PRAYER AND OBEDIENCE
by Jon Horn
And (we) receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. 1 John 3:22
Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote in The Cost of Discipleship that only the person who is obedient can believe, and that only the person who believes can be obedient.
John seems to be giving the reason for answered prayer in the passage above. Keeping God's commandments is presented as the reason why He answers our prayers. So, we can reasonably assume that we CAN keep God's commandments, that we CAN do those things which are pleasing to Him! Would God make the keeping of His commandments a condition of effective prayer if He knew we could not keep His statutes? Surely not!
"The Christian's trade," said Luther, "is prayer." But the Christian has another trade to learn, before proceeding to learn the secrets of the trade of prayer. The Christian must learn well the trade of perfect obedience to the Father's will. Obedience follows love, and prayer follows obedience. The business of real obedience goes hand-in-hand with the business of real praying.
An obedient life helps prayer. It speeds prayer to the throne. God cannot help hearing the prayer of an obedient child.
If you have an earnest desire to pray well, you must learn how to obey well. In fact, an obedient life is a necessity to prayer, to the sort of prayer which accomplishes things.
Father God, please help me to understand what it means to be perfectly obedient to you, and empower me through the Holy Spirit to live in perfect obedience to your will. Amen.