Peninsula Community Church
Displaying the Life Of Christ – Prayers that Get Results Part 2
August 26, 2012
In last week’s message, we dealt with the subject of “Prayers That Get Results.” We noted that God longs and desires for us to pray and that when we are obedient to God, we know His word and desire to honor Him we will see our prayers answered. We also noted that God is not looking for perfect people but people who are perfectable by being humble and teachable. We were also reminded that God’s ways are not our ways. He does things at times that defy human logic and reasoning. And finally, we stated that when our prayers are not answered it does not mean that He loves us less nor does it mean that He loves us more when He does answer.
Let’s read our text again.
1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
When we pray there are times where it appears that one’s prayers are not answered in the way or the in the time we think. Today we will look at the reasons our prayers might not be answered.
The first reason our prayers might not be answered is that we praying for things that are outside of God’s will. This can include two things. For one our prayers may not being answered because we are not praying at all. It is God’s will for us to pray. James 4:2 – You do not have because you do not ask. We must never reach a point where we believe that our prayers are not important or vital to the cause of the Kingdom. So, we must pray over the small things and the large things. I have heard people say that this is such a simple thing why would I pray but through prayer our faith is built. If you are not praying, or asking for answers how can your prayers be answered.
At other times we pray for things that counter God’s word, His character or His ways. I think of two things to illustrate this concept. The first is when Michelle and I were looking to purchase a house on Long Island. We had one lady tell us that we should find the house we wanted and every day go and stand outside that house and ask God to give it to us. The problem that I had with that was how was God going to answer our prayer when someone lived in the house. Instead, we asked God to direct us to the house we were to have and He did and it was more than we needed or wanted.
A second illustration is found in two people who came to me that had fallen in love. The problem was that they were married to other people and not to one another. They asked me if it were alright for them to pray that God would work it out so that they could marry each other which would mean they would have to divorce their spouses or have some other issue occur in order for them to be married. This was certainly outside God’s will and beyond scriptural authority.
- John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
- 1 John 3:21-22 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
The second reason that our prayers may not be answered is that our motivation in praying is based in lustful and prideful desires. You see God knows our hearts and motivation better than we do ourselves. He judges our hearts and He knows when we are asking for things out of a selfish motivation or a lust for things that we cannot have. God is looking for humble hearts and teachable spirits to use and move through. Remember this word lust is more than sexual desire it also represents desires and passions that are out of control and when we desire things that are beyond our grasp.
- James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
The third reason our prayers might not be answered is that we show no diligence to do our part to assist God in answering the prayer. We are praying for a new job but we have not looked for a job. We want God to heal our marriage but we are not willing to do our part in making our marriage better. We want a better job but we are not willing to take the classes and gain the knowledge that we need to make this happen. Doing these things can be just as much of a step of faith than anything else we do as you can step out in faith and God will do the rest.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
The fourth reason we might not have answered prayer is that we have secret, unconfessed, habitual sin in our hearts. When we are being rebellious toward God and we have failed to walk in forgiveness our prayers may not be answered. These does not mean that God will not hear their prayer but He can use the unanswered prayer as means to get their heart.
- Psalm 66:18 – If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
- 1 Peter 3:11-12 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
The fifth reason we might not have answered prayer is that we are putting God in a box by not allowing God to be God. There have been times in my life where I know that God has called on me to be very specific in my prayers and there are times where my prayers have been so specific that even God could not answer them. You see God’s expanse is greater than any that we know or comprehend. I know of one young guy that had a list of 100 things he wanted in his mate and he said that He was praying or her to come his way but the problem was that every time he dated a girl if she did not meet all 100 requirements he would break up with her and move on to someone else.
- Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
The sixth reason why our prayers are not being answered is that there is discord at home and in our relationships.
- Mark 11:24-25 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
- 1 Peter 3:7 ikewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Let me illustrate this in this way. If you are having an affair, it is not wise to pray for your marriage to be strengthened if you are not willing to break off the affair and confess your son. If you are addicted to pornography and you pray for purity you must be willing to confess and set up parameters that will help prevent turning to such issues.