In a year that has been filled with natural disasters we see a lot of people that begin to cry out to God. We see people that were never very religious or devout in their Christianity begin to call on God for aid. This is well and good. God loves to hear the prayers of his creation in one sense. In another sense God is displeased with a lot of people that pray due to their selfishness and their lack of love for Him in their prayer.
If one knows the love of God in Christ, he is delighted to come to God in prayer. If one has bent the knee to Christ in humble submission then God is well pleased to allow this believer to storm the mercy seat. But what about others? What about those who desire to come to God on their terms? How about those that believe (or feel in today's context) they need to come to God through a created mediator such as angels, saints, or beads? What is God's response to these prayers? What prayers does God hear?
Christopher Love, an English Presbyterian during the mid 1600s answers for us the question, "What prayer does God hear?"
DOCTRINE: A man must be brought into a state of friendship or reconciliation with God before any prayer he makes can be accepted.
I will prove this doctrine by three reasons.
1. God does not accept the person for the prayer's sake, but the prayer for the person's sake. We read in Genesis 4:4: "God had respect unto Abel, and unto his offering." It was first to Abel and then his sacrifice. God accepted his service because his person was in a state of favor with Him. God is first pleased with the worker before He can accept the work. This is also laid down in Hebrews 11:5: "By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death, for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Now without faith in Christ to justify your person, you cannot please God. Here lies the great difference between the papists and us. The papists say that works justify the person; we say the person justifies the works, for make the tree good and the fruit must be good.
2. Until we are brought into that state of reconciliation, we have no share in the intercession, satisfaction, and righteousness of Jesus Christ. And till we have a share in them, our prayers cannot be accepted. Jacob could not receive the blessing from the father but in the garments of his elder brother; nor can we receive anything from the hands of God but in the robes of Christ. No prayer can be accepted by God but in and through the intercession of Jesus Christ. If Christ is not an intercessor in heaven, no prayer will be heard on earth. In Revelation 8:3, it is written that there was "an angel that came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne." The word in Greek has this purpose: that He should add in prayers to the prayers of the saints. It is as if the prayer of Christ and a believer were all one. In Isaiah 56:7 God promises, "I will bring My people to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer." Our prayers are but as so many ciphers that signify nothing till the intercession of Christ is added to them. Without that they cannot be accepted.
3. Till we are in a state of friendship and reconciliation, we do not have the assistance of God's Spirit to help us; and if we do not have the assistance of the Spirit, we shall never find acceptance with Him. All requests that are not dictated by the Spirit are but the breathings of the flesh, which God does not regard. Now, till we are reconciled to God, we cannot have the Spirit. Galatians 4:6: "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father." So that till you are sons, you cannot have the Spirit.
1.What is the first prayer that you remember praying?
2. How do we know what biblical prayer is?
3. How can this be true as well as God's answering of "common grace prayers"?