Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Matthew 7:7 KJV)
We love to read the passage above on how God answers our prayers, but with these, as with all the Bible, we must put these promises in the context of the entirety of God’s Word. The next three passages remind us that for God to answer our prayers, he has certain requirements for us.
First we cannot expect answers to prayers based on wrong motives or selfish desires.
You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:2, 3)
Second, we need to be in his Word and allow his Word to saturate our lives. When we do that and our desires are based on God’s
Word, we know we are praying in a way that, if God chooses, he can then answer.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (John 15:7)
Third, the following passage shows us that to expect answers to our prayers we must put away malicious talk and accusations of others (even silent ones in our minds) and spend ourselves helping those in need before we come to God with our prayers.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (Isaiah 58:9-10)
The verses above may be a bit intimidating, and we might think we’ll never get an answer to our prayers if we don’t pray properly, but we aren’t left alone to do that. We are to pray anyway and always. The Holy Spirit is with us to help us pray in ways that are pleasing to God and the Lord wants to hear our prayers.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. (Romans 8:26-27 NLT)
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes. 5:16-18)
We are told to pray continuously and from that continual conversation with our Lord, he can help transform our lives into ones pleasing to him and in which he is able to answer our prayers.
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