God always answers our prayers. He answers us in one of four different ways.
1. Do it now–and of course that is the answer we want so we recognize it right away. 2. Delay–It wasn’t what we wanted to hear so we assume God didn’t answer our prayer. 3. Don’t do it – I’m not hearing that so God must not have answered. 4. Dynamically Different–He answers in such a better and highly effective way than what we anticipated that we don’t recognize it as His answer.
When our prayers are from wrong motives and for selfish reason, His answeris always no. Then, because of our pride, we get angry with God and accuse Him of all sorts of things. God understands that anger and when you get through pouting and ask Him, He will forgive you. God is not bound by our desires or our timetable. Even the “yes” answers are not always immediate. We have to wait on His timing. Do we really want our answer or would we prefer God’s answer? Remember in 1 Kings 19:3-5 when Elijah prayed “I have had enough, Lord, just take my life.”? Then think of how God answered that prayer in2 Kings 2:9-12when God took him up in a chariot of fire! If God had taken Elijah’s life when Elijah wanted him to, Elisha would not have been trained to become Elijah’s replacement and Elisha would never have seen all the great miracles. God answered Elijah’s prayer in a way far better than Elijah could have thought of or dared to ask. So when we don’t get the answer we want or it is not in the time frame we wanted relax, God is still in control.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.—1 Cor. 12:21-22 NIV
There is a reason for every part of the human body. In today’s world, we know that there are parts of the body which we can live without. We can live without an appendix, but our excretory system will not function as well as it was designed to function with a healthy appendix. Scientists have now determined that the appendix holds good bacteria. After a bout of diarrhea that destroys the good bacteria in the gut, the appendix repopulates the good bacteria. Tonsils and adenoids help prevent infections from entering the body. We have two eyes and two ears which suggest that we should watch and listen more than we talk. We can live with one eye and/or one ear, but we will be hampered in some areas. The body of Christ is the same. It can function without everyone using the gift that God gave them to edify the body, but it will not be as effective as it should be. Each of us should seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit in determining and using the gift that God has given us. Then our part of Christ’s body (the congregation where we worship) will be helping and not hindering the work of the Kingdom.
8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.—1 Cor. 3:8,9 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. — Matt. 27:50-53 NLT (Read The Whole Story)
After the Lord’s Supper was completed, Jesus and the disciples went to Gethsemane. Jesus took His three closest friends and went a little further into the Garden. Leaving them there, He went a stone’s throw further and began to pray. In our darkest hours, we are sometimes separated from those who love us, left alone with just us and our Father. It is then that we can pray effectively and fervently. Jesus prayed so fervently that He sweat great drops of blood. Then Judas came with the religious leaders and soldiers. He came to betray Jesus with a kiss. A kiss, not of affection but of deceit and deception. What had begun as a farewell celebration for Jesus ended in a long night and day of sorrows for Jesus.
A night and day of being denied by His friends, a night and day of being persecuted and falsely accused, a night and day of being mocked, beaten and spat upon. The culmination was HIs being hanged on a cross until He gave up His spirit. Nothing short of God’s love could cause a person to submit to such indignation and punishment. Especially when that person was innocent of any sin. So, why would He do it? He did it for you and for me. We weren’t there physically, but every sin we ever committed or ever will commit was there separating Jesus from HIs Father for that short space of time. Unthinkable! Unimaginable! That anyone could love others so much that they would agree to suffer a death that was so horrible it defies imagination.
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. — Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV
Jesus provided purification for our sins when He hung on a cross. From that cross, He announced that “it is finished”. His work here on earth was completed. God gloriously raised Jesus from the dead and He ascended into heaven. He is there now, at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us.
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. — Romans 8:34 NIV
There are times in our lives when we become so frustrated or burdened that we do not how or what to pray. Those can be the times that our prayers are the most fervent and the most effective. God, in His great mercy and love for us, has made a way for us to pray at any time in any situation. When we reach the place where we are at a loss as to what to say or pray. the Holy Spirit prays through us and for us.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. — Romans 8:26,27 NIV
When we are praying and we literally run out of words to say, we should stop and consider this fact: The complete Trinity is involved in every prayer we pray. The Holy Spirit takes our stumbling, bumbling mutterings and groans. He cleans them up and presents them to the Father as Jesus watches and intercedes on our behalf. A simple prayer is sufficient since God already knows what we need. Peter’s prayer “Lord, save Me!” moved Jesus to save him from the angry waves and those three words are still enough to bring salvation.
1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.—James 4:1-3 (NLT)
I beg to differ with the words Garth Brooks sings, there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. God always answers our prayers. He answers us in one of four different ways.
1. Do it now–and of course that is the answer we want so we recognize it right away.
2. Delay–It wasn’t what we wanted to hear so we assume God didn’t answer our prayer.
3. Don’t do it–I’m not hearing that so God must not have answered
4. Dynamically Different–He answers in such a better and highly effective way than what we anticipated that we don’t recognize it as His answer.
When our prayers are from wrong motives and for selfish reason, His answer is always no. Then, because of our pride, we get angry with God and accuse Him of all sorts of things. God understands that anger and when you get through pouting and ask Him, He will forgive you. God is not bound by our desires or our timetable. Even the “yes” answers are not always immediate. We have to wait on His timing. His ways and His thoughts are so far above ours that there is no comparison. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.—Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)
So when we don’t get the answer we want or it is not in the time frame we wanted. Relax, God is still in control.