If you were to ask people what is the secret to answered prayer you might get lots of different answers. Some might say “pray and believe,” “claim the promises,” “decree and declare,” “speak those things…”
I believe there is one key that gets left out of prayer. I believe this is the most important key to getting God’s attention and to seeing God answer your prayers. That key is alignment.
Let’s face it we all like to claim and pray the promises of God. We should do this because God has given us lots of promises. I have seen estimates ranging between 3,600 and 7,000 promises in Scripture. Regardless of the exact number, there are a lot and we like to pray and believe God will fulfill them in our lives.
Far too often one of the things that gets missed when looking at the promises of God is that many come with conditions. If you are not careful, you can get into the habit of focusing on the promise without considering the condition. I would take it a step further and say that many people want the promises of God but aren’t interested in the conditions.
Here’s a simple truth. When you align with the conditions of God you can walk in the promises of God.
Alignment in Action
I was watching a TV show recently and they had a pillow sitting in the chair and sewed into the pillow were these words, “All things work together for good…Romans 8:28.” When you look at that you will understand that is a promise – a very wonderful promise. In fact, I believe it is the most incredible promise in all of scripture. However, if you stop there you will discover that this verse is incomplete. Here is the full verse:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
What we discover in this verse is that the promise comes with a condition. It is not a blanket statement that all things work together for good. The condition of this promise is that it applies only to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. If you don’t love God, if you are not called according to His purpose, then this promise doesn’t apply to you. You are out of alignment.
People can go into prayer and begin praying the promises without realizing that they don’t align with the conditions. When you don’t align with the condition then don’t be surprised when the promise is not fulfilled in your life.
Call on Me in the Day of Trouble
Here is another often quoted Scripture, especially in times of trouble.
“And call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15).
This is an awesome promise we have from God that when we are in trouble, we can call upon him. However, there is a condition attached that we see in the verse before it. Notice Psalm 50:14-15 together:
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
Consider the conditions that God is looking for: sacrifice and obedience. Is God gracious and willing to help in times of need? Yes. The challenge is many people come to God in prayer with no desire to sacrifice, no desire to change or obey they just want deliverance from their trouble. They are not interested in aligning with God’s condition, they just want relief.
Once they get relief, they go right back to the things that got them into trouble. That’s why, regardless of how much faith you may have, you may not see the fulfillment of the promise. The reason is because you have not aligned yourself with the condition of the promise.
My People Who Are Called by My Name
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
This is an incredible promise from God that many people are praying, especially with what’s going on in our world right now. Let’s apply the promise-condition test to this verse.
Here are the conditions:
- “If my people, who are called by my name…” This applies only to believers.
- “Will humble themselves…” They will recognize they can’t solve the problem themselves.
- “Pray…” They will ask God to intervene in this situation.
- “Seek my face…” They will seek God’s fellowship, God’s presence, God’s direction in the situation.
- “Turn from their wicked ways…” They will repent and turn from any willful sin.
God says when those conditions are met, then I will:
- Hear from heaven
- Forgive their sin
- Heal their land
It’s pretty straight forward. When the conditions align with the promises, God responds.
Time to Apply It
I want to be clear of one thing – God wants you to pray. God wants you to believe and hold onto the promises that he has given you. God wants to fulfill the promises he has made in your life. However, God also wants you to fulfill the conditions.
He still rewards obedience and honors those who seek to honor him. When you pray, believe the promises of God. Make sure you align yourself with the conditions of God. Also make sure you are walking in the will of God. When you do these things don’t be surprised at the things you will see God do in your life.