As I read Jan Karon’s Mitford Bedside Companion this Sunday, I was reminded of prayers that God will always answer.
Later that day, as my family and I listened to a recent sermon by Charles Stanley, I was reminded, in contrast, that there are also some prayers he will not answer.
Karon’s protagonist, Episcopalian priest Father Tim, presents the gospel throughout the Mitford series, and at least one character comes to Christ in each book by praying a tender-hearted request for salvation. These beautiful prayers always include repentance and an invitation to Christ to come into their hearts. Of course, God will joyfully and affirmatively answer that prayer every time.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. – Romans 10:9
Another prayer spoken often in the Mitford books is one that Father Tim calls the prayer that never fails: “Thy will be done.”
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10
When we who know Jesus don’t understand how to pray about a situation, telling the Father “thy will be done” demonstrates our faith and sincerity to him.
Evidence is abundant in Scripture that God hears and answers those prayers, and many others. But Dr. Stanley reminded me as well that God need not answer or even hear the prayers of those who have not first come into his presence through a relationship with his Son.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. – John 14:6
No matter a person’s sincerity when he says his nightly prayers or tells someone, “My prayers are with you,” according to the Bible, his words are ineffectual if he has not first established a relationship with God through Christ.
If you’ve never built your prayer life on the foundation of Jesus, God invites you to do just that. He loves you and longs for fellowship with you!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
If you’d like to know more about a relationship with God, visit this helpful online resource: https://needhim.org/. Or, feel free to ask me about “prayers that never fail” in the comments.
Can you think of other prayers that never fail? What do you consider when someone says, “My prayers are with you”? I appreciate your comments as always.