For prayers to be answered, it must be done with faith, without doubting. It must not be asked with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives; and not to recite the same prayer over and over. Those who pray must always do what is pleasing to God and wait patiently for the Lord’s reply.
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The prayers that God answers

Letter to the Editor:
PASUGO, November 2000, p.2

I UNDERSTAND THAT prayer is the means by which those who live on earth can communicate with the Father in heaven. But what assurance do we have that God will hear and  answer our prayers? Why are some of our prayers not answered on the basis of our expectations? And what if we lack faith when we pray? What does the Bible say about these things?

Arce F. Fornias
Sorsogon, Philippines

Editor's reply:

Praying to God is the manner by which we make our request known to Him (Philip. 4:6).

Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. (Philip. 4:6, Contemporary English Version)

There are conditions, however, for our prayers to be answered. For one, they must be done in faith:

 “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mt. 21:22, Revised Standard Version)

On the contrary, the prayer of a person who lacks faith or doubts will not be answered:

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” (Js. 1:6-7, New King James Version)

But, having faith is not enough for us to receive our prayers. We must also do what is pleasing to God:

 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because things that are pleasing in His sight.” (I Jn. 3:22, Ibid.)

Hence, the prayers of the disobedient will mot be answered by the Lord (Prov. 28:9; Jn. 9:31; Is. 1:15-16).

When people do not listen to God’s teachings, he does not listen to their prayers. (Prov. 28:9, Easy to Read Version)

31 We all know that God does not listen to sinners, but he will listen to anyone who worships and obeys him. ( Jn. 9:31, ERV)

15 “When you raise your arms to pray to me, I will refuse to look at you. You will say more and more prayers, but I will refuse to listen because your hands are covered with blood.
16 “Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean. Stop doing the evil things I see you do. Stop doing wrong. (Is. 1:15-16, ERV)

Furthermore, some do not receive their request because their prayers are driven by wrong and evil motives:

“[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is, [when you get what you desire] to spent it in sensual pleasures.” (Js. 4:3, Amplified Bible)

Even worse, there are those who commit sin because of the manner by which they say their prayers. One who prays in the manner God forbids commits sin before Him:

“Don’t recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered only by repeating them again and again.” (Mt. 6:7, Living Bible)

To the chosen servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, he made this Promise:

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (Jn. 15:16, New International Version)

The chosen servants of Christ are those who belongs to His Church (Jn. 10:14, 16; Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation). Among them, those who bear fruits of righteousness (Philip. 1:11) and fulfill the conditions prescribed regarding prayers will receive what they ask for.

14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. (Jn. 10:14, 16, NKJV)

Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood. (Acts 20:28, Lamsa)

11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philip. 1:11, NKJV)

After fulfilling these conditions, we should wait patiently for the Lord’s reply (Ps. 40:1):

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry. (Ps. 40:1, NKJV)

 because “God makes everything happen at the right time”:

God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done, and he puts questions in our minds about the past and the future. (Eccl. 3:11, Contemporary English Version).


Note: Some cited verses are printed in full to facilitate study.

Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind. For the latest Worship Service Directory of Iglesia ni Cristo Locales and Congregations outside the Philippines, please visit www.iglesianicristoworshipservice.com or just click link at home page.

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