Summary: Introduction 1.
1. Does God answer prayer? As good Christians, we would expect each person here to say, "Of course He does." After all, He promises to answer prayer in His Word and God keeps His Word. Yes, God does answer prayer.
2.And yet I ask you again, "Does God answer prayer!" And I ask you to consider some of the prayers and petitions that you have presented to God in the past. Has God answered each of your prayers? Has he provided healing when you asked Him to? Has He saved those for whom you have asked salvation? Has he sent the rain to earth when we asked, as we did a couple of Sundays ago. We prayed specifically and in confidence, but the 1.2 inches never came in the 24 hours that we asked it to.
3. To be honest, each of us does struggle somewhat with the question "Does God answer prayer?" He does but...
4. This evening we consider this dilemma that many of us have. Does God answer prayer?
5. First ask: "What does it mean to answer prayer?" Does it mean -"ask and you shall receive?" Does it mean that we can come to God like a child with (what was a penny) a quarter which he places in the candy machine and is guaranteed to receive a candy. It comes out automatically and immediately. Can we say that God only answers us by giving what we ask for?
6. We know it does not always work that way. We know that God gives us those things that are for our God and that it has to be according to His will.
7. But still, we may wonder why then ask God? If He is going to do what He has already determined is His will and what is best for us?
8. Well, the problem lies in how we expect God to answer us? We see prayer as something in which we ask and in which God gives.
9. This evening I ask that we consider God’s answer to our prayer in a somewhat different way. Rather than seeing God’s answer as something He always does in response to our petition, let us look at His answers in what He says to us. Walter Wangerin, in his book "Whole Prayer" says that prayer is communication. That it is not speaking to God but with God.
10. And as such there are four activities to prayer. - first - we speak, second - God listens, third - God speaks, fourth - we listen.
11. I find it interesting how we think our words are more important that God’s. How we spend more time speaking to God than listening to Him. And then we wonder WHY He has not answered us? Perhaps He has, but we did not hear him?.
12. And so this evening we consider that God does speak to us in response to our prayers. And we consider how He does (so we can listen).
1. Psalm 20 is a prayer of the people, probably as they assembled before David and his army which was about to go out in battle. They begin and end the prayer with a call for God to answer not just this prayer, but future calls for help as well.
2. The Hebrew word for answer is anah. It means "to eye or to heed, i.e. pay attention; to respond; to begin to speak; to sing, shout, testify, announce: -give account, afflict, bring low, cry, hear, lift up, say, speak, testify, utter, (bear) witness. To answer is to pay attention, to respond with words and/or with action.
3. The ultimate request is that the Lord protect them and give them victory. That their plans will succeed. That He will save them from their enemies. That is the answer they are looking for. That He give them the desire of David’s heart. That all their requests be granted.
4. But they have deeper needs, as we do. Even deeper than the need for victory or the desires of our heart is the need to know that God has heard us and that we come to know God and His perfect will for our lives. We need to hear Him and to know Him.
5. It is in that way that he is not a candy dispenser or need dispenser, but rather one whom we come to know and trust. To trust His answer even more than we do our requests. We need to hear His voice. To hear Him comfort us, console us, explain to us, and teach us.
6. And so we consider not just the answer to our request but how God speaks in return to our request. To let us know He has heard us.