How Can My Prayer Be Heard With Favor?
A Grace Gift from God
What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
What do we need to do for God to hear our prayers?
What is Grace?
Some people today tell us that we can only speak directly to God when we pray with the “grace gift of tongues.” Let’s look together at what God tells us in the Bible about the prayer of the believer – someone who has accepted Jesus as their Savior. From the unbeliever, there is only one prayer God promises to hear every time – when they call on Jesus to save them. (See John 9:31) There are no magic words for this, no “right words” to be spoken -- it is simply a prayer from the heart for God to help and save them. The thief beside Jesus on the cross prayed simply, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42)
The first question we must ask about this “grace gift” is, “What is grace?” Very simply, justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is being spared from what we deserve. And grace is getting God’s favor that we do not deserve. We have all sinned. The judgment by God’s justice is that our sin deserves death (Romans 6:23).
So justice demands that we must die. God’s mercy is that we do not die the moment we sin – He has delayed the sentence of death to give us the opportunity to come to Him – 2 Peter 3:9. However, God’s grace goes one step further and provides a substitute for our sentence of death. He gave His only Son to die in our place – a gift we did not and could never deserve – so we could live forever. His righteousness, however, demands that this gift of forgiveness be given only to those who seek for it and believe Him (John 1:12).
What is the Gift of Tongues?
What about the “gift of tongues”? According to the Bible (Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10) the “gift of tongues” is one of the gifts given by the Spirit of God to believers for serving in the “body of Christ” – the Church (Romans 12:4-5). Every gift the Spirit gives is for the purpose of ministry to each other as well as telling others about Jesus, and not all will receive the same gifts (1 Corinthians 12:27-31).
The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:6-33 that it is far more necessary to speak encouragement or peace or blessing in a language others can understand than to speak in a language no one hearing it can interpret.
Many people may say praying in an unknown language means that we are talking with God, that this is the language of God. But the Bible tells us God wants us to know Him and to learn to trust Him (2 Peter 3:18). If I speak with God and do not know what I am praying (1 Corinthians 14:2), then how can I give praise and glory to Him when He answers my prayer?
A beautiful promise in Romans 8:26 is changed into something different when we try to make it about praying in unknown languages. A recent example in my life was when I was at my mother’s side when she was no longer able to care for herself or even speak with us. Our prayer to God was sometimes about helping her to say what she was trying to tell us, and sometimes it was just asking God to take her home to Heaven where she wanted to be. We knew only God could possibly heal her if that was His desire, and yet she had lived a long life and was ready to meet Him. Sometimes our prayers were just, “Oh God!” We truly wanted God’s will done for her. Our will was to keep her with us. Her will was to go to Him. And in the cry of our spirits, the Spirit was agreeing with God’s will for her life. God had preserved her life when doctors said it was impossible for her to live. He had given her much joy as she gave her life to serving others.
But this day He took her home gently and without pain. If I had not known exactly what words I had prayed earlier that day, though, I could not have had the peace and joy of His specific answer to my prayer for her – a peace and joy that has no earthly reason to be there when we lose someone we love. God had answered my prayer that day exactly as I had prayed – that He would bring her home in peace and without pain.
Pray this week:
Loving Heavenly Father, help me to grow in knowing You better, in understanding Your will for my life, and in obeying You immediately in all that You ask of me.
How you are growing in knowing Jesus better this week? We would like to praise Him with you!