Is God answering my prayers? All of us have wondered this at times. Maybe you know God hears you, but you aren’t seeing real results. Maybe you don’t know if God hears you at all. Let’s look in the Bible to find the most often-overlooked key to answered prayer!
The Bible is filled with awesome examples of God answering prayers! Read Exodus 32:7-14 and see how Moses’s prayers actually changed God’s mind and saved the nation of Israel from being wiped out! Moses and every other individual in the Bible were imperfect. They had desires, passions, strengths, weaknesses, discouragements and limitations, just like those you and I have (James 5:16-18). Yet the prayers of these mere mortals changed how the Creator of the universe fulfilled His plan! They changed the course of history! They got real results.
The Bible teaches that to pray “effectual” prayers that “availeth much,” we must be bold; we must be energetic; we must remember history; we must study the promises God makes in the Bible; we must know He desires to bless us; we must hold Him to His promises; we must pray according to His will; we must be diligent; we must put in hard work; we must make prayer the most important part of each day! (Request our free book How to Pray to learn more.)
But you can do all these things and not receive real results! None of these is the most often-overlooked key to answered prayer.
Herbert W. Armstrong showed us the key in “You Can Have Living Faith!” (Good News, April 1980). He wrote: “[T]here is not one thing I have had to rely on God for and ask Him for in prayer, for myself and family or the wonderful work of His, which He has committed to me, that has not been answered. You can get the same results—if you will be willing to learn what I have had to learn, and to do what God has shown me I have to do.”
What did God show him he had to do? What did God show Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, James, Paul and other men of effective prayer that they had to do?
We must obey!
This is the key that so many overlook! We must not only pray, and with all those other attributes, but we must also want to obey God, and actually obey God! God tells us in 1 John 3:7, “[H]e that doeth righteousness is righteous ….” Verse 18 states, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” Verse 21 shows that we have “confidence toward God” only if we have obedient hearts. Now read verse 22: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
This is the key! “Effectual” prayer that “availeth much” must be coming from “a righteous man” (James 5:16). This means an obedient man—not self-reliant and self-righteous, but humble and repentant. God answers the prayers of the obedient.
So if your prayers are not getting real results, don’t question God: Look at yourself. Are you obeying God? It is not enough to know God’s will. You must do God’s will.
Did you know that loving God means not just saying you love Him but being obedient to Him? Most Christian churches do not teach this! But read 1 John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 2:3-6 say, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. … But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.” 1 John 3:23-24 emphasize that Christ commanded us to love one another and “he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him ….” (Study Psalm 66:18-20; Proverbs 15:8; 28:9; Ezekiel 33:30-32; Luke 13:24-28; John 9:31; 15:10.)
Isaiah 55:8, 1 John 5:14, John 5:30, Luke 22:42 and many other verses show that obeying God means giving up your will and doing His will instead. Most Christians don’t realize or admit this, but our will is contrary to God’s will. This doesn’t just apply to “bad people” but to all people (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 8:7).
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
“Many people, when they pray, have requests of God,” my father, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote. “But they don’t think about what God expects of them” (“Is God Answering Our Prayers?”; pcg.church/go/prayer).
The formula is to search the Bible for God’s will and His promises, stop sinning, strive to obey His laws, and then faithfully believe! Not only can you get real results, but you can know as you’re praying that God will answer (1 John 5:15; Matthew 21:22). You don’t know how or when , but you know He will answer! There will not be one thing that He does not answer! This is life-changing prayer!
To learn more, request a free copy of How to Pray.