"I have learned by experience that God hath blessed me for Thy sake" (Genesis 30:27).
Many born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ pray according to how faithful they perceive themselves to be.
There is validity to the necessity of our being submitted to the glory and will of God concerning our prayer lives.
"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight... if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (I John 3:22; Psalm 66:18).
No believer who callously disregards faithfulness to God in thought, attitude, word, or deed can expect vibrant and effectual communication with Him. "What communion hath light with darkness?" asked the Apostle Paul rhetorically, and the question is answered directly in our personal experience (II Corinthians 6:14). We cannot legitimately pray or expect answers to prayer if we are not devoted to the glory, will, and eternal purpose of God in Christ.
The Bible nevertheless teaches that our faithfulness is not the primary basis upon which God answers our prayers. It is rather the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus that is the foundation upon which all Divine favor rests in our lives. We are blessed always for His sake, that is, "blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:3). Furthermore, it is His faithfulness that is the basis and dynamic energizing of our own consistent trust and obedience to God.
"I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers... that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus" (Philemon 1:4;6).
The Apostle Paul tells Philemon that faithful participation in God's purposes is based upon knowing the goodness that resided in him through the Lord Jesus. Thus, the questions of Philemon's life, and of our own, are Christocentric. Who is the Lord Jesus? What has He done? What is He doing? And what does He promise to forever do for and within God's trusting children? The more these holy inquiries become the focus of our heart and mind, the more our faith will become "effectual" in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus is "the author and finisher of our faith." We are "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform in unto the day of Christ Jesus." "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Hebrews 12:2; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; 2:13). The Biblical declaration of God-centeredness concerning our life of faithfulness could go on and on, and we must be sure that our understanding and response correlates with God's blessed truth.
In similar manner, God's answering of our prayers is in direct proportion to our awareness that the Lord Jesus is the reason He does so. Obedience and answered prayer are branches of the same True Vine that is the source of all genuine spiritual fruit (John 15:1). Christ is the issue. Christ is our access. Christ is our open door. Christ is ever and always the crux of every matter in our lives. We approach God in the realization that His blessing is upon His Son. We "consider Him" and pray in confidence upon this holy basis of grace (Hebrews 12:3).
This truth can usher us into a life of prayer of which many believers only fondly and wistfully dream. More importantly, the Lord Jesus is far more glorified in our lives as we know and affirm that He is the source and supply of all faithfulness and Divine blessing in our lives. We will continue our consideration of this blessed matter tomorrow, addressing the question of the profound energizing of prayer that occurs when we joyfully declare to our Savior, "I have learned by experience that God hath blessed me for Thy sake."
"His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
(II Peter 1:3)