Picture shows the love between a Father and His child.
(we continue our article on biblical assurance presenting the marks that prove a person to be a believer)
Sixth, answer to prayer.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
“And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
When a Christian prayer’s there is a confidence and boldness they have knowing that God has heard their prayers. And when they are answered; it is the most encouraging evidence that God truly has heard their prayers! Prayer involves trusting in the Sovereignty of God. God works all things for the good of His elect; even if their circumstances seem painful and strange in their appearance. The providence of God brings about the footsteps and the directions which the believer will walk into. He also brings about many doors to open and shut in order for the prayers of believers to be answered. Some think that God always will say yes to what they prayed about. God does not always say ‘yes’ and does not always provide an answer. We may pray for something that is good and noble but receive it not. Even if we do not, this is God’s answer to us. We must also understand that there is no guarantee that God will answer prayer; because He does not have to. He is not a kind of magic wizard who does everything he wants us to do. No, God is the Lord of the Universe. And He has the right to say nothing or something if He wanted to. Now there are prayers which go hand in hand according to the will of God and they are answered.
This undoubtedly proves that God is in connection and communion with the person praying who is His child. It is the sign of adoption. He is our Father and we are His children which are called in the Scriptures ‘elect’ ‘beloved’ ‘His own’ ‘heirs with Christ’. All this must indicate that prayer is more than just a simple exercise of piety. Pray is spending quality time with your Heavenly Father. You can meet Him as anytime and He will receive us through the blood of Christ which has given us this privilege to pray before the Almighty God. This truth, must always humble a believer when they come into the presence of God. We read men from the past like Whitefield, Edwards and Brainerd who prayed from early in the morning for hours during the day and we admire them. But it must be said that they did not do all this in order to show how holy they were. It is not the quantity of our prayers that count. It does not matter how much time is our prayers, for even the hypocrite can pray long prayers in order to be seen by men (Matthew 6). The question is: do you pray? The question is: how needy are you? How desperate and earnest are you to be in the presence of your Father? Can you go having a day without praying to God? Can you live without His care? Prayer to God is a sign that we are in a covenant relationship with Him.
Moreover, prayer causes us to look back at the work of God’s providence in our lives. It always tells you how faithful He has always been to guide you were you needed to go. When that one time you were in darkness; where no light was to be seen; the heaven’s opened and God rescued you. Or remembering a time of great trial and you needed His closeness and His security; encouragement to trust His promises, God was there and was with you. Now you are where He wants you to be and looking back years later you see the Lord’s faithfulness in answering prayers. You can also look back to prayers which God has not answered at that particular time; but revealed it later on. How wise are the ways of the Lord! This is His way of testing your faith, causing you to wait upon His answer earnestly. Looking back, you see the providence of God smiling at you. Answered prayers are those which abide in the Word of God. That is, prayers that are in harmony with the will of God connect with the will of God revealed in Scripture. Anything that is prayed outside of the will of God is not considered. For example, someone who professes to be a Christian cannot prayer: dear Lord I thank you that i am not like those people’ as the Pharisees did in Luke 18. Nor can a Christian be a Christian if they pray to God to earn their salvation by their works.
Dear reader, has God answered your prayers?
(to be continued)
For your consideration:
A Sermon on prayer by Dr. Peter Masters, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjhm0xWu10Y