E. M. Bounds in his famous, and might I add, huge book, makes a strong case for obedience as a requirement for answered prayer.
It’s such an important part of our prayer life. Plus, I have just had some experience with this myself.
“Obedience can ask with boldness at the throne of grace, and those who exercise it are the only ones who can ask. The disobedient folk are timid in their approach and hesitant in their supplication. The requesting yet obedient child comes into the presence of his father with confidence and boldness. His very conscious of obedience gives him courage and frees him from the dread born of disobedience.
(Wow. That’s something, isn’t it? But you know what, if you really start to observe the days when you are the boldest in prayer, I’ll bet it’s those days when you do feel confident because you are not aware of any deliberate disobedience in your life.
A life of full obedience; a life settled on the most intimate terms with God; where the will is in full conformity to God’s will; and like Aaron and Hur, it lifts up and sustains the hands of prayer.
(I love that imagery, don’t you?)
Having a desire to prayer.
If you have an earnest desire to pray well, you must learn how to obey well. If you have a desire to learn to pray, then must have an earnest desire to learn how to do God’s will.
(Now, that statement is one I want to memorize!)
God put the emphasis upon obedience to his commands. Obedience to them brings blessings. Obedient men (and women) always have been the closest to God.
(This is emphasized throughout the Bible.)
Always, God puts the emphasis upon obedience to his commands.
An obedient life is a great help to prayer. In fact, an obedient life is a necessity to prayer. The absence of an obedient life makes prayer an empty performance.
Obedience to God helps faith as no other attribute possibly can. Obedience to God makes it easy to believe and trust God.
The lack of obedience in our lives breaks down our praying.”
My understanding of obedience and answered prayer.
Again, hard words to hear but I couldn’t agree more. I read a chapter or two every day from the Old Testament in conjunction with my other Bible reading. If there is one word that is prominent and one idea that continues to be a constant theme, it is that of obedience.
Therefore, it can be confidently said, based on scripture, that God places a great emphasis on obedience for answered prayer. Every disastrous outcome in scripture is always tied to disobedience.Tweet
However, the question then becomes, do we always know when we are being disobedient?
I think we do IF we are walking close to God and that depends, of course, on our Bible study, prayer life, and our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. It is my personal opinion, that for the most part, we have that “niggling” feeling inside when we are walking outside of God’s will.
We just know.
But if we don’t immediately confess our disobedience and start to make it right, the next time we hear that niggling, we may not notice it. After a while, it will become so soft that we lose all sensitivity. Therefore, it becomes harder for God to get through to us and when he finally does, the process of turning around and getting back on track will only take us longer.
Again, there is a lot of evidence in Scripture. Just for one example, think about the Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years on a trip that was supposed to take eleven days! And that’s just one of many stories.
Finally, obedience boils down to this.
In conclusion, I guess it boils down to this: which is better? Obeying God in the first place or taking forty years to get it right? If you’re over the age of fifty, let’s say, you may not have forty years. I don’t know about you, but I need to get it right and I need to do that right now.
God bless and may God richly bless you today.
ps. I realized that I need to add something. Just because we are obedient doesn’t mean our prayers are automatically answered the way we want. If we are praying for people, for example, we have to remember that people have free wills and have to come to God on their own. But we can absolutely know that our prayers are being heard and that God is listening if we are obedient.
You will see this post again as we continue on with our Prayer 101 series. For some reason, I just felt compelled to share it today.