We come to the final installment of this 7-part series on the conditions of answered prayer. When God promises to answer our prayers, He is not handing us a blank check. Rather, He is making a conditional promise.
If we want God to answer our prayers, we must pray in a particular way, we must do certain things, we must have a specific attitude. We must meet God’s requirements in order for Him to keep His promise.
And here they are:
1. We must not cherish sin in our heart (Psalm 66:18)
2. We must pray for the glory of Jesus (John 14:13)
3. We must maintain a lifestyle of habitual obedience to the Word (1 John 3:21-22)
4. We must offer our prayers in faith (James 1:6-9)
5. We must allow the words of Christ to remain in us (John 15:7)
6. We must remain in Christ (John 15:7)
That is quite a list, is it not? It’s a humbling list. It’s a list that should bring us to our knees, crying out to the Savior for the grace we need to live the kind of life described above.
We like lists, don’t we? I have several “To Do” lists that keep me focused at the office. And I have another “To Do” list for family and household projects. What would we do without our “To Do” lists?
With the Christian life, we must be careful when looking at a list such as the one above. Yes, we must take each of these conditions ever so seriously. But we must also remember this: the Christian life is not a list, it’s a relationship of intimacy with the living God.
Condition #7 is simply a summary of Conditions #1-6: We must be in a vibrant, ever-growing relationship with the Father through His Son empowered by His Spirit.
Isn’t this what the list above is describing? For God to answer my prayers, I must be experiencing a relationship with Him that is characterized by a hatred for sin, a passion for the glory of Christ above all else, a hunger and thirst for righteous living in accord with the Word, an ever-increasing faith, and an intimate union with Jesus that results in lifelong perseverance.
That is the Christian life. That is what it means to be a Christian. And God answers the prayers of Christians. It’s as simple and profound as that.
The Christian experience cannot be reduced to a list. But the list above is a good place to start to engage in soul-searching spiritual self-assessment. So let’s challenge ourselves with the exhortations of these Scriptures. May the Word of Christ dwell in us richly, and may the enabling of the Spirit cause us to be clinging to the Savior as we pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done.