Luke 11:1 "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
Charles Finney, the renowned revivalist who worked in the northeastern part of the United States, once attended a prayer meeting in his early days as a Christian, where the members asked if they couldn’t offer intercessory prayers on his behalf. Finney knew that he needed prayer, but he needed prayer that would be answered—prevailing prayers! He answered, “No!” This was a crisis moment for Finney, because he knew the Bible encouraged the followers of Christ to believe in the power of prevailing intercessory prayer. From what he could tell, the intercessory prayers of these members were not getting through! Were the statements in the Bible that assured answers to prayer untrue? As a result, for a time Finney questioned the veracity of the Bible.
As he thought about the members' offer to intercede in spite of a seeming lack of answers, however, and his subsequent refusal, he came to realize the lack of answers were the result of (1) not praying according to what the Bible taught on the subject, (2) sending up intercessory prayers without the expectation that they were going to be answered.
Still today there is much ignorance on the subject of prayer, and many have little expectation that their prayers will be answered! Maybe you can identify with what I am saying. If so, the pages on prayer on this web site will be a great help in your prayers experience.—Dan
"Ye receive not..."
When it comes to getting answers, understanding what has sometimes been called the "science of prayer" is vitally important. The Scriptures are clear: answers come when we pray according to the conditions outlined in the Bible.
Some of these conditions are positive: praying in Jesus name; praying with faith; praying according to God's will, etc..
Some of these conditions refer to hindering factors: sin; lack of love and unity, etc..
Great Christians consistently agree that failure to pray according to the conditions outlined in the Bible keeps prayers from being answered.
Notice what Andrew Murray said on the subject:
"(God) would tell us that we are not to rest without an answer because it is the will of God, the rule in the Father’s family: every childlike believing petition is granted. If no answer comes, we are not to sit down in the sloth that calls itself resignation, and suppose that it is not God’s will to give an answer. There must be something in the prayer that is not as God would have it...; we must seek for grace to pray so that the answer may come. It is far easier to the flesh to submit without the answer than to yield itself to be searched and purified by the Spirit, until it has learnt to pray the prayer of faith.” Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer Page 34
In my own experience, I did not obtain answers until I took ALL of the conditions seriously. Until then, my prayers often went unanswered. After taking the conditions seriously, many previously unanswered prayers were answered!
I have since shared my experience with others and have encouraged them to take the conditions seriously. Sadly, in too many cases, the individuals listening have responded "God doesn't expect us to follow all the conditions listed—particularly the one about making things right with others." My experience suggests otherwise, and I am confident you will only get answers when you take all the conditions seriously.
The Bible is clear on the subject and I share specific texts and quotations on each condition on this web site.—Dan