- READ PROVERBS 1:23-33
4. Cannot expect the Lord to answer prayer when we are not living for the Lord.
- "One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination" (Proverbs 28:9) These are very strong words and make the point that we do not come to God in disobedience. The prayers of the disobedient are an abomination to God.
"And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight". (1 John 3:22) If we obey God then He will answer our prayers.
What are some clear commandments of God that we are to obey?
Prayer, Bible study, witnessing, Christian leadership in the Home, teaching children, being an example, being faithful in attending church, tithing, confessing sin, and putting Christ first in your life.
All these are clear commandments. One who is not faithful in these things are being disobedient and they will not be blessed of God.
This involves more than just keeping the written commandments of the Lord. It involves doing what God wants us to do in our lives.
- "Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him." (John 9:31)
- "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some"
Hebrews 10:25 tells us God's will is for us to attend church.
- God tell us: "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb. 10:22-25).
Lots of people take comfort in the fact that Christians are not under the Law and we do not have to keep the Sabbath. But before the Law God set a principle in place that one day of the week was set aside to worship Him and for rest. Israel paid a high price for ignoring God's Law concerning worshiping Him. Believers will too.
- Colossians 1:18, tells us that ". . .he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
It is God's will that the Lord Jesus Christ be first in our lives before all else. Folks putting Christ first is the best thing we can do. That means before our pleasures whatever they might be.
6. God does not answer the prayers of those who are not at peace with each other. We need to be a peace with one another to have our prayers answered.
- "Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7)
Do you realize the prayers that fathers and mothers for their children are not answered when they do not dwell in peace and honor one another. The husband might say, "Well, my wife is the problem she is always fighting with me. Or the wife might say, "Its my husband's fault." Well, we do not have to fight back, and rarely is there not blame on both sides. The cure is to turn the matter over to the Lord, confessing first one's sins and then making the commitment to live for the Lord. If one partner does this....it will surely end at least half the problem and will make the way for reconciliation.
- "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)
Harmony in the church family, each doing their share, plus helping others, seeking one another's well being. God will honor that.
- "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).
8. We must be persistent in our prayers.
In the parallel account of the Lord teaching the Model prayer in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus followed it with a parable:
- "And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Luke 11:5-9).
- "This is to be applied to God in no other sense than that he often hears prayers and grants blessings even long after they appear to be unanswered or withheld. He leaves them to persevere for months or years, until they feel entirely their dependence on him, until they see that they can obtain the blessing in no other way, and until they are prepared to receive it. Often they are not prepared to receive it when they ask it at first. They may be proud, or have no just sense of their dependence, or they would not value the blessing, or it may at that time not be best for them to obtain it. But let no one despair. If the thing is for our good, and if it is proper that it should be granted, God will give it. Let us first ask aright; let us see that our minds are in a proper state; let us feel our need of the blessing; let us inquire whether God has promised such a blessing, and then let us persevere until God gives it. (Barnes Commentary of Luke)
- 1. Isaiah speaking to disobedient Israel gave them the promise of God.
"It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24)
2. The promise of God.
"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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Do you believe that? What ever the past....the future is clean. We can decide this very morning to live as God would have us too that we might have God's blessings on all we do.
If there is sin and unfaithfulness in your life, now is the time to confess it to the Lord and have Him cleanse you from it. God is the God of new beginnings. Thank the Lord He loves us so much he does not scold and promises to give his help to us liberally....if we ask in faith.