< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Unanswered Prayer – No Such Thing! Part 2

Monday, March 30, 2009

Unanswered Prayer – No Such Thing! Part 2

Speaking to God honestly is the beginning of prayer. Our thoughts, desires and feelings. Only when we are willing to admit our nothingness will God make something of us. In our weakness His strength is made manifest. Prayer is not a matter of trying to persuade God to give us what we want. Prayer is giving ourselves to God so that He can work through us what He wants.

Trials keep going on until we stop telling God how to answer!

Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.”

Jesus Himself refused to act upon His own initiative, but in humble, utter obedience sought the mind of God about every action, every method of God’s work.

In John 5:19 Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing; for whatever He does – that – the Son does likewise.”

One of the great barriers of prayer is failure to understand the will of God.
A professor at Oral Roberts University wrote a really interesting book called “Help is On the Way”. Here’s something he wrote:

Colossians 1:9 says, “For this reason (their faith in Christ and their love of one another) since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

That is it. “Prayer leads to the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom all of the biblical conditions for answered prayer can be summed up with the phrase “in agreement with the will of God” Is it consistent with the mind of Christ? Does it glorify Him? Will it serve His purpose in you? Let me illustrate with the kind of example that is frequently misunderstood.

Here at Oral Roberts University, we (the author) have many opportunities to pray for the sick. I have learned a great deal over the past few years. Early in my ministry I frequently prayed: “Lord, if it be your will, heal my friend.” Then I began to think, “If it be God’s will! God doesn’t want us sick!” So I began to pray more boldly: “Lord, heal my friend!” That too however, presented problems. Some of my friends were healed and some were not, at least as far as I could tell. Then I began to put some thoughts together in an attempt to be more effective in prayer and ministry. The result was this. If God wants us to be whole and if not all my prayers for wholeness are answered, then either I am not praying with equal effectiveness or I do not understand wholeness. (This is an important statement. WE often think we know exactly what would make our lives perfect, but we think in earthly terms and God thinks eternally.) Since I know that God wants us whole, then I must pray boldly for God to heal, but then leave the wholeness to Him since He alone knows full well what that entails.

1. Wholeness may be taking that sick person home to Heaven. For a Christian death is not the worst outcome.

2. Wholeness may be something like Joni Erikson Tada who has never been healed from her diving accident, but has a worldwide ministry for Christ in a wheelchair.
This is where the “wait” might come in. God may be telling us we need to do some growing: that we need to learn more about His will, to learn more what’s important eternally as opposed to earthly.

This is where we learn to say, not God get me out of this situation, but God, what do you want me to get out of this situation?

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