What Is the Basis or Condition for God Hearing and Answering Prayer during the Church Age?

Self-ImprovementSpirituality

  • Author James Rondinone
  • Published August 8, 2022
  • Word count 4,444

PART 3 PRAYER

Chapter 3

What Is the Basis or Condition for God Hearing and Answering Prayer during the Church Age?

The Church Age - From the day of Pentecost to the rapture of the Church

Let’s begin by going to the book of John.

 

John 7:36-39

What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come? In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Church Age, the age in which we currently live, began on the day of Pentecost. On this day, the indwelling or Baptism of the Holy Spirit was poured out on one hundred twenty disciples who were waiting for the promise of the Spirit in an upper room at Jerusalem. Jesus, while he was alive on the earth, spoke of this future occurrence of the Spirit that would no longer be on-resting but indwelling.

The pre-requisite for receiving the Holy Spirit was different for those living in the Church Age. It wasn’t believing in God as He was revealed in the Old Testament, but it involved repenting (acknowledge and turning from one’s sins) to God the Father and believing in one of the members of the trinity, i.e., Jesus Christ, who pre-existed time, came to earth in the form of a man, God come in the flesh, deity, being born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on a cross as a substitute for mankind paying the debt of sin owed to God the Father along with wiping away the debt, rose again after three days never to die again, and ascended into heaven.

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Thereafter, those who repented and believed in Him would receive the indwelling Spirit. Furthermore, by means of the Spirit a new believer would have direct access to God the Father. And now we know the first two components of the conditions which causes God to hear and answer our prayers.

Repent (acknowledge and turn from one’s sins) to God the Father and believe in His Son Jesus Christ.

And receive the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Here’s, however, where it gets tricky. If you remember, the third component of the condition in regard to the Old Testament saint involved trusting in what God said, hiding it away in their heart, and obeying it. A person who operated in this manner would be said to be in communion with God. But for the New Testament saint this idea of communion with God the Father is described in a different manner.

Before I describe to you what this is all about, I’d guess that for many who attend church if they were asked what would be the third component of the condition that would allow our prayers to be heard and answered by God, they would say that it would be to not commit certain overt sins, i.e., lying, cheating, adultery, extortion, homosexuality, lesbianism, drunkenness, etc. I’d agree that we as Christians should not be practicing these sins. However, is this the manner in which communion with God would be attained?

In order for the New Testament saint to have communion with God, the Scriptures indicate that there are three pre-requisites concerning this.

The first one is found in 1 John.  

                                                                                                                                

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Sin is no longer confined to committing an overt act against a fellow Jew as in the Old Testament, but now it also has to do with what we think, our mental attitude. When we sin (mental, verbal, overt) in any area, we should confess by admitting oneself guilty to God the Father, who will forgive (remission of the punishment in time; restore fellowship with Him; recover the filling of the Spirit) us.

The second pre-requisite is also found in 1 John.

                                                                   

1 John 2:5

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

The initial idea that might come to your mind when I say that you must keep God’s Word is that this must mean that you must not commit certain sins according to the many commandments as mentioned in the Old Testament. Is this indeed the case? Well, let’s take a look at the word keepeth. This word means to continually keep on keeping or giving watchful care to the Word of God. In what sense? We should be giving watchful care to the Word of God as it provides for us an awareness of not only who we are, but of all of the spiritual realities which have taken place in our lives at salvation.

Let’s take some time and look at what some of these spiritual realities are.

We are quickened by the Holy Spirit.

This means that by the power of the Holy Spirit we have been spiritually resurrected or another way of saying this is that we have been made spiritually alive with Christ. 

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Our old man is crucified with Christ.

Our old man refers to the sinful and corrupt nature that has been crucified with Christ on the cross through our identification with Him. The body, which has belonged to or has been ruled by the power of sin, may now cease to be an instrument of it and no longer be subject to its control.

Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

We’re sealed with the Holy Spirit.

When the Holy Spirit comes into our life, He is the seal (stamp of ownership) indicating to God who is His. A seal can also refer to a down payment in the sense of having tasted the Spirit we have begun to taste the life of the future world that God had promised4 us.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

We’re baptized into one body.

By the agency of the Holy Spirit, each of us has been suited to our appropriate place by means of the endowments (gifts) of the Spirit to constitute the body of Christ - the church.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

 

We’ve been made an heir through God.

We’re no longer to be treated as servants, being bound by the oppression of the Mosaic Law, but as sons - members of God’s family. Because we’re sons, we’re also heirs as those who possess God Himself, partake of His nature, and possess every blessing to which we’re entitled.

Galatians 4:6-7 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

We’re given eternal life.

Eternal life is the quality of life one experiences when God rules his/her life. This can also be called the zoe life. It’s also conceived of as life that never ends, because it comes from God.5

John 5:11 And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

We’re seated together with Christ in heavenly places.

God the Father has raised us up from spiritual death to spiritual life — from a death to sin to a life of righteousness, being made alive and raised spiritually with Christ. He has also caused our spiritual position to be in heavenly places in Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father as our Head and Representative. We’re admitted to exalted honors in virtue of our connection with Him. Even now our life and thoughts are raised to the heaven lies where He reigns.6

Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus     

                                                                                  

We’re God’s handiwork.

For we’re God the Father’s workmanship (denotes a work of art or masterpiece; spiritual handiwork), being made a new spiritual creature in which there is a moral and spiritual renewal for good deeds, which God has prepared beforehand a path of good works that He will perform in and through us as we choose to walk by faith.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

We’re fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.

Whether Jew or Gentile, we’re members of the same family of God, being entitled to the same privileges, and regarded by Him as His children.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God

 

We’re complete in him.

This completeness includes the furnishing of men with all that is required for their present (i.e., to be richly furnished with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit7) salvation.

Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power

We’re sanctified.

The will of God, which was for the sanctification of men, was accomplished through Jesus’ atonement for sins on the cross. When we believed in Christ, we were placed in a sanctified state meaning that we are in a permanent and continuous state of salvation into which we are brought and in which we live.

Hebrews 2:9, 11 … Jesus… For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren

We’re known by the Lord.

We’re marked by God so as to be recognized by him as his; and this mark also serves as a perpetual reminder to us that they are not [their] own.8 The mark or impression serves to identify what is sealed, together with its owner, and to specify its purpose or function.

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.     

 

We’re reconciled to God the Father.

For the unbeliever, this reconciliation refers to a changed relationship between God and a lost world. The means of reconciliation is Jesus Christ, who was given as a propitiation for the sins of the world, which removed the rebellious and sinful man’s enmity toward God, thus satisfying His justice.

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, …

Jesus has made it consistent for God to pardon. He has made atonement so that God can be just while he justifies the sinner, who repents and believes in his Son Jesus, who by the agency of his Spirit, overcomes the unwillingness of the sinner to be reconciled, humbles his pride, shows him his sin, changes his heart, subdues his enmity against God, and secures in fact a harmony of feeling and purpose between God and man, so that they shall be reconciled forever.9

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation

We’re translated into the kingdom of His Son.

God the Father rescues us from the dominion (the spiritual power by which mankind is held) of darkness and places us in the kingdom of his Son.   

Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son

Now, we can reveal what the third condition for God hearing and answering our prayers is about. Are you ready? The third pre-requisite is to have a divine perspective concerning those areas of weaknesses (e.g., jealousy, fear, anxiety, sexual lust, covetousness, hate, … etc.) which inhibit us. The book of Romans will unveil these truths to us.

                       

Suggested Reading: Romans 12:1-2

1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We’re to yield ourselves as those who are alive from the dead, appearing as new persons with new habits by means of a complete change for the better of our mental processes (the changing into new views and feelings that results in the restoration of the divine image) so that we’ll be able to test and approve what God’s will is.

God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded by using His Word. As you spend time meditating on His Word, memorizing it, and making it a part of your inner man, God will gradually make your mind more spiritual. If the world controls your thinking, you are a conformer, if God controls your thinking, you are a transformer.10

Let’s say we have a weakness in regard to being jealous. This word means to have a feeling of resentment against someone because of that person's rivalry, success, or advantages.11 How can we overcome this mental preoccupation? We can overcome this by finding out how God would have us to think in this respect?

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

A verse that provides us with the divine perspective in this area of weakness is found in the book of Hebrews. It says that we are to be content (depending on God’s providence; satisfied) with what God has given us. Therefore, we should memorize and meditate upon this verse so that when a situation arises where jealous thoughts try to creep in, we can apply these transforming words in their stead. As we appropriate and reflect on them throughout our day an amazing thing happens, which causes us to have communion with God. What is that you ask? It is that the Holy Spirit fills us with Himself. This begs the question.

 

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?

Please turn in your Bible to the book of Ephesians.

                                                       

Ephesians 5:18                                                     

…but be filled with the Spirit;

To be filled with the Spirit means that the Spirit fills us with Himself so that we can express the nature of the Spirit filled life. When the Spirit fills us with Himself, we’re able to evidence His spiritual qualities of:

Love - self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved.

Joy - inner rejoicing which [doesn’t] depend on circumstances, because it rests in God’s sovereign control of all things.12

Peace - [restoration of right relationships between people;13 the calm, quiet, and order, which takes place in the justified soul, instead of the doubts, fears, alarms, and dreadful forebodings14 (a strong inner feeling or notion of a future misfortune, evil,15 etc.)].

Longsuffering - patient endurance of wrong under ill-treatment without anger or thought of revenge.16

Gentleness - unruffled disposition; to treat all with politeness; makes others around us as happy as possible.

Goodness - gracious giving; no strings attached.

Faith - faithful to one’s word and promises; faithful to God’s promises.

Meekness - humility; submissiveness of spirit to God and man.

Temperance - being able to say no to one’s own desires; mastery of one’s own desires and impulses.

Now you know what the three components are of the condition for God hearing and answering our prayers.

Repent to God the Father and believe in his son Jesus Christ. The result of which is the receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Learn about what sin (mental, speech, actions) is and confess (by admitting oneself guilty) it to God the Father. Learn about, memorize, and meditate upon the spiritual realties which have taken place in our life at salvation. Learn about, memorize, and meditate upon God’s divine perspective in regards to any area of weakness.

Be filled with the Spirit, thus evidencing His fruit or spiritual qualities to others.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t attend to the gathering of the saints and learn about the other biblical topics (e.g., forgiveness, redemption, justification, sanctification, eternal security, etc.) which are relevant to our walk with God. And what I also want you to realize is that our spiritual life at least initially shouldn’t be characterized by doing good works. Yes, you heard that right.

Unfortunately, for many churches one’s spiritual walk is exemplified by doing good for others and volunteering to please whatever it is that the leadership of the church is asking for. What happens in this case is the emphasis is on outer performance and not inner renewal. Recognition, therefore, comes from man and not from God.

Spiritual growth, however, should start from within, in our inner person. As we grow, learning how to put off the old man and put on the new, will allow us to walk in the graces of the Holy Spirit whose motivation is to serve God and others. And when this occurs, our good works will be performed with the correct motives.

So, now that we know what the components of the conditions are that causes God to hear and answer our prayers, what else should we know about prayer?

Some questions come to mind.

When, how long, and how often should we pray for?

But before we attempt to answer this question concerning ourselves, let’s try to determine in the next chapter when, how often, and what did our utmost example in this regard, Jesus, pray for? However, I have something for you to read before you turn there. It’s an article about God not answering our prayers. Ever wonder what hinders them? Well, let’s find out.

WHY DOESN’T GOD ANSWER OUR PRAYERS?  

Does God really mean it when he says that he will give us what we ask for?

Bible texts come to our minds, such as Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it will be given to you"...  Will He really answer when we call?   Isaiah 65:24: "Before you [call,] I will answer, while you are still speaking, I will hear."

 

Does God answer prayers?                                                

Have you ever asked the question, why doesn't prayer work? Why at times does it appear that God ignores us when we pray to Him. Many have prayed for God to intervene and solve a problem that they are struggling with, but sometimes [God’s] apparent answer is silence.

God knows what’s best

Even when we feel that God [isn’t] answering our prayers, you can always know God is a God of love. The Bible tells us He loves us:

John 3:16. '"For God so LOVED the world".......

Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love."....

God created us and knows infinitely more than we know. He knows [what’s] best for us, and what [wouldn’t] be good for us. If you have children, when they were very small, sometimes they asked for things that [wouldn’t] be good for them, or would harm them. For good reasons sometimes parents [don’t] always give their children what they ask for, when they ask for it. Parents give them [what’s] best for them.

[It’s] the same way in our prayers to God. God gives us [what’s] best for us. [We’re] God’s children and He gives us [what’s] best for us, and at a time when [it’s] best for us. Our lives must be right with God before He can answer our prayers.

 

Right way

God has certain conditions that must be met before our prayers can be answered. One of the first, is we feel our need of help from Him. Isaiah 44:3 says, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” The heart must be open to the Spirit’s influence, or God’s blessing cannot be received. One cannot pour water into a cup [that’s] already full.   

Right heart

If [we’ve] cherished sins in our lives, and refuse to give them up, or if [we’re] doing things we [shouldn’t] be doing, and are disobeying Him, we cannot expect Him to answer our prayers. He cannot answer our prayers if we have sins in our lives that are unconfessed or if [we’re] hanging on to cherished sins. Also, if we refuse to forgive others who have wronged us, God cannot hear us. (See Matthew 6:12 and Ephesians 4:32).

This [isn’t] saying you can earn God’s favor to answer your prayers, it will always be [Jesus’] blood that makes us worthy; but we do need to do our part if God is going to work in our lives.

Pray without ceasing

One of the reasons we feel our prayers are not being answered, is because we stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says it best, "pray without ceasing." Paul is more direct in Philippians 4:6, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

In reality, we [shouldn’t] be worried so much about if God hears our prayers – He does and He does care. What we should be worried about is if because of temptations, hard times, and trials we get discouraged, and give up praying. In Luke 18:1, Jesus, “spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart."

His time, His will

God is a God of love, and [He’s] interested in every detail of our lives. He hears our prayers, and answers every sincere prayer if we meet His conditions. We must not expect that every answer will be "yes", since [we’re] sinners and [don’t] always ask [what’s] best for us. Sometimes His answer is "No’ and sometimes it is "wait." (Hebrew 10:36) We need to end each prayer with, "Not my will but Your will." Even if [we’re] sincerely doing God’s will, and to the best of our ability, following His will for us, He may see that [it’s] best for us not for Him to say "yes" at this time. We must continue trusting Him, regardless of His answer at the moment.

God's timetable [isn’t] the same as ours. He knows better than we do when is the best time for our prayers to be answered. (See Hebrews 6 :13-15). God is eternal and does not measure time as we do. 2 Peter 3:8: "Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

In the story of Abraham, God promised a son to Abraham. But Abraham became impatient when Sarah didn‘t bear him a son, so he took his wife’s servant as his wife. Abraham tried to solve the problem in his own way and the result was disastrous. [We’re] still seeing the results of his mistake today. God eventually answered his prayer at the time when He saw it was best for Abraham.

For God to give us what we ask for, we must ask "according to His will." Faith cannot take the place of "asking according to God's will." 1 John 5:14, "…if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." If you [don’t] ask according to God's will, [it’s] not real faith in God. If God's answer is "No" we still must be willing to wait patiently, and trust God to answer in his own way and in His timing.

Trust God

Trust God, even though it may seem like prayer doesn't work. Even though it may seem like at the moment [He’s] not near and has abandoned you.

Isaiah 41:9,10 says, "You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, You are my servant, I have chosen you, and have not cast you away. Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

If we have faith and sincerely trust God, [we’ll] not be concerned as to whether the answer is "wait" or the answer is "no" or "yes." We must just trust, and wait and see if God in His timing will see fit to answer as we have requested, or perhaps He has something better in mind for us. Remember your prayer should end with "Not my will, Lord, but Your will." (Luke 22:42). "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs [3:5-6].17    

Endnotes

4IVP Bible Background Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 01 February 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

5UBS.

6Barnes’ Notes. Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 02 February 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

7Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 02 February 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

8UBS.

9Barnes.

10Bible Exposition.

11Dictionary.com, 03 February 2016 ˂http://dictionary.reference.com>.

12Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament, 2000, 03 February 2016 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

13UBS.

14Adam Clarke’s Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2004, 04 February 2016 

˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

15Dictionary.com.

16Weust.

17“WHY DOESN’T GOD ANSWER OUR PRAYERS?” Bibleinfo 4 July 2022 .

Website: http://bit.ly/1RQnYJ8                                                                                                                                            

I grew up in Massachusetts and began my own spiritual journey early on in life.

I attended Bible college, having completed a two-year Christian Leadership course of study, and graduated as valedictorian (summa cum laude).

I’ve written and published a number of spiritual books on various biblical topics.

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