Prayer that prevails – Part 1
The subject of prayer is common, but not understood by many. The prayer of Solomon, in our text, in particular was recorded to teach us how to prevail with God in prayer and possess unlimited blessings. Some people pray, but do not prevail and possess because their prayer does not please God. They do not know the basis and conditions of answered prayer.
God has given us the same open request He gave to Solomon: “Ask what I shall give thee”. However, many believers do not receive because they ask wrongly. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”.
Solomon received and possessed because he asked without selfishness. Also, when he made his request to God, he did not regard iniquity in his heart. The Scripture warns: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”. Those who go to prayer camps and special services with high expectation, but pay little or no attention to God’s word will not be able to prevail or possess their inheritance through prayer. Such people who turn their eyes from the promises and precepts of God’s word should understand that “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination”. To receive from God, you must approach Him with a pure and sincere heart, mind and motive, like Solomon.
God granted Solomon the privilege of asking and the promise of answering. The young king’s attitude in his response and approach to the Lord’s request is instructive. One, he did not seek a prophet to ask for him. The Lord has given us many direct promises in His word, such as the promise of salvation, sanctification, Holy Ghost baptism, healing and deliverance. He wants us to ask without resorting to any prophet or intermediary. Two, he did not cry and plead; “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26).
Unfortunately, some believers remain at the primary level of prayer and ignorantly practise the old pattern of Jacob’s intercession. Three, he did not go to a mountain or any such exotic place to pray. Four, Solomon did not observe a seven-day fasting before praying. Those who do not understand the truthfulness of God’s word think the only way they can receive from God is by subjecting themselves to a rigorous programme of fasting. Five, he did not doubt God or question His faithfulness. Six, he did not delay and wait for a better mood or special preparation before praying. Seven, he did not keep quiet in assumption that God knew his needs. He opted to talk to God about his needs.
More than this, we discover other dimensions to his attitude towards God. One, Solomon asked wisely and “the speech pleased the Lord”. He was not selfish or self-conceited. He was honest in his prayer. Two, he asked promptly, when he most needed answer and guidance and blessing from the Lord. Those who hear God’s word but delay to pray until they get home should learn from him. Three, he prayed humbly, forgetting his personality as a king. Four, he asked directly, not beating about the bush, as some people do. Five, he asked freely. He did not hide anything in his heart. Thus, there was a connection between him and God. Six, he asked boldly, but not rudely. He asked confidently, with faith and assurance. Seven, he asked simply. His words were not complicated.
This same request was given to other people in the Scripture. Elisha, for instance, asked for the embodiment of all blessings, when he requested a double portion of his master’s spirit. Sadly, some Christians who do not understand their privilege in Christ limit their request to minor things. Your prayer should always be centred on things that will profit you in this life and in eternity. Christ assures every believer: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”.
Further Reading (King James Version): 1 Kings 3:5-10; James 4:3; Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 28:9; Isaiah 1:15; 1 Kings 3:5,10; 2 Kings 2:9; Matthew 7:7; 21:21,22; John 14:13-16; 15:7,16; Ephesians 3:20,21.
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