(watch the video of this message by scrolling to the bottom)
From Genesis to Revelation, God emphasizes the power of prayer because He wants us to understand it. He values it. He wants us to internalize the fact that He answers prayer.
For this reason, thousands of books have been written, and tens of thousands of messages have been preached on the topic of prayer. If it matters to God, it should naturally matter to anyone trying to know God better. In fact, I have even written a few books on the vital subject of prayer.
This message simply centers on this powerful truth: God answers prayer.
Before you dive into today’s teaching, pray this:
Dear Father, help me to hold onto Scripture and apply my faith so I can see the fulfillment of Your word in my life. I ask you this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
God answers prayer.
The Bible is firm on the promise that the God we serve answers prayers. Hebrews 5:7 says this (GNT): “In His life on earth Jesus made His prayers and requests with loud cries and tears to God, who could save Him from death. Because He was humble and devoted, God heard Him.” The reason why God heard Jesus was because Jesus had a relationship with God. He was committed. He also had the right attitude when making requests to God.
You see, many individuals don’t recognize the value of prayer. Many also don’t recognize that prayer has specific rules. When you realize the rules surrounding prayer, and you use those rules, you can have confidence that God hears you and answers you.
In Chronicles, we read how Solomon had just finished dedicating his palace and temple to God. That night God visited him in a dream. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NIV), “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Here you have a roadmap for the rules of prayer.
This passage of Scripture also reveals how God answers prayer and the prerequisites He needs for it.
Notice how God is essentially saying, “prayer is for my people.”
Are you one of God’s people?
The phrase “my people” talks about God’s covenant relationship with His people. It means that you have accepted Christ as your savior. It’s when you’ve invited God into your heart to be your heavenly Father. That’s when you become one of His people.
Know the rules of prayer.
You can be confident that God answers prayer. Think about how sweet that is.
When you think about prayer, I invite you to also consider the guidelines God calls us to abide by when we pray. God’s answer to prayer depends on our actions. Our actions are CRITICAL to prayer. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (CEV) puts it this way: “If my own people will humbly pray and turn back to me and stop sinning, then I will answer them from heaven. I will forgive them and make their land fertile once again.”
There are two sides to this particular Biblical passage. Let’s zoom in.
One part identifies with your actions, while the other part identifies with God’s reactions.
What role do my actions play in prayer?
There are three actions the Bible instructs us to do after becoming one of God’s people in order to have our prayers answered.
First, God says that you must humble yourself. Prayer requires humility. To be humble, you must make yourself low in prayer. You need to trust God and His judgment.
Second, turn back to Him. This means you need to renew your devotion to God. It is also saying that God needs to be first in your life. When you turn back to Him, you are positioning yourself for answered prayers.
Third, stop sinning because sin hinders prayer. It sounds simple, but this requires repentance. Repentance is when you turn away from your sin and toward God.
These are the three steps you must take. Watch God show up when you go through these actions.
Your actions trigger God’s reactions.
Check out the following portion of Scripture one more time, this time through the lens of focusing on God’s reactions to our actions.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (CEV), “If my people will humbly pray and turn back to me and stop sinning, then I will answer them from heaven. I will forgive them and make their land fertile once again.” Here we see that God will give three reactions.
First, He will answer you. God says, “I answer when you pray.” When you pray, recognize with faith and expectation that God answers you.
God’s second reaction is to forgive your sins. One of the most beautiful things is to know that you don’t owe God anything and your sins have been forgiven. No news is better!
The third reaction is that He will make your land fertile again. In today’s context, when God heals your land, He’s healing your family, church, and nation.
It’s so helpful to know that when you look at 2 Chronicles 7:14, we have the roadmap to having God answer prayers. In summary, God’s reactions will follow if you do your part. Don’t fall into the trap of never offering your prayer. God is ready right now. You have access to your Heavenly Father right now.
Do your part. He is faithful to do His.
Let’s close with this prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I want to be a member of your family. Come into my heart today, Lord. Please wash away my sins, change me and help me live for you so that you may be glorified in me and through me. I ask you this in the name of Jesus, Amen.