A sermon about prayer developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett.
We often pray about various things in our lives. We know that we need to have faith when we pray, but sometimes we wonder if God is really listening. Is there a way to know for sure that God will hear our prayers and respond?
1. If we want God to hear our prayers and respond, we MUST be in a relationship with Him.
• John 15:7 – “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.”
• Jesus was talking to His disciples and told them they if they wanted their prayers answered, they had to “remain” in Him.
• What does it mean to “remain” in Christ?
• Remaining in Christ means that we are connected to Him all the time through a meaningful personal relationship with Christ that is demonstrated in our daily lives.
• Sometimes we only pray, come to church, read the Bible or do other spiritual things when we have a problem and want God to bail us out.
• Because God is a loving Father, He often chooses to come to our aid in times like that.
• But God never promised to answer the prayers of those who do not have a real relationship with Him.
• God only promised to answer the prayers of those who remain in Christ.
• Personal Example: I do not believe in Buddha, or in any of the Hindu gods. I do not think they are real. I do not think they can help me in my life. But suppose in a time of crisis I said a quick prayer to them “just in case.” Should I really expect them to respond? Of course not. I do not even believe they are real. I have no relationship or connection to them at all. It would be crazy for me to expect a response from them. Yet, somehow people who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus expect the Christian God to respond each time they get into a crisis in their life. Why are they surprised when He does not respond? They have no relationship with Him.
• If we want God to hear our prayers and respond, we must remain in Christ.
• The first step to remaining in Christ is to trust Christ as our Savior and become a real Christian.
• The second step to remaining in Christ is to be spiritual ALL the time, not just when we NEED something from God.
• God does not expect perfection, but He does expect significant effort.
• If we want our prayers to be answered, we must be a real Christian and be doing our best to live like one.
2. If we want God to hear our prayers and respond, we MUST pray in agreement with His will.
• 1 John 5:14-15 - Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.
• We can be CONFIDENT that if we pray for something that is according to God’s will, it will happen.
• What does it mean to pray according to God’s will?
• Praying in agreement with God’s will means that whatever God wants should be more important than whatever we want.
• It is not always easy to know what God wants. Four tests we can use to know if something is God’s will are:
• God will never do something that contradicts His Word (the Bible).
• God will not do things that cause confusion or division in the church.
• God confirms His will through other Christians.
• God will put certain ideas or desires in our hearts that will just not go away. If those ideas that linger in our hearts pass the other three tests, then we can know that idea is from God and can pray for it with confidence knowing it is within God’s will.
3. If we want God to hear our prayers and respond, we MUST live the right way.
• 1 Peter 310-12 For the one who wants to love life and to see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit, and he must turn away from evil and do good. He must seek peace and pursue it, because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their request. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
• Whose prayer requests does God listen to?
• According to this verse, when we get our prayers answered, we will love life and see good days. But for that to happen:
• We must keep our tongue from evil.
• We must keep our lips from speaking lies.
• We must turn away from evil.
• We must do good deeds.
• We must seek peace with others.
• Basically, we must LIVE the right way.
• If we want God to hear our prayers:
• We must remain in a relationship with Him. First by choosing to be a Christian and second by trying to be spiritual all the time, not just when we need something.
• We must pray in agreement with God’s will and not our own will.
• We must live the right way.