Hill: God provided guidance on how to pray

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series. Part one was published Friday, Sept. 5.

The question is often asked, “Will God answer my prayers?”

Yes, but He also gives insight into His conditions. Many ask why should there be any conditions to prayer. Let us remember that, for those who have chosen to put their faith in God, God has become our Heavenly Father. As our Father, He has the right to expect us to live for Him (1 Jn. 5:3).

Speaking the Truth in Love by Pastor Tommy Hill

Speaking the Truth in Love
by Pastor Tommy Hill

Those of us who are parents also set expectations for our children. Should God do any less? If God gave everything we ever asked for, be honest with your own heart, how would you pray and what would you request? So there are conditions and God does not leave us in the dark as to what He expects. He has provided sufficient instructions so we’ll know what we should do.

James 4 has much to say on this subject. So, what are some of the conditions that we need to meet so we’ll hear from God?

  1. We must be SENSITIVE (v.5-6) to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our life. We often make decisions and choices that meet our personal preferences and desires without listening to His voice as He directs. When we go our own way, without regard for God’s will, we grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30; 1Thes. 5:19). This has a hindering effect on our prayers.
  2. We must SUBMIT (v.7) to our Heavenly Father and follow His direction. Prayer is not attempting to talk God into doing what we want Him to do. In praying, we should find out what God is doing and get in on His perfect plan. Without submitting to God, we will never have any desire to follow Him. Submission is not a profane word it is a biblical doctrine (James 4:7). Submission is not weakness it is obedience and trust in God. Do we believe that God knows best? Then submission is wisdom (Pr. 9:10).
  3. We must STAND against the devil (v.7). Many Christians quote, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” That is an accurately quoted portion of Scripture but it is the second part of the verse. In v. 7 we discover that we must first submit to God. It is a wonderful truth to know that when we submit, we can then have the power to resist the devil and he will flee. He flees, not because we possess any power, but because we are submitted and the power of our Lord Jesus Christ is greater (1 Jn. 4:4). We must stand against all the sinful influences that Satan promotes in our world.
  4. We must SEPARATE (v.8) from the world unto God. God commands us to draw nigh to Him before He draws nigh to us. He further commands that we are to come with clean hands and a purified heart. In other words, we cannot trust in God with a divided heart or a double mind. God doesn’t forgive us and clean us up so we can serve self or Satan. Psalm 66:18 teaches us not to “regard iniquity” in our hearts. We cannot live with the mentality of I’ll do what I want and ask God to bless me anyway.
  5. Finally, we must be SERIOUS (v.9-10) about our prayers. We are bringing our needs to Him. Most often, it’s an emergency so we must be fervent with desire to have our requests answered. If we are truly serious in our prayer life and desire our prayers to be answered, we should be just as serious in meeting God’s commands so He will hear us when we pray.

When we draw near to God, God draws near to us, it is then that God lifts us up and answers our prayers. Who wouldn’t want that?

Pastor Tommy Hill is the pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church in Hamlet. He is a Richmond County native. He can be reached at firstfwbchurchhamlet@gmail.com. His column will appear each Friday in The Pee Dee Post.

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