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Five Keys for Answered Prayer

Five Keys for Answered Prayer

When and how does God answer prayers? Find out what you can do to experience the “effective, fervent prayer” mentioned in James 5:16, as Richard Ames gives five powerful strategies to improve the results of your prayers.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

Lord, Teach Us to Pray!

Billions of people around the world pray memorized prayers. But do they get answers to their prayers? Do you get answers to YOUR prayers? Are prayers just talking to ourselves? Or is there a real God who answers prayer? Are there practical keys and strategies for answered prayer?

Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” That’s in Luke 11:1. Jesus then gave them the model prayer or the outline prayer. Perhaps you have memorized it and repeat it often. But do you pray with meaning? You need to know the five keys for answered prayer. You can have an amazing and abundant life by following these keys from your Bible!

Stay tuned!

Seeking God’s Perfect Will

Warm greetings to all our friends around the world!

Millions of people feel helpless and do not know how to get the help they need. There is one source that can give you powerful help and encouragement. That’s the power of prayer. The Bible reveals simple and straightforward keys to answered prayer.

My friends, you can have your prayers answered, IF you follow the biblical keys and strategies. It tells us in Ephesians 3:15 that God is the Father “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Jesus taught us to begin our prayers by addressing our Father in heaven. Our Father in heaven loves you, and He will listen to your prayers and act upon them, IF you follow the instructions in your Bible.

My friends, your Bible gives promising and guaranteed keys to answered prayer. Let’s consider just five important ones! Our first key strategy for answered prayer is: SEEK GOD’S WILL, and not your own! If you have your Bible, turn to Acts 13. King David was called a man after God’s own heart. That is a very high honor. King David was one who God said would do His will.

The Apostle Paul is writing about the history of Israel. Acts 13:22:

“And when He [God] had removed him [King Saul], He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, [Listen!] who will do all My will.’ From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus…” (Acts 13:22–23).

What was the key characteristic that God saw in David? David was wholehearted in doing God’s will! So the first strategy for answered prayer is to Seek God’s will. Remember the outline prayer. We should all pray every day, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

My friends, we all make many choices every day. Sometimes our human nature gets in the way of doing what we KNOW IS RIGHT! So, we have to pray for God’s strength to do His will. Of course, when it comes to making important decisions, we need to get all the facts, get wise counsel, and pray about it. Perhaps you’re deciding on a career, or a professional training program. Which should you choose? Perhaps you are involved in a romantic relationship, but there are some questions that make you hesitate in considering marriage with this individual; perhaps you are being persuaded by friends to do illegal drugs, engage in illicit sex, or pursue other sinful practices; perhaps you need to decide on buying a home or a condo. Ask God that His will be done! Why? Because He knows what is best for you!

Notice the Apostle John’s assurance concerning answered prayer and doing God’s will:

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14–15).

Yes, you can have the confidence that God is hearing Your prayers if you are dedicated to doing His will.

My friends, when you SEEK GOD’S WILL, and not your own, God will give you great peace of mind and joy.

King David expressed his joy [for] doing God’s will. Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” Yes, it was a DELIGHT for David to SEEK God’s will. In fact, THAT IS key number six in our inspiring free booklet, TWELVE KEYS TO ANSWERED PRAYER. Here is what Roderick Meredith writes on pages 10–11:

“Another key to successful prayer is to be absolutely sure that—as far as possible—you align your will and your requests with GOD’s will…. As you zealously study the Bible and yield to let Christ live within you, His will increasingly replaces your own. It affects how you pray. You come to realize that God has made all men and women in His image—that He will ‘call’ ALL mankind to understanding and repentance in His time. With this in mind, you will not be praying just for your own good, but for the good of others as well. Then you can sincerely say to God, as Jesus did: ‘not My will, but Yours, be done’” (Luke 22:42).

Diligent Study, Prayer, and Supplication

My friends, seeking God’s will is one of the most important keys to answered prayer;

“I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.”

Another major strategy for answered prayer is STUDY YOUR BIBLE DAILY. The Bible reveals the mind of God and the Way of God. The more you’re in harmony with God’s way of life, the more you will be in harmony with God’s will. The Bible gives numerous examples of God’s intervention for nations and individuals. When you read about the lives of Christ, the apostles, and the heroes and heroines of the Bible, your faith will grow. Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

God will increase your faith if you are reading your Bible. Yes, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Think of the times when God rescued the prophet Daniel from the lion’s den; God delivered the three Hebrew men from the fiery furnace; God rescued the whole nation of Israel from the bondage in Egypt and brought them through the Red Sea; an angel led the Apostle Peter from a Jerusalem prison (Acts 12:5–11); In Philippi, God delivered Paul and Silas from an inner prison (Acts 16:24–40). Many were miraculously healed when the shadow of the Apostle Peter passed over them (Acts 5:14–16).

Yes, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. My friends, many of you have experienced answered prayer, and perhaps some of you have even experienced miraculous healing based on the promises of your Bible. You need to read your Bible daily! You need spiritual food every day of your life. In our inspiring free booklet, TWELVE KEYS TO ANSWERED PRAYER, Dr. Meredith emphasizes this key to answered prayer: “Study the Bible”:

“To know God, to understand His will and to BELIEVE in His promises, you need to regularly STUDY His inspired Word in an orderly way—just as you might study a science textbook or a volume on history. A good place to start is the book of Matthew—the first book in the New Testament. Read this through slowly and carefully—noting what Jesus actually said, paying particular attention to the many examples of answered prayer” (p. 4).

My friends, apply this strategy for answered prayer: STUDY YOUR BIBLE DAILY.

We’ve briefly discussed two strategies for answered prayer: SEEK GOD’S WILL and STUDY YOUR BIBLE DAILY. A third, and extremely important strategy is: CLAIM GOD’S PROMISES. Some scholars have estimated that there are more than 3,000 promises in the Bible. The words “promise,” “promises,” and “promised” occur more than 120 times in the New King James Version of the New Testament. One of the most inspiring references concerning God’s promises is in 2 Peter the first chapter.

Turn in your Bible to 2 Peter 1:2:

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power [Listen to this!] has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:2–4).

My friends, read that carefully again! God has given you and me “exceedingly great and precious promises”! And he promises to supply all our needs!

Philippians 4:19. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

My friends, I’ve claimed that promise of Philippians 4:19 many times, and God has answered wonderfully. You can claim God’s promises as well. There are so many promises in the Bible, but let me share a few of them with you. We’ve presented them in previous programs, but these are supremely encouraging:

  • God has promised to answer our prayers (Matthew 7:7–8);
  • He has promised to fulfill all our needs (Philippians 4:19);
  • He has promised to guide our lives (Proverbs 3:5–6);
  • He has promised us long life, if we honor our father and mother (Ephesians 6:2–3);
  • He has promised us to give us the desires of our heart, IF we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4–5);
  • He has promised us peace of mind (Philippians 4:6–7);
  • He has promised us the ability to endure trials (1 Corinthians 10:13);
  • He has promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Luke 11:13);
  • He has promised us the gift of His love (Romans 5:5);
  • He has promised us eternal life (1 John 2:25).

My friends, study these PROMISES in your Bible. Remind God that He has given YOU these promises. Ask God in faith to fulfill these promises in YOUR LIFE, and you’ll begin to have a greater peace of mind! Seek God’s will in YOUR LIFE, and you’ll be fulfilling one of the keys to answered prayer.

There are many, many more promises in the Bible for you and your family, and for all human beings on earth. You may want to make your own list.

What Did Christ Instruct?

A fourth strategy for answered prayer is to FOLLOW CHRIST’S INSTRUCTIONS.

We’ve already seen Christ’s outline for the model prayer. But He also gave us important topics to pray about. He has given His Church the responsibility to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations. God is calling people from all nations to respond to that message. Jesus had compassion on the people of His day. Even now, He still has compassion on those who respond to the gospel.

Notice this instruction in Matthew the 9th chapter. Matthew 9:35,

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (Matthew 9:35–38).

My friends, Jesus told His disciples to pray for more laborers to work in the spiritual harvest. Even today, there’s a large spiritual harvest. God wants more laborers, more members in the body of Christ, the Church of God, to serve new people whom He is calling all over this world. Are you praying for more laborers to serve in the spiritual harvest? One important key to answered prayer is to follow Christ’s instructions.

Christ gave us another major instruction to follow in Matthew the 19th chapter. A young rich man wanted to know what he needed to do to gain eternal life. What was Jesus’ answer? Matthew 19:17,

“No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Jesus then stated several of the Ten Commandments.

The Apostle John assures us that this is a key to answered prayer. 1 John 3:22,

“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

Yes, my friends, we need to follow Christ’s instruction to keep His commandments! Turn in your Bible to Matthew 24.

What else does Christ instruct us to pray for? Bible prophecy foretells the Great Tribulation to come. One of the key signs will be the Abomination of Desolation, as Jesus points out in Matthew 24:15.

In verse 20, He tells us to pray about our escape from the Great Tribulation:

“And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:20–22).

Historically, true Christians fled Jerusalem before its destruction in 70 AD. Now in the end-time, Jesus warns us about this unique time in all history called the Great Tribulation. He promises His faithful servants protection in Luke 21:36:

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Those who are watching world news, and prophetic events, will know when it is time to flee to a place of protection. But Jesus tells us to prepare! How? By praying that our flight will not be in the winter or on the Sabbath. Those who have experienced severe winter storms know just how difficult it is to travel. And Christ who is Lord of the Sabbath, as it tells us in Mark 2:28, instructs us to PRAY that our flight not be on the Sabbath. Yes, Christ expects His servants to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. Be sure to pray that your flight will not be in the winter or on the Sabbath day! The fourth strategy for answered prayer is FOLLOW CHRIST’S INSTRUCTIONS.

The Prayers of the Righteous: Outgoing Concern for Others

Human beings are very selfish and carnal. We know of many who have the “gimme” or “get” attitude in their prayers rather than the “give” attitude.

The Apostle Paul quoted Jesus with one of the most important principles for Christians in Acts 20:35:

“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

I remember as a little boy, my parents taught me to pray for others, particularly our family. And I remember as a teenager praying for an aunt afflicted with cancer. Do you pray mainly for yourself, or do you pray for others?

The Apostle Paul exhorts us in James 5:16,

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Notice that as we pray for others, God expects us to pray fervently, to put our hearts into our prayers!

Jesus even tells us to pray for our enemies in Matthew 5:44,

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and PRAY for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44–45).

In this end-time, we see worsening leadership in various national governments. But at the same time, God expects us to pray for our leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1,

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1–4).

Yes, a fifth strategy for answered prayer is: PRAY FOR OTHERS!

Effective prayer can change your life! Our Father in heaven wants to hear from you in prayer.

Jesus made this clear in Matthew 7:7,

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:7–12).

My friends, our Father in heaven loves you. He has given you authority through the name of Jesus Christ to make your requests known to Him. As a loving Father, God promises to give “good things” to those who ask Him.

Continue to pray for the true gospel to be preached in all the world. Apply these strategies of prayer and draw closer to your Savior and your Father in heaven.

Thank you for watching!

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See you next time!

Five Key Strategies For Answered Prayer


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