What Jesus Said About Prayer

By Kenneth E. Hagin

If YE abide in me, and MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, YE shall ASK what YE will, and it shall be done unto YOU. – John 15:7

In order for believers to pray effectively, they must use the Word of God when they pray. And to use the Word, they must know the Word. It must abide in them.

Notice that the words “you” or “ye” are in John 15:7 five times. What does that tell us? It tells us that whether or not our prayers are heard and answered depends more on you and me than it does on God. “How could that be?” you may ask. In this verse, Jesus states exactly how that could be possible: “IF ye abide in me, and my words abide in
you….. Jesus said, “If…” That means there is a condition in that verse to receiving answered prayers.

The condition for answered prayer is that His Word must abide in you before you can receive what the last part of that verse promises: and it shall be done unto you.”

You see, if God’s Word abides in you, you will know His will. If His Word abides in you, then you will pray according to those words. Now if God’s Word doesn’t abide in you, then you are, praying in the dark. The psalmist of old said, “The entrance of thy words giveth light… ” (Ps. 119:130). It is God’s Word that gives light!

Therefore, we need to study God’s Word on the subject of prayer. That is how we will receive light on how to pray and what to pray for. Actually, when we study the Scriptures, we find that Jesus gave us a lot of instructions concerning prayer. And by reading these instructions, we can find out what we should be praying for.

MATTHEW 5:43-45

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and PRAY FOR THEM which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…

Praying for our enemies is the first thing Jesus ever mentioned in connection with prayer. Then He said, “… love your enemies… and pray for them… that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…..

In other words, Jesus implied that if you don’t love and pray for your enemies, then you are not the children of the Heavenly Father. And if you are children of the Father but you are not praying for your enemies, then you are not walking in the light of His Word. Therefore, you can’t claim the fullness of God’s blessings.

Now you won’t be able to love your enemies with natural, human love. Natural love can turn to hate overnight. But you can love your enemies with the love of God because the Scripture says that the love of God has been shed abroad in your heart in the New Birth by the Holy Ghost (Rom. 5:5).

And we can see a pattern for the God-kind of love in action because the Bible says that God loved us while we were yet enemies (Rom. 5:8). Therefore, we need to ask ourselves these questions: If the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts, then what have we done with God’s love? Have we developed it? Have we used it to pray for our enemies? Isn’t it interesting that in talking about prayer, the first thing the Bible mentions Jesus said about prayer is that we are to pray for our enemies! For example, we should pray for folks who talk about us and criticize us. Pray for them to be blessed – not that something bad will happen to them.

Who are your enemies? Jesus defined the word “enemy” right here in Matthew 5:44. According to what Jesus said, an enemy is someone who curses you, hates you, despitefully uses you, and persecutes you.”

When folks criticize me and talk badly about me, I immediately start praying for them. I’ve done that for sixty years. I don’t retaliate. For example, if someone said that I’d killed my grandma, I wouldn’t take the time to deny it. I’d just keep shouting, praising God, and preaching the victory!

That is the reason a lot of folks get in trouble and can’t claim the blessings of God. They don’t walk in love and don’t walk according to the Word. And many times if folks like that do get healed, their healing doesn’t last because of unforgiveness and malice in their heart. Then in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus also gave us further instructions about prayer.


5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, THAT THEY MAY BE SEEN OF MEN.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, ENTER INTO THY CLOSET, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Here Jesus talked about what many religious people did in His day. Paraphrasing verse 5 in our language, we could say, “If you are just praying to be seen and heard of men, you are wasting your time.” You understand that you could pray anywhere to be seen of men, not just on a street corner.

Jesus said if you pray to be seen of men, you’ll have your reward. However, the only reward you’ll receive is the commendation of men. Now Jesus didn’t mean that every time we pray we must get in a closet and shut the door. Sometimes we do pray in unison and in one accord in church, but even then we are not praying to be seen of men.

In fact, in the Book of Acts we do find Scripture for praying all together in unison. When the disciples returned to their own company, they all lifted up their voices in one accord to God (Acts 4:24). They didn’t enter into a closet, because they were praying in unison – in one accord. But they were not praying to be seen of men. On the other hand, we also need secret, private prayer. We need time just to be alone with God.

Very often when I’m in a prayer meeting where there are other people, I’ll just simply say to the Lord, “Now, Lord, You know that I am in this prayer meeting with all these other people. So, Lord, I am just going to enter into my prayer closet right here. And as far as I’m concerned, there is no one else here but You and me.” You see, that’s
also getting in a prayer closet and shutting the door. What else did Jesus say about prayer?


7 But when ye pray, USE NOT VAIN REPETITIONS, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Some folks think, “If I just pray the same thing over and over again, God will hear me.” No, it doesn’t work that way. Others think, “Well, if we can just get enough people to pray, our prayers might be answered.” No, that is not what it takes to get prayers answered either.

No, it is when you pray according to the Word that your prayers are heard and answered. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you – then you will ask what you will, and it shall be done for you.”

For more than sixty years of ministry, I’ve told people to find scriptures that promise them what they are praying for. Find scriptures, not just one scripture. The Bible says that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall be established (2 Cor. 13:1).

If you meditate on the Word and get the Word on the inside of you, then you can ask what you will and it shall be done. No ifs, ands, or buts about it because Jesus said, “…it SHALL be done unto you” (John 15:7).

You see, too many people try to solve their spiritual problems with their natural minds. But you can’t solve spiritual problems with natural, human reasoning or human thinking. The Word of God says so in First Corinthians 2:14.


14 But the NATURAL MAN RECEIVETH NOT THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED.

You see, too often, we try to rely on our minds to figure things out instead of going to the Word.

For example, several years ago I heard a Pentecostal, Full Gospel minister say this about prayer: “Well, sometimes God says, ‘Yes,’ and sometimes He says, ‘No.’ And sometimes He even says, ‘Wait awhile.'”

When this minister said that, I thought to myself, God has never said no to me in forty years. It has been sixty years now, and God has still never said, “No” or even “Wait awhile.”

Jesus said, “Ask, and it SHALL be given you; seek, and ye SHALL find; knock, and it SHALL be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7).

In other words, if you pray according to His Word, it shall be given unto you; you shall find; and it shall be opened to you!

You see, folks who talk like that don’t know the Word. The Word of God is not abiding in them. They are out there in what I call “No-Man’s Land.” They are not praying according to the light of the Word. There may be some light, but not much.

Since they are not abiding in the light of the Word, Satan can take advantage of them and gain access to their thinking. Then he can defeat them and rob them of the blessings of God. Now some folks also think that they have to work at prayer. So sometimes you’ll hear them say, “If we just pray long enough and hard enough, we’ll get our answer. We just have to pray harder!”

Well, I don’t find that anywhere in the Scriptures. I find that the Scripture says, “When you pray, believe you receive.”

MARK 11:24

24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, WHEN YE PRAY, BELIEVE THAT YE RECEIVE THEM, and YE SHALL HAVE THEM.

What you need to do is pray in faith. When you are praying in faith, you’ll receive your answer! When you pray in faith, you won’t always pray so long. You’ll just know on the inside in your spirit that you have your answer, and then you’ll take time to praise God for your answer.

Now I am not belittling or minimizing prayer, but some folks think that they will be heard because of their “much speaking.” But, actually, faith believes God. Then faith praises God for the victory. Faith doesn’t cry or beg – faith shouts the victory! You see, it’s when folks pray in faith that they get results!


8 Be not ye therefore like unto them [like unto the heathen]: for your Father KNOWETH what things YE HAVE NEED OF, BEFORE YE ASK HIM.

Now notice in this verse that even though God knows what you need, you are still supposed to ask Him for your needs to be met. Therefore, it must be scriptural to pray about your needs. But you don’t have to go on and on about your needs – just ask Him in faith.


19 But my God shall supply ALL YOUR NEED according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

In this scripture, the Bible is talking about God supplying material and financial needs. It says that God will supply all your needs. All means all – all spiritual, physical, mental, material, and financial needs. How many? All!

You see, instead of going to the Word and finding out why their prayers are not answered, some folks try to figure it out in their head. They try to use human reasoning or human thinking to find spiritual answers.

As a result, they will try to explain away unanswered prayer by saying, “Well, my needs were not met, so evidently prayer didn’t work. I guess I don’t know what I need after all. But God does, so I must not need what I was praying for.” But people should know what they need!

I mean if you are hurting, you know you need to quit hurting. If you are sick, you know you need to get well. If you are hungry, you know you need something to eat. If you are behind with your house payment, you know you need money to pay it.

Actually, all such explanations are just man’s way of making excuses for unanswered prayer.

If prayers are not being answered, go to the Word. The entrance of His Word gives light. Jesus Himself told you how to get your prayers answered: “If ye abide in me and My WORDS ABIDE IN YOU…” (John 15:7). How do you get His words to abide in you? By taking time to get the Word in you.

How do you do that? By thinking and meditating upon God’s Word until it registers on the inside of you, in your spirit.

Once I heard a man try to explain away unanswered prayer by saying, “Well, some of those things that I thought were needs may not be needs anyway. Maybe they were just things I wanted. And, you know, God never did promise to meet our wants.”

When I heard that, I thought, Can’t he read! Doesn’t he know that Psalm 23 belongs to us? Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall NOT WANT…. ” That verse doesn’t say, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I am full of want”!

Then in Psalm 34:9 and 10, the Bible also talks about God supplying our wants. Of course, our wants must line up with the Word.

PSALM 34:9,10

9 0 fear the LORD, ye his saints: for THERE IS NO WANT to them that fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord SHALL NOT WANT any good thing.

You see, Jesus promised that if we ask in faith and His Word abides in us, we’ll receive answers to our prayers. Therefore, if we have unanswered prayers, then God’s Word must not be abiding in us.

Now I want you to see something else Jesus said in John 15:7. He said that if His words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done. He didn’t say that there was a possibility that it might be done. He said it shall be done.

Therefore, in order to receive answers to your prayers, you must base your prayers on the Word. Take time to meditate on the promises of God before you pray. Find scriptures that promise you what you are praying for. Then take God’s Word with you in prayer. Jesus Himself promised that if His Word dwells in you, you will receive answers to your prayers!

This article is from: The Word of Faith Magazine, January 1995.

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