Conditions for Answered Prayers
Most Christians want to believe with certainty that God is listening when they pray and that their queries will be answered. Yet the fact remains that for many believers it is a true mystery to know if God really listen to them, and again when and how God will answer their prayers? However, God does not keep secret or hidden mystery in his relationships with her children, i.e., those born according to his will by the Gospel of Christ (John 1:12-13). In fact, about prayer, the word of God tells us: ‘ … We have in him that assurance, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us, and if we know that he hears us, whatever the thing that we ask, we know that. “We have the petitions that we have asked him”(1John 5:14-15; Matt.7:7).
God is the one who draws us into his presence by Jesus Christ, our Savior. He is also the one who initiates our communion with him. As God is Lord of all things, he also sets conditions that we must follow in order to answer our prayers. In this article, we will define prayer and see succinctly diverse types of prayer. Although there are several conditions for God to grant our requests, we will examine only eight (8) that we believe are most important. By following the principles outlined in this study, we will be able to pray with greater confidence, avoiding vain talk and empty words (Matt.6:7-8); but we’ll pray according to God’s promises with conviction of heart, knowing as his children that we have the right to receive his benefits. We will then be ready to speak to our heavenly Father with the full assurance that he hears us and that he is attentive to our prayers as priests and co-heirs with Christ (John 15:7-8; 2 Cor.1:18-20; Rev.1:6; 1 Pet.3:12).
(I) Brief explanation of biblical salvation and the need to confess Jesus as Lord
(Romans 10:8-12; John 1:12-13)
(II) Defining the word Prayer
Prayer is a privilege and an obligation for Christians. It is where we communicate with God. It is how we convey our confession (1John 1:9), requests (1Tim.2:1-3), intercessions (James 5:15), thanksgiving (Phil.4:6), etc., to our holy God. We are commanded to pray by the Scripture (1Thess.5:17; Eph.6:18).
Some personal requirements for effective prayer are: a pure heart (Psalm 66:18), faith in Christ (John 14:12-14) and that the prayer be according to God’s will (1John 5:14). We can pray standing (Neh.9:5), kneeling (Ezra 9:5), sitting (1Chron.17:16-27), bowing (Exodus 34:8), and with lifted hands (1Tim.2:8).
Prayer is Communication; Meeting and Conversing with God: (we talk to God, he talks to us). Prayer is a Ministry or Service assigned to a priest; A call, a sacred vocation, part of the royal priesthood in Christ as an intermediary (advocate) between God and men (Rev.1:6; Rev.5:10; 1Tim.2:1-5).
(III) Different Types of prayer: (Eph.6:18)
Prayer of thanksgiving (1Thes.5:18; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2)
Prayer of praise or exaltation (Psalm 95:1-2)
Prayer of adoration, contemplation and worship (Psalm 63:1-4)
Request, supplication and petition prayer (1Pet.5:7; 1Timothy 2:1-2; Philippians 4:6)
Prayer of imploration (request for forgiveness; Psalm 51)
Intercessory prayer or prayer for others (Ezekiel 22:30; Ephesians 1:15-18)
Prayer of repentance and confession of sin (James 5:16; 1 John 1:8-9)
Prayer of consecration/dedication (Surrender all to God according to the revelation of his will)
(Luke 22:41-42; c.f. Matthew 26:39)
Warfare Prayers (combating/ satanic or demonic forces (Using Jesus’ Authority to bind and loose: and to cast out demons: (Matt.18:18; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2Cor.10:4-5; Matt.8:16)
Prayer of faith and healing (James 5:15; Mark 11:24)
Prayer of deliverance and imprecation (call for curse and divine judgment)
Psalms: 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137 and 139.
Prayer of mutual agreement/common accord prayer (Matthew 18:18-19; Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42)
Prayer by the Holy Spirit-Tongues (1Cor.14:2; 1Cor.14:14; Rom.8:26)
Lamentation prayer (Petition to intervene in time of dark night, grief, distress, suffering and pain)
(Lamentation 1:1; Lamentation 3:22-26)
Prayer of blessing/Benediction/Empowerment to prosper (1Chronicles 1:29; 1Peter 3:9; Eph.1:3)
(IV) Eight conditions (factors) for answered prayers
1- Knowledge and Revelation
(a) Knowledge of the promises of God (logos)
(Hosea 4:16, Jos.1:6-8, 2Pie.1:2-3, 2Cor.1:18, Eph.1:16-19; Eph.3:3-6)
(b) Specific divine Revelation about God’s will for our lives in times and places (rhema)
(Deut.29:29; 1Cor.2:9-13; John 11:9-10; Acts 11:27-30; Acts 13:1-4; Acts 16:6-10)
(Ps.127:1-2, Pr.15:33, 18:12, Pr.29:23, 1Pie.1:20-24, Matt.18:1-5,
Ecc.4:17-5:2, 1Pie.5:5, Jac.4:5, Matt.6:5; Luke 14:11; Phil 2:5-11)
(Heb.11:6, Heb.10:19, Jac.1:6-8)
4- Divine wisdom
-Know what to ask (Requests relevant to us and to God’s kingdom (Rom.8:26-27; James 1:5-8)
-Wisdom in relationships (righteousness) (Matt.5:25-26, 1Pie.3:6-7, 1Thes.4:6-8, Jac.4:1-3, 1Pie.3:9)
5- Practice of forgiveness/elimination of any grudge/walk in love
(Mark 11:23-26; Matt.6:12; Matt.18:21-35; John 20:23)
6- Patience and Perseverance
(James 1:2-3, James 5:11; Luke 18:1-8; Eph.6:18; 1Pie.4:7; 1Thes.5:17)
7- Willingness to engage in the fight of faith: Spiritual Violence
(1Tim.6:12; Matt.11:12; Luke 11:21-23)
8- Understanding and reliance on grace and justification in Christ
(Rom.5:12-16, 1John 1:6-9, Prov.13:16, Heb.10:19-22)