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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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Go to the source! Discover what the Bible says about …

These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one.  The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.

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Introduction

Why are some prayers are answered and others not?  Why are the prayers of some answered immediately, while the prayers of others seem ignored?


The Lord is king over all so how difficult a thing is for us to achieve has no bearing on whether God can do it.  Keys to answered prayer is not about how possible it is for God to act, but whether we are engaging with God in His will.


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Prayers that are answered

Prayers is seen in the context of a relationship with our heavenly Father.

  1. What assurances and what conditions are given?
  2. How do we approach God in a way that pleases Him?


1 John 5:14-15     14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.


Remaining in Jesus

In prayer partnership is key, the depths to which this partnership can go, and the opportunity for developing a unity of purpose and heart are seen in John 15, and in verses 7-10 Jesus applies this unity to prayer.

  1. How does Jesus explain the process of remaining or being united with Him?
  2. What are the conditions to answered prayer Here?


John 15:7-10   7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

  9 "I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father's commandments and remain in his love.


This passage could lead one to think perfection is required.  A child has not grasped the full will of its parents, yet the parents delight to give what is asked.  The concept of remaining develops with maturity.


Issues that interfere

Looking at prayer relationally, clearly there are some things in our lives that keep us from God.  The following passages give us some ideas about what we could check for if our prayers are not answered.  If these issues are present in our lives, then we also have a Father who forgives, and gives grace to restore.

  1. What attitudes are spoken against?
  2. What actions are spoken against?


 Psalm 66:18  If I had not confessed the sin in my heart,   the Lord would not have listened. 19 But God did listen!   He paid attention to my prayer.


James 4:1-3   1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you?2 You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it.3 And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.


 1 Peter 3:7  In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.        


In unity God listens

Becoming one with Christ in prayer is helped if we are praying with other Christians in unity.  Jesus draws this out in Matthew 18:19-20.

  1. What does Jesus promise in this passage?
  2. What does it mean to be gathered together as Jesus’ followers?
  3. What are the implications of such unity for prayer?


Matthew 18: 19-20   "I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.20 For where two or three gather together as my followers,* I am there among them."


Persistent Prayer

Even when we are praying God’s will, this does not mean that the answer is immediate.  Sometimes there are long delays to the answers we are seeking.  Why is that?  Does that mean it is right to pray?


Here is a text with a parable and some teaching where Jesus explains himself on this. Luke 11:5-13  First of all some questions -

  1. What attitude does Jesus commend in prayer?
  2. Why do you think God desires persistence?
  3. What assurance does Jesus give to those who do persist?
  4. What are the qualities of Jesus’ answers to prayer?


Luke 11:5-13   5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: "Suppose you went to a friend's house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him,6 'A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.'7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, 'Don't bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can't help you.'8 But I tell you this—though he won't do it for friendship's sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.*

  9 "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

  11 "You fathers—if your children ask* for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."


Persistent prayer demonstrates faith in God.  If I persist then I have an assurance God will answer.  Sometimes persistent prayer is a prelude to some great work God is going to do.  Special children were born to parents who were childless (Samuel and John the Baptist), following much prayer for the child.  Maybe much prayer is needed as a prelude to God doing great things.


Unanswered Prayer

Jesus is asked for something that He cannot give. This example sets out some of the limits to the teaching above.

  1. What is Jesus’ response to James and John’s request?
  2. What do James and John receive? (James the first of the apostles to be executed, John one of the few to die of old age, having spent time in prison.)
  3. Some of the conditions for prayer seem to be answered here, but not in detail. How do you see the situation?
  4. What is Jesus’ attitude to James & John?  How does He help us in our inappropriate prayers?


Mark 10:  35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do us a favor."

  36 "What is your request?" he asked.

  37 They replied, "When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left."

  38 But Jesus said to them, "You don't know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?"

  39 "Oh yes," they replied, "we are able!"

  Then Jesus told them, "You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.40 But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen."

KEYS TO ANSWERED PRAYER