(John 6:38, 1John 5:14, Deuteronomy 1:27-49)
To pray lies with us but to answer lies with the Lord. If we do not ask according to His will, one’s prayers may be in the rejected category before Him.
Some of the things we must pay attention to in our prayers and lives for our prayers to be accepted and not rejected are as follows:
1) Our prayer must be rid of self will
The Bible says in 1John 5:14 that, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”
What we ask in our prayers must be according to His will in terms of how we think it should be answered, when we think it should be answered and why we want it. We must know and be convinced that our prayer is in line with the Lord’s will. Not only this, more critically, how it will be answered must be according to His will. Again, when it will be answered will be according to His plan and will. He makes all things beautiful in His time because He is the Master Planner of the World (better still Master Planner of the universe). At times, the Lord counsels us to ask for certain things (prerequisite) that will make us get that one we are praying for. If instead of following His leading on this, we just continue asking for only that desired one, the prayers becomes like the prayers of the fools. His will on how to answer, when to answer based on why we want it answered is superior to ours. The sooner we comply to this, the sooner he answers us.
John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me
2) Our prayers must be rid of self righteousness
The Pharisee’s and the tax collector’s (publican) prayers show us what self-righteousness is in the place of prayers. Likewise, they show us how the Lord react to it. In John 6 we realised Jesus emphasized to us clearly and frankly that a prayer based on self-righteousness will not be answered. “Lord why will you not hear me, You know I left all for You”, “Lord consider that I do not fornicate, I do go into sins like my mates”, all of these are prayers of self righteousness. So, a life of prayers based on what one has done for God and in God will not help us and not make Him hear us. The reality of this is not that God is threatened by our righteousness, it is because we do not even have self-made righteousness. All of our righteousness is like a filthy rag. So actually, we have nothing to boast about. The kind of lives we find ourselves from Adam is one that is only sustained by the mercy of God.
3) Our prayers must be rid of self-glory.
The devil wanted his own glory, so if our prayers follow the path of self-glory, it is not a good things to display as the children of God. We must pray for things not because we want to show off to others. We must pray for things not because we want to gain certain level of respect from others. If we do so, the Lord will do us favour by not answering, because if He answers we will be putting ourselves in danger of hell. We are not meant to lord over others because of what the privilege of our answered prayers affords us. Hence, nurturing this in our prayer is a grave transgressions before the Lord.
4) Our prayers must be rid of grumbling due to frustration.
We learnt from our Lord’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane that no matter how frustrated the need to be heard and answered has made us, we must not grumbled against God. In our prayer, grumbling is something we must seriously watch and guide against.
5) Our prayer must not be coming from a heart filled with unconfessed sins.
Praying from a heart filled with unconfessed sins makes prayers go unanswered. As we come before Him, we must rid our hearts of every unconfessed sins. The nature of our heart is more important to God than the urgency of our prayers. No gimmick or activity can cover the nature of our hearts before Him. So, we must consciously confess every sins before Him.
Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me
6) We must let our prayers come from a heart fixed on Jesus, not problems and challenges. We must focus on the mightiness of our Jesus and not the migtiness of what we are praying for. We must let reverence to the Lord we are praying to be superior to the importance of what we are praying for. We must trust God as the dependable God we can hand over our request to. We must have sense of contentment in His answers to our requests.
1) Lord Jesus, give me victory against seeking only for my own will in my prayers (Matthew 26:39).
2) Lord, take away from me the heart of self-righteousness in prayers, in Jesus name (Luke 18:11-14).
3) Holy Spirit, remove from me the heart that grumbles and murmurs in the place of prayers, in Jesus name.
4) Lord, give me the heart that is fixed on You and not on frustration, challenges or any machination of the devil, in Jesus name (Matthew 14:30).
5) Lord, give me the heart for prayers that are deprived of self-glory, in Jesus name.