Developing Confidence In Prayer

A sermon by John Edmiston


This sermon works on a very simple idea - pray what God wants you to pray!


Confidence in prayer is often eroded over the years by unanswered prayer on issues that are important to us or by praying for Apromises@ out of context and ending up disappointed with God.


For instance God promises Cyrus AI will give you the treasures of darkness". I cannot claim this specific prophecy to a particular individual to myself unless I have it very clearly confirmed to me by the Holy Spirit. Not every Christian can rule a vast empire!


Getting our confidence in prayer back again involves going to the Scripture and praying:


1. For the things God asks us Aordinary believers@ to pray for.

2. Satisfying the conditions He places upon us for answered prayer.


As we will see there are ten things that God  specifically asks us to pray for and even PROMISES us by His faithfulness that He will answer. These include:


1.                   Salvation and Forgiveness

2.                   The Holy Spirit and His Gifts

3.                   Provision of Daily Needs

4.                   Wisdom

5.                   The Ability To Cope With Today/Deliverance From Temptation

6.                   The Difficult People In Your Life

7.                   The Good Things That You Are Seeking God For

8.                   Bold Proclamation Of The Gospel

9.                   For Governments To Grant Freedom To The Proclamation Of The Gospel

10.               The Cries Of The Church In Unity

11.               Healing Based On Repentance and Confession


As well as that there are numerous Aanything you ask in my name..@ type promises - eight of which are shown on the following page. If you include parallel passages and very similar passages it would be at least twice this number.


Issues of Authority

Sometimes we lack confidence in our prayers because we lack confidence in our authority in Christ.


1. God asks us to pray. (See the next three pages of verses!)

2. God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us pray. (Romans 8:26)

3. He is a gracious and generous God. (Romans 8:32 NASB)  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

4. He has seated us in heavenly realms (Eph 2:6,7) where we shall judge angels (1 Cor 6:3) and made us citizens of heaven with direct access to God (Eph 1:19,20, Hebrews 4:14-16)

5. He has forgiven us our sins so they are no longer an obstruction to our prayers and fellowship with Him. (Col 1:13-15, 1 John 1:7-10)

6. Elijah was a man Awith a nature like ours@and was able to pray mighty prayers. (James 5:16-18)

7. God promises to hear our prayers that are in His will. ( 1 John 5;14,15)


General Promises

(Matthew 21:21-22 NASB)  And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it shall happen. {22} "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive."


(John 14:13-14 NASB)  "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. {14} "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.


(John 15:7 NASB)  "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.


(John 15:16 NASB)  "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.


(John 16:23-24 NASB)  "And in that day you will ask Me no question. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. {24} "Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.


(James 4:2-3 NASB)  You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. {3} You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.


(1 John 3:22 NASB)  and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.


(1 John 5:14-15 NASB)  And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. {15} And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.


Salvation and Forgiveness

(Matthew 6:12-15 NASB)  'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. {13} 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. <For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.>' {14} "For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. {15} "But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.


(1 John 5:16 NASB)  If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.


(Romans 10:9-13 NASB)  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; {10} for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. {11} For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." {12} For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; {13} for "WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."


The Holy Spirit And His Gifts


(Luke 11:10-13 NASB)  "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. {11} "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? {12} "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? {13} "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"


(1 Corinthians 14:1 NASB)  Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.


(1 Corinthians 14:13 NASB)  Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.



Provision of Daily Needs

(Matthew 6:11 NASB)  'Give us this day our daily bread.


(Matthew 6:30-33 NASB)  "But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? {31} "Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' {32} "For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. {33} "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.



The Ability To Cope With Today/ Deliverance From Temptation


(Matthew 6:13 NASB)  'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


(Luke 22:46 NASB)  and said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation."


(Matthew 24:20-22 NASB)  "But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath;


(Matthew 6:34 NASB)  "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


(1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB)  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.


(Philippians 4:6-7 NASB)  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. {7} And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


For The Difficult People In Your Life

(Matthew 5:44 NASB)  "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you

(Luke 6:28 NASB)  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.




(James 1:5-8 NASB)  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. {6} But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. {7} For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, {8} being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.


(Colossians 1:9 NASB) …we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,


The Good Things That You Are Seeking God For


(Matthew 7:7-11 NASB)  "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. {8} "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. {9} "Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? {10} "Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? {11} "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!


Bold Proclamation Of The Gospel


(Matthew 9:37-38 NASB)  Then He said^ to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. {38} "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."


(Ephesians 6:18-20 NASB)  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, {19} and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, {20} for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.


(Colossians 4:2-4 NASB)  Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; {3} praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; {4} in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.


For Governments To Give Freedom To The Proclamation Of The Gospel


(1 Timothy 2:1-4 NASB)  First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, {2} for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. {3} This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, {4} who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.


The Cries Of  The Church In Unity


(Matthew 18:19-20 NASB)  "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. {20} "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst."


Healing Based On Repentance And Confession


(James 5:14-16 NASB)  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; {15} and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. {16} Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.