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  • Thoughts on prayer, verses to consider.

    "Ask, and it will be given to you..."

    If you're like me, you have heard this saying countless times in church... with the implication that prayer is simply a blank check signed by God. But I've found that defining prayer in this way is so incomplete that it may as well be a lie. There are many conditions which must be satisfied in order for prayer to be effective or for God to respond. I rarely hear about these conditions; hopefully by listing them, I can spare someone disappointment.

    I. God answers prayers IF you do not doubt that He will.

    When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?”
    And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
    - (
    Mt. 21:18-22)

    So, if you ask God for the sake of asking - not believing that He cares about the request, or that He will carry through - then He will not answer your prayers.

    II. God answers prayers IF they are not based on sinful/selfish desires.

    You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. - (Jas. 4:2-3)

    In other words, if you are asking God for a better paycheck so you can be lazy at home, or so you can spend it on a new phone and shoes because you covet the possessions of the world - then He will not answer your prayers.

    III. God answers prayers IF you are not practicing sin without struggling.

    Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. - (Ps. 66:16-19)

    Addictions, grudges, and sexual immorality are antiprayers.

    IV. God answers prayers IF you are not mistreating your wife.

    Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. - (1 Pt. 3:7)

    An abuser or one in an adulterous affair, or even someone who disrespects, deliberately hurts, or neglects his wife will not be on good terms with God - He will not answer his prayer.

    V. God answers prayers IF you are persistent.

    And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. (Lk. 18:1)

    This probably ties into the first one, because giving up on praying for something indicates that you doubt God will be faithful on His promise to answer your prayers. Persistence also shows that your request is important to you.

    VI. God answers prayers IF you ask.

    Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. - (Mt. 7:7)

    This seems obvious on paper, but in reality, we usually go without something simply because we do not ask for it. But if it seems that God is not responding, you may need to examine yourself so it can be said that the criteria is met... then, ask continually - believing that God will provide.
    「耶和華聖潔無比,獨一無二,沒有磐石像我們的上帝。
    撒母耳記上 (1 Samuel) 2:2
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