Why Should We Pray? Does God Answer Our Prayers?
Hello brothers and sisters of Grow in Christ,
Good day! Not long ago my elder sister preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus to me. After joining the church, I was told by my elder sister that every day, we need to pray to the Lord. At that time I was confused: Why do we need to pray to God every day? Does God listen to my prayers? Could you please fellowship those questions with me?
June 10, 2018
Sister Lin Li:
Hello! Thanks to the Lord’s grace and mercy, we have been chosen from the world to return to His house. It is normal that as new believers in the Lord, we don’t understand why we need to pray and whether God will listen to our prayers. At first, I had the same confusion as you do. Later through communication and help from brothers and sisters, I understood the significance of prayer and knew how to pray so that I would be fit for God’s intentions. After that, my perplexities were dispelled. Here I will talk a little bit about my own understanding. I hope it can bring you some help.
First, let’s talk about why believers in God need to pray. I read the following on the internet: “After God created mankind and granted them spirits, He enjoined them that if they did not call out to Him, then they would not be able to connect with His Spirit and, thus, the ‘satellite television’ from heaven would be impossible to receive on earth. When God is no longer in people’s spirits, there is an empty seat left for other things, and Satan thus seizes the opportunity to get in. When people contact God with their hearts, Satan immediately panics and rushes to escape. Through mankind’s cries, God gives them what they need, but He does not at first ‘reside’ within them. He simply gives them constant aid because of their cries, and from that internal strength people gain hardiness, so that Satan dares not come in to ‘play’ at its will. So, if people continuously connect with God’s Spirit, Satan does not dare to come and cause disruptions. Without Satan’s disruptions, all people’s lives are normal, and God then has the opportunity to work unhindered within them. As such, what God wants to do can be achieved through humans” (Chapter 17” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
From this passage, it can be seen that the reason why believers in God need to pray is because prayer is one of the ways for us to cry out to God and establish a normal relationship with God. When we pray to God with our heart and open our heart to tell Him about our difficulties and perplexities, God will enlighten and lead us out of the trouble according to our inadequacies and needs when He sees our true heart. Ordinarily, in order to destroy the relationship between God and us, Satan will make use of different surroundings and people to disturb our hearts, causing us to fall into a bad state and feel spiritually weak. During these times, as long as we pray and cry out to God with a true heart, God will lead us to see through Satan’s tricks and understand His intentions. In this way, Satan will have no opportunity to work on us. Then, we will return to a normal state, gain the work of the Holy Spirit and enjoy God’s presence. Additionally, prayers can enhance our faith. Especially when trials and tribulations come upon us, through prayer, we can have full of faith in God and feel the dearness and loveliness of Him and thus produce a heart of loving and satisfying God. For instance, in the face of arrest and torture by the atheistic CCP, many brothers and sisters who truly believe in the Lord would feel quite weak. However, through praying to God for faith and strength, they finally overcame the torments of the CCP and stood witness for God. So, it is very important for each of us Christians to learn to pray. If we don’t pray for a period of time, we will have no place for God in our heart, which means we have severed our relationship with God. As a result, we will lose the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit and return to the domain of Satan and fall into darkness. God let us pray to Him so that we can live under His care and protection at every moment. This is God’s love for us.
Does God really listen to our prayers? This depends on whether we honestly worship God with our hearts. The Lord Jesus once said: “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23 –24). From these words we can see that the Lord has an essence of faithfulness and that God likes an honest man. Therefore, we should speak from our hearts when praying, tell Him our true thoughts and difficulties and seek His intentions and enlightenment. Only in this way will God listen to our prayers. By contrast, if we only say some nice words to deceive God, or repeat the same platitudes in every prayer, God won’t accept our prayers, much less will He answer them. This is because we didn’t pray to God honestly with a reverent heart. Take the prayers of the earliest Pharisees for example. They prayed that they would serve God loyally and bring the Jewish people before God, but actually they conducted their own schemes, bringing the Jewish people before them to worship them. From this, we can see that they are totally hypocritical. Therefore, we must pray to God with an honest heart. Only in this way will God listen to our prayers.
On the other hand, if the content of our prayers is in accordance with God’s intentions, God will answer our prayers. Take, for example, the story of King Solomon recorded in the Bible. The reason why he could become the wisest king throughout the ages is due to the blessing of God. As a king of a nation, Solomon did not ask for grace and blessing for his own flesh or make a deal with God when praying. Instead, he prayed to God and asked for help in ruling God’s people. Solomon’s prayers were made out of his consideration for God and in order to satisfy God. Such prayers were accepted and approved by God. Finally, God bestowed sufficient wisdom upon Solomon and made him become the wealthiest and wisest king.
Today our prayers should be made in the same way. If our prayers are in accordance with God’s will and His requirements, God will listen. The Lord Jesus said: “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). God listens to prayers which are in accordance with His heart, and the prayers of sensible people who truly obey Him. So, what kind of prayers are in accordance with God’s heart and what are not? Here, I will simply list several examples: When we don’t understand God’s words, we should pray to seek the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit and seek to understand the truth in God’s words so that we can understand God’s will and God’s requirements. When brothers and sisters who truly believe in God in the church become passive or weak, we pray that they will understand God’s will and overcome their passive states. Such prayers are also in accordance with God’s heart. When some brothers and sisters are facing persecution or other such difficulties we pray to God and ask Him to lead them to bear witness for Him so that He can gain glory through them. Such prayers are approved by God. We should pray with true hearts when we encounter various trials and refinements asking God to lead us and keep us from complaining so that we can bear witness for Him. We should pray for the ability to fulfil our duties as created beings and for the spreading of God’s gospel work. All these prayers that are made for knowing God’s will, for practicing the truth to satisfy God, and for carrying out God’s will can be approved and answered by God.
What kind of prayers cannot gain God’s answer? For example, some people pray that they can earn a lot of money; some ask God for help with finding a good job; others pray to God to arrange a suitable partner for marriage. All these prayers are not in accordance with God’s heart because they are made for men’s own profits or for the satisfaction of their own flesh. God’s work is focused on saving man. If what we pray is contradictory with and not helpful to our salvation, such prayers won’t be approved by God. For instance, in order to make more money in the world we pray to God to bless us. In this situation, if God listens to our prayer and allows us to become millionaires, our hearts would be occupied by money. If that occurs, would we still have the heart to believe in God? Finally, we would betray God because of money. Therefore, God will not listen to such prayers.
Sister Lin Li, our God is faithful. As long as what we pray for is accepted by God, God will give us the answer. For God has told us long ago: “For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:8). From this passage of God’s words, we can see God’s faithfulness and loveliness. God hopes that every one of us will be able to gain His promise and blessings.
If you have any other questions or confusion, you are welcome to contact us at any time. Let’s seek God together. I believe that all of our problems can be easily solved with the guidance of God’s words.
Grow in Christ,
June 17, 2018
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