Saturday, June 21, 2008


God answers prayers.

A lot of people doubt that. A lot of people who claim to believe that, doubt it. It's hard to believe, in our post-Christian world, in our supremely secularist culture, that God really does interact with everyday life and engage with the prayers of His people. And it's difficult for people to believe - so they pray without faith, so their prayers are not answered, so it remains difficult for them to believe. And yet God invites us to come before Him with confidence, to bring before Him our petitions and our requests. He promises to give us all that we ask in His name.

What is it, then, that we are so afraid of? Is it that we will offend God by asking apart from His will? We offend Him at least that much all the time simply by living lives that are not surrendered to Him. A prayer asked in faith is at least believing that he is who He says that He is. Of course, a prayer asked only in selfishness has issues all its own, but without faith it is impossible to draw near to God. Impossible. That's a pretty strong statement, of course, yet Scripture makes it abundantly clear.

And I have seen direct answers to prayer. I have seen God respond to requests in ways that are not explicable in terms of natural phenomena. I have seen, even in the last few months, Him working people's hearts in ways that I prayed for but did not tell them - over and over again I have seen it. I see Him doing more than all we can ask or think. I see Him capable of so much more than we dare to ask of Him.

We are content asking for hard bread when he will give us a feast.

I am not saying that we should embrace some sort of "word of faith" idea that believes that if we just ask in faith, God will give us everything we want. To the contrary, I do not believe that God gives us everything we want - though I absolutely believe He supplies for all of our needs. But when things are clearly in His will, why do we not dare to pray for them with faith: the expectation of seeing them be?

I would posit that it is because we are afraid, or ashamed. Afraid of offending God, or ashamed because we feel unworthy of His answering our requests. We are unworthy: this is part of the greatness that is His. He nonetheless delights in giving us the things we ask for. he enjoys answering our prayers and our requests.

So when we pray, we may pray with confidence, with boldness, with assurance. Why pray so hesitantly? The Godly men and women of Scripture did not. They asked for God to act and move in their world in very real, very particular ways. And He answered. As I have done the same, He has answered. We have taken more away from Christ's prayer in Gethsemane - "Not my will be done but yours" - than from His answer of how we ought to pray. Ought we not pray as He did? Certainly, to a point. And I do believe we ought to pray, "Not my will be done but yours." Yet, at the same time, we must not be afraid to ask our hearts' desire. In that same passage, we see Jesus Christ pleading with the Father, "Please, let this cup pass from me! Yet not my will by yours be done" (emphasis added). He asks his desire, then recognizes the sovereignty and rightness of God's will. So we ought to do: pray for our desire and yet hold it with an open hand, gladly accepting whatever he chooses to give.

And in the so-called Lord's prayer (our prayer, for He never had sin to repent of), you will note no hint of pleading or begging, nor any reticence. It is filled with direct requests - all of which are focused on the glory of God, but many of which are also eminently practical. Why can we not pray thus?

So pray thus! Be bold as you come before the throne of grace! Know that your Father loves you and delights in giving you the desires of your heart - and that He is good, and so when He does not, that it is truly for our good.

In short, to pray effectively, as in all things in this life, we ned only one thing.

We must know God.

- Chris


  1. You make a very good point.
    We do not ask because of fear.
    We do not ask because of shame.
    We do not ask because we feel unworthy.
    By all of which we indirectly say to God that He is a liar - which He is not - because of our unbelief.
    Oh, that we might truly have our minds renewed from the sinful, unbelieving ways which we are so prone to.

  2. Interesting bc this article is part of an answer to prayer for me! Thank you!

    Speaking of Word of Faith... And I know that is not what you are suggesting:

    Justin is considered by some to be an expert on that movement and if you go to his site click on "demo." It is excellent!

    Justin spoke at my church and comes highly recommended by my pastor, Dr. John MacArthur.

  3. Thanks, Caron. I'll take a look at that! :) I'm glad that God answered prayer with my post on prayer. I love it when He does that!

    blessedsonoftheking - good insights. :D


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