PART 9 PRAYER - Does God hear and answer our prayers?
PART 9 PRAYER - Does God hear and answer our prayers?
What must a believer receive into their life for their prayers to have any chance of approaching the heavenly realm?
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this study about prayer as much as I have in writing about it. As I was contemplating what to say in the closing, I realized that there was something that I didn’t mention, which if you or I haven’t received it, then our prayers would have no effect. Do you have any idea what I’m referring to? Well, follow along and you’ll find out.
Let’s begin by turning our Bibles to the book of Romans. The verse that we’ll take a look at has three words in it which will give us a hint as to what each of us must have received in order for our prayers to have a possibility to be heard by God.
Suggested Reading: Romans 8:1; Romans 1:16; Romans chapter 7.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
This verse is a continuation of the subject discussed in the previous chapter, and is intended mainly to show that the gospel could [affect] what the [Mosaic] Law was incapable of doing. In that [chapter,] the apostle had shown that the Law was incapable of producing sanctification or peace of mind.67 And that it’s only through the unbeliever’s response to the gospel of Christ that they would receive what is necessary in order for their prayers to have any chance to approach the heavenly realm, and that is the receiving of the indwelling Spirit. And if this was indeed the case, then spiritual blessings would be imparted, aid in trials and infirmities would be provided by the Spirit to sustain them, and they would be delivered from condemnation (no punishment) meaning that they are justified, declared righteous, and therefore stand in His grace (Rom 5:2) and not under His wrath (1:18), and possess eternal life (5:17-18, 21).68
So, if we’ve received the indwelling Spirit, then we’ll be recognized as those which are in Christ Jesus. And because of such, a verse in the book of Ephesians will tell us what access is available to us in respect to prayer.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Through Christ both Jew and Gentile Christians have access (entrance) by means of the ministry of the Holy Spirit into the presence of God the Father.69 The meaning is that it’s our right to enter God's presence in prayer and worship, confident that [he’ll] receive us and answer us.70 Likewise, if someone hasn’t received the indwelling Spirit, then God the Father won’t receive and answer their prayers. So, here’s the question to consider.
Does everyone who believes in God receive the indwelling Spirit?
I’d like to answer this by sharing a brief story with you. A few years back, I was involved with an ecumenical Bible study. Each week a different Biblical topic would be discussed. On one occasion, there was a dialogue about experiencing God’s presence, i.e., His righteousness, peace, and joy. There’s a verse in the book of Romans chapter 14 that talks about this.
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
The kingdom of God (God’s rule in our life; for which Christians are formed into a community of renewed men in thorough subjection to God71) is not meat and drink (to oppose the Spirit to external things72); but righteousness (upright character and disposition; integrity; correctness in thinking, feeling, and acting73), and peace (regulating, ruling, and harmonizing the heart74), and joy (inner spiritual happiness without any kind of mental agony or fear) in the Holy Ghost.
Another way of interpreting this verse is saying that God’s rule in our heart or in the hearts of the assembly is dependent on receiving the indwelling Spirit and developing His fruit, i.e., love, joy, peace, etc. in our lives.
As the dialogue continued in the Bible study about God’s presence a longtime member of one of the local churches declared that she had never experienced God’s peace or joy in her heart. When she said this, I was taken aback. This brought me to the realization that someone could believe in God and attend church for many years and yet never ever get to experience His presence or involvement in their life. With these thoughts in mind, consider the following question.
If someone has received the indwelling Spirit, shouldn’t there be some kind of verification of such?
Stay in the book of Romans and go to chapter 8.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
For those who have received the indwelling Spirit, then this verse makes it clear that He gives them witness (evidence) of His presence with our (their) spirit (human spirit; minds) in a joint-testimony to the fact that [they] are a child of God75 by producing in [them] the appropriate effects of his influence. It is [His] to renew the heart; to sanctify the soul; to produce "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."76 This is further exemplified 'in His comforting us, His stirring us up to prayer, His reproof of our sins, His drawing us to works of love, to bear testimony before the world, etc.'77
Likewise, if someone hasn’t received the Holy Spirit, then the following verse would provide evidence of such.
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
And of the things of the Spirit, the natural (unregenerate; the man whose cognition of truth is based on one’s natural insight) man cannot receive (chooses not to accept) because they are foolishness (nonsense) unto him and neither can he know (understand; incapacity of spiritual perception) them, because they are spiritually discerned (it’s only with the help of the Holy Spirit are we able to examine and investigate the things of the Spirit; the special discovery of heavenly wisdom).
In all likelihood, this religious person hadn’t received the indwelling Spirit. This could be because of one of two reasons. Either the church didn’t present the gospel of Christ or they did but this person chose not to respond to it.
So, where do you stand? Have you had glimpses of the Spirit working in your life or are the only glimpses you have is of your past life that’s still continuing in the present? Well, would you like your life to begin anew. Would you like to receive a new nature? Would you like to have access to God the Father in prayer? Would you like God to come into your body and reside? If your answer is yes, then please repeat the following words silently or out loud.
I acknowledge that I’ve sinned in many areas such as: slandering others; having sexual relations outside of marriage; being jealous; having participated in alcohol or drug abuse; having sex with others of the same gender; having committed adultery; having taken money from others in a deceitful manner; having committed rape; having engaged in pedophilia, having committed murder, etc.
I don’t want to continue in these mental, verbal, or overt sins. I need a new nature.
I believe in you Jesus Christ as one of the members of the Trinity, who pre-existed time; came to the earth and took on the form of a man, being born of a virgin (no sin nature); God incarnate (God come in the flesh); deity (possessing a divine nature); lived a sinless life; listened to and obeyed the directives of his Father; went to the cross and paid for the penalty of and forgave the sins of the whole world; rose from the dead after three days, never to die again, walked the earth in His resurrection body for forty days witnessing to over five hundred people; and ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father.
If you’ve said this prayer, congratulations. You’ve now received the indwelling Spirit. You’re a new person. Welcome to your new life in Christ.
I’d like to pray for you now. Father, in the name of your Son, Jesus, and by means of the ministry of the Holy Spirit give them an awareness of your presence. Show them in your own way and time that they’re your child.
Thank you for reading this book. I hope that you have learned a lot more about prayer that when you started. I know that I did. GOD BLESS!
68Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook
Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 24 July 2022 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
69Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 22 July 2022 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
70UBS New Testament Handbook Series Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 22 July 2022 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
71Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005. BIBLESOFT.
WEB. 23 July 2022 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
72Calvin's Commentaries Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 23 July 2022 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
73Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon Pc Study Bible version
5, 2005. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 23 July 2022 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
75Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 23 July 2022 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
77Wuest's Word Studies.
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