Summary: God always answers prayer, but sometimes the answer is No, Slow, Grow or Go. Adapted from a sermon by Rev. Crowe.
ILLUS: Remember Johnny Carson? If you’re below forty, then you probably don’t know who I’m talking about. Johnny was the king of late night television before David Letterman and Jay Leno. He had a lot of different comic routines, one of which was Carnac The Magnificent. Johnny would wear on old turban and become this great mentalist. He would make quite a production of picking up an envelope and holding it to his head. With great fanfare he would proclaim the answer to the question contained in the hermetically sealed envelope. For instance Johnny would say, "Gatorade" and Ed McMann would open the envelope and read the question, "What does an alligator get on welfare" or John would say, "Bible Belt" and Ed would open the envelope and read the question, "What holds up Oral Roberts¡¦ pants".
Most of the time they seemed to be pretty lame but in the capable hands of Johnny Carson, Carnac the Magnificent made me laugh more than once. What some viewers may not have realized is that people actually sent mail to Carnac hoping that he could answer their questions.
Today things aren¡¦t much different. People still have questions and they want answers. Just watch TV for ten minutes and you will see the Psychic Network and Psychic Friends all promising to give you answers to your questions, but their answers are just as lame as Carnac the magnificent.
As Christians, we have access to someone who can answer our questions. We can go to God in prayer. God himself says, "Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know" (Jer. 33:3).
Most Christians will tell you they believe God answers prayer. They sing hymns about prayer, such as¡K
"What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer."
"Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him, whose truth and faithfulness Engage the waiting soul to bless:
And since He bids me seek His face, Believe His Word, and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer."
As Christians we are taught that God answers prayer: "Ask and you will receive" and "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much".
In spite of our statements about prayer many Christians have given up praying.
„X There is the spouse who prayed for their marriage, but their mate hasn’t changed so they’ve stopped praying. They now wonder if there is a God.
„X There’s the child who no longer believes in God because he didn’t get the 10-speed bike he prayed for.
„X There’s the teenager who is mad at God because God didn’t answer their prayer by sending them a girlfriend or boyfriend, because God didn’t stop their parents from getting a divorce or because God didn’t give them the answers for that important biology test.
„X There’s the single mom who doesn’t pray anymore, because after praying two years for a companion, God hasn’t sent anyone.
„X There’s the man who is angry with God because after praying for a raise he got fired.
„X There’s the husband who ceased to pray after his wife’s three-year battle with cancer ended in death.
„X There’s the pastor who sees no need to pray, as God does whatever He wants to do anyway.
And yet the Bible clearly promises us that God WILL answer our prayers! Matt 21:22 ¡§Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.¡¨ ¡K. So God here is my question, what is the answer? Why didn’t you answer the prayers of all these people who are angry with You and even doubting your existence? God could have improved His standing with them by giving them what they asked for.
„X How many of us still believe God answers prayer?
„X How many of us have given up on prayer?
„X How many of us are growing weary in prayer, because we haven’t seen the results we desire?
Every one of us are in need of answers to our prayers. It may be¡K
„X Deliverance from a destructive habit!
„X Restoration of a marriage that is falling apart!
„X Deliverance from disease!
„X The healing of some hurt experienced years ago!
„X The wisdom to make a right decision!
Whatever it is, God has an answer for you. Our God is an awesome, omnipotent God who loves you and who will answer your prayers.
Again, listen to His promise: "Call unto Me and I will answer you!"