What is Prayer? Prayer is basically communication between us and God, whether we are asking for things, interceding for others, etc.
Now for any communication to be effective, there are principles that have to be in place. For example, for you to receive radio signals you must have a radio receiver that can recognize and pick up the signals being transmitted from the radio station. For some of us that have computers, if you want to transfer a file from one computer to another through Bluetooth, a proper communication based on Bluetooth principles must be established.
So for us to have an effective communication with God there are principles that must be in place. 1 John 5: 14 – 15, says, And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he heareth us. And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired. What this means is that there are prayers God does not hear not to talk of answering. So the primary thing is that we need to ensure God hears us.
Now, what is praying according to his will?
The first one we are going to be discussing the issue of Sin and Forgiveness. Psalm 66:18 says that if we regard iniquity in our hearts God would not hear us. You may think this is an Old Testament scripture. Let us take a look at 2 Timothy 2:19. The last part says, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. So that means that those that name the name of Christ can still be in iniquity.
What is iniquity?
In simple terms it can be said to mean sin. Sin is going against Gods’ principles. Sin is transgression of the law. God gave Moses a set of laws in the Old Testament but it was almost impossible for man to keep the laws. But Jesus came and gave us a new one that would take care of all the old ones, a new one he would even help us keep. In John13:34 and John15:12 he introduced to us the new commandment of love for one another. Rom13:8, 10-13 tells us that he that loveth another has fulfilled the law. So love is the fulfillment of the law.
So instead of struggling to see how we can keep all those old testament laws all we need to do is just choose to walk in love and that takes care of the sin question.
The Forgiveness Question.
Having established that if there is iniquity in our hearts God will not hear us, what happens if we by any means fall short of Gods’ principles?
You may agree with me that most probably as long as we live in this human vessel we are likely going to miss the mark once in a while, So what happens to our prayers? This brings us to the aspect of God’s forgiveness. 1 John 1:9, God told us what we can do to remedy the situation when we miss it. He said if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
But we need to realize that this is on the condition that we also forgive others who offend us. According to the bible in Mark 11:24 – 26, the bible says that when we stand praying we should forgive because if we do not God will not forgive us. And if God does not forgive us that means our sins remain in us and by implication He cannot hear us.
Many prayers are hindered not because God does not want to answer but because He does not hear them at all. When we refuse to forgive, we are indirectly saying that we do not really need the answers to our prayers. What we say by our attitude when we refuse to forgive others is, ‘’God if this is the only condition in which I would receive this answer, this healing , this solution, etc. hold on to it first. Bearing this grudge is more important to me than your answer’’. But I am sure that will not be your story; I declare to you today that the hold of unforgiveness is broken in your life and that from now you will surely receive that answer in Jesus name.
There is something in the bible that makes this even more serious. In the prayer the lord Jesus taught his disciples, he stated in verse 12 of Matt 6, And forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us, (NLT). Can you see? Many Christians even include this declaration in their prayers. So quite often we are the ones that seal our faith by our own declaration given the fact that many of us are not ready to forgive others!
Please in concluding this first part, I will like to say here that I know many times people offend us so much and we really get hurt. In those situations if we listen to the voice of our flesh, that is our feelings; our seeking revenge may be justifiable. If we also listen to the voice of our mind, that is the voice of reasoning, it may make all the logical sense to do so.
But what should we choose to do? Choose to follow the voice of your spirit man, the real you, the voice of God from within saying forgive. Choose to take charge and keep the voice of the flesh and the voice of human reasoning under control. Choose to obey the voice of the spirit of God, speaking to your spirit. The struggle would be there but choose the higher life. Remember prayer is a spiritual communication between you and the father of spirits, God almighty.
When you make this choice to follow the path of the spirit rather than the flesh, your spirit is agreeable with God and the communication is effective. Remember Amos 3 : 3 says two can only walk together if they be agreed.
God bless you
Pastor Sam Okorie