Six Keys To Answered Prayer

Bible Book: John  14 : 13
Subject: Prayer, Answered

Would you take your Bibles and turn to John chapter 14 tonight. We in the time that we have remaining want to think on the subject of prayer. And I want to help you tonight to pray, because Bellevue as a church will be no greater than the composite prayer life of her people. And I as a pastor will never really rise higher than my prayer life. You as a Christian are not going to be any better than your prayer life. I’m sincere when I say that. What you are in private, what you are before the Lord, is what you really are.

And I don’t know, on the other hand, a one of us that would say “I am satisfied with my prayer life.” I know I’m certainly not satisfied. I had to pray, even before I thought about the message, “Adrian, are you practicing what you preach? And do you believe what you preach?” And I had to say, “Yes, I am? and, yes, I d? but I’ve still got a lot of room to go and to grow.” And I think we all feel that way.

And so I was thinking about the disciples, and they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1) Now they didn’t say, “Lord, teach us to preach,” or, “Lord, teach us to be missionaries,” or, “Teach us to pastor,” but they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” And that was one of the wisest requests they could have made, because, you see, prayer can do anything that God can do. That’s a good place for an amen. Prayer can do anything that God can do. The only thing that lies outside the reach of prayer is that which lies outside the will of God. By prayer we can move the hand that made the universe.

I’ve told you before that one time down in Florida I was in my study, and I had a thought that hit me. It overwhelmed me. I cannot tell you the impact the thought had on my heart and my mind - the most staggering, revolutionary, incredible thought that ever came into my heart and my mind. You say, “Well, Pastor, tell me what it was.” Well, when I tell you, you’re going to say, “Well, I knew that.” Well, I did too, but I came to believe what I already knew and to consider seriously what I said sometimes glibly. Are you ready for the thought? Here it is. God answers prayer. Now you say, “Oh, I thought you were going to say something sensational.” I did. I did! “I thought you were going to say something dynamic.” I did.

Now, you think about that. Either that statement is true or it’s not true, right? Either it is true or it is not true. Friend, it is true. God answers prayer, and that means that I, a human being, a mortal, weak and fallible, can influence the God of the eternities, Almighty God. I can move Him to action. I, Adrian Rogers, can address God, and He will hear me. Now, folks, when I dwelt upon that, when I thought about that, I said, “Is that true? Can I speak to Him and He will answer me?” And then I thought on the heels of that thought, “It is true. I know it to be true. And if that is true, I am an unmitigated fool if I don’t know how to pray and if I don’t pray.”

Now, tonight, I want to talk to you about six keys to answered prayer. I admit that when I say six keys, that’s somewhat arbitrary. I would not say the six keys, because this is certainly not an all-­encompassing thing. But I would say these are six things that are so very simple. And I’m going to resist the temptation tonight to be complicated or resist the temptation tonight to be sensational. I just want to get right back to the very rudimentary things about prayer, the very basic things about prayer. And I want to tell you six things that begin with the little letter n that will help you to pray.

I. Pray in the Name of Jesus

First of all, pray in the name of Jesus. Look in John 14 and verse 13. By the way, let’s use our Bibles tonight. John 14, verse 13 - Jesus said, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) And, by the way, that’s the key. That’s what it means to ask in Jesus’ name: that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

And then again, in John chapter 16, verses 23 and 24, Jesus said, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing.” He’s talking about when He goes back to heaven. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23–24) People who are full of answered prayer are full of joy.

Now, you see, why do we ask in Jesus’ name? Well, you see, there’s no way that you and I can come to the Father in our own authority, on our own recognizance, on our own goodness. We have to come in His name, because there’s no other way to the Father. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) It is Jesus that brings us to the Father when we come in His name.

Another great scripture - just listen to it;? I’ll give it to you. It’s in Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 18. It says, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18) Through Him - through Jesus - we have access to the Father.

Now ours is a big church campus, and we have people who come and people who will say, “Would you tell me where the bookstore is?” or, “Would you tell me where the College and Career Department is?” And many times they will say, “Would you tell me where the Nursery is, or the Children’s Department?” Now if you are an up-­to-­date, up-to-­speed Bellevue member, been around here a little bit, you would say, “Well, if you’ll go down here, then you’ll come to a hallway, and you’ll turn left;? and then, go about, oh, fifty or sixty feet, and then you’ll see three doors;? you go through the middle door, and go down there, da da da da da.” And the person says, “Give me that again.” And you try to say it again.

Then, if you’re a good Bellevue member - a real good one - you know what you’ll say? “Hey, come with me. I’ll take you. Just come with me. Let’s go.” Then you’ll say, “Hi, I’m so-­and-­so. What’s your name?” “Da da da da da da.” And you talk with them, and witness with them, and fellowship with them, and just take them on right to that classroom. Are you that kind of a member? You ought to be. You need to be. Now if you’ve told them the way, then you’re the way-­shower. But if you take them, you are the way. You just say, “Come with me. I will bring you there.” That’s what Jesus is. He is the way. He doesn’t just point us to the way;? He is the One that gives us access to the Father, and we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, what does it mean to pray in His name? Does that mean that we say, “Da da da da da da da da da da da da da - in Jesus’ name”? Did you know that you’ll not find one prayer in the Bible that ends that way? Now we all pray “in Jesus’ name.” And when I pray, almost always, I will say something like this: “In the name of Jesus. Amen.” Nothing wrong with that. I think it’s wonderful. I think you ought to do it. But you won’t find any prayers in the Bible that end that way. Does anybody know one? Lift your hand. Maybe I’m wrong. Pretty good crowd - no hands. Now yet we think that if we just put those little words at the end of the prayer, ipso facto that sanitizes the prayer - gives it a Good Housekeeping seal of approval, and therefore, because we’ve said those words, the prayer’s going to Heaven. Not necessarily so.

What does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus?

A. Pray with His Approval

Well, first of all, it means to pray with His approval - something He approves. Now when a person puts his name on something, it means he has approved it. When I was a kid, I used to have a baseball bat, and a very famous baseball player - I believe in those days it was Ted Williams - had his name on the bat. That meant Ted Williams said, “This is the kind of a bat I would approve. I put my name on it.” Now Jesus has to approve your prayer before you can put His name on that prayer with His approval.

B. Pray for His Acclaim

Now here’s what else it means. It means for His acclaim. When we celebrated twenty-five years here, some wonderful people got together and they said, “Pastor, we’re going to plant some trees in Israel in your name.” That means what? “In your honor, for your acclaim” - this will be the Adrian Rogers grove of trees. It has my name on it. So not only “with my approval,” but “for my acclaim.”

C. Pray in His Authority

And then also, “in the name” means “with His authority.” Now, when a person puts his name on a check, what does that mean? That means that the bank teller has the authority to give you some money out of that bank, because your name is on that check. You are authorized the withdrawal of your money. Or you sign a check and give it to somebody else: that gives them the right to go and take some of your money out of the bank, because you put your name on that check.

Now, when we pray in the name of Jesus, if we expect to get our prayers answered, we pray in the name of Jesus, with His approval, for His acclaim, in His authority. Just saying, “In the name of Jesus” - that doesn’t mean that it’s in the name of Jesus. You ask in His name that the Father may be glorified in the Son. So, rule number one, or key number one: Pray in the name of Jesus. Now if you’re listening by radio, or if you’re in this building tonight, and you’re not a Christian, you have no right, no authority - none whatsoever - to pray in the name of Jesus until you’ve bowed the knee to Jesus and received Him as your Lord and Savior.

II. Pray in the Spirit

Second thing: Not only do you pray in the name, but, number two, you pray in the Spirit.

Praying in the name is the first step. But you also pray in the Spirit.

Now, let’s look at some scriptures. For example, turn to Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 18. Paul tell us to put on the whole armor of God, and then he says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:18) Now, when he says, “praying in the Spirit,” he doesn’t mean with a lot of razzmatazz. It doesn’t mean with histrionics. He’s not trying to say, “Whip it up,” like we have a good football spirit.

He’s talking about the Holy Spirit. You’re praying in the Holy Spirit.

Jude, for example, verse 20, says, “But ye, beloved…” - now Jude chapter 1, verse 20 - “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” (Jude 1:20) Now, why do we pray in the Spirit? Because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of prayer.

Over in the book of Zechariah there’s a wonderful verse talking about the time when the Jewish people would wholesale come to Christ. The Lord is talking about the House of David, and He says, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications.” (Zechariah 12:10) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of grace. Oh, thank God for that! And He is the Spirit of supplications. The “supplications” - that’s just a big word for prayer. And so the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of prayer.

And when you pray in the Spirit, some wonderful things happen that I’m going to talk about in just a moment. Well, let’s talk about them right now. Turn to Romans chapter 8 with me for a moment and look, if you will, in verse 26 - Romans chapter 8 and verse 26 - one of the great prayers of praying in the Spirit. It says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself” - and that may be properly translated “Himself” - “maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26–27) So that’s praying in the Spirit.

And what does this verse mean? Well, it means that the Holy Spirit inspires, the Holy Spirit guides, the Holy Spirit energizes; the Holy Spirit helps our praying. Now you don’t pray in the flesh, you pray in the Spirit, because you and I have two problems. I have them, and you have them. The first problem that we have is ignorance, and the second problem we have is weakness. Now we all have that. Now we might as well admit it for one thing, because it is true. The Apostle Paul included himself here when he said, “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” That’s ignorance. And then he said, “The Spirit [Himself] helpeth our infirmities.” That means “weaknesses.”

Now, if Paul had ignorance and weakness when it comes to prayer, then you and I have ignorance, and you and I have weakness, when it comes to prayer. That’s the reason we need the Holy Spirit of God - because He is the answer to our ignorance and our infirmity. He says, “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit [Himself] maketh intercession for us…according to the will of God.”

So sometimes we’re praying, and we’re asking for things, and we really don’t know what we’re asking for. I mean, we’re asking God to do one thing;? God wants to do another thing. Does that mean that prayer is wasted? No, that doesn’t mean it’s wasted. God said, “God the Holy Spirit makes intercession.” He says, “Now, Father, there’s

Adrian down there. He’s asking you to do so-­and-­so, and so-­and-­so, and so-­and-­so. But Adrian, he doesn’t know what he really needs. But he’s sincere;? bless his heart, he’s sincere. Now, Father, here’s what he’s asking, but here’s what he needs. And, Father, don’t give him what he asks, give him what he needs.”

Now the Spirit makes intercession according to the will of God. I’ll give you an example. Back in 1984, we decided we were going to move the facility from out in midtown out here, one of the most wonderful things that ever happened. But before that time we were trying to build downtown. When I first came to Bellevue in 1972, we had an auditorium that seated about 3,000, but we were running 1,300 in Sunday School. You can imagine what 1,300 in Sunday School would do to a 3,000 ­ seat auditorium. You could shoot a shotgun through there and not hit anybody. And then the church began to grow, and it filled up. And we said, “Well, we’ll start another service.” And so we started another service - an eight o’clock service. And that filled up, and so we said, “Well, we’ll start another service.” And we started a 9:30 service, and that filled up. So there was 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00. I was preaching three times, back to back. By the time I got to the third service, I couldn’t think: “Am I getting ready to say it, or did I just say it?” And I would come home on Sunday nights literally so tired I couldn’t go to sleep. I’d stay up and watch Jerry Falwell or someone until - you know, on television, just be so tired and so forth - we decided we had to build. And we just needed a bigger sheep shed, because God was blessing. And we praised Him for that. And so we decided that we would buy some more property.

Now we had twenty-­five acres downtown, but we had parking problems, and we needed more facilities. And so we started going to our neighbors. And up until this time, folks, we’d been able to buy property as we needed it. But somehow, I think, some people saw us coming, and they said, “Uh huh, that big church needs this property.” And so the prices began to escalate and escalate. And, boy, I would talk to the Lord about it. And especially one particular man - I’m not going to call his name - but I felt that that man was being very unfair in what he was asking for some property, and so forth. And I began to tell God about that and, you know, to pray and to pray and to pray and to pray. And it seemed like it got harder and harder. And I can remember Roland Maddox, a former member of our church, now over in Nashville, told me - he said, “Pastor, you know that piece of property, da da da da da?” He said, “The man just went up on the price of it.” Boy, it flew all over me. And I said, “Praise God.” Then, I said this: “No two-­legged man whose breath is in his nostrils is going to stop what God is doing.” And we didn’t buy that property. And I am so glad we didn’t. Praise God. Praise God! I’m so glad we didn’t, because we needed this property. God knew a plan. I didn’t know the plan. I had no vision of this plan - nothing about this. But God knew, and the Holy Spirit said, “Now, Father, he’s wanting this piece of property downtown. But, Father, what he needs is out on Appling Road.” And I didn’t know this property was out here. But we sent some men out here, Caleb and Joshua, to spy out the land. Morris Mills and Roland Maddox came out here, and they put together a deal and put all this property together. And, folks, it came together in direct reverse in ease to the difficulty we were having in trying to buy the property downtown, which was so difficult. This just came together just like that.

And the congregation approved it so enthusiastically. And after we’d bought the property, and after we came out here, and after we had the Chest of Joash and raised the money - those were glory days - one of the former owners of this property came to me and said, “Pastor, I didn’t tell you this, but I got my piece of property from a man -  sort of a preacher type, who used to walk around out here, used to walk around and pray that God would put a church out here.” Isn’t that something? Isn’t that something how God works? You see, the Spirit Himself makes intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered.

And the Holy Spirit is like a transformer. If you were to take the power in those great high-­tension wires and drop it down into your fan, your toaster, your air conditioner, in your house, it would cook them. But it goes through a transformer, and that same energy is transformed and made acceptable so it can be used in your house to run your appliances. The Holy Spirit is the transformer. He takes our prayer energy, and He makes it adaptable to our needs. And it goes through that Holy Ghost transformer. And that’s the reason we pray in the Spirit. And if God doesn’t give you what you want, He’ll give you something better than you want. If He doesn’t give you what you want, He’ll give you what you need. And that’s the reason you need to pray in the Spirit.

And then the Bible says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities” - that is, “our weaknesses.” Now the word help is an interesting word. It has a double prefix in front of it in the Greek language, and it literally means “instead of” and “along with.”

Now, how does the Holy Spirit pray for us? He prays for us instead of us, but He prays for us along with us. Now what it means is that He does it instead of us, but He does it along with us. It means that we cannot do it without Him;? it means that He will not do it without us. That He takes hold of it means that together we get the prayer answered. And our weakness literally is a strength, because we cast ourselves upon Him.

So, how do we pray? In the name of Jesus, in the Spirit. We pray in the Spirit, through the Son, to the Father.

III. Pray in Obedience

Well, I must rush on, because I could spend a little more time there, but I don’t want to. Here’s the third thing that you must do if you would get your prayers answered. Not only do you pray in the name, and not only do you pray in the Spirit, but you pray in obedience.

Now I believe this is where most of us fail. I believe, thus far, most of you are saying, “Checking that off. That’s fine, Pastor.” But, folks, I want to tell you something now that is as clear as anything can be in the Bible concerning prayer. If you pray with a disobedient spirit, you’re not going to get your prayers answered. If you did, God would be doing a terrible thing. God would be encouraging you to disobey. But the Bible knows that you cannot pray and get prayers answered if you’re living a disobedient life.

Now David knew better. David said in Psalm 66 and verse 18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18) Now, folks, that’s black print on white paper;? it couldn’t be any plainer. Thank God it doesn’t say, “If I’ve sinned, the Lord will not hear me,” because if it said that, He wouldn’t hear me, wouldn’t hear you, wouldn’t hear - especially wouldn’t hear - Bob Sorrell. “If I’ve sinned, the Lord will not hear me” - he doesn’t say that. What he does say is this: “If I regard iniquity in my heart…”

Now here’s what some Baptists will say: “Well, we’re not sinless or perfect. Nobody’s perfect. Everybody has his little pet sin. This is my little pet sin.”

Let my Bible represent sin, because it tells about sin. You say, “Well, I’ve got my little pet sin. I love that sin. That’s a nice little sin, a little harmless sin.” I have that sin. And where do I have that sin? In my heart. Right there - in my heart. Now I come to pray, and I say, “Now, God, I need thus and such…” “Nice little sin…” “Lord, would you do this? Would you do that?” And I have regard for iniquity. I have it right there in my heart. Do you think for a skinny minute that God’s going to hear that prayer? If He did, what would He be doing? He’d be saying, “Adrian, you can live a godless, sinful life, and I will still bless you.” But, friend, the Bible says clearly and plainly - and David knew better - “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”

Isaiah knew better. Listen to Isaiah chapter 1, verses 13 and following: “Bring no more vain oblations, incense is an abomination unto me, the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with, it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me;? I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean;? put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes;? cease to do evil.” (Isaiah 1:13–16) God says, “You’re going through your religious motions, your rituals, your incantations - that means nothing to me. I’m sick of it. I’m weary of it. I don’t want to hear it. When you speak, I’ll turn away my face. I’ll hide my eyes and stop my ears from your prayer.”

David knew better. Isaiah knew better. Isaiah said in Isaiah 59, verses 1 and 2, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save;? neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” - “God is not palsied, and God is not deaf” - “but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1–2)

James knew better. James said in James chapter 5, verse 16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

The Apostle John knew better than to try to play with sin. He said in 1 John chapter 3 and verse 22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22)

Israel sinned against God when Achan took of the accursed thing, and therefore they were defeated at Ai. And maybe you know the story, and maybe you don’t, but just remember this part of it: There was a man named Joshua, who was their leader, who fell on his face before God, and he said, “O God, why did you let this happen?” And God said to Joshua, “Joshua, get up off your face. Israel hath sinned.” (Joshua 7:11) That is, “Joshua, quit praying, and deal with the sin.”

Do you know what many of us do? We think that God’s just going to bless us;? He’s going to blow past our sin, and He’s just going to bless us anyhow. You cannot use prayer as a smokescreen to hide your sin. And I’m telling you, you’re wasting your breath if you pray with any, any, any, any, any, any un-­confessed sin in your life. Don’t do it.

Now I want to ask you this question: Is there any sin - anything - worth God not hearing your prayer? “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” It doesn’t say “if I am perfect,” because if I have sin in my heart, I don’t have to regard it. I can confess it and be clean, isn’t that right? God will hear that prayer always - the prayer of confession and cleansing.

IV. Pray in the Will of God

Now, here’s the fourth thing. Look. Pray in the name. Pray in the Spirit. Pray in obedience. Number four, pray in the will of God. First John chapter 5 and verse 14: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” (1 John 5:14) That’s the reason I said in the introduction, there’s nothing that lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.

“Well,” you say, “Pastor Rogers, I’d like to pray in the will of God. How can I know the will of God?” May I tell you, to begin with, you need to want it. Do you want the will of God? I mean, do you really want the will of God? Do you know what most of us do?

We search for the will of God to find out what it is, to see if we really want it. We say, “Lord, you show me, and I’ll let you know whether or not I’ll do it.”

You need to come to God - if you would know the will of God, you need to get a blank sheet of paper, as it were, and sign your name at the bottom, and fill it in. You say, “Well, if I were to do that, no telling what God would ask me to do or make me do.” Makes no difference. “Well, I might end up as a missionary in Pago Pago.” Makes no difference. Friend, there is not one reason on earth that God should hear your prayer, give you anything, equip you for anything, help you in any way, if you’re not yielded to do His will. Your heart may be seemingly clean, but you must obey Him instantly.

Are you ready to obey Him? I mean, are you ready to say, “Lord, I will go;? I will stay;? I will speak;? I will give;? I will live;? I will do anything you want me to do”? The Bible says, “Be not conformed of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, and then you will know what is that good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Don’t be afraid of the will of God. The will of God is good;? it is perfect;? it is acceptable. And prayer is not bending God’s will to fit your will. Prayer is finding the will of God and getting in on it.

One of the most beautiful definitions of prayer I’ve ever read is this: “Prayer is the Holy Spirit finding a desire in the heart of the Father, then the Holy Spirit putting that desire into our heart, and then the Holy Spirit sending it back to heaven in the power of the cross.” The prayer that gets to heaven is the prayer that starts in heaven. That’s a good place for an amen. The prayer that gets to heaven is the prayer that starts in heaven. “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.” (Romans 11:36) What we do in prayer is we just simply close the circuit. “This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”

“Well, Pastor, I don’t always know the will of God, so how can I pray in faith?” You can pray in faith, whether you know the will of God or not. “Now, how can I do that, Pastor?” If you don’t know what God wants you to do, you can pray in faith that He will show you. “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth liberally to all men and upbraideth not” - He won’t scold you - “…only let him ask in faith.” (James 1:5–6)

So if you don’t know, you still ask in faith.

I talked about how we moved out here to this property. Let me tell you how I came to Bellevue Baptist Church. I was down there in Merritt Island, Florida. David said up here, “I hope to go to heaven from Bellevue.” David, that’s exactly what I said. I was interviewed by the newspaper down there at Merritt Island, Florida, the Sunday supplement. They did a Sunday supplement in the newspaper down there. I had my picture on the front page of the Sunday supplement. I’m standing there in our church building, and it says, “Rev. Rogers and His Island in the Sun.” That was the name of the article: “Rev. Rogers and His Island in the Sun.” And they interviewed me, and they said, “What are your plans?” I said, “I expect to go to heaven from Merritt Island.” Those are the words I used right there within that article: “I expect to go to heaven from Merritt Island.”

Joyce and I were going to go on a vacation, and we were part owners in a motor home, and we were going up to New England. We’d never been up there - still didn’t get up there, because this church intercepted us. On the way up there I called home, and my son said, “Dad, there are some people who want to talk to you.” I said, “Who, or where, or what?” He said, “Well, it’s some folks from a place in Memphis - Bellevue.” And I knew the church was without a pastor. And I said, “Well…” Joyce said, “Are you going to call?” I said, “Nope.” She said, “You’re not going to call?” I said, “No.” I said, “No, I’m just exactly where I ought to be. I’m not going to call.”

And so we’re in Lynchburg, Virginia, at a K.O.A. camp with that motor home on a Sunday afternoon. I’d been to Jerry Falwell’s church that morning, and talked to Jerry, and so forth. Joyce said, “Adrian, are you going to call?” I said, “No.” She said, “You’ve got to return your phone calls.” I said, “All right.” So I went to a payphone and I called the guy, Roland Maddox. Roland Maddox said, “We want to come and talk with you about being our pastor.” I said, “Well, thanks. I’m honored. But God would have to write it in the sky.” Folks, I want to tell you, I was as happy as a dead pig on ice down in Florida. Now I had no desire to go anywhere; I had a wonderful church. They loved me. I loved them. It was a growing church. And we were happy in the Lord. And he said, “Listen. We’ve spent a lot of money on you. We’ve been down there to hear you,” and all this. “The least you could do is have the decency to talk with us.” I said, “Well, that’s right.” I said, “I’ll just turn the motor home. I’m in Tennessee. So it’s all right. I’m in Tennessee. I’ll just drive right over there.” Now, folks, you get a map, and you look from one corner of Tennessee, up there near Lynchburg - Kingsport - down here to Memphis, you’ll go for forty months. And finally, I got over here and met with this committee. And these people began to talk to us. And, folks, it was so confusing - so confusing - because they said, “We know that you’re the man. We’ve prayed. We’re unanimous.”

Jim Whitmire had been up here with the youth choir, and he came through there. When I went back from Memphis, he didn’t know I’d been here. I didn’t know he’d been here. He showed me a picture of the Bellevue Church. He said, “Pastor, look at that.” I thought, “Boy, that’s the devil’s trick.” I opened a magazine. I got back to my office after my vacation and there was a stack of mail like that on my desk. There was a magazine - a trade magazine. I didn’t subscribe to it. I don’t know how it got on my desk - only one I’ve ever seen like it. And it had a centerfold. But it wasn’t a girl. The centerfold had letters about that high. It said: “Assignment Memphis.” I just opened to that. I looked at that and said, “That’s another devil’s trick.” “The Assignment” - I was so confused. We fasted and prayed, and we cold not get this thing out of our heart. And finally, I just said, “Lord, Lord, I want to know your will. I want to do your will. But I do not know what is your will.” I met with friends. I got friends to fast and pray.

Well, here’s the point, folks. God showed me His will. It took a period of time, but God was so faithful. You know, the Bible says, “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4:18) That means, at first, it’s dark. And then, it is gray dawn - you just can see dark shadows, but they’re no color. And then, you can begin to see the color, but the shadows are long and you don’t see a lot of definition. And then, it gets brighter and brighter. And after a while, it’s high noon, and there are no shadows at all.

Folks, I want to tell you, it’s high noon with me, and it has been for twenty-­five years. I know I’m where God put me. And I just thank God that God reveals His will to you. You can pray in faith even if you don’t know the will of God. Pray with the faith that God will show you His will. Just keep on praying. And “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”

V. Pray in Fellowship

Now, here’s the last thing - and I’m sorry I have taken as much time as I have. I say the last thing - I know that that’s only four. I’ll just give you the fifth one real quick. Pray in fellowship.

Now, if there’s anybody that you’re out of fellowship with, forget it, as far as getting your prayers answered. Here’s the scripture - Mark 11, verses 25 and 26: “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25–26) Now, folks, that verse says a lot of things, but one thing it says is this: that it is foolish to pray if you are harboring grudges in your heart. Now, is the carnal satisfaction of a grudge against somebody else worth not having your prayers answered?

And many times the problem is at home between a husband and wife. Let me give you another verse of Scripture. It’s 1 Peter 3, verse 7, and it says concerning husbands and their wives, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them” - that is “your wives” -  “according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life;? that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7) If you’re not treating your wife with respect, if you and your wife are not living in fellowship together, if you and your husband are at one another’s throats, your prayers are hindered. Pray in fellowship. Is there anybody that you have anything against?

Before I came out here, I got on my knees, I told the Lord what I was going to tell you, and I asked God - I said, “Lord, search my heart. Is there anybody on the face of this earth that I harbor hostility to?” And the Spirit gave back the clear answer, “No, not one.” You say, “Adrian, that’s wonderful.” No, I don’t mean it that way. I don’t get any credit for that. That’s the grace of God. I would be a sheer fool to stand up here and preach, a sheer fool to get on my knees and try to pray, if I have in my heart an unforgiving spirit, because Jesus loved me, died for me, and He said, “Be ye kind…tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32) Pray in fellowship.

VI. Pray in Faith

Now, here’s the last one of these six things: Pray in faith. You say, “Why didn’t you mention that one first?” Because that one is the fruit of the first five. When you deal with these other things, when you’ve come this way, when you pray in the name of Jesus, when you pray in the Spirit, when you pray in obedience, when you pray with a clean heart, you pray in fellowship, you pray in the will of God, then you’re going to find faith -  ipso facto, faith is there.

Now, why is it necessary to pray in faith? Matthew 21, verse 22: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22) Pray and believe - you receive. Pray and doubt - you’ll do without. You can’t get your prayers answered apart from faith. Why? Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

George Mueller from Bristol, England, a man of yesteryear, was a mighty man of faith, a mighty man of prayer. He kept a journal. In that journal, he had listed 25,000 answers to prayer - 25,000. Somebody said to him, “Mr. Mueller, what is the secret to getting your prayers answered?” You know what he said? “Have faith in God.” Pretty simple, isn’t it? “Have faith in God.” And here’s the way he said it. I wasn’t there, but I’m almost certain here’s the way he said it. He didn’t say, “Have faith in God.” He said, “Have faith in God” - “in God.” It’s not our faith;? it’s our God. It’s not so much great faith in God, but faith in a great God, that leads to great faith. Have faith in God. We sang it: “What a Mighty God We Serve.


Now, folks, God wants to answer your prayers. And these are six keys. There may be others. Surely there are. But start with these six!