"The Conditions of Prayer"
The First Condition
Prayer is a very conditional reality. Not everyone can approach God with confidence that He hears and answers requests. As the Lord told Israel during a time of great waywardness:
"When you spread forth your hands from Me, I will hide Mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear" (Isaiah 1:15).
What are the conditions of prayer, and what supplies the confidence He will be hear when we make our requests? We will consider this question over the next few days regarding an aspect of walking with God more vital than we can imagine. Indeed, if the promises of Scripture regarding prayer are true - and they are - no spiritual issue surpasses the importance of knowing how we can become those of whom the Lord promises, "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer Him" (Psalm 91:15).
I've heard it often, and felt it myself. "I don't know if my walk with the Lord qualifies me to pray with great expectation of His answers." Certainly a valid place for such consideration exists regarding our prayers and God's answers. "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him because we keep His commandments and do those things which are pleasing in His sight" (I John 3:22). Complete disregard for the will of God means we can expect little of God's response to our requests. Indeed, prayer far more involves the fulfillment of our Father's will than our own. "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10). Thus, if we pray merely in hope for fulfilling our own fleshly desires, we can expect that not only will our prayers not be answered. They won't even be heard. "Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume upon your lusts" (James 4:3).
This being the case (and we will return to this matter in subsequent messages), the first conditions of prayer actually have nothing to do with ourselves. They rather concern the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2).
"Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him" (Ephesians 3:11-12).
Christ supplies our access to God in prayer. We come by Him, or we do not come at all (John 14:6). We might say that 99% of the basis upon we pray and expect answers involves who the Lord Jesus is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He promises to do forevermore for God's trusting sons and daughters. Our 1% matters, again, as we shall consider. However, our Heavenly Father grants us entree unto the aptly termed "throne of grace" because and only because He sees us as spiritually enrobed with the righteousness of His Son (Hebrews 4:16). In our best times, we can come to God only through the Lord Jesus' merits and works on our behalf. In our worst times, we can to God if we approach through Christ with a humble, trusting, repentant heart. Are we qualified to pray? Yes indeed, if we seek access with the confidence and humility that only proceeds from our awareness of being "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).
Thus, Christ and Christ alone fulfills the first condition of prayer. His death and resurrection opened the doors of the throne room for us. His Heavenly intercession keeps those doors open flung forevermore. "Who is He that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (Romans 8:34). Such blessed grace and truth must permeate our understanding of prayer, and our practice thereof. Yes, the first and greatest condition of prayer involves not ourselves, but rather our blessed Savior…
"For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
Next: Christ our access
Weekly Memory Verse
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if son, then an heir of God through Christ.