When it comes to living a powerful missional life that brightly shines the Light of Christ in our part of this dark world prayer is essential. But not just any kind of prayer but prayers where there is confidence that God will hear and answer it.
So much of our prayers is what I like to call, "I hope God will answer my prayers!" but there's no confidence that God will actually do it. We are praying with uncertainty that God will actually do what we are asking Him to do. On top of this lack of confidence there is just a lot of "BAD" teaching going on in the name of "PRAYING IN FAITH". To many people out there like to take just one passage of scripture and emphasis it to the exclusion of other essential and indispensable verses on topic. This is a very bad practice to develop! In learning to praying in faith we need to understand the full council of God. Failure to do so can lead a person into a practice that's not only unbiblical but potentially destructive to their faith.
There are 3 Indispensable Biblical parts for having confidence that God will answer your prayers the way you have asked him to.
Let me emphasis that they are essential and indispensable!
Why? Because they are like 3 legs on a stool! If you remove any of legs from the stool, leaving only 2 legs, the stool will fall down! ALL THREE LEGS ARE INDISPENSABLE! The ability to pray and know that your prayers will be answered requires us to have all three of these indispensable parts in place. Remove one of the parts and you no longer can have confidence and certainty that your prayers will be answered the way you are asking! But if you have all three parts in place you can pray with confidence and know you have what you ask for. So, what are they?
PART #1: Hearts That Don't Condemn Us
"Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight." 1 John 3:21,22
This is the part that makes sure that you the one praying is in a proper spiritual condition to come before God and ask Him to do something. Knowing that we are in a spiritual condition that allows us to come into God's presence and be accepted is a vital part to knowing that your prayers will be answered.
In order to know if we are in a proper spiritual condition to come before God with our petitions we need to do a spiritual inventory of our life. We need to see if there are any unconfessed sins that still need God's forgiveness. If their is sin then the activity that is needed is a prayer of honest confession from true repentance. In 1 John 1:9 God gives us assurance that our sins can be forgiven with this simple act. Read what it says,
"If we confess our sin that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Why should we think that we can receive anything from the Lord if our hearts are not right with the Lord. To have confidence that our prayers will be heard by God depends first and foremost if we are prepared to even ask for it.
Question To Ask Yourself:
Is There Any Unconfessed Sin In Your Life That Needs To Be Dealt With And Made Right With God?
PART #2: Knowing & Praying According To God's Will
"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." 1 John 5:14,15
This part deals with the actual request being made. Is what we are asking for according to God's will or not. This passage of scripture makes it perfectly clear that when our requests are inline with God's will we know God hears us and we know He will give us what we ask for.
If you are asking for something that is not according to God's will it doesn't matter how much, how often or even how passionately you ask God for it, it you will not receive it. Why? Because it wasn't part of God's will. In order to pray in faith with confidence you must know what God's will is! If you are uncertain what God's will is on a particular matter then before you can pray in faith about it you must first pray for God to reveal His will to you about it. Listen to what James 1:5 says,
"If anyone lacks wisdom you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him."
What a wonderful assurance this verse provides us. If we ask God to reveal His will to us by giving us wisdom He promises to do it. NOW THAT'S POWERFUL! Once God reveals to you His will concerning the matter then you can begin to pray in accordance to God's will with confidence that God will answer it.
Question To Ask Yourself:
Do You Know What God's Will Is Concerning The Matter You're Praying About?
PART #3: Praying In Faith With No Doubt
Once you know that you are able to go into God's presence to make your request and once you know what God's will is concerning the issue you are praying about, then you can make your request to God but you have to make it in faith and without any doubt that God will do exactly what you are asking Him to do. NO DOUBT!
"Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 'Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:22-23
Praying in faith and without doubt is essential to answered prayers. However, this kind of faith that I am talking about is not a faith that controls God and makes Him do whatever we want. That kind of faith reduces God to be like genie in a bottle. Our God is not a genie that has to give us our three wishes. No! Our God is the Sovereign Lord of all creation. God doesn't do our will - we are to do His will! Biblical faith is not some kind of force that makes God do what we want.
Biblical faith is surrender to God's will and joining God in accomplishing His will! This prayer of faith is because you already know what God is going to accomplish, you have discovered His will on the matter, and through faith you are surrendering your will over to God's will and fully trusting that God will, not maybe, accomplish exactly what He said He would do. In other words when you pray a prayer of faith you have no doubt that what you are asking is going to happen because you know that God already has willed it to happen!
Question To Ask Yourself:
Once God Has Revealed To You What His Will Is Do You Have The Faith To Pray That It Will Happen Without Doubt?
When you are certain that all three of this parts are in place then you can have confidence that God not only hears your prayers but that you will also receive for what you have asked. Remove one of these three part or legs and the stool will fall. All three are essential and indispensable if you are to receive in prayer what you have asked God to do.