Every Christian knows the joy of answered prayer and the disappointment of prayers that seem to go unanswered. Why is this so? I want to explore who God listens to and discover obstacles that may prevent our prayers from being answered. As I quote the Scriptures, recall this which was written about the Bereans in Acts: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (17:11). Let us model the Berean’s readiness of mind and God will teach us.
The Scriptures outlines four types of people God listens to: the humble, the righteous, those who fear God, and those who please Him.
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 18:9–14).
Our holiness is not defined by the tithes and offering we give, nor how many times we fast in a week. God will listen to the humble. When we are humble, He not only lifts us up (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6), but also listen to our prayers.
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