Two articles: One with 13 Authors, the other Author Unknown
For the authority for prayer in the worship of the local church, click here.
Return to Bible Subjects Articles page
Does God Answer Prayer?
by 13 Bible Characters
To help us answer this question, we’ve assembled a panel of 13 from the Bible. Let’s ask each one of them: God answers prayer?
- Moses: Yes, He does. In fact, one time I asked God to forgive the sins of my people, and He did (Numbers 14:19-20).
- Hannah: Yes. I prayed to God for a male child and He gave me one (1 Samuel 1:8-27).
- Hezekiah: Certainly. When I was about to die, I prayed to God and He added 15 years to my life (2 Kings 20:1-6).
- Jabez: He sure does. I made several requests to God, and He granted them all (1 Chronicles 4:10).
- The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh: We know He does, because one time, when we were fighting against the Hagrites, God delivered them into our hands. He did this because we cried out to Him and put our trust in Him (1 Chronicles 5:18-20).
- Manasseh: Yes. Even though I had lived wickedly, when I humbled myself and turned back to God, he heard my prayer and brought me back to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 33:10-13).
- The Israelites who returned to Jerusalem with Ezra: Without an armed escort to lead us to Jerusalem, we asked God to show us the right way and protect us, and guess what: He did! (Ezra 8:21-23).
- David: You want to know why I love God. For many reasons, but one is that He hears and answers my prayers (Psalms 116:1-2).
- Amos: I agree with all the others on the panel. Twice I asked God to relent concerning the harm He was going to do to Israel, and He granted my request (Amos 7:1-6).
- Jonah: You all know about the time I spent in the belly of the great fish. I was there because I had disobeyed God. But when I humbled myself and repented, God answered my prayer from the belly of the whale (Jonah 2:1-10).
- Zacharias: I can relate to what Hannah has already said. I asked God for a child, and He gave me a fine one in John the Baptist (Luke 1:13).
- Elijah: Have you read James 5:16-18? I am used as an example of how the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16-18).
- Jesus: You all know what I’m going to say. I prayed to My Father on many occasions, and He answered all of my prayers.
Learning From Jesus How to Pray
In 1 Peter 2:21, we are taught to follow the example left by Jesus. Let’s look at the example He left us in the area of prayer. What can we learn from Jesus about prayer?
Jesus often went to a solitary place to pray.
Mark 1:35 says, “…He went out to a solitary place and there he prayed.” In Matthew 14:23 we learn that He “went up on a mountain by Himself to pray.” In Luke 5:16 the statement is made that He “often withdrew into the wilderness to pray.” And in Luke 9:18, we learn that “He was alone praying.” Jesus saw the value in getting off by Himself to pray, where there would be no interruptions, no distractions. We should learn the same lesson.
Jesus made time for prayer.
In Mark 1:35 we see Jesus rising “a long while before daylight,” just so He would have time to pray. Crowds were with him during the day, so He had to make this time to pray. There is a difference in this and praying as we have time, or as we can find the time. Prayer was important enough to Jesus that He made time for it—and so should we.
Jesus had a lot to pray about.
Luke 6:12 tells of an occasion when Jesus “continued all night in prayer to God.” When we read of someone praying as often as Jesus did, and then spending a whole night in prayer, we can safely conclude that He had a lot to pray about. And that is certainly true of us. In fact, if we did nothing but give thanks in our prayers, we would have to spend a lot of time in prayer. But think about some of the many things for which we are to petition God: our daily bread, strength against temptation, forgiveness, help in training our children, that we would speak the word with boldness, that our faith would increase, that our love would abound, etc. We should be praying for civil authorities, for elders in the church, for deacons, preachers, those who are sick, those who are suffering, etc. We’ve got a lot to pray about, so we better get busy.
Jesus prayed with thanksgiving.
Examples of Jesus doing so can be found in Matthew 11:20-26, 15:32-36, 26:26-28, and John 11:38-42. In addition to these examples, we are given specific instruction to pray with thanksgiving in Philippians 4:6. Let’s make sure that when we come before the Lord with our requests, that we also come before Him with thanksgiving.
Jesus prayed that the Father’s will, not His, be done.
The best example of this is seen in Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-44). Jesus, of course, taught His disciples to pray in the same manner (Matt. 6:9-10). This is not as easy as we might sometimes think. For example, if we’ve had some terrible illness for a long time, is it God’s will we want done, or our own will? You see, it may be God’s will that this illness remain. Are we prepared to accept that? Notice the assurance given in 1 John 5:14-15: “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.” With all the petitions we bring before God, let’s make sure we ask that His will, and not ours, be done.
Jesus prayed with confidence.
Read carefully these words of Jesus from John 11:41-42: “…Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me…” Jesus was not filled with doubt when He approached the Father in prayer. He prayed with confidence, with assurance, and so should we (see Heb. 4:14-16; Jam. 1:5-8; 1 John 5:14-15). Of course, if we’re not living righteously, we cannot have this confidence (Jam. 5:16).
Jesus prayed for others, as well as for Himself.
Look at what Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:32: "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." In John 17 we have one of Jesus’ prayers recorded for us. In this prayer, Jesus does pray for Himself, but He also prays for His apostles, and for those who would believe in Him through the words of the apostles. So Jesus approached the Father, not just with His own needs, but also with the needs of others. We, of course, need to learn to do the same thing. In fact, we are taught to do so in passages like Colossians 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; James 5:16; 1 Samuel 12:23.
What are the conditions of salvation given by Jesus?
Return to Bible Subjects Articles page