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Conditions to Answered Prayer

Frances Ridley Havergal

“Every case of seeming failure can be accounted for by our own failure”

Answers depend on five great conditions, and every case of seeming failure can be accounted for by our own failure in one or more of these conditions.

The Conditions

1. ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do.” John 14:13; 14:5; Phil. 2:10-Greek

Really, not verbally only, in the name of Jesus; asking not in our own name at all; signing our petition, as it were, with His name only.

2. ‘Believing, ye shall receive.’ Matthew 21:22; Heb. 11:33

The faith-heroes of old ‘through faith… obtained promises,’ and there is no new way of obtaining them.

3. ‘If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ John 15:7; James 4:3: John 15:4

Here is a deeper secret of asking and not having, because we ask amiss. Not, have we come to Christ? But, are we abiding in Him? Not, do we hear His words? But, are they abiding in us!

4. ‘Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.’ 1 John 3:22; Ps. 66:18; John 15:4

Only as we are abiding in Him can we bring forth the fruit of obedience, for without Him we can do nothing.

5. ‘If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us.’ 1 John 5:14; Eph. 5:17; Phil 2:13

When what we ask is founded on a promise or any written evidence of what the will of the Lord is, this is comfortingly clear. But what about petitions which may or may not be according to His will? Surely, then, the condition can only be fulfilled by a complete blending of our own will with His; by His so taking our will, so undertaking it and influencing it for us, that we are led to desire and ask the very thing He is purposing to give. Then, of course, our prayer is answered, and the very pressure of spirit to pray becomes the pledge and earnest of the answer, for it is the working of His will in us.

Two Comforting Thoughts:

1. Our failure in the conditions reveals God’s mercy since he has answered many prayers in spite of our faulty prayers (2 Sam. 7:21; 1 Kings 10:13).

2. Though he knows the weaknesses of our frames, he still offers us the wonderful gift of prayer (Luke 11:11; 2 Cor. 12:9; 1 John 2:27; Col. 1:10).


Thou art coming to a King,

Large petitions with thee bring;

For His grace and power are such,

None can ever ask too much—Newton


Taken from Royal Commandments, a series of 31 devotionals, by Francis Ridley Havergal