It happened twice last week. I went to the automatic teller machine to withdraw some money and received this unwelcome message: ¬Å This machine is not in service at the moment. Please try again later.¬ As I turned round to leave the booth I said to myself, ¬Å So much for the boast of 99% of the time online.¬ Banks are reliable institutions, but even so the service is not always available.
We who believe in Jesus Christ are fortunate indeed. We have another Bank that is always online. What makes this Bank even more special is that it offers unlimited funds to me. The service is totally free and it is available day and night, seven days a week, and it is offered with love anywhere in the world. The only condition of service is that I have to speak personally to the One in charge. Everyone has access to this unfailing open line to Heaven in prayer.
We have the unfailing promise of Jesus that He will answer our prayers if we believe in Him. Jesus says we should not make a big spectacle of our prayer in public using many words to impress people. God our Father already knows what our needs are. He answers our most humble private sincere prayer. ¬Å When you pray go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you¬ (Mat.6:6). In the Lord's Prayer, the prayer which spans the world Jesus teaches us how to pray (Mat. 6:9-13, Luke 11: 2-4).
We first glorify the Name of the Lord, then we pray for our daily needs. And when we pray for forgiveness of our sins we hear that we have to forgive those that have sinned against us. ¬Å For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins¬ (Mat. 6: 14-15).
In all four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we get the assurance that our prayers are answered if we have faith in God. ¬Å If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer¬ (Mat. 21:22), and ¬Å whatever you ask for in prayer believe that you have received it, and it will be yours¬ (Mark 11:24). Luke tells us that we have to ask the Lord and keep on asking until our prayer is heard. ¬Å So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened¬ (Luke 11: 9-10). John reminds us more than once that our prayers are not simply ¬Å wish lists¬, we should never be asking of the Lord for selfish reasons, which is actually praying in our own name. We have to approach our Heavenly Father in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, ¬Å I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete¬ (John 16:23).
Whatever we ask for earnestly in the name of Jesus we can trust the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to guide us ¬Å into all truth¬ (John 16:13a). Because Jesus knows our weakness and how impossible it is to pray the prayer of Faith He sends the Holy Spirit to help us. ¬Å We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will¬ (Romans 8:26-27).
It is wonderful to know we have Jesus' unfailing promise that when we pray in accordance with God's will our prayers have been answered. ¬Å This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us,-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him¬ (1 John 5:14).
Prayer ¬ Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for showing us how to pray to have our prayers answered. Help me to pray in Jesus' name under guidance of the Holy Spirit when I ask our Heavenly Father for something ¬ Amen. ¬Ë