NASB - 7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
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James (in James 4:3) and John (in 1 John 5:14-15) -- whose writings were inspired, just as the gospels were -- both expanded on and qualified what seems to be an unconditional promise from Jesus with regard to answering prayer. We have to pray with proper motives, and according to God's will (which, to me, implies a willingness to accept the outcome that God determines -- even if it is not the exact result that we had in mind when we prayed). Also, even if those conditions are met, what if two sincere people are petitioning God for outcomes that are mutually exclusive, where both cannot be granted completely, or simultaneously, or in the manner in which the petitioners have in mind? And God has an entire planet of individuals -- not just two people -- making such potentially conflicting requests. (Abraham Lincoln commented on this in his second inaugural address by noting that both the North and the South had prayed equally fervently and to the same God for victory in the Civil War, but those prayers could not both be answered, and the prayers of neither side had been answered fully.) I think that in eternity, we as Christians will discover that God did in fact answer all prayers in the manner that He, in His omniscience and from His eternal perspective, knew was best for each of us (Romans 8:28), even if those answers did not seem to us (from our limited knowledge) to be what we felt would be best, or the outcome that we desired, at the time we asked.
All prayer must be first of all done with the understanding God will be and is sovereign in his answers to every request. Sincerity and legitimate need must be submitted to that understanding. The real question concerning whether any prayer is answered the way we desire is: Are you willing to trust the sovereign decision of God in response to your prayer? He may say "no", "wait", or he may say nothing! What will happen with your faith if any of these three answers come? Are you willing to trust the love of God no matter the answer? You can pray every prayer without any doubt whatsoever if you approach prayer with a scriptural attitude made very clear by John in 1 John 5:14-15 NKJV  Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. Notice several things: when we pray to our Lord he wants us to have confidence. Confidence in what? Confidence that he hears our prayer. Second: We can ask anything! The key to that is our "anything" must be according to his will to receive the answer we want! But you say, I don't know His will? Is that important when you pray? No! We live our lives, including our prayer lives, by faith alone, based in the truth of scripture as well as a track record we may have of prior answered prayers. When I know the Lord loves me, he hears every prayer, he cares about my concerns and the working his will out in my life, I rest in that knowledge. I pray the way I desire in every situation but always with the additional prayer, 'not what I want but according to your will, let the answer be and I'll praise you regardless the result because I know you know best, you are always sovereign and you love me'. Doubt has no place in that approach to prayer. There is no room for Satan to affect you or limit that prayer desiring the perfect will of God for your answer. The BIG QUESTION: Will you trust God's sovereign answer to your prayer? The answer will reveal the level of your trust in God!
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