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Will God answer your prayers? What is the meaning of “Ask, and it will be given to you” in Matthew 7:7? Put seven keys from Scripture into practice in your prayer life to see that yes, God does answer prayers.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Today’s world stresses many of us. We worry about Russia’s ongoing war with the Ukraine, the pressures of inflation, pandemic death and disease, natural and manmade disasters, crime and violence, relation[ship] conflicts, and even traffic congestion.
With all these pressures of life, how can we live peaceably? How can you deal with these stresses and challenges? My friends, there is one way that can help solve your problems. Your Bible shows the way to peace and prosperity. You can have amazing help from the divine promises in your Bible. Listen to this promise in Matthew the seventh chapter—Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Our Father in heaven gives us the promise of answered prayer. Do you get answers to your prayers? Your Bible gives keys to effective prayer.
My friends, you can solve many of the problems of life if you know the proven keys to powerful prayer.
Warm greetings to all our friends around the world!
Jesus’ disciples observed His praying and wanted to know how to pray. If you have your Bible, turn to Luke the eleventh chapter. Luke 11:1. “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’”
Jesus then gave them—and us—the Model prayer, or an outline of topics to pray about. But, He also warned them, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7).
On today’s program, we’ll discuss seven proven keys to answered prayer.
My friends, if you have your Bible, turn to Isaiah the fifty-fifth chapter. God gives us a classic and proven principle for effective prayer. Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.”
My friends, how do you call upon God? My friends, you simply get down on your knees, if you physically can, and tell God your worries, your thoughts, and your concerns. You also let God know your sins and your need for forgiveness. We’ll talk more about that later in the program. God tells us through Isaiah in verse 7, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
God promises us mercy and pardon from our sins, if we’re determined to change our way of living with His help! When I first began to make major changes in my life, I began to seek God more by reading the Bible and praying daily. At first it seemed to be awkward, but I persisted in talking with God, and God kept His promise, and I began to have peace of mind. You also can have peace of mind, if you seek God with your whole heart and mind. Notice this encouraging promise in Jeremiah 29:10: “For thus says the LORD…. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD…” (Jeremiah 29:10–14).
That’s God’s promise to you, my friends. You need God’s love, protection, and guidance in the days, months, and years ahead! We are nearing the end of the age. We will soon be facing world cataclysm and turmoil. You’ve probably seen some of the dozens of disaster movies depicting various forms of cosmocide, including world war, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and asteroids. Jesus Himself stated in Luke 21:24, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; [LISTEN TO THIS] men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken” (Luke 21:25–26).
My friends, we need to be motivated NOW to seek God. You can avoid future heart attacks from the fearful prophesied events. But you must learn to trust God to save you through the trying times ahead. Notice verse 27, Luke 21. God again gives us the good news of Christ’s return: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Yes, my friends, in spite of world crises, we can have hope and confidence in the future, in tomorrow’s world. Verse 28 gives us this encouragement: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:27–28).
Regular viewers of Tomorrow’s World are familiar with the sequence of prophetic events. They realize that God has revealed His truth, His plan, and His promises in this book, the Holy Bible. God is love, as it tells us in 1 John 4:8 and 16. We need to respond to that love by praying to Him daily. Prayer is simply talking with God. You need to get answers to your prayers. Your Bible reveals the keys to powerful prayer.
KEY NUMBER ONE: Claim God’s promises. If you have your Bible, turn to Matthew 6:28. The Bible is a goldmine of guaranteed promises. But there’s a requirement. We must believe that God will give them to us if we pray according to His will. Jesus chided His audience in Matthew 6:28, “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28–30).
God has all power in the universe. He owns everything that exists. So, we should trust God to provide for us. Jesus continues in verse 31, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:31–32).
My friends, you have a heavenly Father who knows your needs, but you need to seek Him and His Kingdom first of all! Read verse 33. Jesus instructs us to get our priorities straight. What do you consider the most important goal in your life? Here it is in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33–34).
My friends, we must seek the greatest goal of all, the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we do that, then we can claim God’s awesome promises He has for you. We’ve listed some of them in our previous programs. But consider these promises in your own Bible:
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 the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Luke 11:13);
He has promised us the gift of His love (Romans 5:5); and
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! 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. Be sure to make your own list. KEY NUMBER ONE to answered prayer: Claim God’s promises. KEY TWO for powerful answered prayer is: Persevere in prayer.
If you have your Bible, turn to one of my favorite promises, of many favorite promises: Psalm 37:3. God instructs us to trust Him and to rely on His guidance, grace, and truth. Psalm 37:3, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:3–5).
Years ago, one of the desires of my heart was to visit the city of Jerusalem in modern day Israel. In 1967, in the Six-Day War, Israel was attacked, won the war, and as a result gained territory that was anciently occupied by the Kings of Israel and Judah. The divided city of Jerusalem was unified under the government of Israel. Israelis now had access to one of their holy places, the Western wall of the Temple Mount. It was indeed an emotional time for the Jewish people!
At that point in time, I started praying according to God’s promise in Psalm 37:4. And I continued over the years praying for my heart’s desire to go to Jerusalem. I had begun asking God for the privilege in 1967. Do you know when He granted me my heart’s desire? Seventeen years later in 1984. Yes, we must persevere in prayer. As a professor at Ambassador College, I was asked to join a college group of students volunteering to work in the “Dig” or archaeological project in the City of David, just south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. I literally jumped for joy! My wife and I were able to travel with this college group throughout Israel and work at the Dig. I have since visited Israel in doing on-location filming as well as spending time with our Church group there during the fall Feast of Tabernacles.
Yes, my friends, God gives us awesome promises. We need to claim God’s promises, and we need to persevere in prayer.
A third proven key you need to know about is: Pray about everything that worries you. Are you worried? Are you anxious? Turn in your Bible to Philippians 4:6; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
When you face up to your concerns, you need to pray and talk in detail with God about your problems. Ancient King David was very open with God in his prayers. Turn to Psalm 6 for example. David was suffering and prayed to God from his heart. Psalm 6:1; “O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O LORD—HOW long? Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?” (Psalm 6:1–5).
Read the Psalms and see how David prayed from the heart. You need to share your problems with God in prayer. And what will be the result? Listen to this comforting promise in Philippians 4:7; “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Yes, you can have peace of mind through prayer. KEY NUMBER THREE to answered prayer: Pray about everything that worries you.
KEY NUMBER FOUR to answered prayer: Thank God continually. Did you notice, as we just read, in Philippians 4:6, how we should make our requests? “With thanksgiving”! When was the last time you thanked God for your blessings? When we think of the billions living in poverty around the world, do you thank God for providing your every need? Remember, that is one of God’s promises He gives us in Philippians 4:19. The Apostle Paul predicted perilous times in the last days. You can read those characteristics in 2 Timothy 3:1–5. One of the greatest sins of our day is ingratitude. Yes, the Apostle Paul stated that our generation in the last days would be unthankful! Are you unthankful? When you share your worries with God, thank Him for the privilege of asking for His intervention and deliverance! Thank Him for all your blessings.
Some of you may be familiar with the old nineteenth century hymn, “Count Your Blessings.” Here are some of the words: “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
When you count your blessings, when you thank God for all the blessings you have experienced and will experience in your life, there is that result.
My friends, count your blessings and express heartfelt gratitude to God. King David even thanked God in the middle of the night. Psalm 119:62, “At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, because of Your righteous judgments.”
KEY NUMBER FOUR to answered prayer: Thank God continually. KEY NUMBER FIVE to answered prayer: Seek God’s will. How would you characterize human nature? Not only is it unthankful, but it is also vanity, lust, and greed! Just a simple review of world history demonstrates humanity’s selfishness. Humanity generally seeks its own will and not God’s! Often, even professing Christians pray selfishly. They want to get, more than to give. Remember Jesus’ statement in Acts 20:35; “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Or as the Moffatt translation has it, “To give is happier than to get.”
Yes, we should pray and claim God’s promise that He will provide our every need (Philippians 4:19). Yes, we can rejoice in faith in claiming God’s promise to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4), but our attitude must always be, “Your will be done”! What did Jesus teach us to pray? Matthew 6:10, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
My friends, this is an extremely important key to answered prayer. Human beings by nature are extremely selfish. The world’s way of life is one of greed. But Jesus desired to do His Father’s will. When Jesus prayed in agony the night before His crucifixion, He asked that the cup of suffering be passed from Him—if—it were God’s will! Notice that in Luke 22:42, Jesus prayed saying, “‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’ Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:42–44).
Jesus was willing to suffer for YOU and Me. He surrendered HIS will to His Father’s Will! When you’re struggling over some problem or trial, ask for God’s deliverance, but ALSO pray that His will be done. KEY NUMBER FIVE is: Seek God’s will.
My friends, you can have your prayers answered as you follow these proven biblical keys. There are two more keys I’d like to share with you. KEY #6 to answered prayer is: Follow the outline prayer. Remember, one of Jesus’ disciples asked Him: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Jesus gave us the famous model prayer, often called the Lord’s prayer. Jesus gives us an outline of topics for prayer. The very first topic we pray about is the office, power, and name of our Father in Heaven. Jesus said in Matthew 6:9, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”
Jesus also gave us this warning in Matthew 6:7: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Saying the same words over and over and over again, becomes vanity. Jesus wants us to pray from the heart, not to repeat the exact words of the model prayer. The prophet Hosea gave a similar warning in Hosea 7:14, “They never put their heart into their prayers.” That’s from the Moffatt translation. Human beings will often cry out to God when they’re in trouble.
After honoring God’s name first of all in your prayer, the second major topic to pray about is stated in Matthew 6:10: “Your kingdom come”! Why do you want God’s kingdom to come? The world is filled with wars, violence, poverty, catastrophic natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, floods, drought, and volcanoes. God’s kingdom will produce a world of sustainable agriculture, rain in due season, prosperity, and peace among nations. Pray for God’s kingdom to come and look forward to a glorious tomorrow’s world under the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Prince of Peace, the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Meditate on each of these topics in the model prayer here in Matthew 6. As you do, you will be praying according to God’s will. KEY #6 to answered prayer: Follow the outline prayer. Our seventh proven key to powerful prayer is: pray in Jesus’ name. Jesus the Christ is at the right hand of God in heaven. He is our great High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for us, as it tells us Hebrews 7:25. He gives us the authority to pray to God in heaven. We pray in Jesus’ name and authority. Since He’s given us that authority, we can pray boldly. Notice that in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We can pray with confidence because Christ is our High Priest and Savior. He sympathizes with our weaknesses. He knows what it’s like to suffer. He was tempted in all points, as we are, yet without sin, as it tells us in verse 15. KEY NUMBER SEVEN is: Pray in Jesus’ name. My friends, you can have your prayers answered! You can rejoice in God’s love for you as He answers your prayers!
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Have you ever wondered, "Why doesn't God answer my prayers?" Do you know how to pray in a way that will get real results?