by Wayne Nix
What assures us that God hears our prayers? What assures us that God will answer our prayers? As in all things, the written Word is the only true and unconditional source of information and guidance. It is unconditional, unchanging and unyielding concerning God’s will for prayer.
In all of the Old Testament, there is no better section on prayer than 2 Chronicles chapter 7. Fire came down and accepted the sacrifice of the people and the glory of God filled Solomon’s new temple (v. 1). Then God spoke directly to Solomon and said; “I have heard thy prayer.” (v.12).
Verse 13 describes a land and people filled with sorrow, confusion, problems and great difficulties. This is a condition that God causes or allows to happen for the purpose of bringing His people to call on Him for help. It is a time of such severity that the problem cannot be solved by any other way than calling out to Almighty God in prayer. A matter of life or death.
Verse 14 is the unconditional, unchanging and unyielding prerequisite to God hearing prayer: “Humble themselves, seek My face, turn from wicked ways.” Make an exegetical study of these terms and the seriousness of God concerning prayer is revealed. Prayer is serious business with God. When God said; “then” will I hear, that is exactly what He meant. No exception. There is a companion verse that speaks as directly to us today as God spoke to Solomon. I John chapter 3 stresses the importance of love. A love that has all but disappeared in America. In verse 22 we see two prerequisites that are just as important and outstanding as those in 2 Chronicles. We receive answer to our prayer because we obey His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. In 2 Chronicles God used the word “then.” Here He uses the word “because.” Both mean the same thing. His hearing and answering is dependent on the seriousness of our obedience.
If we can rely on surveys of Christianity in America, a vivid picture of our obedience develops. One survey shows that only 5% of one denomination shares their faith with others. Another shows that tithing, at best, was practiced by 8% and has fallen to only 3% at present. This means 95% are not disciples and 97% are robbing God (Malachi 3:8).