Today as I heard someone praying about their personal issues, I suddenly heard the question in my mind, “Will God hear these prayers?” At first I thought, “Well, I am not God. How could I know which prayers He might hear and which not?” 🙄 But then as I considered this topic more closely, I had the idea that there are certain conditions that must be met before God is inclined to listen to our heart’s pleas, even continually. Having found some Scriptures that display the connection between true faith and God’s immediate response by hearing all our prayers, I decided to highlight some parts I found enlightening there (emphasis in italics mine).
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mt 21:22 EV)
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk 11:10-13 ESV)
In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (Joh 16:23-24 ESV)
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (Js 4:3 ESV)
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (1 Jn 3:21-22 ESV)
On the one hand we read that everyone who asks receives. However, as we might know, there were certainly many of our prayers God did not hear (or at least not immediately). And thank God, I might add, He did not listen to all of my prayers in the past! 😉 It was only later that I saw that God led me a completely different path of life where hearing my former prayers would have turned out more of a hindrance than a blessing. Yet I did not know it back then, stumbling in the darkness of my own thoughts and spiritually blind as I would be. So, on the other hand, it might also be that we ask and do NOT receive because we ask wrongly. What could that mean?
Even yesterday as I was moaning before God about how I hated my old Adam nature and how I longed to be freed from this always doubting, fearful, God-distrusting, worrying, and loveless old self, I suddenly realized that God always hears the prayer of the New Creation, the new nature that is fully divine. The Scriptures I shared above put it this way: God hears all our prayers if we have (true) faith…..if we ask God for His good gifts only (the Holy Spirit’s spiritual blessings)….if we ask in Jesus’ name (i.e., not merely the words, “I ask in Jesus’ name…” but by simultaneously being IN Him and by abiding IN His love)…. if we keep his commandments and do what pleases Him.
Wow!! That is quite a lot, isn’t it? 🙄 Too much to be accomplished by a simple human being on its own – ever. We truly need to be empowered by God to do His will, finally. I believe if we have been enabled to love Him and then others with this same God-given love, we will always do what pleases Him, even without thinking about that anymore because it will belong to our new nature IN Christ. May God help us to get there. Amen.