Conditions of Successful Prayer

Excerpt Quote:  The idea of God simply ignoring the pleas of his children is incomprehensible, yet people commonly feel as if somehow God is not listening.  Or, at times, people think they have heard from God, as the man in this illustration, yet God’s answer wasn’t what they expected.

This study examines several biblical principles concerning prayer to assist believers in understanding the conditions upon which successful prayer is achieved, as well as a proper definition of what “successful” prayer is, by examining the types of answers God gives to prayer.


A man found himself caught in a great flood.  News reports were indicating that the water would continue to rise and an evacuation was called for the entire area.  Yet, the man prayed, and was convinced that God answered him, “do not fear, I will save you.”

To that end, the man refused to evacuate, but sat on his front porch in a rocking chair, waiting for God to save him.

Later that afternoon, a group of volunteers rode up in a huge 4X4 Jeep through 24 inches of water.  They called to the man to get into the Jeep and be saved, but he said, “no thanks!  God is going to save me.” 

Some time afterward, a motorboat came by and attempted to rescue the man, who sat in his rocking chair, up to his chest in water.  Once again, he said “God will save me.  Help someone else who needs it!”

Later that evening, as a last resort, a helicopter flew over the man’s home, finding him standing on the roof, with water surrounding the house up to ten feet.  The man waved away the helicopter, insisting, “God promised to save me!”

That evening, the water engulfed the man’s home and he drowned.  In Heaven, he spoke immediately to God about his situation.  “I thought you said you were going to save me, God?  What happened?”  And God said, “I sent a Jeep, a boat and a helicopter!  What more could you have expected?”


The idea of God simply ignoring the pleas of his children is incomprehensible, yet people commonly feel as if somehow God is not listening.  Or, at times, people think they have heard from God, as the man in this illustration, yet God’s answer wasn’t what they expected.

This study examines several biblical principles concerning prayer to assist believers in understanding the conditions upon which successful prayer is achieved, as well as a proper definition of what “successful” prayer is, by examining the types of answers God gives to prayer.

Principles for Prayer

1.  Pray in God’s Will:

1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.

Many in today’s culture have completely ignored scriptural teachings concerning the principles of Lordship of Christ.  However, scripture is clear that the relationship we engage God in through prayer comes from the perspective of us being a servant, and God being a Lord.  It is the very confession of the Lordship of Christ by which one enters into redemption (Rom 10:9-10).  Christ is the King, and we are his loyal subjects.  Subjects, by definition, subject themselves to a ruler.  The life of a believer in Christ, is the life of one who has utterly subjected himself to the will of Christ, as Paul notes:

Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

A major obstacle for many is the lack of understanding of this relationship.  Some think of God as a sugar-daddy in the sky, who exists to quench their thirsts and fulfill their wildest dreams.  He has promised us a “full life,” after all, so doesn’t that mean that he is here to serve us?  Some certainly seem to think so.  Numerous are the books, sermons and television preachers who proclaim the “proper process” whereby we may somehow invoke God’s hand through prayer, that he will give us what we want.  We must come to learn how foolish this posture is in light of scripture.

As people who are crucified to our old natures, who have Christ indwelling us and leading us as Lord, the first and most fundamental principle for our prayer life must be to pray from within that context.  And, the summary attitude of that context is that I pray for my Lord’s will, not my own, just as the Lord himself subjected himself to his father, as an example for me to follow:

Matthew 26:39 (NIV)
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

If Jesus, facing an agonizing and unjust death prayed within the context of the Lordship of the Father, that God’s will be done rather than his own, how much more should we recognize our position and pray likewise?

Abandon all foolish notions that God is here to serve you, or that God owes you anything other than his wrathful judgment which, by grace, you hopefully have been saved from!  It is you who are here to serve God.  To think that God will abandon his own purposes in order to serve yours is having the cart before the horse, and being guilty of an utterly contemptible view of prayer and God’s posture.

I realize people write books teaching us how to get what we want from God in prayer.  I’m fully aware that television preachers literally mock the idea of praying “thy will be done.”  I’m more concerned with what scripture teaches, however.  And, scripture teaches that we are God’s subjects, who come to him in prayer for the very purpose of determining his will – not to attempt to force him to accomplish our own.

In short, one should always remember the pecking order of this creation.  Only one position is important in this context:  God is at the top.  He will do as he desires.  He will accept or reject one’s prayer based on his righteous and sovereign will.  Even Jesus, praying in God’s will, was told “no” essentially, to a portion of his prayer when he prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)  Of course, he was told, “yes” to his over-all sentiment; “thy will be done.” 

It was.

2.  Practice Repentance

1 John 3:21-22 (NIV)
21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

Still building on the biblical principle of the supremacy and Lordship of Christ in the hearts of the believer, John gives a picture of another principle for successful prayer: the practice of living repentantly.

John approaches this principle from the positive rather than the negative.  Yet, his teaching is simple enough:  if we do what God commands he responds to our prayer.  If it had been spoken in the negative, John would simply rather stated “if our hearts condemn us, we have no confidence before God and do not receive what we ask, because we do not obey his commands or do what pleases him.”  The antithesis of a statement can at times be helpful for one to grasp the meaning of the original statement.

John gives two principles:  first, that if our hearts are pure (do not condemn us) we will have confidence before God, and secondly that we will receive from God what we ask if we obey his commands and do what pleases him.  Clearly, God’s will is still the supreme litmus test for having “what we ask” to be done.  John upholds the first principle of asking in God’s will, but expands that definition to not only our asking in God’s will, but also our requisite living according to God’s will.

The first statement, that if our hearts are pure we have confidence before God, demonstrates having a right relationship with God prior to our asking anything of him.  This statement would be tantamount to a disobedient child, having just completely ignored his father’s instructions, turning right around and asking the father for a gift.  Being a father, I can assure you that this is not the position you’d want to be in if you were my son.  You will not be receiving any special requests under those circumstances.  Likewise, John notes that our confidence before God comes from a right relationship; a heart which does not condemn us, because we are living rightly before God.

It is important to note that living rightly before God is not what the text indicates as the reason for our receiving what we ask.  Living rightly before God gives us confidence before him; or “puts us in good stead” with God.  Living rightly makes our relationship with God strong, rather than the awkward nervousness attributed to a disobedient child as he stands before his father.  This is necessary, but the rest of the text indicates the reason one will receive what he asks; “because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.”

Once again, God’s will is the final arbiter of a prayer’s validity.  If we obey God’s commands and do what pleases him, we understand him to be Lord.  To do what pleases him is tantamount to having the posture of Christ in Gethsemane: ” not as I will, but as you will.”  We receive from him anything we ask because we have a right relationship with him, and are seeking his pleasure.  In such circumstances, would one ask for something outside of God’s will?  Can I have a right relationship with God and be seeking “what pleases him” with ungodly motives?  Is this not what James spoke of in James 4?

James 4:3 (NIV)
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Having a right relationship with God, and seeking his good pleasure places me precisely in the bearing to receive from God what I ask, because in this context, what I ask is what God would desire for me;  not for my pleasures (that you may spend what you get on your pleasures), but for God’s pleasures (because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.).

To sum up this proper posture before God simply, it would be the stance of one living repentantly.  Repentance is defined as turning from one thing to another thing.  When we repent, we turn from sin and self-rule, to righteousness and God’s rule.  Repentance is a continual process of one giving up his own desires and following God’s desires.  While we frequently consider repentance peculiarly in regard to remedying the commission of sin, repentance affects all areas of one’s life.  It is to live as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, actively.  Repentance is not simply “to not do something bad,” but is to turn one’s life and actively pursue living rightly.  As John notes, we receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

To live any other way is to live outside of the confidence John notes.  In such circumstances, our relationship with God requires work before our requests will reflect God’s will and good pleasure.

Isaiah 59 states,

Isaiah 59:1-2 (NIV)
1 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

May our lives be a continual calling to repentant living:  hating and abstaining from what God hates and pursuing what he loves.  In such circumstances, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.


3.  Ask in Faith

Mark 11:22-24 (NIV)
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Many are those who claim this verse alone as the essence of having their prayers heard and answered.  How appealing it is to hear that “if I believe enough” what I ask for will be answered.  However, one must be very careful before going off half cocked and asking God for a new red Lamborghini while really believing it will be delivered Christmas morning.

Primarily, one must adhere to systematic teachings on prayer, rather than simply “claiming” Mark 11 and running with it.  Jesus never spoke a sentence with the presumption that one would hear that single sentence and forget everything else he spoke on a subject.  In short, Jesus’ teaching on prayer in Mark 11 does not negate his teachings on prayer elsewhere.  They are to be considered as a whole.  Nor do his teachings on prayer negate John’s, James’ or Paul’s teachings on prayer.  These men wrote under the inspiration of the very Spirit of God which Christ was speaking by, through and for.  One cannot simply abandon every other scriptural teaching on prayer in light of the teaching of Mark 11.  The Bible is a whole, and must be read systematically in order to develop a proper theological understanding of any part of it.

Make no mistake, what Jesus states in Mark 11 is absolutely true.  If you believe and do not doubt, then whatever you ask for in prayer will happen.  But, therein lies the problem.  Do you believe and not doubt?

Having systematically read the scripture concerning prayer, can you believe and not doubt that God will give you a red Lamborghini?  So how do you pray for one? 

Can you have a pure faith that you are not failing the teachings of James 4:3 as you do (When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.)?   

Are you certain that you are adhering to God’s desires as noted in I John 3:22 (22 and [you] receive from him anything we ask, because [you] obey his commands and do what pleases him.)?

Anyone who simply grabs the sword of Mark 11:22-24 and begins swinging will be severely disappointed if they do not consider the entirety of the Word of God alongside it.

With that noted, let’s not relegate Mark 11 into lore.  It’s teaching on prayer is certainly as valid of a part of the whole as each of the others.  And, it does teach that faith leads to prayer which will be answered affirmatively.

The essence of the text can be summed up by verse 24, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours, and is clarified in advance by verse 23, [he] does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen.  As has already been established, it is a tall order to have an absolute faith on any subject of prayer in light of the full teachings of scripture.  But, if one does pray on a subject, and does have an absolute faith in what he prays, Mark 11 assures him that his prayer will be done for him.  To have such a faith, one knows that he is walking with God, repentantly.  His relationship is right, for he has a certain faith that God hears his requests.  To have such faith, one knows for certain that what he asks is definitely God’s will and serves God’s plans.  To have such faith, one must be in an exceptionally unique situation, to be sure.  But, if one finds oneself in such a unique situation, where absolute faith, and no doubt, exists concerning his object of prayer, Jesus confirms that in such conditions his prayer will be done for him.  What an utterly outstanding promise!  In that rare situation, when we know that we know what we pray for is God’s will, and that we’re prepared to ask it of him, we can then have the confidence that he will grant our request.

But, fear not for those times when you do not know that you know what God’s will is.  You are already praying in faith when you pray as Jesus did, “not my will but yours be done.”

Some have attempted to deconstruct Mark 11:23-24 in an improper manner to say that “if we do not ask in absolute belief that God will do as we ask, God will not do as we ask.”  This text does not say that we must have an absolute belief about all we pray for, or that we will not get it, but rather that if we do God will do what we ask.  We will deal with this a bit more in the section on “God’s Answers to Prayer.”  But, for now, suffice it to say that having absolute belief that God will give you want specifically is asked for is not essential to get God’s affirmative answer.  Rather, it is a guarantee that you will get God’s affirmative answer if you are in a situation where you can have that degree of faith.

Having faith in God (generally), and praying for something specific with absolute belief that it will be done are not the same subject.  While this is outside of the scope of this study, it should be noted that biblical faith has as its object God himself.  My faith is in God’s character, his word and his truth.  I can pray by faith in God’s character to answer as he desires and not be absolutely sure that he will grant the specific thing which I desire in my prayer.  Jesus modeled this exact behavior.  He prayed “take this cup from me” and “not my will but yours be done.”  Jesus did not lack faith!  In fact, he demonstrated the most faith possible: to entirely entrust your situation into God’s hands with the prayer “your will be done,” completely having faith in God’s character to do what fits His will best.  This is the essence of understanding Lordship.  “Your will be done” is never absent from godly prayer, but is essential.  At times, then, my faith is in God’s character rather than my specific request, because at times, I simply do not know what God’s will is on the subject.  I trust him by faith generally to be God,  but may not be able to pray specifically in absolute belief for what I desire.  This scenario is exceptionally more common than the circumstance when I can pray in absolute belief concerning a specific request.  Assurance of an affirmative answer exists with the latter, but assurance of God’s will being done is equally evident in either situation.

Some may also improperly point to James 1 to attempt to teach that God will not answer a prayer not accompanied by proper belief as to the specific request. 

James 1:5-8 (NIV)
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Yet, James 1 does not teach that adequate specific belief must accompany all prayer necessarily for it to be answered.  James speaks in the context of persevering under trials.  He states specifically of that issue, that “if any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.”  When in a trial, lacking wisdom to deal with it, James assures us that this is a prayer that God will answer affirmatively.  He will give generously to all – without finding fault.  In this context, one should pray with belief for a specific answer, because he prays for what he knows God wants, and is excluded from fault, so strong is God’s desire to assist us with wisdom in trials.

And, even in this context, James does not say that if you do not have faith, God will not give you what you pray for.  Rather, he says that the one who does not ask in faith “should not think he will receive anything from the Lord,” which, after all, is the very essence of not asking in faith – to not think you will receive what you ask for.

In short, asking in absolute belief for a specific answer grants power to our prayer, but the lack of it does not relegate them to stick on the ceiling as they pass by.  Most times, our general faith in God’s character and a lack of certainty about his precise will leave us in fact not praying with the specific belief noted in Mark 11.  When one prays “your will be done,” it is in fact a prayer of great faith; to trust that releasing our situation to God’s will, though possibly unclear to us at the moment, will be sufficient, because we trust God’s character with the results of our prayer.



Essentially, these three sum up scriptural teachings concerning effective prayer.  While there are numerous other scriptural teachings, each falls categorically into these three sections.  For example, Pr.21:13 notes, “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered,” which fits into the general category of living repentantly.

In the end, if one lives rightly, prays for God’s will, and prays in specific faith (when that option is possible) his prayer is considered “good prayer.”

It is at this point that one must have a solid understanding of God’s answers to prayer in order to continue in the faith that God is listening.


God’s Answers to Prayer


Yes, sadly, just as a good father does for the son he loves, our good father will tell us “no” when “no” is the best answer.  The ability to accept the “no” answer to our prayers goes hand in hand with our faith in God’s character.  It is this general faith that leads us to pray within the context of God’s will.  He is God, so it’s his choice.  Furthermore, he’s a good God, so he will do what is best for His purposes and will be gracious with me in the process.  If we honestly pray according to God’s will, and with a good relationship with him (living repentantly) we should not be disappointed with a “no” answer.  In fact, one may argue that a “no” answer does not even exist within the context of a prayer of “your will be done,” since God’s will may be that I do not get what I specifically asked for. 

If I pray biblically, then, “Lord, I really would like a red Lamborghini, but your will be done,” and God knows I’d only kill myself in a Lamborghini, he answers “no” to the specific request, but “yes” to the prayer of general faith, “your will be done.”  He, being the good father, exhibits that my general faith in his character is well-founded, because he does what is best, rather than what I foolishly may have prayed for.  While it is easy to assimilate God not wanting me to have a red Lamborghini, certainly there are times when a “no” answer is more difficult to accept.  Yet, Paul demonstrates clearly how a right attitude in prayer leads to the strengthening of our faith, even when God says no to a specific request. 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV)
7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In this text, Paul brought to God what would be considered by many a very basic and necessary prayer.  Surely this is the sort of prayer that God would answer affirmatively.  Paul had “a thorn in [his] flesh,” a physical infirmity of some sort.  Whether he was sick, injured or suffering from some other sort of physical disorder is not disclosed, but Paul clearly had some sort of physical ailment which tormented him.

Paul pleaded with the Lord to take it away three times before he received God’s “no” answer.  Yet, within the context of the “no” answer, it is clear whose will was being done; God’s rather than Paul’s.  The Lord said to him “my grace is sufficient for you.”  In short?  God said “you’ll be alright!”  “You can handle this!”  One may expect Paul, who had already suffered so much at the Lord’s bidding to be resentful of this answer, yet he was not.

The Lord continued “my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Talk about an answer I do not want to hear!  God not only said “you’ll be alright,” but he said essentially “I WANT you to have this torment!”  Clearly it was God’s will being done in this scenario rather than Paul’s.  Yet, Paul’s faith in God did not waver, because his faith was in the general trust of God’s character rather than in the specific trust that God would do what he asked.  In God’s answer is seen that he wanted what was best for Paul, rather than what was the least painful.  He stated “my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

Paul’s faith in the Lord is undeniably confirmed in his next statement, “therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  Paul understood God’s “no” answer as something which fell under the category of “not my will but your will be done.”  God had a purpose different from what Paul prayed for.  And, in the fashion of a true servant of a King he accepted his answer with joy.

As difficult as it is, we must learn to accept “no” with joy when God answers in that manner.  God’s answer is not bad news, but good news.  He is the King, and the King’s will has been done in my life!  Is that not what the nature of a servant entails?

When God says no, we do not lose, but win.  For if we live rightly and pray within the context of God’s greater will, we have received precisely what we ultimately sought: God’s answer on the subject.  It was “no.”


It has been said that “yes” answers have two types: yes now, and yes- but wait.  I agree with that sentiment, but will focus the “yes” section on the former.  There are times when we pray, and God does precisely what we asked him to do. 

One should reject the temptation to think that God’s favor rests more firmly on us in light of a “yes” answer than it does in light of a “no” answer.  If we pray rightly, we are only seeking God’s word on the subject.  Yes and no are both equally his will.  When we get a “yes” answer, what we get instead is the assurance that we are in fact asking for the right things in light of our circumstances.

An example of one asking for the right things in the right moment can be seen of Elijah’s prayer in 1 Kings 18.  In this context, Elijah challenged Israel to choose between God and the false god, Baal, whom they had turned aside to worship.  He called 450 prophets of Baal to set up a sacrifice of a bull, but not to light the fire under it.  Elijah did the same.  Then, they were to each pray to their gods to light the fire(s) from Heaven.  The prophets of Baal prayed from morning until noon, and nothing happened.  Then, Elijah prayed to God.

1 Kings 18:36-39 (NIV)
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord–he is God! The Lord–he is God!”

In this case, Elijah prayed precisely what he should have, and God did precisely what was asked.  The “yes” answer is not indicative of God’s higher-than-normal favor necessarily, but is rather evidence that we are praying for the right things in a given moment.  In this case, it was God’s will to be glorified through the lighting of this alter.  Elijah’s prayer was answered as it was given.



While some prayers will be answered “yes,” the timing is such that God desires to wait for the answer to that prayer.  My personal experience has taken me to the “wait” answer for prayer many times.  Perhaps the timing was not opportune.  Perhaps I was not properly prepared to receive what God was willing to give me, so he required me to wait while I was prepared.  But, the important thing to note about the “wait” answer to prayer is that it is commonly misconstrued as a “no” answer.  Just because God does not “show up” when you request his attention and do what you desire immediately does not mean that God has rejected your request.

2 Peter 3 states,

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV)
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

This text refers to the “Day of the Lord,” (v10) or the time of God’s great judgment upon the earth prior to Christ’s return.  Peter continues and notes that the current earth will be destroyed by fire and that a new Heaven and Earth will take its place, “the home of righteousness,” when we all will live eternally with the Lord. 

These events will happen.  God has already declared his will and his plan.  Yet, he notes that God has his own time-table, even for things he has absolutely declared will happen.  Peter states that God “is not slow in keeping his promise” but that he waits for other reasons, in that “he is patient…not wanting anyone to perish.”

When you pray, and God says “wait,” rest assured that his timing is better than your own.

Once again, prayer done rightly, is prayer for God’s will to be done, which includes his answer, and his timing.


Prayer is improperly understood when seen as a means to a personal end.  Prayer is instead demonstrated biblically as man’s connection with God whereby the King demonstrates his will to his servants.

I encourage anyone to reject any and all teachings circulating among false (or confused) teachers concerning prayer as a misguided attempt to somehow twist God’s arm into giving man what he desires.  This idea is not only destined for failure, but places an improper emphasis on what it means to be a follower of Christ. 

Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV)
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Let us not forget that we were objects of God’s wrath until he redeemed us by a relationship which has rendered us the servants of a loving God.  This loving God has promised us an eternal home without sin, death, pain or sorrow, but instead full of glory, life and joy.  Such are the terms of our employ.  We belong to him as his dear children and servants.  He is our Lord and Father.  And, as any good father will do, he will answer our requests ultimately by principles far greater than our limited vision can comprehend. 

Prayer is not a tool to be utilized by man in achieving his own temporal desires.  Quite contrarily, prayer is the means by which we subject ourselves to the loving authority of our Lord.  We certainly make our requests known to him, and there is no impropriety in asking him for blessings.  Yet, he is the final arbiter of what truly we need, and will be blessed by.  He is capable of far greater things than we are even able to ask.  And we are granted the possession of his coming Kingdom upon completion of our service.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


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