Do you pray because you actually want God to answer, or do you pray just because you’re expected out of routine? When we come to pray, we should be praying because we actually want God to answer. And we should be living righteous lives so that when we pray God actually does answer.
This excerpt was taken from the full sermon, “Effective Prayers Because of a Righteous Life (Part 4)“.
Now, I want to ask you, when you pray, do you see this reality? I’m asking you. Do you have a pattern of answered prayer in your life? Is there a reality? Does God say, “Here I am,” when you pray? Have you seen that reality? You cry out to the Lord for something. He says, “Here I am.” And you know He is saying that because of how fast sometimes – sometimes maybe He makes you wait a little longer till answering the prayer, but you see a consistent pattern.
1 Peter – look up just a few verses at 1 Peter 3:7. “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel since they are heirs with you of the grace of life…” Here’s what I want you to see: “…So that your prayers may not be hindered.” If you don’t think that as Christians unrighteousness hinders your prayers, you better read that right there. Men, you want to hinder your prayer life? Just don’t live in a right way with your wife. Righteousness and prayer are connected.
Go down to 1 Peter 4. Go one chapter later to 1 Peter 4:7. “The end of all things is at hand, therefore…” – here’s righteousness in the life, “…be self-controlled.” It’s what we were talking about the other night. Denying self. Self-control. Buffeting the body. “Be self-controlled, sober-minded…” Why? “For the sake of your prayers.” See, brethren, this isn’t just me arguing this way. This is the way Scripture argues: for the sake of your prayers.
What is that? Do you know what that means? It means for the sake of answered prayers. Do any of you pray just because you want to pray? Do any of you find your great delight in praying no matter whether there’s an answer to it or not? Do you come to prayer meeting just because well, that’s what you’re supposed to do and you’ve got to put a notch on your belt every time you do it.
Brethren, I don’t know about you, but I pray because I want answers to my prayers. I don’t want to waste my breath. I don’t want to waste my time. I want God to answer. In fact, I get kind of desperate when I get into a stretch where it feels like: Lord, why aren’t You answering? Brethren, that ought to be what we want, and that’s what Peter’s saying to us. Men, live with your wives in the right way for the sake of your prayers. All of us, be sober, be self-controlled. Why? For the sake of your prayers. Because you have a God who His eyes are going to and fro throughout this world, and you know what He’s looking for? He’s looking for righteous people. He’s looking for people like Elijah.
You can say, oh, I know somebody in the church that seems that God’s always answering their prayers. You know, they have that gift. No. Don’t go there. I know some people have unusual amounts of faith. There is a gift. But if you see somebody else in the church that it seems like their prayers are being answered, I suspect what you’ll really find is not that they have a greater gift, but they have greater righteousness in their life. Brethren, there is a correlation you cannot get away from in Scripture at all. Our prayers only become effectually threatening to the devil when God is pleased to answer our prayers. And it pleases God to answer them when He’s pleased with the one who is praying them. That is the reality.