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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pieces Parts Insights

I encourage you to read through the Pieces Parts Bible Study before reading my insights below. The full text of the verses I refer to in this post are included in that study for easy reference.

1. How could you misunderstand the Bible’s message about prayer by letting one or two passages in Scripture stand alone to the exclusion of all others? 

We might read Matthew 7:7, John 14:14 or John 16:23-24 and assume God will give us anything we ask for in prayer.

Perhaps the most misused verse on prayer is one I didn't include in the Pieces Parts study--Matthew 21:22: "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." While faith is involved in answered prayer, it is not the only element.

2. Combining the message of all of the verses, what does the Bible teach about prayer requests? 

If any of these verses could stand alone, it would be John 5:14-15 that stipulates we ask “according to God’s will.” Asking in Christ’s name (John 14:14; John 16:23-24) is similar. It doesn’t mean God only answers prayers that use the words “in the name of Christ.” It means we ask with a respect for Christ, His purposes and power.

Other elements involved in answered prayer: 
1. Coming to God as a sincere follower 
    John 15:7; John 15:16; 1 John 3:21-22 
2. Asking with right motives 
    James 4:2-3 
3. Asking with a clear conscience 
   1 John 3:21-22 

My summary: The way we live our faith impacts our prayers. But the bottom line is this: God only answers prayers in accordance with His will. 

Are these verses all we need to understand prayer? Of course not. They don't explain why God sometimes answers the prayers of ungodly people or why He doesn't answer some prayers that seem to be in line with His will. But other passages in Scripture address these issues. We need the full, complete, combined message of Scripture to understand prayer, not pieces parts. Nothing in life is worth studying as much as God's Word!


  1. Excellent excerpt. Help me Lord to show myself approved.

  2. Gail, you are correct that when learning the word of God we (the theologian) must never construct Doctrine beyond what the Scripture is truly saying or "Pieces Parts." Failing to handle the word of God in an exegetical manner will land even the most knowledgeable person of the Bible in a place they ought not to be. Likewise, if that person goes on to tell what they believe certain Scriptures or saying (but are not) that are not complete truth (or false truths altogether); they then cause someone else to stumble.