From the Parish Priest – Fr. Romey Rosco
Many Christians do not have confidence in prayer.¬† They do not think it possible for God to hear either our personal silent prayers or collective public prayers in worship.¬† Or else they think that an All-knowing God doesn‚Äôt need to listen to what we say, so prayer is useless!
Most of us perhaps never knew, or at least have forgotten, that God promises to answer prayers only upon certain conditions:
1)¬† We need to have repented of all our transgressions and made restitution whenever possible.¬† ‚ÄúYour iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.‚ÄĚ (Isaiah 59:2)
2)¬† We must have forgiven other their sins against us.¬† ‚ÄúForgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.‚ÄĚ (The Lord‚Äôs Prayer)¬† If we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us, nor will He answer our prayers.¬† ‚ÄúIf I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.‚ÄĚ (Psalm 66:18)
3)¬† We must be obedient to God.¬† ‚ÄúHe that turns away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be an abomination.‚ÄĚ (Proverbs 28:9)
4)¬† All requests should be made in Christ‚Äôs name.¬† ‚ÄúTruly I say to you, whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.‚ÄĚ (John 16:23)
5)¬† We must be confident that God will answer our prayers.¬† ‚ÄúWhatsoever you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive it.‚ÄĚ (Mark 11:24)¬† Faith is absolutely essential.¬† ‚ÄúWithout faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.‚ÄĚ
6)¬† We must pray in earnest.¬† In other words, seriously, not just with our mind and mouth, but with our heart and soul.¬† When we pray we must not allow worldly thoughts to disturb or sway us from our work.¬† Yes, prayer is work!¬† In prayer, we are not just sending an email to God; we are giving Him our whole being!
It may seem that there are too many ‚Äúrestrictions‚ÄĚ placed on prayer.¬† After all, Jesus did say ‚ÄúAsk and it shall be given to you.‚ÄĚ¬† But Jesus was talking to sincere followers, and that‚Äôs what a Christian must be: a TRUE follower of Jesus Christ.¬† Not everyone who calls himself ‚ÄúChristian‚ÄĚ is a true follower of the Master (and that includes some Orthodox Christians).¬† A real Christian will repent and forsake his sins, forgive others, walk in the Light of Christ, follow the Commandments, persevere in earnest prayer, and have faith that God will answer him.¬† These are not restrictions for true Christians; they are a way of life.
From The Weekly Bulletin, Vol. XXXVII No. 32, 8 August 2010
Sts. Peter & Paul Romanian Orthodox Church, Dearborn Heights MI