Posted by: missionventureministries | December 1, 2013

STEPS TO ANSWERED PRAYER – John 11:41-42

John 11 vs 41-42Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” John 11:41-42 

Jesus thanked His Father for answered prayer, before His prayer was answered. His mind was so in tune with the Father that He could boldly ask knowing it was the will of God. In the same way, our Savior calls us to align our hearts with our Heavenly Father’s heart. His plan is for our requests to be His desires, our needs to be His wishes, our goals to be His objectives, our will to be His will. Consequently, we can thank Him for answered prayers. 

We need to realize that our highest aim should be to bring glory to God. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and this includes praying according to His will. First, we must ask for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). In asking for wisdom, we must also trust that God is gracious and willing to answer our prayers: “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt” (James 1:6). And Mark 11:24 also states: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” So, praying according to the will of God includes two very important aspects.  

  1. Asking for wisdom, that we may understand and know the will of God and
  2. Asking in faith, trusting in the will of God.

We should follow the example of godly people in Scripture like the early church prayed for boldness to witness (Acts 4:29). As with Paul and the early church, we should always be praying for the salvation of others. These prayers are according to the will of God. 

For ourselves, we should pray as David prayed, always aware of our sinful nature and bringing it before God before sin hinders our relationship with Him and our prayers do not get answered. 

Our prayers should be according to correct motives, because selfish motives will not be blessed by God. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)  

We also need to pray with a spirit of forgiveness toward others (Mark 11:25). A spirit of bitterness, anger, revenge or hatred toward others will prevent our hearts from praying in total submission to God. Just as we are told not to give offerings to God while there is conflict between ourselves and another Christian (Matthew 5:23-24), in the same way God does not accept our prayers until we have reconciled with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

We need to remember to always pray with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2). Paul wrote to the Philippians: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (4:6-7). We can always find something to be thankful for, no matter how burdened we are by our wants or needs.  

As we submit to His will and pray accordingly, we need to be patient knowing that the Father knows the time and place for everything. And as we continue praying, we start thanking Him and waiting for the answer with faith, because the Lord knows what we need and what is best for us.  

And lastly we rely on the Holy Spirit to intercede for us during those times when we feel that we just cannot pray, and we have the comfort of knowing that the Holy Spirit is actually praying for us, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)  

What absolute assurance we have when we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh! Then we can have confidence that the Holy Spirit will accomplish His work in presenting our prayers to the Father according to His perfect will and timing and we can rest in the knowledge that God works for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) 

When we pray according to God’s will, the Lord hears our petition and we truly can say: Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me!” (Psalm 66:20) 

What an awesome God we have!

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Responses

  1. Very good study on such a vital subject.


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