I want to ask three questions of great importance.
- Do you believe God answers prayer?
- Do you believe God answers your prayers?
- Do you believe God uniquely works through the prayers of His church?
God promises to answer prayer. Repeatedly. Consider:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
“Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
This is just a sample of the many promises from God that He will answer the prayers of His children. Certainly, every Christian has good reason to be convinced God answers prayers.
These promises are not just for certain, select Christians. These promises of answered prayer are for each Christian.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
1 John 5:13-15
The words of 1 John 5 are words of assurance to persuade Christians of the certainty of their faith and to give confidence in God. “If we ask, He heareth us. If we He hears us, we have the petitions we desire of Him.” If you are the child of God, He promises to answer your prayer. God does not play favorites with people. He is not a respecter of persons. He gives to His children according to their need. He will not fail to give good things to those that ask Him. (Matthew 7:11) If you are praying selflessly, according to the will of God and believing God will answer your prayer, He will do so.
God also promises to do a unique work through the prayers of His church.
“That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
The promise of God to answer corporate prayer is based on His unique presence in the church. When Christian’s gather in His name, He is there with them. He is present with them in a way that is different from His presence in the heart of every believer. Likewise, His promise to answer the requests of Christians praying in agreement with one another is in some way unique from His promise to answer the individual Christian’s prayer. Matthew 18 says that God particularly and uniquely answers the prayer of gathered believers.
This unique answers of God to the prayers of His church are evident in the early church. The record of the church in Acts is that they prayed together and that God answered their prayers. Chapter 1 says they were all in the upper room in one accord praying together which led to the giving of the Holy Spirit in chapter 2. In Acts 4 they prayed together when facing persecution and God’s power was poured out on them. In Acts 12 the church gathered together to pray for imprisoned Peter and he was set free. In 2 Corinthians 1 the church prayed together for Paul and he was delivered from death. Time and time again in the New Testament God answers the prayer of His church.
These truths are important to believe, but much more important is their practice. If you say you believe God answers prayer, do your prayers show your faith? Can others tell by your prayer life that you believe the promises of God about prayer? Do you keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking until God answers? (Luke 11:9-10) Do you pester God with your prayer until He answers? (Luke 18:1-5) Do you pray without ceasing? (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Let us pray with confidence in the promises of God. Let our lives be marked by prayer. Let us pray privately. Let us pray together. Let us pray because God is faithful to His promises. He will answer our prayer. Let’s pray.