< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Unanswered Prayer – No Such Thing! Part 1

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Unanswered Prayer – No Such Thing! Part 1

There is no such thing as unanswered prayer! God always says either: yes, no or wait, which means slow or grow.

The reason we sometimes think we aren’t getting an answer is because we have expectations of what the answer should be so we don’t see His answer. Or sometimes we see it, but we don’t accept it.

God responds to prayer in many ways.

1. He can put a new idea directly and immediately into our minds. He has access to us through the power of imagination.
2. He can give us new perspective to view our lives with their successes and failures, agonies and ecstasies. When we start to look at things from God’s point of view we begin to see the good that comes out of the bad.
3. He can put new desires into our hearts, new strength into our wills. This often happens as our prayer life gets stronger. The more time we spend with God in prayer, the more in sync we’ll be with Him.
4. He can touch and calm our turbulent emotions. Someone wrote something about this that is really beautiful, “through sincere prayer we are brought into connection with the mind of the Infinite. We may have no remarkable evidence at the time that the face of our Redeemer is bending over us in compassion and love, but this is so. We may not feel His visible touch, but His hand is upon us in love and pitying tenderness.”

How many times have you prayed about something and just felt an unexplained peace? Paul tells us not to worry about anything, instead pray about everything and when we do, we will experience God’s peace.

5. He can stimulate memories when memories are needed. We might remember a Bible passage that is helpful.

We should never pray for guidance if we are not prepared to act upon what we receive. Sometimes God answers us and we don’t like the answer and choose to ignore it. For example, let’s say you are angry with someone. They really did do something wrong and you stop speaking to them. Then for a week, every time you turned on your Christian radio station you heard some minister preaching about forgiving others as Christ forgives us. Somewhere in your mind you know God is telling you to forgive this person, but you don’t. You ignore the messages. You ignore God’s answer.

I think one of the funniest stories in the Bible is when Peter is in prison and a group of believers are in a house in Jerusalem praying for his deliverance. Peter is divinely freed from prison, goes to the house and knocks on the door. The maid slams the door in his face because “that can’t be Peter, Peter is in prison!”

Isn’t that how we often pray? We pray and pray and when God gives us an answer we‘re like, “um, no, that’s not it!”

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