"Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. Don't worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-7 Phillips).Is it possible to live in an atmosphere of answered prayer?
Shortly after R.C. Sproul started St. Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida he asked me to lead a Kingdom Intercessor's Training event for his blossoming congregation. Later, I asked R.C. how things were going. He responded, "I feel like I'm living in an atmosphere of answered prayer." In his personal life and ministry he was seeing one petition after another become tangible reality.
The last three months have been very challenging for me. My wife has entered into the final battle of her ten-year war with cancer. Our doctors say there is nothing more they can do. In spite of this - or maybe because of it - to a greater degree than ever before I am living in an atmosphere of answered prayer. When you know that God is the only One who can help, life becomes very simple and fervent prayer fills your waking moments.
More than 10,000 participants in Kingdom Intercessor Training events have taken a survey; their pastors tell me these people were the ones most interested in prayer in their churches. One question in this survey is: "How often does God answer your specific petitions?" Possible responses were "never, seldom, frequently, or daily." The vast majority have checked "seldom." From this it appears that very few believers "live in an atmosphere of answered prayer."
I believe the Bible teaches that all believers should "live in an atmosphere of answered prayer." The New Testament commands believers not to "worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer." Paul urges Christians to practice continuous conversation with the Lord. This means listening to Him speak by His Spirit through His Word and then asking Him to meet specific needs. To those who obey this command, God promises His peace that "transcends human understanding." And He promises that His peace will "keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus" (See Phil. 4:4-7 Phillips).
The prayer that God answers is not casual but earnest, i.e. intensely serious and sincere; it is also thankful, i.e. filled with gratitude and relief because you believe God will answer your prayer. Consider this: If a believer prays for something "In the name of Christ," but does not believe God will answer the prayer, he or she is taking "The name of the Lord your God in vain." Luther said, "If I did not believe God answered my prayers, I would leave praying to the devil."
Every prayer God answers is somehow intertwined with destroying the kingdom of Satan, expanding God's kingdom of grace, and hastening God's kingdom of glory. I find that a time of disciplined daily kingdom-focused prayer enables me to pray with kingdom focus more effectively about everything, everywhere, all the time.