Principals of Answered Prayer
Luke 1:6-20

6 And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. 8 Now it came about, while he was performing his priestly service before God in the {appointed} order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 And Zacharias was troubled when he saw {him,} and fear gripped him. 13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.

14 "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb. 16 "And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 "And it is he who will go {as a forerunner} before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

18 And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this {for certain} For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." 19 And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20 "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their proper time." (NAS)

Introduction

Recently Bob Wakefield spoke and shared what he calls "Intercessory Faith". He calls that having faith for another person. I want to include that Idea in this message on principals of prayer. This passage of scripture gives several but certainly not all the principals of prayer. I want to draw out from this passage the:

Principal of Dedication.

The Principal of Desire.

3. Principal of Delay. v 13

4. The Principal of Disbelief - Belief.
 
 
 

1. Principal of Dedication. v 6 - 9  
6 And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. 8 Now it came about, while he was performing his priestly service before God in the {appointed} order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

A.    Zacharias, and Elizabeth were dedicated.
    1.    They did not receive the son they requested but they continued to serve
            the Lord.
                a. Some would ask is this fair?
                b. The answer is; no it is not fair.
                        1)    If God were fair in our thinking of fairness we would all go
                                to hell.
                        2)    Keep that in mind.

B.    Zacharias, and Elizabeth were dedicated with an even if not kind of
        faith.

Dan 3:18 "But {even} if {He does} not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (NAS)

Illustration
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were dedicated regardless what the earthly king did. I love those words in verse 18 "But {even} if {He does} not, . . . ".
 

Application

Zacharias, and Elizabeth had a faith and dedication that said we will serve even if He does not do what we ask.
 
 
 

2.    The Principal of Desire. v 13  
13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.

A. Desire is a principal of prayer.
        1.    Zacharias, and Elizabeth desired a child.
        2.    This is a proper desire and scripture encourages this.
Ps 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. (NAS)
 

B When we have selfish desires God May Give Us What we Want.
1 Sam 8:6-7 (NAS)
6 But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

Application

We must check our desire. Do we want what the Lord wants or what we want? If we delight our self in the Lord He will direct our desires.
 
 
 

3.    Principal of Delay. v 13  
13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.

Note the phrase:

". . . for thy prayer is heard; . . . " KJV

". . . your prayer has been heard, . . . " NASB

    1.    When was it heard?
    2.    What Can that teach Us?
    3.    Bob Wakefield "Intercessory Faith"

If we get a specific word from the Lord we may strike a position of faith for our self and for others.

The term "REHMA" in the Greek New Testament speaks of a specific word from God.

Eph 6:17 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (NAS)

A.    God Delays to Answer Better for God's . . Purposes.
        1. When Does God Need a John the Baptist?
                a. Abraham and Isaac.
                b.    God takes the Route of Greatest Glory.
John 11:6
6 When therefore He heard that he was sick, He stayed then two days {longer} in the place where He was. (NAS)

Dan 10:12-13 Then he said to me, "Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding {this} and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. 13 "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. (NAS)
 

B.    God Delays to Answer Better for Man's . . Pleasure.
           1.    An Impossible Situation "Old Man."
            2.    Not just any boy but a special boy.
 

C.    God's Delays may allow me to pray for the Future.

Note again the phrase:

". . . for thy prayer is heard; . . . " KJV

". . . your prayer has been heard, . . . " NASB

Now look at these verses of scripture.

Rev 5:8
8 And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (NAS)

Rev 8:3-4
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. (NAS)

Look also at the words of Jesus.

John 17:20 "I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; (NAS)
 

Illustration
My grand daughter Brittanie ask me a few months ago; " Pa, Pa will you be alive when I get married?"

I related no one knows, but from these verses of scripture I believe I can pray for her to find a godly man. I can pray for the future.
 

Illustration
Pastor said to a dying man, "They have asked me to pray for you to get healed. Can you tell me how added life for you will glorify God?"

Man with financial reverses, pastor pray God will give me back my cash flow. Why will it glorify God?

My Prayer for Mary Jester, "Mary I am going to pray selfishly, I want God to give you added days of life." I can see how added days for her would glorify God.

Application

We need to be fully aware of this principal of God's delays in prayer.
 
 
 

4. The Principal of Disbelief - Belief. v 18-20  
18 And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this {for certain} For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." 19 And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20 "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their proper time."(NAS)

A.    Zacharias had to get to a place of Belief
            1.    God is going to work with or without us. Eph 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (NAS)

B. It would be better to believe all along. Mark 11:24
"Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be {granted} you. (NAS)

Matt 9:28-29
28 And after He had come into the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to Him, "Yes, Lord." 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "Be it done to you according to your faith." (NAS)
 
 

Conclusion

Does God require our belief before he answers prayer? This text indicates He does not but the Bible also indicates the position of faith in prayer.

Let's move away from dis-belief to belief.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
E-Mail preachim@scan.missouri.org
 
 

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