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

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Unanswered Prayer – No Such Thing! Ending

In the book Steps to Christ
the author wrote – “Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.” When Jesus was on the earth He taught His disciples to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God and cast all their cares on Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions would be heard is assurance also to us.”

But, he also said, “If we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will not hear us, but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always accepted. The assurance is broad and unlimited and He is faithful who has promised. When we do not receive the things we ask for, at the time we asked we are still to believe that the Lord hears and that He will answer our prayers. We are erring and shortsighted that we sometimes ask for things that would not be a blessing to us, and our heavenly Father in love answers our prayers by giving us that which will be for our highest good – that which we ourselves would desire if with vision divinely enlightened we could see all things as they really are. When our prayers seem not to be answered we are to cling to the promise, for the time of answering will surely come and we shall receive the blessing we need most. But, to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way for the particular thing we desire is presumption. God is too wise to err and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly."

A little summary: Prayer draws us into the will of God. We become like minded with Him. We don’t change God’s mind with our prayers, but our minds get changed! And therefore our actions.

Romans 8: 26-27 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness: for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the Saints according to the will of God.”

We are told that Jesus is next to God this very minute constantly interceding for us. I read one commentator who said that Jesus was interpreting our prayers. In other words, He takes our feeble attempts and stutterings and groans and sorts them out for us.

God wants to grant our requests much more than the most loving father on earth wishes to give his children good things. But, remember, He is a Father and as any good Father, He knows how to give good gifts and when to give them. A “no” will often keep us on the right track. God’s no answers are always said in love. He alone knows what is best for us. Maria Von Trapp said, “When God closes a door, He always opens a window.” And what a window it can be! In Malachi 3:10b it says, “I will open up the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing so great you won’t have room to take it in.”

Learn to accept God’s “no” in your life, trusting that He has something better for you. And remember that although God blesses us, our real inheritance is something laid up for us in heaven. It is not license to demand earthly riches from God now.

When God says no to us it is not because He can’t afford it. Nor is it because He doesn’t care. God is the owner of everything; riches, knowledge, wisdom, power, health, joy and love. And He cares for us. He loves us more than any earthly father could ever love us. So even though God does, on occasion, say no – often His response to us is yes.

The yeses happen when we are walking with God and in His will. The more we study the Bible, the more we will know what God’s will is in a matter and when we act on that will, even though we have yet to see it take place in our lives, we open the door for God to answer prayers more quickly.

This of course means that we are praying more in line with His will.

Today, think of 1 or 2 prayers you’ve been praying to God for a long time. Reaffirm your trust in God’s timing and wisdom. Let Him know you are willing to wait for His answer. Tell Him if you need to grow in the process you are ready. Promise to continue praying and pray for a patient spirit as you await His reply. And thank God for His word and His wisdom and for loving you enough to protect you from your own prayers!

Prayer: Lord, we pray that we live a life worth of You and may please You in every way. Bearing fruit it every good work, growing in knowledge of You, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that we may have great endurance and patience. And that we are able to joyfully give thanks to You in every situation if for nothing else, then for who Your are and for the gift of Your Son, in whose name we pray. Amen.

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