I know that what I am about to write is not “politically correct.” But let me put it this way: Why should you expect the God of the Bible to answer the prayers of people who pray to some other god? Who pray in a wrong manner? Who regularly disobey the true God? Who ask for the wrong things?
The answer is simple-you should not! Make no mistake. You have no reason to expect real answers to your prayers unless you pray to the true God in the right way. This may seem outrageous to those who take Christianity for granted-just another of the many religions in the world (over 400 denominations). But the truth is that literally millions of people in our Western, supposedly Christian world have no idea who the true God is, or how they should pray to Him.
Oh, I am quite aware that many people repeat some kind of “mambo jumbo” or “mantra” to themselves, and end up “feeling better.” And since problems oftentimes work themselves out, many people feel that they received an answer to their prayers when they really did not. This often goes hand in hand with the practices of “mind science” or the “power of positive thinking.”
But that is not the kind of “answer” I am talking about. What I mean is direct, divine intervention by the personal God, Creator of the heavens and the earth and active Ruler of the entire universe! How can you and your loved ones get this kind of answer to your prayers? Although other points could be offered, I want to set forth a number of basic “keys” to answered prayer. I am positive that if you follow these points literally, sincerely and wholeheartedly, you will begin to receive genuine answers to your prayers. And they may be so real and so forceful that it will surprise many who have never experi-enced this kind of power before.
It is absolutely vital that you pray to the very real God of the Bible if you expect genuine answers to your prayers. He reveals Himself to mankind in much ways-in creation, in the Bible, in His foretelling specific divine intervention in world affairs and in direct answers to those that seek and obey Him.
The Apostle Paul was inspired to describe the true God in this way. “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father. Of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).
In our modern, ecumenical approach to religion, we may think that praying to some vague “blob” off in the sky or to an idol of Buddha is the same as praying to the Creator-the God of Abraham, Isaac, Israel and Jesus Christ. But it is not the same at all!
The true God was revealed by Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:27).
To one of His disciples, He said: “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me” (John 14:9-11).
We read of Jesus Christ acknowledging that God was a loving, divine Person-a “Father.” And we see the Father acting through Christ to heal the sick, to comfort the downcast and to teach those whom He calls to keep the Ten Commandments as a way of life (Matthew 19: 17).
This should certainly help us to better under-stand God’s character and His desire for us.
Christ also set an example for us in praying to the Father:
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:
‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You'” (John 17:1).
Again, when He taught His disci-ples and outlined-the proper approach to prayer-He said: “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom comes. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13).
So once again, Jesus revealed that the God to whom we should pray is a Father. And what does Christ reveal about Him? He is “in heaven.” He has a Kingdom or Government that will be set up on this earth. He-as our Father-is One who can give us daily bread, forgive our sins, deliver us from Satan and bring us into that ever-lasting Kingdom.
In describing this true God, with whom so very few even today are acquainted, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing. Him I proclaim to you: ‘God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed any-thing, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings'” (Acts 17:23-26).
We learn more about the true God from the Old Testament. The great Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, was told that he would be driven from his kingdom “until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4:32). And this God will not share preeminence with any other. He inspired Isaiah to write: “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath” (Isaiah 45:22-23).
There are Twelve Keys to Answered Prayer. The true Prayer Warrior has mastered these twelve keys and not even know they have mastered them.
Key #1: Pray Sincerely To The True God – God reveals Himself in many ways – in the Bible, in creation, His hands in world affairs, and his divine intervention in Politics.
Key #2: Study The Bible – It naturally follows that praying to the True God involves believing in what He says. And we find His words instructing human beings on how they should live – in the Holy Bible. We will not receive this full instruction by just “going to church” or by reading bits and pieces of the bible for comfort or inspiration. God commands us to “earnestly study His word to show ourselves approved to Him, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the Word Of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
Key #3: Deeply Repent of Your Sins – Although from time to time God hears the prayers of anyone who sincerely cries out to him in time of need, He is not bound by his Word to do this. God’s Word answers: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it can not save; nor his ear heavy, that it can not hear (Isaiah 59:1-2). But your inequities have separated you from God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that he will not hear.
Key#4: Forgive Others – Another vital key is forgiving others. Our loving Father in heaven does not answer or hear those who come to him with hatred, bitterness, or strife in their hearts. The Bible states, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men of their trespasses then your Holy Father will not forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Key #5: God Often Hears The Unconverted – It is very important that we do not self-righteously assume that God only hears the prayers of those who are converted and obeying Him. The Creator will often hear the prayers of the weak or spiritually blinded people who humbly pray to him. We all know of vain, disobedient or even worldly professing Christians who brag about answered prayer or tell wild stories of constant miracles in their churches or in their lives. This religious boasting and even falsifying is a real detriment to true Christianity and could be a stumbling block to those being called who see this as sham. I know God answers prayer. I know God performs miraculous wonders. The point I am making here is the boasting, falsifying, or exaggeration of miracles many times leads to the word “I” and leads to one’s own demise and the turning-off one not yet converted.
Key #6: Seek God’s Will – Be absolutely sure, as far as possible, that you align your will and your requests with God’s will. “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).
Key #7: Have Faith In God – The more of the Bible you take in, the more deeply you will realize the importance of “faith”. “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Now, what is “faith”? “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Key #8: Be Persistent – God wants us to be persistent. This shows our genuine interest. He wants us to walk and Talk with Him continually – day after day – and throughout eternity (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Key #9 Pray Fervently – This is to pray by putting every fiber of our being into it, not just quoting some memorized prayer. As a child this was fine. As an adult, we must place everything we have in our prayers to our Heavenly Father. At one point, Jesus prayed so hard that he sweated blood. Are we any better then to realize when we pray, we are praying to the only true living God, the Creator, the Great I Am, the Alpha and Omega, our heavenly Father?
Key #10 Ask God To Fashion And Mold You – The attitude of seeking God’s will rather then our own, our total submission to God, is vital to our prayer life if we are to receive constant and powerful answers. We must ask God to chasten us and fashion us in his image. You be the clay and let God be the Potter.
Key #11 Give Praise And Thanks To God Almighty – Show sincere love, worship, and adoration like King David. These qualities made him a man after “God’s own heart”. Give Thanks, praise, and glory in all things at all times, in the bad and good times.
Key #12 Pray In The Name Of Jesus Christ – In ancient Israel, the high priest alone was allowed to go into the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle or temple which pictured entering into the direct presence of God. And even he was com-manded to go there only once a year on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). With this sole exception on but one single day, anyone entering this sacred room would be immediately put to death by God Himself! Likewise, mankind, as a whole, has been cut off from direct contact with God.
But today, because Jesus of Nazareth died for our sins, true Christians have direct access to the Father. Instead of fearing death in coming before God, we are rather instructed: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”! (Hebrews 4: 16).
Through the “name”, the office and authority of Jesus Christ, we can directly approach God in prayer and worship. We do not need any human priest as a kind of intercessor. For we already have the greatest High Priest-Jesus Christ (v. 14). Jesus taught His true followers: “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” John 16:23-24).
Of course, many misuse the name of Christ. For, citing Isaiah, Jesus described the religious leaders of His day: “In vain they wor-ship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). Again Jesus said: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
To correctly use Jesus’ name, we must obey Him and ask according to His will. Remember that in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ warned: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
God grant that you will learn to pray as Jesus did! You should now understand how to use the most powerful tool in the entire universe. You have been given real answers to unanswered prayer – twelve keys to unanswered prayer! For if God stands before you, who or what can possibly stand against you. True prayer will be answered, Satan will tremble, and demons will flee.