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A CRY FROM OUR HEART: ďWhy wasnít my prayer answered?Ē

- Mark 9:17-18.

- We look at our situation, whatever it may be, and wonder why our prayer wasnít answered.

- We really wanted that job, but we didnít get it.

- We really wanted to get pregnant this month, but it didnít happen.

- We really wanted to find that person to share our life with, but it was just another lousy date.

- We really wanted to quit getting bullied in the lunchroom, but it happened again.

- We really wanted to get a good test result back, but it wasnít.

- And in the wake, we ask: ďWhy wasnít my prayer answered?Ē

THEN ADD SOME GUILT TO MY CONFUSION: Jesus seems to say that the problem is that I donít have enough faith.

- Mark 9:23.

- As though it wasnít bad enough that Iím unsure why my prayer wasnít answered, Jesus then seems to pile on by proclaiming this seemingly open-ended promise about faith. We read it and feel like saying, ďGreat, itís not bad enough that Iím disappointed and confused that my prayer wasnít answered, but now Iím supposed to feel guilty that everything would have worked out perfectly if only Iíd had more faith.Ē

THE BIG IDEA - HOW CAN I HAVE MORE FAITH? Familiarity breeds faith.

- Mark 9:28-29.

- Our focus in these verses tends to be v. 23 with the great promise that Jesus gives. For us, though, it is these closing verses that give the insight we need.

- The disciples get Jesus alone and ask the question thatís on our hearts as well: ďWhy didnít our faith bring the answer we wanted?Ē

- Jesus responds by saying, ďThis kind of situation can only be handled with prayer and fasting.Ē There is some question among translators whether the phrase ďand fastingĒ authentically belongs there, but that question is really irrelevant for our discussion today.

- Jesus is not saying, ďIn the moment of your problem, when you are faced with that child in need, you should have prayed. Why didnít you all think to pray? You should have asked My Father for help?Ē

- Thatís not the problem. Undoubtedly when the disciples were trying to cast out the demon, they appealed to God. Undoubtedly they prayed fervently. Undoubtedly they called on Godís name.

- The problem isnít that they failed to pray in that moment of crisis.

- The problem is that they hadnít adequately prayed in preparation for that moment of crisis.

- What Jesus is saying here is that what the disciples lacked was a close relationship with their Father in heaven. What Jesus is saying is that the answers to these situations come to those who have prayed regularly and intimately and have therefore built up a closer relationship to God.

- Why does it work like that? Because familiarity breeds faith.

- We want faith to be something we can just conjure up in a moment of need, but true faith is based on trust and experience.

- Trust:

- I have faith in you because I have trust in you. I have talked to you countless