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GETTING WHAT YOU ASK FOR IN PRAYER

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, July 14, 2019

“O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come”
(Psalm 65:2).


God hears and answers prayer. God Himself inspired those words, and David wrote them down. One of the titles that God chose is “thou that hearest prayer.” All through the Bible God reveals Himself as “thou that hearest prayer.”

“Unto thee shall all flesh come.” God heard the prayer of a Canaanite woman. God heard the prayer of the Italian centurion. God heard the prayer of the dying thief, the publican in the Temple, and the sinful woman as readily as the prayer of godly people. The God of the Bible hears the prayers of all kinds of people, even the prayers of lost people! “O thou that hearest prayer; unto thee shall all flesh come.”

The man who said, “We know that God heareth not sinners” was a lost sinner himself. But later this man prayed and Jesus saved him (John 9:36, 38). So God answered the prayer of this man before he was saved! God heard the prayer of the lost sailors mentioned in the Book of Jonah. God heard and answered the prayers of my mother, long before she was saved. Dr. John R. Rice said, “God hears prayer even from the unsaved in many cases.” “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” No one can be saved, no one can please God unless he believes God answers prayer!

But why should we pray? Because God commands us to pray in the Bible. Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1).

The Bible tells us, “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). Again, God’s Word says, “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

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Prayer is God’s way for us to get things. I worked eight hours a day to pay my way through college at night. But one day a preacher told me he wanted to hire me as a youth pastor in his church. Dr. Lin told me to take it so I would have more time to study. The other Baptist preacher told me to report for work in his church on a certain day – about a month later. So I quit my job working for the state of California and took a short vacation. Then the day came when I was to report for work for the Baptist preacher. I went to his office and said, “I’m reporting for work.” He looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, but I have decided I can’t afford to hire you.” I walked out of his church filled with fear. I had trusted him and now I had no job at all! I stopped outside and prayed for another job. Then I drove to the state building and looked at the bulletin board. There was one job offer on it. I got that job, and it was a better job than I had before! The Baptist preacher had let me down. But God did not let me down! God heard me pray for another job, and God gave it to me. I didn’t miss a day of work because my Heavenly Father answers prayer! That was one of the first times I learned to pray and get exactly what I prayed for from God!!!

Now I am nearly eighty years old. If I lost my job in this church no one would want to hire an old man like me. Two wicked Baptist preachers tried to take this church away and leave me without any income. Their names are Waldrip and Chan. They pulled out nearly half of this church. What would I do? To tell the truth, it didn’t worry me at all! It made me sad, but it didn’t worry me. Instead I prayed to God, and God gave me peace. At nearly eighty years old, with legs that will barely carry me (from cancer treatment) I know God will help me start a new church, because I prayed for Him to help me. God’s Word says,

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7).

God promises to give peace to those who pray, “through Christ Jesus.”

We got a new building by prayer. We got a new piano player by prayer. I got my dear mother saved by prayer. I got my sweet wife by prayer. Both of my sons are here with me in church by prayer. I know we will have a great new church in the San Gabriel Valley. I know it because God hears and answers prayer, just like He answered prayer in Bible times! He is a prayer-answering prayer-hearing God! “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come” (Psalm 65:2). Answered prayer proves that there is a prayer-hearing God!

Prayer is asking for specific things. Praying is asking. It is not praise or confession. Prayer is asking God for things you need! Bible-rejecting liberals don’t believe in real prayer that asks for things and gets those things from God. Harry Emerson Fosdick did not believe in prayer that gets things from God. Fosdick did not believe the Bible. Fosdick said people like us were like children. He said, “To pray to God as though He were Santa Claus is childish.” No wonder the liberal, Bible-rejecting churches are failing! Prayer is asking God for things, and getting what we ask for!

Many charismatics think that prayer is praising. Prayer is not praising. Praise is good, but it is not prayer. Prayer is asking God for specific things we need. I asked God to give me a job. He gave me a job. I asked God to give me a wife. He gave me a wife. I asked God to save my mother. He saved my mother. We asked God to give us a certain building in the San Gabriel Valley. He gave us that building. We asked God to give us a piano player. He gave us a piano player. The Bible says, “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him” (I John 3:22). A leper prayed for Christ to make him clean. Christ answered him, “I will; be thou clean” (Matthew 8:2, 3). He got exactly what he prayed for. Peter was put in prison, but the church prayed for Peter to be released. God answered their prayer and Peter was released (Acts 12:5-16). Jesus said, “Every one that asketh receiveth...What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:8-11). The Apostle John said, “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him” (I John 3:22). Dr. Rice said, “It is the will of our loving heavenly Father that we should be able to come to Him...ask what we want, and receive it.” Dr. Charles Blanchard, in his book, Getting Things From God, said this, “An answer to prayer is a granting of the thing desired.” The Apostle James said, “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2).

Dr. Cagan said to make a prayer list of eight things to pray for every day in your prayer time.

1.  Pray for the needs of our church. But it is a waste of time to pray, “Lord, meet the needs of our church.” If you give a general “prayer” like that, how will you know when God answers it? A specific way to pray is asking for something definite, “Pray for this building to be sold.” Then, when the building is sold, you will know that God answered your prayer!

2.  Pray for people to be saved. That is too general. A specific prayer asks and receives the answer. Instead of “people,” pray for specific people by name to be saved, people like Miguel, like Abel Jr., like Abigail. Then you will know that God answered your prayer when they are saved.

3.  Pray for other Christians. That is too general. A specific prayer is, “Pray for Dr. Cagan to preach a good sermon on Sunday.” Then when he preaches a good sermon, you will know that God answered your prayers for him.

4.  Pray for yourself. That is too general. A specific prayer is, “God, help me to study well and remember what I studied when I take this test.”

5.  Pray for our president. That is too general. One man prayed for the “president” of China! “Our president” is Donald Trump. A specific prayer would be, “Pray for President Trump to know what to do today.”

6.  Pray for our Internet mission. That is too general. A specific prayer would be, “Pray for one lost person to read a sermon and get saved.”

7.  Pray for the work of Christ in other lands. That is too general. A specific prayer would be, “Pray for the dictator of North Korea to sign an agreement not to make nuclear bombs, but to sign an agreement with President Trump,” or pray for God to give Brother Purwanto a conversion this week!

8.  Pray for your pastors. That is too general. A specific prayer would be, “Help Dr. Cagan to know what God wants him to preach next Sunday.” “Heal Dr. Hymers’ lower back muscles, so he can stand up to preach again.”

It is better to pray for eight things than to have a longer list you don’t have time to pray for.


Set aside thirty minutes each day for prayer and Bible study – 10 minutes for Bible reading; 10 minutes for meditation on the Bible verses you read; 10 minutes to pray for your prayer list.

Do this at the same time every day. A time that works best for you: Thirty minutes when you first get up in the morning. Maybe during lunch time. Maybe before you go to bed at night. Try to keep it at the same time each day. Whatever time works best for you. God bless you as you do it!

Please stand and sing “Teach Me to Pray.”

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
   This is my heart-cry day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
   Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
(“Teach Me to Pray” by Albert S. Reitz, 1879-1966).

Turn to Romans 10:13,

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” .

I had no one to lead me to Christ. But I cried out time and again to God in Jesus’ name. He heard my cry and saved me at 10:30 in the morning, on September 28, 1961! “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.”