How do you know your prayers are heard?

Pastor Travis Cunningham, Story Church, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 1-12-20

Caren Brodt

Coming to the Father by the Son in the Holy Spirit

Tim Chester

Come to the Father Luke 11:1-13
By the Son 1 Timothy 2:5
With the Spirit Romans 8:14-28

Satan tempts without ceasing we must pray without ceasing.

attributed to: Charles Haddon Purgeon

John Bunyan wrote a book on praying in the Spirit. He said: ‘There is no man nor church in the world that can come to God in prayer, but by assistance of the Holy Spirit.’ ‘If men did see their sins, yet without the help of the Spirit they would not pray.’ ‘There is nothing but the Spirit that can lift up the soul or heart to God in prayer.’ ‘The soul that rightly prays, it must be in and with the help and strength of the Spirit; because it is impossible that a man should express himself in prayer without it.’ He explains:

O how great a task it is, for a poor soul that becomes sensible of sin and the wrath of God, to say in faith but this one world, “Father!” … O! says he, I dare not call him Father; and hence it is that the Spirit must be sent into the hearts of God’s people for this very thing, to cry Abba, Father: it being too great a work for any man to do knowingly and believingly without it.

John Bunyan

Without the Spirit we wouldn’t pray. Do an experiment with me. Every day for a month ask the Queen for something. Wherever you are, speak out loud a request to the Queen. I suspect you won’t keep it up for a month because it’s a futile exercise. Try it now. Say out loud, ‘Hello your Majesty. Could I have an invitation to Buckingham Palace?’ It feels stupid. For one thing, she’s not there with you. What’s the point of asking for something when she can’t hear you? And even if she was in the room with you, her likely response would be, ‘Who are you?’ Or perhaps she would just call security to have you removed. She might respond to one of her children, but you have no claim on her.

Why doesn’t prayer feel like this? The answer is that we have the Holy Spirit. When we pray we feel connected to the Father because that’s what’s happening – the Spirit is connecting us to the Father. When we pray we feel the Father hears us because the Spirit assures us that he is our Father (Romans 8:14-16). If the Spirit wasn’t at work in your heart then you just wouldn’t pray. Every time you tried to pray you would feel like a mad man ranting in the street or a child talking to their imaginary friend.

But we do pray, we can pray, we should pray because the Spirit assures that God is our Father who longs to hear us. The Spirit of God enables us to share the experience of sonship that God the Son experiences. That is a glorious gift of grace. It means confidence, intimacy and joy.

Adapted from Tim Chester, You Can Pray, which is available from Amazon.com and ThinkIVP.

John Bunyan, Prayer, Banner of Truth is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

At PrayersforPets1 we believe that prayer is not just something we do when a request for a pet comes to us; it is something we try to live in, living in prayer, praying without ceasing. The Bible is God’s very own words which he has graciously provided to us so that we can know the mind of the creator of the entire universe. That he would give us his mind that we can read or listen to at any time of day is nothing short of a miracle in itself. God tells us in his Word to pray throughout each day: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Prayer, like all Christian practices needs to grow in us over time. In order to fully hear the Words of God in our spirits we must practice prayer throughout each day. Instead of negative self-talk, we encourage you to listen to long passages of Scripture whenever possible, listening through Psalms is particularly cleansing, the book of Philippians takes a mere 15 minutes and is packed with uplifting words which can improve your mood. Listening to Scripture cleanses the mind of sinister thoughts. Hearing and reading Scripture teaches us how to pray in accordance with God’s will, which is only found through his words.

Do not worry that you do not know enough Scripture in order to pray according to God’s will, he gives his Holy Spirit to all who seek it as a free gift. That Spirit lives within us and enables us to begin to understand God in ways impossible without it. If you are unsure that the Spirit is alive in your heart this link will show you how to be sure.

We believe in praying for pets, but what we believe in most is the power of prayer because of the object to whom we pray:

Coming to the Father by the Son in the Holy Spirit.

Tim Chester