Some wonder why their prayers don’t get answered even though they are claiming the promise in Matthew 21:22 which says, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
What does the phrase “whatever things” refer to? Jesus answers this question in the following passage: “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:9-13).
The phrase “Whatever things,” in Matthew 21:22, refers to spiritual requests. So, when we ask the Lord for strength to overcome sin, wisdom to know the difference between truth and falsehood, grace to obtain mercy and patience in trials, we can be assured without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord will hear our prayers and grant us whatever things we are asking for. It is God’s pleasure to provide all the necessary grace that we may need in our walk with Him.
Conditions to answered prayer
In order for us to obtain whatever things we ask for, we need to fulfill the Biblical conditions for answered prayers:
- Feel our need for God. He promised, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground” (Isaiah 44:3). The heart must be open to the Spirit’s influence, or God’s blessing cannot be received. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” For “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Matthew 7:7; Romans 8:32).
- Don’t live in sin. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). But the prayer of the repentant soul is always accepted (1 John 1:9). When all known sins are forsaken by His power, we may believe that God will answer our petitions.
- Have faith in God. “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus promised, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).
- Pray in Jesus’ Name. Jesus promised, “whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:16). To pray in the name of Jesus means to believe His promises, rely upon His grace, and walk as He walked (1 John 2:6).
- Have a spirit of love to others. How can we pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” and yet have an unforgiving spirit? (Matthew 6:12). If we expect our own prayers to be heard, we must forgive others in the same way as we wish to be forgiven.
- Persevere in prayer. We are to be “instant in prayer” and to “continue in prayer” (Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2).
- Pray with thanksgiving. “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). “Whoever offers praise glorifies” God. (Psalm 50:23).
God hears our prayers. Therefore, we are to keep our wants, our joys, our sorrows, our cares, and our fears before Him for “The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11).
In His service,