Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unanswered Prayer - Unheard Answers...[14]

Are you experiencing unanswered prayer? Does God turn a deaf ear to some of your desperate pleas? We all experience irritation when our best efforts to communicate result in an unsatisfactory response -- or worse, no response at all. We wonder, “Did you ever receive my message?” When we pray, we often equate the lack of immediate tangible results with God rejecting our prayers. We are urged to pray earnestly with the promise of “powerful and wonderful results.”

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
[James 5:13-16]

Why would God emphasize the importance of prayer and then choose not to respond with a joyful answer? When answering prayer, God responds first to our attitude, much as a parent responds to a precious child.

As a father has compassion on his children; so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
or he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
[Psalm 103:13-14]

Our childish actions and attitudes frequently affect a prayer’s desired results.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
[Mark 11:24-25]

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.
[Proverbs 21:13]

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea," and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
[Matthew 21:21-22]

You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
[James 4:2-3]

..if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
[2 Chronicles 7:14-15]

and stubbornness...
"But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord ALmighty was very angry.
"When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen," says the Lord Almighty.
[Zechariah 7:11-13]

hinder God’s desire to answer prayer.

Unanswered Prayer – Unexpected Answers Prayer is not a casual one-sided conversation. It is not “back-up insurance” guaranteeing a life free from pain and struggles. Prayer is actively acknowledging God as the source of all power and trusting that His answers, whether expected or unexpected, will accomplish greater things.

Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
[Isaiah 46:9]

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
[Isaiah 64:4]
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
[2 Thessalonians 2:16-17]

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies...
[John 11:25]

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
[Jeremiah 29:11]

Unanswered Prayer – Understanding Answers Sometimes, God will answer, “No” to our desperate prayers. Any delay or unexpected outcome must not dishearten us. What is God’s true purpose in answering our prayers?

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
[John 14:13]

What does God want to complete in us through prayer?

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
[John 16:23-24]

God wants us to bring our every need to Him as He answers (yes or no) according to His character and will. God will never grant requests contrary to His will. While receiving a “Yes” usually makes us happy, God never promised us happiness. Happiness is based on circumstances. God wants us to have everlasting joy -- especially when He responds, “No, it will be done in My time, not yours. No, I will reveal My glory.”

Jesus agonized over the events leading up to His death.

He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. An angel from heaven appeared to him and strenghtened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
[Luke 22:41-44]

In fervent prayer, His greatest desire was to give preeminence to God’s will, not His suffering and pain.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
[Hebrews 12:2]

When we pray without ceasing, God always responds, and every answer brings joy.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
[1 Thessalonians 5:16-18]

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