Many offer up prayers unto the LORD for one reason or another.  What assurance do we have the LORD hears our prayers, let alone will answer them?  We can find answers is in both the Old Testament and the New.  You remember how the Word says to let every word be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses, so let’s explore a few of them.

Isa 66:1  Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
Isa 66:2  For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Right off, the Word disqualifies the person who is proud and haughty, who thinks he or she is always right.  That was very nearly me so many years ago.  One of my favorite sayings was,
“I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken.”  Well, it’s hard to believe, but it turns out I was wrong after all.  I didn’t have all the answers of life, and finally realized it at what the devil planned to be the end of my life.  And like many of you, I went to church every week. Though on the surface it seemed to be doing God a service,  it really wasn’t  a relationship with God, but rather a bunch of ritual and religion.  Like many, perhaps YOU,  I thought religion was what God looked upon with favor.  But, like many of you, religion left me feeling empty and incomplete.  Surely, SURELY, there must be more to God than that, so I hung in there, getting more and more disappointed with the whole mess, and the hollow shell of “seeking God” that yielded nothing.

It wasn’t until I had reached the end of the big three, “Me, Myself, and I” that God was finally able to get my attention.  Let me set the record straight here; it wasn’t God who gave me melanomas and liver cancer back in 1993, it was the devil who was out to kill me, but I didn’t know that back then.  The source of my suffering wasn’t God, “trying to teach me a lesson”.  Nor was my sickness and suffering “giving glory unto God”.  Not to mention my IGNORANCE of God’s Word wasn’t giving God glory, either.  All the time it was God who was offering me the cure, not the devil.  But my stubborn and haughty attitude kept me just out of God’s reach.  God has long arms, you know, but YOU can keep yourself just out of God’s reach for as long as you like, and God will let you do this.   Sooner or later, one of three things will happen: either you will run out of rope and turn to God in desperation, or the devil will manage to kill you, or you will go through life deceived, missing out on your God-ordained relationship with the LORD.  Those three are the only options in life.  That’s why the Lord Jesus said the following in Matthew chapter seven:

Mat 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Mat 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Mat 7:16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Mat 7:17  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Mat 7:18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Mat 7:19  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

“RELIGION” is going to take out a lot of people, who went through life thinking they were really doing something for the LORD, when all the time they weren’t, according to God’s opinion.  They served faithfully doing “church stuff”, serving on committees, or doing good works even, but their hearts were not actually right with God.  They might have even been Sunday School teachers for many years, or serving in some other way.  But they were doing it for show, for self-gratification, or to be seen of men as being “good people”. Who knows all the ways we get involved in “religion and ritual” that yields rotten fruit for eternity?  I don’t, but God does, and it isn’t me you have to satisfy, it’s God.  His Kingdom, His rules; remember that.  If you want to please God, why not go to Him and ask what pleases Him?  Or, you can find out while reading your Bible, because the LORD will speak to you through His Word.  Either way, the answer is the same: He wants a RELATIONSHIP with you.

How do you get prayers answered?  Well in Isaiah 66:2, it says: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. The importance of that cannot be over-emphasized.  If you’re not teachable, you’re not Kingdom of God material.  You may have a lifetime of “religion” in you.  Chuck it, because it won’t get you into God’s Kingdom.  You can look at Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and read who caused Jesus all the trouble: it was the RELIGIOUS people.  They didn’t even recognize their Savior because they were so caught up in religion and ritual that when God showed up in their midst, they couldn’t even recognize Him.  Isn’t that sad?  Here they thought they were doing God a service by crucifying Jesus.  And the religious folk will cause YOU problems too, if you aren’t submitting yourself unto them.  Some will turn your own family against you in order to shame you back into their religious ways.

God is looking for people who have reached the end of “MY WAY”, and are truly seeking GOD’S WAY.  Well, when you set your heart to seek God with everything in you, some will call you a fanatic.  I’ve been accused many of times of being a fanatic for God, and that doesn’t make me very popular for the “religious” crowd.  Oh well, no big loss.  They can go “play church”, I’ll cozy up to the LORD, His way by humbling myself before Him, and fearing His Word; that is OBEYING it.  God isn’t about you “fearing” Him in the sense that you’re scared He’s going to hit you with a bolt of lightning, but rather having utmost respect, obedience, and awe of His Word.  After all, His Word is Himself and all He is about, AND He honors His Word above all His name.  That means, you can take Him at His Word, period.  God doesn’t “look for loopholes” to get out of performing His Word, like people do.  He isn’t a man that He should lie.  You need to remember that, because it’s vastly important.

Since we’re on the subject of getting prayers answered, what is our confidence of getting answers to them?  Again, the LORD states clearly in 1 John 5:13-15:
Jn 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
1Jn 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
1Jn 5:15  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

There you go; it doesn’t get any clearer than that, does it?  So it stands to reason that if we want our prayers answered, we must pray according to God’s will.  How do we know God’s will?  STUDY THE BIBLE!!!  You can pray in absolute confidence when you know God’s will.  While many still pray “If it be your will to heal”, I never do that.  I KNOW it’s God’s will to heal because the WORD says so.  Religion tells us “God heals some, but not all”.  But that doesn’t agree with the BIBLE!  Some have told me they don’t care what the Bible says, they’ve always prayed thus-and-thus, and that’s just how we do it.  Well, God isn’t interest in how you’ve always done it your way.  He is interested in you getting the results you need, and you’re only going to get those results by doing things God’s way.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but remember, “GOD’S KINGDOM, GOD’S RULES”.  I didn’t write the Bible, my job is simply to obey it.  You’d do well to do likewise.

In closing, God really wants you to know Him.  That’s only going to happen if you determine to make it happen.  That means turning off the internet, turning off the TV, and getting alone with the Word of God, and letting Him show you who He really is.  Don’t be surprised if your “religion” pops up and you say, “THAT’S NOT RIGHT!” as you read the Word.  You may find your “religion” has taught you stuff that is in direct opposition to God’s Word, and He isn’t who you thought He was in the first place.  I know, because it happened to me.  I got about three chapters into Genesis and thought, “That isn’t right”, and the LORD interrupted me and said, “EXCUSE ME?”  It turns out God wasn’t really the harsh, hard to please person I thought He was after all.  In fact, God is easy to entreat, gracious, merciful, and long-suffering and kind.  Wow!  I want to KNOW Him!  And my life since 1993 has been about just that.  Now it’s YOUR turn.