In my previous post, God’s Answers to Prayers , I shared that God sometimes gives us a NO answers to our prayers.
Today, as I continue to reflect on Dr. Stanley’s book, let me share what he says are the prerequisites to receiving a YES answer from the Lord.
God balances His giving to us. He desires that we walk in close relationship with Him, trusting Him to meet our needs and to equip us fully in every area of our lives to do the work He is calling us to do. –
1. Right Relationship. Everyday, we unintentionally do or say things that not only hurt other people but also hurt God in the process. When we fail others, we also fail God. Realizing our mistake, we stand up again, ask for forgiveness and do better. But God does not seek perfection. What he sees is a heart that longs to make things right by turning away from sin and moving towards God.
He sees our motives. Why would he give a YES if our prayers reveal a selfish desire? He protects us by not saying yes to some of our intentions because they will cause us to stumble and fall. We think we know what is best for us but sadly we are wrong most of the time
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” Psalm 66:18
2. Right Method. Sometimes we ask God to bless our families, our work and our businesses. But specifically how do we want God to “bless” us? Jesus asked Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52:
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Jesus knew Bartimaeus’ condition, yet He still asked him what he wanted. What do you want Jesus to do for you? Let’s say, you want him to bless your business. Then ask God to provide you with new customers or supply you with creative ideas to develop new products for your business. Let’s be specific in our prayers. Instead of praying, “God bless our marriage”, we can ask God to show us in His Word how to be a better spouse and apply it immediately.
3. Right Requests. We have a big God who knows EVERYTHING. He sees the past, present and future. He planned our life from the time we were conceived in our mother’s womb to the time we give our last breath. He will respond positively to our prayer if it is according to the plan he has set for us. He will not allow anything to get in the way of his perfect will. His plan also has a timetable. So, when we pray, we not only ask for His will but also for His timing as well.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14
4. Right Framework. When we close our prayers with “in Jesus’ name” or “in the name of Jesus” Dr. Stanley says it’s as if Jesus himself was uttering the prayer to God. If we have that personal relationship with Jesus, then his spirit lives in us. Since Christ lives in us, he becomes our link to God. We can approach God boldly because Jesus has paved the way for when he died on the cross.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 says “5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:13-14
5. Right Attitude. The Bible tells us that we should trust that God will give only what is best for us. He only has our best interest in mind. So when we pray to him, our faith should rest that he will answer them with a yes, no or wait and in his perfect time. God expects us also to have a humble heart that is ready to hear from him. A heart that accepts when God corrects our motives and guide us what to REALLY pray for.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:5-8
In the end, when God gives His YES, it is a reflection of his wisdom and power. He is our sustainer, our provider, our healer and our father. A YES answer from God leads us to praise and glorify Him.
In the comments below, has God answered YES to your prayers recently? Could you share how He responded to that specific prayer?