The Secret of Prayer
Outline: There are conditions to God hearing prayer. God doesn't hear prayer if there is sin in one's heart. There must be repentance. We must pray with faith. We have to pray in Jesus' Name and according to the will of God. Example of God hearing prayer: William McDougall was rescued from a sunken Dutch ship when he prayed that the rescue boat's sail would fall, until he had time to swim to the boat.
Script Number: 365
Theme: Christ (Mediator); Character of God (Power of God / Jesus); Living as a Christian (Prayer, petition, Repentance, Faith, trust, believe in Jesus)
Genre: Bible Stories & Teac
Bible Quotation: Extensive
Scripts are basic guidelines for translation and recording into other languages. They should be adapted as necessary to make them understandable and relevant for each different culture and language. Some terms and concepts used may need more explanation or even be replaced or omitted completely.
Many people have difficulty in believing in the efficacy of prayer. They try to pray but without any success. Then they ask themselves how one must pray, to be heard. Let us open the Bible and see what it says.
Although many times and in many places, the Bible says that God hears prayer, it does not say that He hears every kind of prayer, because there are certain conditions necessary to be fulfilled.
First, let us consider the encouragements which God gives us, to pray to Him. It would be impossible to quote all the Bible verses which invite us to pray, but here are some of them. (Phil. 4:6.7; Psa. 50:15; Psa. 145:18; Psa. 18:7; Psa. 91:15; Psa. 118:5) Here we have the first steps laid down: God invites us all to pray. He is near to those who call upon Him. He hears their prayers and wants to answer them.
Now let us talk about the conditions for hearing prayer. We will first ask this question: Does God hear all those who pray to Him? Of course not. It is not only experience which proves it, but the Bible itself confirms it. (Psa. 66:18; Prov. 28:9). So we see that there are prayers which will never be heard, which are even an abomination before God, because they rise from hearts which conceive iniquity, which willfully turn away from the law of God. And this is why so many so-called Christians are not heard. How would you want God to answer them? They don't listen to His voice. They don't obey His Word. They sin in their hearts. God declares positively that He will not hear them, and He keeps His Word.
On the other hand, God answers, when He discerns in us the signs of repentance. The publican of the Gospel, who stood afar and dared not lift his eyes toward heaven, and who beat upon his breast saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner," was heard at once, because the first prayer which God hears is the prayer of repentance. Then, it is said that God only hears the prayer of faith (Matt. 21:22). Some people pray but deep down in their hearts they ask themselves if God will hear them. In their minds, prayer is just like one of the many remedies for their diseases. They try it out, wondering if it will work. Well, my friends, God doesn't hear this kind of prayer. He hears the prayer of faith, of fervent faith, which trusts in Him entirely.
Again, one has to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. (Jn. 14:1) Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man. His holy name opens the door for prayer to be heard, for He gives forgiveness to those who come to God through Him. To pray in the name of Jesus, is to rely upon His Person and upon His work. It is to depend upon His merits, and not on ours.
The last condition is this: one has to pray according to the will of God. (I John 5:14, 15). The will of God is holy, just, and loving, so naturally we have to ask for holy, just, and loving things.
Now I want to give you one example of God hearing prayer. It is the story of William McDougall, one of those rescued from a Dutch ship which was bombed and sank in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Amid the waves, the poor man struggled many hours against death, when finally he saw the mast of a rescue boat. He prays. He swims in the direction of the boat, but suddenly, oh horror, he sees that they are raising the sail. They are going to turn away, to leave him as others had already done. Then he cries to God in his distress. He gathers all his strength to send a prayer to heaven. "Oh, God, make the sail fall down again!" ...And it came down! "Thank you my God, thank You." He is progressing toward the boat. He can see men who are busy around the mast, trying to get the sail up again. "Oh, GOD, hear my prayer..." The sail is up again. "My God, don't leave it like this...make it fall again!" And this was the miracle to which he owes his life. The sail fell down again, allowing him just enough time to reach the boat.
Yes, dear friends, GOD hears prayer. Only keep to the conditions required by His Word, and you too, will see miracles being accomplished in your life.