Summary: No matter how difficult our lives may be, God has not left us alone. Often, when things are difficult and God seems silent, it is our cue to come away from life’s distractions so that we can synchronize ourselves with God again.
“When Prayers Go Unanswered”
Habakkuk 1:2 NIV
2 How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
At times it may seem that God has hides His face from us, when we don’t receive an immediate answer to our prayers.
We pray, we pour our hearts out to God, we sincerely seek Gods help, and nothing seems to change. So we ask ourselves: “Why doesn’t God answer me?”
1. We must not forget that Heaven’s clock is different from ours.
2. In our day there are twelve hours, and in God’s a thousand years. What seems long to us is to Him ‘a little while.’
God’s timing is always right on time.
Actually, there is no such thing as unanswered prayer! God always with out exception answers our prayers in one of three ways: yes, no, or wait! The last one is the most difficult.
We must remember that the Bible has several examples of unanswered prayers.
1. Paul was a great man of Prayer, he prayed three times for the removal of that "thorn in the flesh." Instead, he was compelled to make the best of it for the rest of his life. He learned of God’s empowering Grace.
2. Consider the burden and desire of Lazarus’ two sisters, Mary and Martha.
a. There is no problem with their devotion,
b. No problem with their desire
c. Mary anointed Jesus feet with oil and wiped it with her hair
d. Martha showed great hospitality in their home.
In an essay on prayer, C.S. Lewis suggested that God treats new Christians with a special kind of tenderness, much as a parent dotes on a newborn. He quotes an experienced Christian: "I have seen many striking answers to prayer and more than one that I thought miraculous. But they usually come at the beginning before conversion, or soon after it. As the Christian life proceeds, they tend to be rarer. The refusals, too, are not only more frequent; they become more unmistakable, more emphatic."
At first glance, such a suggestion seems to have it all backward. Shouldn't faith become easier, not harder, as a Christian progresses? But, as Lewis points out, the New Testament gives two strong examples of unanswered prayers:
1. Jesus Delay in Answering Prayer for Lazarus led to Increased Faith.
Jesus allowed Lazarus to die so he could raise him, resurrect him from the dead for they would need to possess faith in His ability and authority over death for soon they would witness Jesus crucifixion and death.
2. Jesus Delay in Answering Prayer for Lazarus led to Increased Truth in Their Hearts.
When Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life” He is employing the name “I Am” Elohim used for God.
3. Jesus Delay in Answering Prayer for Lazarus Provided an Expanded Witness.
Jesus provided and opened a new door of opportunity for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to witness and share Him with others. Their faith and knowledge of truth increased their witness expanded.
4. Jesus Delay in Answering Prayer for Lazarus Exhibit God’s Glory.
(Jn 11:4) “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified.”
We need to understand that when we pray, a spiritual battle is raging behind the scenes.
1. For many, prayer is understood as an exercise in magic. There are a number of popular religious books out there that seem to support this. People often believe that if they say the right phrases or have the proper technique, they can persuade God to answer their prayers.
2. There is an old story of a monk who was bothered by mice playing around him when he prayed. To stop it, he got a cat and kept it in his prayer room so the mice would be scared away. But he never explained to his disciples why he had the cat. So, one day, the monk walked down the corridors of the monastery and noticed that each of his disciples had a cat in their prayer room. After seeing the monk with a cat, they thought having a cat was the secret to powerful praying.
I believe this is a parable for many Christians today. Many believe they have to do something special in order for God to hear them and have their prayers answered. So, you will often see folks running here and there to learn the latest prayer gimmick from self-proclaimed spiritual gurus.
3. But prayer is not rubbing a magic lamp. It is not presenting some Santa Claus in the sky with a list of things we want. Prayer is intimate communication with our Lord. It is as natural as turning around and speaking to a friend. And then, more importantly, it is being quiet and still and listening to God and being transformed by what he is communicating to us.