Wouldn’t it be nice to have a formula for answered prayer? The custom for approaching the kings of Babylon and Persia provides us with that formula. It is not limited to their ancient kingdoms; it is a rule in human relationships and reflects the etiquette of heaven. Queen Esther knew how it worked. She approached king Ahasuerus with the following words:
If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition and do what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I shall prepare for them. (Esther 5:81)
Other exiled leaders among God’s people of the time understood the importance of the king’s favor and an appeal to his pleasure. Nehemiah sought it when he wanted to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls (Neh. 2:5, 7). Ezra and Daniel used similar words (Ezra 5:17; Dan. 1:9). These kings were absolute rulers; anyone who approached them without their favor could be executed on the spot. If they were not pleased with the request . . . forget it! On the other hand, if it aligned with their pleasure it would become an unbreakable decree.
God rules in the same way (minus the instant executions). It is a whole lot easier for us. Those who surrender to His rule, trusting that He is a loving king who wants the very best for His people, immediately receive His favor. We become His royal children and He makes all His resources available to us to accomplish His kingdom business. There is no question about our King’s favor.
His pleasure takes longer to grasp. Favor puts us back in relationship with the King. Once there, we spend a lifetime learning what pleases Him; what we call the will and ways of the King. This part of the etiquette of heaven comes through reading the Bible, listening to His voice (which is always consistent with the Bible), and experiencing Him at work. Hunger for Him and quick obedience to what He says speed the learning process.
The formula is simple. God’s people already have His favor. When we come to Him asking for His kingdom to come and His will to be done, just as Jesus taught, then we can expect answers. Start by asking God to reveal His will to you in whatever situation you face. What would bring Him pleasure? What will extend His kingdom? Pray like that and you will see results.
Please share these Bible devotionals with others who might be blessed.
- See also Esther 1:19; 2:9, 15, 17; 4:8; 5:2, 4; 7:3; 8:5; 9:13. [↩]