Promises of God and Prayer.

Key verse: “Because Rebeca had no children, Isaac prayed to the LORD for her. The LORD answered his prayer, and Rebeca became pregnant” (Gen.25:21).

This verse here gives us a clear insight into the relationship between God’s promises and our prayers. This is a totally misunderstood subject as many well meaning believers think that God’s promises will automatically come true. They wait impatiently for God to fulfill His promises and some times even find fault with God for His callousness about His promises.

This verse here tells us the secret about the many unfulfilled promises of God. We know that God promised Abraham seed like the sand of the sea and like the stars of heaven (Gen.22:17). Yet it took quarter of a century before Abraham had the joy of seeing his promised son. There was a time when Abraham was willing to make a compromise and he was willing to accept Ishmael as his heir (Gen.17:18). We can imagine Abraham being fed up with waiting for the son of his promise. And in his conversation (prayer) with the Lord, Abraham was now making a negative suggestion; that he was willing to accept the seed of his flesh as the promised seed! But God would NOT compromise on His promise to Abraham. God said “No” to that suggestion of Abraham and God wanted Abraham to wait patiently for His promise to be fulfilled. We can well imagine Abraham asking God when that glorious day was going to be! Abraham was obviously waiting and praying that God would fulfill His promise soon. And at last Isaac was born as promised by God, in answer to long and patient wait and believing prayers of Abraham.

This truth is confirmed in the incident that followed. Now that Isaac is married, there is yet another problem for the promise to be fulfilled. We are told that Rebeca was barren! It was indeed the least expected thing. But this situation teaches us the fact that the promises of God would not come true in our lives in a natural process. It is absolutely true that God promised seed like the sand of the sea and that not one of the promises will ever fail either. It is also true that God will fulfill all His promises right in time (Acts.7:17). God is faithful and He will surely fulfill His promise with out fail. But the amazing truth is that God fulfills His promises ONLY in answer to the prayers of His people!

All the promises are written down for us in His Word (Rom.1:2) and all promises are for all who believe (Gal.3:22). We are told that the promises of God are to be obtained by faith and patience (Heb.6:12,15). And we are asked to perfect holiness since we have these promises (2Cor.7:1). With all the above, if we do NOT continue in fervent prayers, the promises of God will never come true in our lives. This truth is expressed through out the scriptures and we need to take heed to it to see that we obtain the promises of God in our lives.

Let us look at the life of Jacob as a clear example of this truth exemplified for us. Jacob comes to Bethel and there he receives the promises of God (Gen.28:10-22). Then in the life of Jacob there was that long gap of twenty years where he seeks all short cuts to make His life a blessing. But alas! Twenty years later, though he became a big number physically, yet he was more a miserable person than ever before. But at Peniel he wrestles the whole night and there he became the heir of his promises. His name was changed and he became a new person altogether. We see that though he got promises at Bethel, only after his Peniel experience, the promises got fulfilled in his life.

From Dan. 9:2-3 we learn that Daniel knew this truth as well. When Daniel learnt that the captivity was going to be for seventy years, knowing that he was living at the time when the promise is to be fulfilled, he turns to God in prayer and in supplication. And God reveals to Daniel the mystery behind seventy year captivity. In that most solemn passage of Scripture we have the exact date of the crucifixion of our Lord predicted (Dan.9:26)! Daniel was able to get that truth because he was willing to spend time praying that God would indeed fulfill His promise made by His prophet.

We often wonder why God is slack in fulfilling His many wonderful promises of His Precious Word. Once we get the grip of this truth, we know the real reason for this situation. It is not God rather we, His people, who are responsible for God’s promises not being fulfilled.

Does that mean that God’s promises will never come true in its appointed time? Read what the Lord says about His promises. ”The LORD gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed” (Hab.2-3). And to Jeremiah the Lord said, “‘You are right’, the LORD said, ‘and I am watching to see that my words come true’” (Jer.1:12).

Surely God will fulfill all His promises in time with out fail. But because He does it ONLY in answer to prayers of His people, unless we pray, God will raise others who will pray and in answer to their prayers God will fulfill His promises in time! We can see this truth exemplified in history of the church again and again. Where ever there was a praying church, there was a mighty movement of the Spirit of God. If ever there was slackness in the Lord’s work, it is because the people of God failed to call on Him in prevailing prayers. Also we can see that before God begins to do a mighty work, He gets His people praying. Zechariah the prophet sees that in future there is going to be a mighty turning of the people of Israel to God. And before that happens the prophet says that God would pour on them the spirit of grace and supplication (Zech.12:10ff).

So, if there is an urge within us to pray, it is an indication that God’s grace is at work within us. When we feel an urge to pray let us put aside every thing else and be at His feet discerning His will and praying that He would accomplish His will for His glory. If we fail to do that, God will raise others who will pray and in answer to their prayers He will fulfill His promises. And we will be the ones who are the losers. We would have lost the privilege of being co-workers with the Almighty in bringing about His purposes on earth! May we be sensitive to the call of the Spirit of God and may we bring glory to His Holy Name by seeing that all His promises are fulfilled for His glory.

The Bible ends with last the promise of our Lord and John’s response to that promise in Rev.22:20. May we also make it our prayer as we wait for His coming in these very last days of the age of grace.

Let us always remember that the key to get a positive answer to our prayers is to take hold of the promise of God and make it our prayer. Once we know some thing is the will of God, we need to pray in perseverance till we receive our answer. May the Lord give us grace and may His name be glorified. Amen.


From previous pages we learnt that we have a prayer answering God and that if we do not pray that He will not interfere in our lives. (Read LOGIC OF PRAYER – Bible View) In the coming three sessions we will continue to see what happens if a believer does not commit his or her life to prayer.

a)  Purpose of a believer’s life is not fulfilled.

Let us now turn to the Scripture and see why the Lord chose His disciples.

Jn.15:16  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you…that what ever you ask of the Father in my name, He may give to you.”

This is a very familiar verse from Scripture.  The grammatical meaning of this verse is simple and straight forward.  But very few believers have understood the meaning of this verse and fewer indeed have put this verse in to practice.

Our Lord was telling the disciples His purpose in choosing them.  Fruit bearing clearly is the purpose expressed in this verse.  Every disciple of Christ is expected to have consistency in fruit bearing.  As all of us know fruit bearing is an automatic thing when it comes to a tree.  Given sufficient water, manure and sun light,  a tree bears fruits automatically.   Likewise, a believer who feeds himself on the Word of God regularly and weeds his life of the works of the flesh (I Pt.2:1-2), fruit bearing for the Lord will become an automatic thing for the believer. 

But according to this verse, fruit bearing is not an end in itself.  It leads to some thing else.  Let us look at the verse once again.  The verse continues,  “…that whatever you ask the father in my name, he may give to you.”

A fruit bearing believer has to be an asker.  Fruit bearing person has to ask and receive fro the father.  The fruit bearing believer is promised  ‘what ever you ask in my name’.

The verse may be summarized in the following way:

Chosen and appointed (i) to bear fruit, (ii) to continue in fruit bearing, and (iii) to ask and to receive what ever asked for!

When this truth was brought home to me first, it really looked unbelievable.  Can it be that God has chosen and appointed us that whatever we ask in the name of the Son of God be given to us?  Yes, indeed, the Scripture says, we are chosen and appointed to ask and to receive.

It is true that conditions are to be met if prayers are to be answered.  Life has to be bruit bearing, there should be consistency in fruit bearing and of course, asking has to be in the name of the Son of God.  If these conditions are met, God does the answering part of it.

In other words we have to order our lives in such a way and ask in such a way that answers must come to us.  This indeed is God’s purpose for every believer.  So if we do not ask and receive answers, it is that God’s purpose for our lives is not achieved.
A car is bought for going around.  If it does not run, it will become a real head-ache to the one who bought it.  Like wise a believer, chosen and appointed to ask and receive, if asking and receiving are not done, such a believer becomes the greatest head-ache for heaven.  May that not be true of you and me.

Let us arise and order our lives to produce fruits for the master consistently and let us pray in such a way that heaven will answer us.  Then and only then will our life purpose will ever be achieved.  May the Lord give us grace for His glory.  Amen.

If we do not pray…

b) We sin against God

If we are chosen and appointed to ask and receive, prayerlessness means failing in our duty.  And the Bible describes prayerlessness as sin.

Many think sin means breaking one of the ten commandments.  Sure, breaking commandments is sin.  But we usually do not find such sins in the lives of believers.

There may be some believer some where living in blatant sins.  Every one knows that they are living away from God.  They lose their God-given joy. They become guilty.  We know punishment awaits them.  We must remember that there is no provision for forgiveness for willful sins.  For any willful sin the Bible only offers firey judgment
(Num. 15:30,31; Heb.l0:26,27).  New Testament teaches that when a believer is judged, he is not condemned with the world (I Cor.ll:32).  Whether a believer or non believer, if a person is found in willful sin he or she is liable for punishment.

I Cor.5:5 tells us that a believer who is found in the sins of the flesh is given over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.  Any sin is a barrier between God and man (Is.58:2). 

To day many a believer is found in another type of sin.  Sin of prayerlessness (ISam.12:23).  I Sam. 12 says that God will not forsake His people.  That is God’s plan for His people.  But God only carries out His plan in response to the prayer of God’s people.  What ever God wants to do in this world He reveals them to His servants the prophets (Am.3:7; Gen.18:17).  And the man of God who knows the will of God must pray that it will come true. 

Scripture is full of examples of this truth.  See how the plagues came in Egypt. God will tell Moses what He was planning to do.  Then Moses will declare it to the people God’s will.  Then Moses will ask God to bring it about.  Again and again we see it in the Scripture. 

Truth of the Scripture is very simple.  If God’s promises must come true, God’s people must pray.  God will not do any thing spiritual in the world except in answer to the prayers of God’s people.  So, if people of God do not pray in the will of God, we are hindering or blocking the work of God.  Is there a bigger sin than that?

Look into the scripture and see how many commands God has given to believers about prayer.  1 The. 5:17; Col.4:2; Lk.18:1 &c.  They are all imperatives.  They are not optional.  May we learn that prayerlessness is disobedience and therefore punishable sin. 

Let us now set apart time to spend time in the presence of the Lord.  Let us pray and release the mighty hands of God which is waiting to do wonderful things in response to our prayers.  May His Name be glorified.  Amen.

If we do not pray…

 c)  God’s perfect will cannot be accomplished on earth

We have seen several reasons from the Scripture as to why we should pray.  There is no room for prayerlessness in the lives of God’s people.  A believer who does not have regular prayer habits is not merely useless for God’s kingdom, but the greatest hindrance to God’s work on earth.

I am not strong enough to write these words.  My heart beats faster.  I cannot bear my  burden.  “Lord, Jesus I am helpless,  Help me I pray.  Amen.”

God of the universe has a good and a perfect plan for this universe and for every individual born here.  God wants every one to enjoy life in its fullness and be found in His perfect will.  But the devil is against this perfect will of God to be accomplished in human lives. 

Therefore Satan induces man to go against God and against His perfect plan.  Man being fooled by the lies of the Evil One sins against God for temporary gains and pleasures.

Any man who commits sin has to bear the punishment for the same.  This is God’s righteous law (Eze.18:14; Rom.6:23).  But God has no delight in the death of the sinner (Eze.18:23,32).   Death of a sinner is not the perfect will of God.  It is the permitted  will of God.  God permits it with tears.  God permits it because there is no other way around.  But that surely is not his perfect will.  He is not willing that any should perish (ITim.2:4).

If the perfect will of God is to be achieved, there is no other way than the prayers of God’s people.  God is not willing that our neighbors and our country men go to eternal hell fire.  But if they do not repent and call upon Him they will surely end up there without a doubt.  If this should not take place we should be willing to stand in the gap and become intercessors for our nations.   “Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them” (Ps.106:23).

“And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none” (Eze.22:30).  If you and I who are God’s people do not stand in the gap millions in our land will end up in Eternal hell fire and no one is responsible for this than those of us who know the Lord. God continues in His sorrow that His perfect will is not achieved.  He punishes the unrepentant sinner in sorrow.

If God’s perfect will has to be accomplished on earth, God’s people have to pray.  There is no other way. Look at Rom.15:31 where Paul says, “…strive with me in prayer…” that the will of God may be accomplished in my life.

God’s righteousness demands the death of a sinner.  But God’s grace is flowing through the child of God to whom God has shown mercy through Christ.  The same love of God and grace of God which began to flow through Calvary continues its course through us into the world.  The grace of God in us is that which prompts us to pray for the world.  To day if we are prompted to pray, we should set aside every work and we should sit at His feet.  If we separate time and place and begin to pray regularly we will begin to see this grace flowing through us to others around us.  If many a believer responds to the inner call of God and begin the ministry of intercession we will begin to see God’s perfect will accomplished in the lives of many around us.  That is why our Lord taught His disciples to pray,  “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt.6:10).

May we respond to the inner call of God and may we bring glory to His Holy name.  Amen.