Have you ever experienced an answer to a prayer that you didn't pray? I did one time and probably more than once but this time has stuck in my mind for almost forty years. I have always been one to pray for my children whether they are Christians or not, I always pray for them, so in a way you could say that it was an answer to my prayer but I never thought of what was put in my mind that day.
I was sitting in church and all of a sudden the thought came to me that my son was going to ask me to quit praying for him because it was making him miserable, he was living in sin at the time. So then I sort of put it in the back of my mind and a few days later I was visiting my daughter and my son came in and said, 'Mom I want to talk to you," so we went into the back bedroom to talk and I told him I knew what he was going to say to me and he said, 'what am I going to say?' and I told him he was going to ask me to quit praying for him, and he said, how did you know? so I told him what God had put in my mind a few days before. And of course I told him I could never do that, and I never have, I still pray for all my children regardless of their lifestyle.
Isaiah 65:24 "It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear." I believe this is what I experienced. God knows our need before we ask but He loves to hear our prayers and answer them. He knew I needed to know that, to prevent me from shock and also have an answer.
Is there anything that would cause God not to hear our prayers? Isaiah 59:2 "But your iniquities have separated you from your God, And your sins have hid His face from you, so that He will not hear."
Psalms 66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." When it comes to these verses
I think we need to challenge our minds and search our hearts to see if there be any wicked way in us.
Psalms 139:23,24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." If there is sin in our lives and we ask
God to show us, believe me He is anxious for us to know and give them to Him so He can hear and answer our prayers. I believe He is talking about 'known sin', sanctification is the work of a life time and we would be overwhelmed if God showed us all that is wrong with us at once and we couldn't handle it, but He wants us to have pure hearts and love Him with all our heart and then we will want to get rid of the things in our life that are displeasing to Him. Sometimes one thing at a time is all we can handle, don't you think? God loves you and wouldn't overwhelm you with something you cannot handle. His character is love and He wants to lead us in the way everlasting. So don't let these verses deter you from praying, because he wants us to come to Him and remember the verses that say we must believe that He is and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, so believe in Him and diligently seek Him. He will hear and answer.
What should our prayer habits be? Psalms 55:17 "Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice." That sounds like a lot, but I can tell you from experience, it keeps us close to Him all through the day, He doesn't expect long tedious prayers, He just wants us to come before Him for instruction and companionship. What better thing to do.? He really does want us close to Him all the time, it is a very safe place to be and keeps us from lots of trials and disappointments.
Who is mentioned in the Bible as praying an acceptable prayer? James 5:17,18 "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit." Read Elijah's story in 1 Kings 17. It's a good story of faith and answered prayer.
I hope you have been blessed by these studies on prayer, I have and now I have more faith to know that His answers are better than mine and He will take care of my fears and my troubles. How about you? We are all human and need all the encouragement we can get. I hope and pray that you are encouraged in your Christian walk. Grandma Joan