Revive me, O Lord, for Your Name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. (Psalm 143:11—NKJV)

If a survey were taken of the average people on the street asking why they believe God should answer their prayers one would probably get some interesting responses. The predictable answers would probably run roughly along this line: “we are all God’s children and we deserve to be heard by our Father.” I also believe that a sizable portion would honestly state that God rarely, if ever, answers their prayers and so they have given up expecting God to answer in an obvious way. Then there will be others who don’t pray at all for they have no pretension of spiritual birth in Christ.

My hope is that there will be someone who actually has a Bible answer for this question. Once you are through reading this devotional, I hope that someone will be you.

The first answer given above is only biblical in a general sense, for God is the Creator of all mankind. In that way He is the “Father” or Founder of mankind. But in order to be strictly biblical, you have to say that God is only truly a Father to those who have been born again (John 1:12). Everybody else is in the family of Satan, as our Lord stated in John 8:44, and has no legitimate claim upon the fatherhood of God nor can he really expect answers to prayer.

For the same reason the second and third survey response would be accurate responses from someone who has never been born from above (John 3:3, 6, 16). Since he is not in the family of God he has no reasonable expectation of an answer to prayer from the heavenly Father. God, in His grace, does care for all His creation as a faithful Creator and all men are beneficiaries of His bounty, glory, and largess (and perhaps even the occasional rescue from trying circumstances). However, His unique father-like care is only available to those who are adopted into His family by the new birth in Christ Jesus.

The Bible verse at the head of this page gives a great, Old Testament explanation of God’s saving grace. David (the author of the psalm) is asking God for rescue as an answer to his prayer. Throughout the psalm his words clearly demonstrate that David was a man accustomed to praying to God as his only Source of help. He has carefully pursued the presence of God and has made his trust in God alone his familiar haunt.

How like the cry for soul-transforming new birth are the first words: “Revive me!” David is calling out for the grace of answered prayer, namely rescue by the hand of God. This is exactly what pours forth from the lips of a repenting sinner as he comes to trust the Lord Jesus as his Savior and is adopted into the family of God. The soul-quickening miracle of being born from above is the request with which the New Testament saint is familiar.

David does not plead for answered prayer based on any merit of his own, nor should we. Instead we learn a very basic lesson in praying and answered prayer. Notice the rationale uttered from David’s humbled heart. His reasons are: 1) for God’s Name’s sake, and 2) for God’s righteousness’ sake.

When you trust Christ for salvation, or for that matter ask anything of God, be very careful to remember that it is not all about you. Sure, salvation is good for you; eternity in heaven, a life of obedience to God’s law, freedom from the darkness of sin, having God as your Father, and divine answers to prayer are all great benefits for you. The bigger picture is that you are crying out for salvation and answered prayer so that His power may be known to all who know you (for God’s Name sake) and so that you will cease to offend God with your sin and failures (for God’s righteousness’ sake). Your salvation and your prayers answered are really more about His plan and His glory in which we are privileged to share.

Has your prayer for salvation been answered by God granting new birth to you? Are you willing to mold your prayer requests in submission to His Name’s sake and His righteousness’ sake? Be a durable prayer warrior. Trust and obey.