God’s Word Is Alive
What Prayers Does God Hear?
YOU may recognize this scene of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane. The men sleeping nearby are his apostles Peter, James and John. Jesus knows, according to Bible prophecy, that he will be put to death along with criminals. Yet he prays: “Father, if you wish, remove this cup [God’s will for Jesus to suffer reproach and die] from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours take place.”—Luke 22:42; Isaiah 53:12.
That was a very difficult night for Jesus. The Bible says: “Getting into an agony he continued praying more earnestly; and his sweat became as drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) Were Jesus’ prayers answered?
No doubt it was with this occasion in mind that the apostle Paul wrote: “Christ offered up supplications [sincere pleadings] and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear.”—Hebrews 5:7.
Yes, God heard Jesus’ prayers. Notice the reason given: “For his godly fear.” Jesus had a wholesome fear or dread of displeasing God. “I always do the things pleasing to him,” he said. (John 8:29) Yes, Jesus loved his heavenly Father, and always did his will. It is just as the Bible says, “No matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.”—1 John 5:14.
How did God answer Jesus’ prayers? Well, he did not take Jesus out of that situation. Jesus was arrested, treated as a low-down criminal and put to a terrible death. But look at the picture. It shows how Jesus was strengthened to face the situation. While he was praying, the Bible says, “an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”—Luke 22:43; 1 Corinthians 10:13.
We can learn an important lesson from this Bible account. It is this: If we want God to hear our prayers, we must do his will; we must obey his laws. The Bible states it plainly: “Whatever we ask we receive from him, because we are observing his commandments and are doing the things that are pleasing in his eyes.” (1 John 3:22) This means that we must work at what we pray for. We need to show God by our actions that we really mean what we say. Do we?