Within the unparalleled teaching of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord now reveals the great privilege of praying. For many believers, this is a much-neglected privilege. If Abraham, Moses, Elijah or Daniel were here today; if they were to have the great and precious promises which we have, their power and impact would have been indescribable. We have great victories and great possibilities before us and they are ours for the asking. Every area of our lives can have a divine impartation; our spiritual and moral lives can be transformed and renewed; all our needs can be supernaturally supplied; all our situations and circumstances can be changed for the better; we can be holier, healthier and happier; we can be free from oppression and be victorious over all temptations; we can receive and experience abundant grace and strength to be all that the Lord has purposed for our lives – if only we would ask in prayer. The Lord has already assured us that “your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Let us learn to ask Him; let us reverse the Persian decree and make a decree within ourselves not to ask a petition of men but of God, making our requests known unto God (Daniel 6:6-10; Philippians 4:6). Practise asking God for your needs and expecting an answer until praying in faith becomes a habit.
1. UNLIMITED PROMISES FOR ALL BELIEVERS
Matthew 7:7,8; 21:21,22; John 14:12-14; 15:7,16; 16:23,24; James 1:5-8;
1 John 3:19-22; 5:11-15.
All believers have been given “exceeding great and precious promises.” “All things that pertain unto life and godliness” have been given unto us (2 Peter 1:3,4; Romans 8:32). All we need to do is “ask” in prayer. The Lord has put great emphasis on asking. The word “ask” appears in every verse of Matthew 7:7-11. “Ask, and it shall be given you” (verse 7). “For every one that asketh receiveth” (verse 8). “If his son ask bread” (verse 9). “Or if he ask a fish” (verse 10). “How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (verse 11). Moreover, the first letters of the words, Ask, Seek, Knock form the word ASK. Many of us lack physically and spiritually because we do not ask God in prayer as we ought to. “Ye have not because ye ask not” (James 4:2).
Here, our Lord teaches on prayer as a privilege as well as a precept. It will be strange for a son to always ask strangers to supply his needs and never ask the Father. It is dishonouring to God if His children are always asking people to meet their needs and never asking God Himself. The Lord commands us, ask. Ask God first, ask Him always, ask Him trusting, ask Him expectantly, ask Him as an obedient son asks a faithful Father and He will answer unfailingly. “Ask, and it shall be given you.”
2. UNANSWERED PRAYERS AND THE BARRIERS
Matthew 7:7,8; 20:20-23; 1 Samuel 12:19; 8:7,19,20; Hosea 13:9-11; James 4:3;Psalms 78:17,18; 106:14,15; Proverbs 1:24-30; 28:9; Zechariah 7:12,13;Isaiah 1:15-20.
No believer should have any of his prayers unanswered. Our redemptive right, family right, kingdom right guarantee answers to prayer as we walk with God, seek only His will and let the mind be in us which was also in Christ. Praying “according to His will” (1 John 5:14), helped by the Holy Spirit who knows the mind of God (Romans 8:26,27; 1 Corinthians 2:16) and desiring only what God desires, we can always expect answers to our prayers and we shall not be disappointed.
Are there hindrances and barriers? Why do we sometimes experience failure in having our prayers answered? Any failure we experience is always our fault (Deuteronomy 3:23-26; Joshua 7:11,12; 2 Samuel 12:15-23; Psalm 66:18; Ezekiel 14:1-6; Matthew 6:5-8; Luke 18:10-14). God is a faithful God. Remove the barriers and God will answer your prayer.
3. UNCLAIMED PROVISION OF BLESSINGS AND BENEFITS
Matthew 7:11; John 4:10; 2 Peter 1:3,4; 1 Kings 3:5-14; 2 Kings 2:9-15; Psalm 2:8;Jeremiah 33:3; Ezekiel 37:1-10; Zechariah 10:1; Luke 11:13; Matthew 18:18,19; Ephesians 3:20,21.
Parents delight in providing the necessities of life for their children. They readily provide food, daily needs and even good gifts for all their children without partiality or unhealthy preference. They are even willing to give toys to their infants but they become concerned if their adult sons always and only ask for toys. As we grow up, our needs and desires change to correspond to our growth and maturity. We discover that we need more than bread and fish and our parents notice our mental, social, physical, emotional, spiritual growth by the things we ask for. Our prayers often reveal whether we are baby christians, growing christians or mature christians.
There are great, uncommon promises and provision which we have not claimed. Many precious promises of grace for godliness and success in ministry and fruitfulness are ours. Let our prayers grow with our growth in knowledge and growth in Christ.