SBS Sermon Notes Note 06/08
Promises About Prayer
Reading: John 15
Believers often complain that their prayers are not answered. You'll
hear them say:
These are common queries: perhaps you have even raised them yourself:
but I can assure you that God does answer prayer. Indeed, many of the
greatest promises ever made by the Saviour concern answers to prayer.
This morning we will consider of few of those promises. I'm sure that
when we have finished you will see that, contrary to popular opinion,
astonishing answers to prayer are still obtainable.
- 'For months I've wrestled with God about this problem; but my prayers
are not answered.'
- 'What's wrong? Does God still answer prayer?'
- 'Is He still interested in the human race?'
- 'Or is there something wrong with me?'
To begin with let us understand that answered prayer does not
depend upon vain repetition, personal enthusiasm or human intelligence. To obtain
meaningful results in prayer we must first recognise certain divine
conditions. Meet those conditions and you will get results,
spectacular results! Fail to meet them and your prayers will
reach no higher than the ceiling: you will be as 'one who beats the
air.' Also remember that more can be accomplished by prayer than we
believers remotely imagine. So many times we pray without results: all
because we do not understand and meet those mandatory
conditions: many of which are not even known by folks in the
church. So let us without further delay learn what those conditions
2. The Believer's Potential
Let me begin with the Master's instructions about a believer's
potential in this matter of prayer. It is a promise which is
prefaced with the words "verily, verily," which means
"truly, truly." In other words, what the Master is saying is
absolutely true. It is guaranteed. It is an unequivocal promise
which has the backing of the Son of God! It cannot fail. Were it to
fail, the Almighty and His Son would lose credibility in the courts of
heaven; not to mention the doubt that would overflow the church. Here
is that promise. It comes in two parts: the first part outlines a
believer's potential and the second specifies a mandatory
condition which applies to prayer.
|Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
| And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14: If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Pause awhile, dear believer, and try to appreciate the astonishing,
yea almost incredible, twin facts outlined in that divine assessment of
a believer's potential:
- The works that I do shall he do also -
and greater works!
- If ye shall ask anything in my
name, I will do it.
During the next few weeks and months, think about this promise. If
possible, memorize it and then act upon it: because here is invaluable
information about a believer's future role, a promise dependant
initially on the Master going to his Father: which he has already
and that 'the Father may be glorified in the Son.'
What this message implies is that the followers of Jesus Christ
(Yeshua the Messiah) are potentially the most powerful beings
on earth: for they can - if they so choose - do greater things than
the Master himself! What are those greater things? Are they waking on water, feeding thousands with literal loaves of bread, raising the physically dead, or what? We are about to find out.
3. Ask in the Master's Name
The second part of the Saviour's promise is particularly important:
that's why it is repeated in the Gospel of John. Here it is:
|And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
| And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Here we are presented with an amazing condition concerning answered
prayer. Again I ask you to concentrate on these verses and, if you
can, memorise them. Notice the three mandatory parameters in prayer:
ASK in the Saviour's Name.
To ask in the Saviour's Name does not mean that we must tag the name
Yeshua, Jesus, Emmanuel, Yahshua or Yahoshua (or any other variation
of the name) onto the end of every prayer to guarantee results. Try
doing this and see how far you get. Oh no; to ask in Messiah's Name
- ASK. This word needs no explanation.
- ASK in the Saviour's name.
- ASK for things that will glorify the Father.
In other words, to ask in the Saviour's Name means to ask as he would
ask, with the right motives, the right attitude and for
the right things. Only when this compulsory condition is met,
will you receive astonishing, yea unimaginable, results; and - dare I
say it! - greater by far than the physical miracles the Saviour
performed during his earthly ministry!
- To ask for the benefit of His cause, for the spiritual welfare of
- To ask for the salvation of souls.
- To ask with the Father (Yahweh's) glory in mind, so that sin may be overthrown in the lives of true believers.
- To ask in the right Spirit and with the right motives; not for
personal gain or luxury.
- To ask by the authority of the Son of God.
4. Unanswered Prayer
In his famous Sermon on the Mount the Master says this:
| Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
How well known these words are: but how few find in them a living
reality. Why is this? The answers are legion, but here is, arguably,
the most probable:
|Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
In other words, people ask for the wrong things and with the wrong motives: for personal
gain, glory or pleasure. I will not expand on this thought, simply
because everyone will think that it doesn't apply to them. The fact
is, most of us have little or no idea how to assess our own
motives. We delude ourselves into thinking we have pure
motives: but He who weighs the soul knows better. The fact is we
ALL ask amiss and don't even know it. This is the number one reason
why most prayers go unanswered. Yes, we all ask amiss!
5. Abiding in Him
Strange as it may seem, a believer may appear to meet these mandatory
conditions and still fail to get meaningful results. Why is this? The
answer - and I hesitate to say it - often lies in the area of personal holiness.
| If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.
To abide in Christ means to be constantly in tune with Him; to be
faithful and obedient. In other words we must not expect
results from the Almighty if we waver in our faith and doubt His word
or His love. Nor will we ever achieve any meaningful results if we
cling to sin.
His 'words' mean His Message, His law. For His 'words' to abide in us, we must obey His message, His law. As a result the more we abide in Christ,
the more righteous will be our lives and the more spectacular will be the
answers to our prayers. Righteousness, and I cannot repeat
this too often, is a mandatory parameter if you want spectacular
answers to prayer. The apostle James reminds us of this fact.
|...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
6. Fruitful / Lasting Results
Yahweh's main reasons for answering prayer is the salvation of
souls and that believers may exhibit the fruit of His
Spirit in their lives, fruit that will last for all time.
|Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you,
that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
This text links those guaranteed promises about prayer to the
salvation of souls: "that ye should and bring forth fruit."
In other words it directs all intercessors to the true purpose of
- To bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit in one's life. (Galatians 5: 22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23: Meekness, temperance...)
- And the winning of souls for the Kingdom of God; souls who
will not only accept salvation through Yeshua, but will themselves glorify God in their lives and then go forth to win others for the Kingdom of Heaven.
7. Joyful Results
The Most High wants His people to be happy. One of the fruits of the
Holy Spirit is joy. Answered prayer brings a quality and quantity of
joy far beyond anything this world can understand, let alone offer. Here
is the promise of Christ.
|And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
24: Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
The first step in getting extraordinary answers to prayers is
to build up one's faith. This is done by a daily study of the
Bible. The Word of God is clear about this:
| So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
|And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
23: For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24: Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
To be sure the Most High will always answer basic prayers, i.e.
for 'forgiveness of sin' and for 'life's essentials,' even when a person's faith is
weak. But when extraordinary things are requested, those
'greater things,' (the high level spiritual realities which the
Saviour's physical miracles merely symbolised) then faith is of
paramount importance. That is why it is vital that we build up our
faith. Daily Bible study is the answer.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
9. The Father's Love
There is coming a time, and I somehow suspect that it has already
started, when the Father will so tune our attitudes, aims, performance
and prayers that we will begin to ask for the right things, with the
right motives, for the Father's glory and in the Saviour's Name. The results will astonish us
all. Methinks that day has already come!
|At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
Let me here summarise the almost incredible - but absolutely
true - facts about prayer I have mentioned this morning. Facts
which we, who call ourselves believers, would do well to ponder,
memorise and put into practice.
Also remember the Father's love. Yahweh is more anxious to answer
prayer than we are to pray. It is His pleasure to answer prayer. It
brings Him great joy. Indeed He is anxiously waiting for His followers
to pray for extraordinary results! He marvels that so few
believe enough to ask for them. Alas! there are so few
intercessors in His church. Most believers pray for themselves,
their families and their friends. Comparatively few pray for the
salvation of souls, the furtherance of the Gospel, the
welfare of the church and the glory of God. This is why
the truth is making so little progress in the face of evil's
- Greater things. The Saviour has promised that his true
followers would do 'greater things' than he did. This includes taking
the gospel to many more souls and seeing multitudes accept Yahweh's offer of mercy and salvation.
- Ask in prayer. To ask in prayer is a mandatory condition.
| Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
- Ask in Messiah's Name. This means, to ask for the good of his
cause, in the right spirit, with the right motives and for the right
things. It certainly does not cover requests for personal gain, luxury or power. Nor does it mean vainly repeating the name of Jesus (Yeshua or Yahshua).
- Abide in Him. To abide in Him means to express your faith
in God by obeying Him. As the old chorus says, Trust and Obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus: but to trust and obey.
|... The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
- Expect Results. First look for the fruit of the Holy Spirit
(love, joy, peace etc.) in your own life. Second, look for the
salvation of souls through your word and example. Because after all is
said and done, these are the two main reasons why the Most High is
anxious to answer our prayers. He wants you and others to be saved and
be happy in Him.
| Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
16: And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
I'll end with an invitation to join me in prayer - for extra-ordinary
results, for greater things!
These will include:
You have the Master's promise that all these things are possible if you ask in faith, with the right motives and for the father's glory! Now go to it and pray.
- The feeding of
multiplied millions with spiritual food.
- The healing of countless sick souls, the spiritual blind, deaf, dumb and the moral lepers of society.
- The raising of the spiritually dead!
SBS Sermon Notes More Sermons about Prayer
Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Placed on Internet March 1997 ... Updated August 1999