1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV
Pray without ceasing...
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Pray without ceasing...
Does God answer prayer? We all want to know.
Maybe you’ve heard stories of miracles, and envy such experiences. Maybe you’ve been hoping for one, exhausted because nothing has happened.
When we open the Bible, what answers do we find to our question?
First, we find that the God we read about in the Bible is a listening God (Genesis 30:17; Judges 13:9; 1 Kings 8:28). He hears. He’s not deaf or disinterested in us, as we often think.
In fact, God is the only Listener in your life who has authority over every one of your concerns and circumstances.
When you pray, whether you recognize it or not, you’re exercising faith in a listening God. You’re also believing that the Great Listener can do something about your requests. God has also told us that he’s in charge, and able to answer your prayers (Psalm 103:19; Jeremiah 32:27).
We have confidence to pray because God has told us he’s listening. We have motivation to pray because God has told us he’s active.
God’s love doesn’t stop with hearing us. He wants to help—to answer, and he’s the only one who can address each situation in our lives with perfect wisdom.
The most basic observation we can make about prayer from the Bible is that God tells us to do it (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18). This truth actually helps us to answer our question. God commands us to pray because he wants to listen. God is good—why would he tell us to pray if he didn’t intend to answer us?
God’s mandate to pray, repeated all over the Bible, is his eager invitation for you to see him exercise his power and to know him through his recognizable intervention in your life.
God has revealed himself as a listener who loves to answer prayer.
You may wonder if this is an exclusive offer for only some people. Maybe you’re asking, but will God answer my prayers?
The answer to that question depends on your relationship with God. Is he your Father? Have you come to him through believing in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins? This is the only way that he has prescribed we can come to him (Acts 4:12).
If you’re his child through faith in Jesus, then he delights to hear and help you (1 John 3:1).
However, if you’re not in a good relationship with God through Jesus, God says that his ears are closed to you (Proverbs 28:9), because our sinfulness makes it impossible for us to draw near to his perfect goodness without consequences.
But God’s Son willingly laid down his life so that we might approach him with confidence, despite our sinfulness—he didn’t want us to remain distant from him (Hebrews 10:19-22). The second you come to God through the way he has provided (faith in Jesus), he’s ready to receive you (John 6:37; Romans 10:13).
One of the perks of that relationship is the privilege of constant communication through prayer. Just think about how amazing this is! Surely we couldn’t approach God and set an expectation for him to listen to us as if we’re in charge (Psalm 8:4).
But in the Bible, we discover that God created us with the intention of communicating with us. Despite our rebellion against him, he has made a way to re-open that communication. For anyone who trusts in him, he delights to listen to them.
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14 ESV).
The prayer of
is powerful and effective.
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
you have asked nothing
in my name.
Ask, and you will receive,
that your joy may be full.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Of Answered Prayer
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”
And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."
And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."