How to Get Prayers Answered

Do you have trouble?  Do you have worries?  Needs?  Are people in your family in need of God’s grace and mercy?  Do you want more answers from God? I believe that most of us would answer yes to all of those questions. What we have in these verses is a promise on how to get more of your prayers answered.

As we go thru this lesson we need to first understand that the conditions of answered prayer that we will see in 1 John 3:21-24 do not have to be 100 percent met to get any prayers answered.  However, God will not bless your prayers in the same way.  He will not answer as many of your prayers if you are in rebellion to these conditions.

There are two extremes mentioned in the Bible about getting your prayers answered.  At the one extreme, He is not hearing you at all.  On the other extreme you are getting everything you ask for.  This lesson will concentrate on the extreme of getting answers.

I.  Instructions given out of Love.

1 John 3:21  Beloved, What a wonderful way to start.  Beloved.  John is writing to people he loves.  They meant a lot to him.  He wants them to be reminded of his love for them as they learn this truth so he starts out, “beloved”.  He does not want them to think well I don’t have that, he is just rubbing it in.  No Beloved.  I am writing this because I love you, and want to help you.

II.  Connection of clear conscience to this promise of answered prayer.

1 John 3:21  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

This is talking about conviction.  About our conscience.  The Holy Spirit that lives in our heart will speak in a still small voice.  We will often know when something is wrong.  Have you ever been praying and it just feels like your prayers are getting no higher than the ceiling?

People can so quench the Spirit that they do not hear Him anymore.  People can fool themselves into thinking all is well.  But if our heart is still open to listing to God’s conviction then our heart will condemn us.   If that is the case then we have no confidence toward God in prayer.   On the other hand if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God in our prayers.  Being able to pray in faith is very important to getting prayers answered.  This truth is connected to the wonderful promise in the next verse with the word and.  You cannot have the promise in verse 22 without the clear conscience in verse 21.

III.  A Wonderful Promise.

1 John 3:22  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him,

Those are 8 precious words.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him.   How would you like to be able to claim that promise?  Whatsoever you ask you receive.  As long as you don’t ask upon your lusts, and what you ask is not harmful.  But everything else.  You ask, you receive.   I mean how great would that be?   We have needs.  We have heartaches.  We all have temptations, battles, and problems in this life.   Every one of God’s children have needs, trouble, and problems.  We live in a sin stained world, and do not fit in here.

1 John 3:13  Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.   Jesus said, in John 15:18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.   John 15:19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

We have needs.  We live in a world that we are really not a part of.  And we have no power of our own to be able to deal with all of our troubles.  We need answers to prayer.

We need to be able to pray with faith and confidence.  How sad is it to get down on our knees with a serious need and get up with the feeling in our heart, I hope He heard me.

I know He hears all things, but there is a difference between, yes I heard you, but…, and I heard you as in being moved to action.   How great is it to be able to have a serious need, get down and pray with faith and confidence and claim the promise of those 8 precious words.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him.

You can.  God’s Word tells us that we can.  Getting prayers answered is possible.  And I believe even more than it is just possible.  I believe that this is what God wants for all His Children.  He clearly sets forth for us the conditions in these verses.  And it is not overly complicated.   Some might be thinking, if God wants us to have this, and He does.  And if it is not that complicated, and it is not.  Then some might ask, so why do so many Christians not have it?   It is because, they do not want to do the things that God connected with those 8 precious words.

IV.  God Attached Conditions.

All Christians want the, And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him.   But God attaches some conditions to it that they do not want to fulfil.  1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

a.  Because we keep his commandments

The main condition is obedience.  A good way to understand this is by looking at how human parents often operate on the same principal.  A parent will tell a child to go clean your room.  The parent has every right to ask and expects the child to do what is right and obey.  Will a good parent give the disobedient child privileges like going out to play?  No.  The principal is be obedient first, then you get what you ask for.

A good parent will still answer requests that the child absolutely needs.  Like food, clothing, all the essentials of life.  But he is not getting extras until he goes and cleans his room.  It works the same with God but on a much higher level.  God tells us to obey.  John 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Obedience is an act of Love.  Jesus told us that if we really love Him that we should obey Him.   And there is no use looking for loopholes.  The only real obedience is complete obedience.  Partially obeying is not going to claim the promise of answered prayers.  We should obey because it is right, because we should honor Him with obedience, and because it is what is best for us.  He would not ask us to do things that are not for our best in the long run.   He saved us.  He went to the cross for us.  He loved us first.   1 John 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.

We should love and obey because of His great love for us.   He did not force us to get saved.  And He does not force us to obey.  You can get saved and then choose to not obey.  If you do, you will not lose your salvation.   However, there are consequences in this life.   Face it.  Not obeying is sin.  At the root of all sin is pride.  God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Look again.   1 John 3:22  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments.  If we choose to obey, then He will give us what we ask.

It says his commandments (Plural).  So you cannot pick and choose like going thru a pot luck line.  I will obey in two things and ignore all the others.   There are way too many things that He told us to do for them all to be listed here.

b.  Getting Prayers Answered – do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

That can cover quite a bit.  From specific things he told us to do, to any little thing that is pleasing in his sight.  Helping the poor, the fatherless and the widow all please Him.  Doing good to all men as it says in Galatians is also pleasing to Him.  The list could be extremely long.

c.  You must be saved.

And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ,

You must be saved.  You must believe on Jesus Christ.  1 John 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

You cannot even get started getting prayers answered unless you get saved.  If you are not saved then you are not even His child.  You have not put yourself in the position to be able to pray to the Father because He is not yet your Father.  Prayer must start with getting saved.  You have to believe on Jesus, realize you are a sinner, repent of your sins, and call upon Him to save you.

d.  Another area of obedience he mentions for getting prayers answered is: and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Some will try to find a loop hole here by limiting what the word love means.  They want it to mean some kind of warm and fuzzy feeling inside.  You might fool yourself with that but you are not going to get very far with God like that.  You are not going to be getting prayers answered with an attitude like that.   Look at the definition of Love that is the same chapter.  In the near context of the verses we are looking at.

1 John 3:18  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Biblical love is a love of action.  It works, it does deeds.  Saying you love with the mouth and doing nothing does not count.  The love that God is connecting to the promise of getting all of our prayers answered is a sacrificial type of love.  Look at the two verses above verse 18.

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Are you getting the clear message from the context of what type of Love we need to have to claim the promise offered of getting prayers answered?  This kind of love is going to cost you something.  It will cost you some time.  Many don’t have a problem with that.  It will often cost you some money.  More will have a problem with that.  But it is going to cost something else.  It is going to cost your heart.  I am talking about emotional involvement.  Caring often hurts.  Some people will not accept what you do, some will hurt you.  I have seen people get hurt and it has a bad effect upon them.  They can withdraw and not care anymore.  They are just trying to protect themselves.   You can do that.  You will still be saved, still go to heaven.  You can even still get blessings from God.  But He just can’t answer all your prayers the same way as He can if you are sacrificially loving.   We are to love like Jesus loves.   This kind of love in action is what God wants and it will also have an effect upon our hearts.  Remember what our first verse said.

1 John 3:21  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

It is talking about a necessary heart condition of assurance and confidence toward God in our prayers.  Look at verse 19.

1 John 3:19  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

Verse 16-18 is talking about real working biblical love, and verse 19 tells us that exercising that kind of love shall assure our hearts before him.  Living out the kind of love God attaches to the promise of answered prayers will give us assurance in our hearts that we are of the truth.

Prayer changes for you at that point.  You start praying with confidence.  But this is not just any confidence.  It is not something that you manufacture.  It comes from an abiding walk with God.  It is a work of the Spirit and is the natural result of a close walk with God.   Look at how he wraps up this section of scripture.

e.  Abide in Christ

1 John 3:24  And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us,

To abide in Christ. Is to be close to Christ.  It also means you are staying there continually.  You are abiding there.  Not wondering around.  A person who keeps His commandments (plural) will be dwelling in Christ.  And Christ will be dwelling in him.   This is talking about relationship.  A close walk and fellowship with God.  Abiding, dwelling, continual.  This closeness is a blessing that comes from keeping His commandments and doing those things that are pleasing in His sight.  It is this closeness that is dependent upon obedience that is at the heart of the promise.

1 John 3:22  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

It is important that you see that it is a close dwelling relationship that results from obedience that results in receiving the promise.  Some miss that.  What they will do is try to obey where they want, get close at times to God, but not stay there.  They then pray and are not having the type of results that are mentioned in 1st John 3:22.   O’ they get some answers.  But it is not to the level that God promises it can be.

Why would someone not want to just sell out and stay close to God?  For some it is they like their sin. For others they are afraid of what God might ask them to do.  So they sacrifice the wonderful promise of getting prayers answered because of either sin or fear.


You are not going to have the degree of answered prayer that these verses are talking about without the degree of obedience and closeness to God that these verses are talking about.   The two are tied together.  Look at verse 24 again.  And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

I love those words we know.   That is talking about confidence.  You know it.  There is no doubt.  Do you see how the concluding verse in this section ties back to where we started?  The last thing he brings up is that this confidence and assurance is a gift of God.  “by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

It is not something that we manufacture on our own.  It is a work of the Spirit that lives within our hearts.  Our job is to be tender to what He wants us to do.  We are to out of a free will be obedient to Him and really love others.  The result of that is that God will change our hearts.  He will give the confidence and assurance.  It is the result of a close abiding continual relationship with Him.  Then He give us confidence and He answers our prayers.  All of them.  Getting prayers answered is a wonderful thing.  God wants all of us to have confidence in prayer.  He wants all of us to be getting prayers answered.

1 John 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

God also wants to answer all of our prayers.

1 John 5:15  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

What we have to decide on an individual level is do we want this level of answered prayers.  And are we willing out of a free will to walk that close to God, which is the condition He set.


We must also remember that God might have reasons that we cannot see for not answering a request.  We might meet all the conditions for answered prayer, but because God sees all things and all consequences the answer might be no or yes but not yet.


Some questions that might come into people’s minds.  This is the type of lesson that people will go, I agree with that.  It is what the bible says, however, what about this situation or that.  Or I remember when that prayer of mine got answered, and I did not meet these conditions at that time.  And a friend of mine got a prayer answered and they did not meet them either.  There are many different reasons that God might answer a prayer without these conditions being met.

1) He might not answer it just because you prayed for it.  He might have answered it because someone else also prayed for the same thing.  Someone might have interceded on your behalf.

2) He loves to show mercy, and sometimes He can answer a prayer simply for mercies sake.

3) Your prayer might happen to fit into His will for someone else.  I think we all understand that none is an island unto himself.  What happens in our lives does affect others.  Sometimes our answer is also for someone else’s benefit.  We might not even know the person it will benefit.

4) God is infinite.  He knows all, and there can be many more reasons He might answer a prayer.

However, we will get more prayers answered and have a better prayer life and a closer walk with God if we strive to meet the conditions in 1st John.

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