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How can I get my prayers answered?
God doesn’t so much hear the words of my prayer, as He sees the desire of my heart. What does He have to see in my heart for my prayers to be answered?
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7.
These are Jesus’ own words, and they will stand for all eternity. Since He has said it, it is also attainable. Most people do not believe that it is possible for them to attain it, that they will receive what they have prayed for. But if I doubt I rebel against Jesus’ Word.
Removing iniquity and abiding in His Word
The condition is that we abide in Jesus and that His words abide in us. The Word rules by means of the light. I am in darkness if I have something to hide, and then I do not have any power with God. Sin causes separation between God and us, and it hinders our prayers. (Isaiah 59:1-2.) Therefore, all sin has to be removed from our lives to the extent that we have light. This is also the degree to which we will have abundant grace and power. Everyone who abides in Him does not sin.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16. David says in Psalm 66:18-19, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer." Iniquity in my life puts a stop to all further progress and blessing in God, no matter how much I pray. All my prayers will only receive this one reply: Remove iniquity from your life! I will only find the life of Christ to the extent that I am willing to lose my life.
The elders of Israel came and wanted to inquire of the Lord, but He said, “These men have set up their idols in their hearts … Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?” Ezekiel 14:3. Everything I love outside of God’s good and acceptable will is idolatry and must be removed. My thoughts, my mind, and my everything have to be with Jesus, and His Word must abide in me. Then I can pray for what I desire, and it shall be done for me. What do I desire? I desire what God wants. God’s will for us is our sanctification: that we be conformed to the image of His Son. If this is my desire and the longing of my heart, I can be absolutely certain that my desire will be satisfied and my prayers will be heard.
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A deep desire to fulfill the will of God
Perhaps we think that we have so many unheard prayers, but let us examine the matter carefully, and we will discover that we have prayed according to our will. If God had answered those prayers, it would have corrupted us. We can never push our will through with God. This human will was condemned in Jesus, and it shall also be condemned in us. The Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God, not according to our will.
We will always be disappointed if we seek our own will, but we will never be disappointed if we seek God's will. We need to be totally surrendered so that we always rest in God's plan and leading for our life. We do not always understand God's plan and will, but if it is our heart's desire to abide in His will, we will also be preserved in it, because He is our good Shepherd and Overseer.
We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. He who searches the hearts knows what the desire of the Spirit is, and He makes intercession for the saints according to God's will. (Romans 8:26-27.) God reads the desire of the Spirit in our hearts, and our prayers are heard according to this desire. We will receive only a little bit from God if this desire is small. We are praying only empty words that will not reach God’s throne if this deep desire of the heart is not behind our prayers. The desire of Jesus’ heart was so great that it manifested itself in supplication and vehement cries. They poured out unselfishly, pure and clear from the depths of His heart, and He was heard because of His godly fear. (Hebrews 5:7.)
We will receive everything we ask for if our whole desire is for the fear of God, because we desire nothing outside of Him. He will fill all our desires. We will be satisfied to the same degree that we hunger and thirst after righteousness. He gives us everything that pertains to life and godliness.
Therefore, Jesus says that we shall pray, and we will receive, so that our joy might be full. It is obvious that our joy will be full when we receive everything we want to have. This puts an end to all disappointments, anxieties, discouragement, etc. We will always be glad and satisfied. All things work together for our good if we fear God. The necessary, temporary things will then be added to us as a gift. However, if we seek our own, everything will interfere with our plans, and anxiety, unbelief, and dark clouds of discouragement will roll into our life. Therefore, become one with God’s will, and you will have found the way to the fullness of joy – to all the riches and wisdom in God.
This article was first published in Norwegian in BCC’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) in October 1935 with the title “Ask What You Desire.”
© Copyright Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.