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The Heart of Prayer

God, who is a God of law and order, has set certain conditions on His promise to hear and answer our prayers. What kind of heart must we have for God to hear us?

A Pure Heart: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). This means that the man who continually practices sin and who has in his heart a purpose to commit sin, and who clings to sin, has no claim upon the ear of God. The only prayer such a person can expect God to hear is one of repentance.

An Unselfish Heart: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3). Man has no right to ask God for something which he wants to use merely for the gratification of his own desires or for his own personal satisfaction.

A Humble Heart: “Thou hast heard the desire of the humble: Thou wilt prepare their heart, Thou wilt cause Thine ear to hear” (Psalm 10:17). God hates pride, but He loves humility. God says that He hears the humble man.

A Yielded Heart: “If we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14). A heart yielded to God’s will is certainly a heart that is pure and unselfish. The life in which the will of God is foremost is a life which seeks God’s glory, and one which will experience His blessings.

A Believing Heart: “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22). Nowhere does God promise to answer prayer offered without faith. A believing heart is essential if we are to meet the conditions which God places upon our access to Him with our petitions.

Christ’s Heart: “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). Only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are men saved. Only through His blood are sins washed away, and only in Him do we become children of God. How proper, therefore, that our prayers to our Father should be in the Name and for the sake of Jesus Christ. Praying “in the Name of Jesus” simply means praying with Christ’s interests in mind—asking the Father for the things that touch the heart of Christ. In Christ’s Name we may bring our petitions to our Heavenly Father, and “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

—Adapted from As The Small Rain.