Q: I know people who instruct me to "name it and claim it"when praying for something - believing that if I declare what I want, God will definitely give it to me. Is this really the key to answered prayer?
A: The expression "name it and claim it: is found nowhere in the Bible. Neither is the idea. Some believe that certain needs or wants can be obtained through a simple proclamation of faith for whatever they desire. In support of their view, they might even quote scriptures from Jesus' teaching. But while such people are often well-meaning, the principles of faith must be understood from Scripture as a whole, not verses isolated from their context.
Yes, the Lord teaches that faith is essential to answered prayer. But the Word of God also reveals that the quality of our faith depends on how well we know and trust Him. God is a Friend with whom we speak, not a vending machine at our command (John 15:15; Phil 4:6). As we grow closer to Him, we gain a better understanding of His purposes and desires. And, as promised, anything we ask for according to His will is granted (1 John 5: 14-15). This is the true basis of confident prayer, which expects certain things by faith.
Reminded of this, be encouraged to believe God for your needs and wants as you fix your eyes on Him. Ask for whatever you like BUT trust Him with the answers, whether He says "yes," "no," or simply "wait". At times we lack something because we have not asked God to meet that need (James 4:2) we might wrongly believe that He wouldn't be interested in our request, and so we don't bother to bring it up. Of sometimes we ask once, but fail to persevere in prayer until His answer is clear (1 Thess. 5:17).
Remember, the heavenly Father welcomes your every request, because He delights in His children. As we learn to delight in Him, He'll grant our heart's desires (Ps. 37:4), and "faith working through love" becomes the unstoppable force of effective prayer (Gal 5:6).
Answered by Dr. Charles Stanley, June 2012 issue of Intouch