The Motive Needed for Answered Prayer -- By: Don Whitney

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 01:3 (Summer 1992)
Article: The Motive Needed for Answered Prayer
Author: Don Whitney


The Motive Needed for Answered Prayer

Don Whitney

One of the most important yet neglected principles on answered prayer is taught by Jesus in John 14:13. We read: “And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”

I do not claim that this is the key to answered prayer. We should be careful when we hear someone talk about the key to anything in the spiritual life. Occasionally there is validity in saying that something is the key to a spiritual matter, but that is not so with answered prayer. There is not one key to answered prayer, but several. For instance, the Bible emphasizes the importance of faith, obedience, confession of sin, gratitude, praise, unity in the home, and several other things in relation to answered prayer.

We must not fall into the common trap, however, of trying to juggle all these things into the right “formula” for answered prayer. The result is to approach prayer like the people who pick numbers for the state lottery: Pick the right elements of prayer and put them in the right order, then bingo! You’ve hit the jackpot! Your prayer is answered! A kind of “spiritual lotto.” Many try this approach every day, either staying with the same combination, hoping that eventually they will be a winner, or changing things around, trying to find the formula that works. The problem is that there is a general feeling with this method that prayers are answered about as often as an individual gambler wins the lottery.

What this article declares is not another part of prayer to juggle. Nor does it propose another possibility to try as part of a new combination. Instead it teaches a new attitude about prayer as a whole. This article deals specifically with the motive needed for answered prayer.

Why is it important to know the biblical motive for prayer? Because it is possible to do everything we normally think of as the “right things” for prayer and still not have our prayers answered, simply because we have the wrong

motive. Yet, if we have the right motive, most of the other things will take care of themselves, and we will see more answered prayer than ever before. Not only that, the right motive for prayer will give us more peace and rest in acceptance of what we call unanswered prayer than we have ever had before.

If we see this truth for what it is, we will pray differently from before. Even if we pray about the same things in the same way, we will have a completely different attitude about prayer. Among other passages, this principle about prayer is based on You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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