All of these are instructions from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and they all contain a promise. Yet in life we sometimes convince ourselves to question these words, when things do not go our way. Perhaps we should be questioning ourselves on these occasions. Ask! Who should we ask? I am reminded of a small story in a children’s magazine, of a farmer who sent his son to a field to remove a great rock that was hindering the planting of that paddock. After some days, the son returned and said to his father that he had tried everything. He had used tractors, he had got in a dozer, he had hired a digger, and he had even tried explosives. He had done everything possible, but it could not be moved. His father looked him in the eye and said; Son, there is one thing you did not try, and that was you did not ask me for help. We see therefore that all petitions that we ask for must be to our Heavenly Father. Christ confirmed this in Luke 18:27. “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
How then do men, ask, and seek of God .In the beginning of the Creation we read where God communed direct to man and woman, but when they fell into temptation, this link was damaged. We can read in Genesis 4:26 that when Seth, the son of Adam bore a son Enos, then began men to call upon the name of the Lord. This was the beginning of Prayer. A way given by God that all future generations could ask, seek and knock.
Once again by the downfall of man, this link was damaged and we see the period between the last Prophet Malachi and the events leading to the birth of Christ, some 400 years, called the silent years. Once again a reconciliation between God and man was required to open the way for prayer. God through Malachi, lamented the state of man but also made a promise regarding prayer. In chapter 1: 11. “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles and in every place incense (prayer) shall be offered unto my name.” Prayer was to become a universal way of asking and seeking and knocking through our Lord and Saviour’s great sacrifice on the cross. Through Him was to become a way to God. A four fold ministry was to be put into place to help with these prayers. Revelations 5:8. ”The four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayer of saints.” We read further in Revelation 8, that these prayers are mingled with the sacrifice of Christ and then ascend up before God.
Now God has set down some rules if we wish our prayers – to be successful. These could be said to be the 5 Golden rules of prayer having first determined the way, through Christ.
1. Humbleness -2 Chronicles 7: 14. If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2. Whole heartedness-Jeremiah 29:13. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
3. Faith -Mark 11:24. Therefore I say to you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray; believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.
4. Righteousness-James 5:16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may, be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
5. Obedience-1 John 3:22. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do these things that are pleasing in his sight.
In 1st Thessalonians Apostle Paul advises “Pray without ceasing” and this is very good advice, but let us always be sure we pray in the right way.