Not everyone who prays actually prays because they are looking for an answer. I know that may sound unusual, but it is true. Some people pray from memory, or from expectations that are placed on them by others, or because they think God wants them to pray. It's funny to me that when we offer to pray for someone's healing at a park or at a grocery store, they will often say thank you and start to walk away because they think we will generically pray for them at home. They have no concept of God answering a prayer right then on the spot.
But some of you long to really pray in a way that answers come. You love people, you want to see changes in the world and you have needs that only God can fulfill. Unfortunately, we can see it still as a burden, a responsibility and a frustration because it seems we get answers sometimes and sometimes we don't and we aren't quite sure why. It seems hit and miss with no rhyme or reason so we default to "it must be God's will that he said no."
What I want you to discover through the gospel is how to receive answers and why some movements of prayer and intercession wear us out instead of invigorating us. God actually promised that there would be joy in the house of prayer. Is that your experience? Here are a couple of truths that will help you get your prayer life started again.
1. You Are Already Qualified
One of the great challenges to getting answers to prayer is religion. When I say religion I mean anything that places a demand on you in order to qualify you for God to answer. The moment that we think a certain position, posture, or wording is the magic key to answered prayer is the moment we disconnected from the truth. The idea that you have to be cleaned up spiritually in order for God to hear you actually keeps you separated from confidence that he will hear and answer because compared to God who has arrived? If you had to be morally perfect in order for God to answer then no sinner could ever be saved because God would never hear them. The gift of righteousness partly means that God has made me right with him by the work of Christ and I have the right to audience with the King because of grace.
So what is the secret?
Col. 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
The reason that you are qualified is that Jesus has redeemed you, forgiven you of all sins, and delivered you out of the kingdom of darkness. What qualifies us is that Jesus is our representative so that we are not asking something based on our credibility, or our stature of holiness. We are going to him through the gift of righteousness. Your prayers are heard because you are accepted in Christ.
Jesus acceptance before the throne IS your acceptance before the throne. When you were born from above, you were defined before God as being "in Christ." Since God has given the Son of God the full inheritance of saying yes to every one of the promises made to humanity, now he can say to you...All the promises of God are yes and amen IN CHRIST JESUS. If you are in Christ, he is the one who has qualified you for answers to prayer!
2. Jesus Christ is the Will of God.
1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
Did you get that? All we have to do is ask anything that is consistent with his will and we can have absolute confidence that he will answer with a bold YES! Do you know what the problem with that it is? Many don't know what the will of God is so when they pray they pray with wishing instead of confident faith. How can we know the will of God? The author of Hebrews describes the New Covenant as similar to a Last Will and Testament. Jesus Christ has become the mediator distributing the inheritance.
Do you know what the inheritance is? Jesus Christ IS the inheritance. What that means is that everything that Jesus got by resurrection is yours by inheritance. Jesus was raised holy, righteous, blessed, healed, free from the power of my sins, free from my guilt, my shame, and my condemnation. He was raised and seated in glory where every need of the Son of God is met.
FAITH IS NOT BELIEVING SOMETHING IN ORDER TO MAKE IT TRUE. FAITH IS BELIEVING SOMETHING BECAUSE IT ALREADY IS TRUE! Where is it already finished and complete? In the Son of God. Now I can look at his resurrection and discover the will of God for my life and have perfect confidence that he will hear and answer my prayers.