Jeremiah 33:3; I Peter 3:12
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
I did an internet search on “How many Scripture verses in the Bible are about prayer?”
- One site reported there are 367 verses about prayer in the Bible!
- Another site claimed 508 verses!
- A third site gave the answer at 650 verses!
One thing is sure: There are a lot of Scriptures concerning prayer in the Bible!
So it was not an easy task to pick out two featured Scriptures concerning prayer for this Gem! But here they are. The first is Jeremiah 33:3. If you remember telephone numbers before the advent of area codes and the standardization of the number of digits, then you are as ancient as I am!
- The first telephone number I remember was when I was growing up on a Connecticut dairy farm in the Berkshire Mountains. There were no buttons to push, not even a rotary dial on the phone. And our phone number was 90J3!
- Then came some standardization. We moved off the farm, and as a teenager I remember our first rotary dial phone, a wall model. Our number was ENdicott 4-5298 (or 364-5298).
- Finally, when area codes began to be commonplace, our assigned Connecticut code was (203). This is still applied to southeastern Connecticut, along with 475. Covering the rest of the state, two more have been added, 860 and 959.
But back to ancient telephone numbers: JEremiah 333 (Jeremiah 33:3) could be one of them! And so it is called, “God’s telephone number”! For in that verse He says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
But this ‘telephone number’ is not available to just anyone! There are qualifications:
- Consider the context of “God’s telephone number” – From chapter 29 through chapter 33, the LORD is giving encouraging words to the Israelites who were exiled in Babylon!
✡ Jeremiah 29:1 through 23 describes a letter God had Jeremiah write to the captive Jews. ➔ They will be in Babylon 70 years (see Jeremiah 25:11) – the number of years that the Israelites failed to let their homeland rest every seventh year! (see Leviticus 25:4; II Chronicles 36:21). We must be reconciled to God, follow His ways, or we will find ourselves cast out from Him! ➔ God will rescue the Jews and bring them back to the Promised Land! (see Jeremiah 29:10). The Promised Land for us today is located in Jesus Christ Himself! When we open our hearts and lives to Him, “...we are in Him, and He in us....” (I John 4:13). So the Jesus can say, “...you will be where I am.” (John 14:3 – Good News Bible). ➔ In the meantime, the Jews were to “...build houses...plant gardens....Take wives...beget sons and daughters....And seek the peace of [Babylon] ....” (Jeremiah 29:5-7). Turn to Him where you find yourself right now! He will receive you! ➔ Jeremiah 29:11 through 14 is perhaps the best known Scripture in this prophetic book: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity.... ❏ God has a wonderful future for His obedient children! ❏ Call upon Him, and pray to Him, and He will listen! ❏ To find the LORD, search for Him with all your heart. ❏ If anything has you enslaved, He can free you! (see John 8:34, 36). ✡ In Jeremiah chapter 30 and 31, God promises to bless the Jews and to return them to their homeland in Israel! (see Jeremiah 30:3). In John 10:10 the Lord Jesus says this: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” ➔ I believe life refers to the next phase of life in heaven with Him! If life more abundantly re- fers to our future life in heaven, that would be rather redundant because, of course, life in heaven will be abundant! ➔ I think abundant life refers to the abundance that God has for us here and now. ❏ He is not necessarily referring to ma- terial riches, although He does promise to meet our physical and material needs (see Alliterated Promises of God – XIII; His Provision). ❏ The abundance that we need in this life is the LORD Himself, and what He gives us through His Holy Spirit! The best gifts to those who are His saved children are listed in Galatians 5:22 and 23, called the fruit of the Spirit: “...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Lexham English Bible). In any situation we encounter, possessing these spiritual qualities, what more could we want? ✡ Jerusalem had been demolished and burned by the Babylonian army (see Jeremiah 39:8). But in chapter 32, God promised to see that Jerusalem, and all of Israel, would be rebuilt! (see Jeremiah 32:36-44). No matter the extent of the wreck so many have made of their lives, the LORD can rebuild and restore what has been broken and ruined! ✡ The Jews had broken God’s covenant by their many sins, es- pecially their blatant practice of idolatry! But in Jeremiah chapter 33, He tells His people He will reconfirm His cove- nant with them: Thus says the LORD, “If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My ser- vant, so that I will not take any of his descen- dants to be rulers over the [Israelites]....for I will cause their captives [Jews in Babylon and elsewhere] to return, and will have mercy upon them. Starting at Pentecost, God, through Jesus Christ, has made a new covenant with His children! “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I will write them.... Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:16 and 17).
Consider again JEremiah 333 (Jeremiah 33:3) – God’s telephone number: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” As you can see in the examples concerning the Israelites, the LORD demands certain things, certain conditions of us before He will answer our call!
- The second featured Scripture is I Peter 3:12 (quoting Psalm 34:15, 16). It is the condensed answer to the questions concerning God responding to our prayers – “…the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”
✞ The righteous are those who have been made righteous by Jesus, “...who knew no sin [and became] sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” When we put our trust in Him, He applies His forgiveness of our sins, forgiveness that by dying on the cross He has already purchased for everyone, and then He clothes us with His own perfect righteousness! ✞ He “...is against those who do evil...” ➔ “...those who are evil...”are people who have rejected God’s offer of salvation – which is the worst sin there is! ➔ ...are also Christians who have not come under the lordship of Christ, and live as if obedience to God does not matter!
- I Peter 3:7 – “…husbands, dwell with [your wives]…giving her honor…as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
✞ Ephesians 5:25 through 29 gives more complete instructions for how a married couple should treat each other. ✞ Extending the application of this Scripture: God answering our prayers can be hindered by our treatment of one another!
- James 4:2 and 3 – “…you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
✞ Christians are told to ask! They “...ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1). ✞ And they are to keep on asking! “...ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Lule 11:9 and 10).
There are other specifics that the Bible mentions concerning God answering our prayers. But it comes down to this – Psalm 37:3 through 5:
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in [Him]...and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
Trust also in Him,
and He shall bring it to pass!