prayer request.” I didn’t know how the person got my email address, but that didn’t matter to me. If he had an urgent prayer request, I felt obligated to open the email and to pray for him. Wouldn’t you? If someone asks you to pray for them, don’t you want to intercede on their behalf?
When I read the email, I became incensed. The email wasn’t a real prayer request, it was asking for me to pray that he would get 1000 investors to help underwrite a software venture he was launching. And of course, he included a place I could write if I wanted to become an investor.
I felt betrayed. He used a request for prayer as a Trojan horse for an investment scheme. Prayer is sacred, and our prayer requests should be sincere. I was offended.
This guy didn’t want my prayers, he wanted my money. You know, prayer requests come with different levels of concern. Sometimes people will ask you to pray about something because they just want you to know about it and wouldn’t mind if you prayed. Sometimes people share gossip with you and masquerade it as a prayer request. But sometimes people come to you with a heartfelt prayer need.
Who do you turn to when you need someone to pray for you? Are you the kind of person people turn to when they need prayer? Are you the kind of person that people come to when they have problems?
Daniel was. In Daniel 4:18 the King turned to Daniel with a need. "’O Belteshazzar, (Daniel’s Babylonian name) that was the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now tell me what it means, for no one else can help me. All the wisest men of my kingdom have failed me. But you can tell me because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’” (NIV)
King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams plagued him to the point he turned to his advisors for help, when they couldn’t help, he turned to Daniel.
What are the characteristics of people that make you trust them enough that you will turn to them with your prayer concerns? Nebuchadnezzar turned to Daniel because “the spirit of the holy gods is in [him].”
When you are looking for prayer support, do you want people who will seek God with all their heart? People like Jeremiah 29:12-13 talks about. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Do you want people who are willing to wait upon God? People like David, who wrote: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1 NIV)
Are you more likely to turn to someone who is unrighteous or righteous? Psalm 34:15 says, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry;”
James 5:16 affirms the power of a righteous man’s prayer, it says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Are you likely to ask someone to pray for you, who doesn’t keep God’s commandments or someone who does keep God’s commandments? Who do you think God will likely listen to, someone who keeps His commandments or someone who doesn’t? John wrote, “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.” (1 John 3:21-12 NIV)
Would you ask someone who has a close relationship with the Lord, or would you ask someone whose relationship seems superficial? Personally, I’d ask someone who abides in Christ. John 15:7 says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”
One more question, are you more likely to turn to a humble person or one filled with pride? One of my favorite verses on prayer is 2 Chron. 7:14, it says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Would you say these verses I just read describe Daniel? Do they describe anybody you know? Do they describe you?
Would you say people who met these qualifications–people who seek the Lord and are willing to wait on Him, people who keep His commandments, are close to Him and have a humble spirit, would they live a easier life than those who don’t meet these qualifications?