*THE FIVE CONDITIONS OF ANSWERED PRAYER*
*Prayer Can Change Your Life - Part 2 of 3*
*John** 15:7 & Selected*
We're in a series of messages called "Prayer Can Change Your Life".
Last week we talked about the four purposes of prayer.
You've probably had people say to you, "I tried prayer and it didn't work.
I had a need and prayed about it.
After I'd prayed for a while, nothing happened and I didn't see any results.
I'm disappointed and I don't believe in prayer."
If we were honest we'd probably all say there are thousands of prayers that go up but there are very few answers that come down.
Why is that?
What causes that?
Is prayer a farce, a superstition, something we just con ourselves into and pretend that it works but it really doesn't?
What is prayer?
There's a deeper question than that.
Does God promise to answer everyone's prayers?
It's very clear in scripture that God completely ignores some people's prayers.
In fact, the Bible says that God has laid out some conditions to answered prayer.
Five, to be specific.
I want us to look at those conditions because until you meet the conditions for answered prayer, you're wasting your breath.
*What are the five conditions for answered prayer?*
If you meet these conditions you have every right to expect that what you ask for will be answered in prayer.
*You must have an honest relationship to God.** *
*/John/**/ 15/*/ \\ 7If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
I like the way the message words this passage.
*/John/**/ 15/*/ \\ 7But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.
That's a beautiful promise.
But in Scripture every promise has a condition or every promise has a premise.
The promise here is, "I will give you whatever you ask in prayer if you remain in Me."
In other words, "...if you have a honest relationship with Me."
How do you remain in Christ?
The next sentence tells it.
By my words remaining in you.
In other words, God says if we fill our minds with the Bible, the word of God, then we will be in Christ.
We will be abiding in Him.
God requires that we listen to Him first before He listens to us.
If I don't pay attention to what God says to me in His word, why should He pay attention to me when I talk to Him?
If I ignore His word, why should He pay attention to what I say to Him?
The starting point is to have an honest relationship to God.
How? Through the word of God.
That's why Bible study is important.
You say, "Are you saying if I don't study my Bible I won't have answered prayer?"
No, what I'm saying your prayer life will never be more effective than how much you understand scripture.
The more you understand the Bible the more you'll know how to pray affectively.
Three questions on how to evaluate if you have an honest relationship to God. 1 John gives us questions on how to evaluate ourselves on if we have an honest relationship to God.
*Three questions to test your honesty with God.*
*a) **Do I have any unconfessed sin?*
1. 1 John 1. Do I or have I refused to admit things that I have done wrong in the past?
The Bible says that's called unconfessed sin.
It may be an activity, an attitude, a habit.
When we go our own way, do our own thing, it breaks the connection between us and God.
When we try to cover up things that we know are wrong from God then that honest relationship is broken.
There's a falseness, a con, a fraud, trying to live two different lives at once -- live for God and live for myself.
So the first thing I ask if I'm really being honest with God is have I admitted what I've done wrong.
What do you do?
1 John 1:8 /"If we claim to be without sin, we're just deceiving ourselves.
The truth is not in us.
However, if we confess our sins, He's faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
/What is confession?
Confession is simply being honest with God.
It's saying, "God, You're right.
I was wrong.
That jealousy or that impatience was wrong.
Please forgive me."
The first way we can tell if we have an honest relationship with God is are we being honest when we make mistakes.
"God, You're right.
That was a mistake.
That was wrong.
It was an error."
*b) **Am I currently in the present ignoring any of God's principles?
Am I currently in the present ignoring any of God's principles?
In other words, when God tells me to do something, when I know I'm holding on to something that God wants me to let go of and I continue to hold on to it, that breaks the prayer chain, the connection with God.
1 John 3:21-22 /"Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us we have confidence before God and we receive from Him anything we ask/ [That's the promise] /because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.
This is His command: To believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and to love one another as He has commanded us."/
You say, “How can I keep all of God's commands.
How am I ever going to get any answers?"
God does not demand perfection.
He simply demands obedience.
And obedience is an attitude: I want to do what's right.
God doesn't expect perfection, but He does expect you to obey.
Example: I tell my four-year-old daughter, "Amy, go clean up your room."
If thirty minutes later I go in and the room is half picked up and she's still got things falling all over the side -- it's not immaculate, do I get upset about it?
She's only a four year old.
But she did the best she could.
She's not perfect, she did the best she could.
But if I come in a half hour later and she's still watching TV, then do I get upset.
Because as a parent, I don't expect perfection but I do expect obedience, an attitude of "I want to do what's right."
So we ask, "Am I hiding something from God in my relationship?
... Am I doing what I know He wants me to do at this point?"
*c) **Do I really want God's will for my life?
Do I really want God's will for my life?