Summary: The talks from a Seeker Service on "’unanswered’ prayer". The three ’talks’ were spread over the whole of the 1 hr service, which included video snippets, drama etc.
“If only prayers were answered” Jas 4:2b, 3 WBC 12.1.3 am Seeker Service
You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
1 Intro- does prayer work?
What’s amazing is just how many people pray. Far more do then don’t, I reckon
- particularly in crisis!
- Nobody believes in God more… prays more… than a drowning man!
o How many of us have prayed ‘God, get me out of here’, and then
Nonchalantly said ‘oh, every cloud has a silver lining’ –if circumstances change
Blamed Him for putting us there in the first place- if they don’t change
Actually taken a big step towards Him- if we felt they were answered
• Some have come to faith that way
o (cf ‘catch me if you can’)
But (ask cong) does prayer work?
- Does He answer prayers? Make a difference?
o Me: praying for Mrs C, & her getting extraordinary sense of God
o My Mum and aunt Joyce at healing service
o Stranded in Siberia. Camera lost in Miami
o Strong sense of just knowing that I could pray re meeting someone and I did!
o Praying for 70 yr old diabetic with ulcers (Jean Gamgee)
o Nigeria- dramatic miracles. No doubt that big majority are v real. (raised from dead)
Jn 14:13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Mt 17:20 I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. "
Gosh – sounds a pretty high commendation (from a ‘man’ that we trust!) JESUS said ‘prayer DOES work’
- and at an initial glance almost seems like carte blanche
So- let’s start there.
’Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance: it is laying hold of His highest willingness’ Richard Chenevix, Archbishop Trench
And what about people who aren’t trying to follow Jesus? Does He hear their prayers?
- well, could argue that if they’re praying they are starting to… on… their way to God?
- And there’s plenty of evidence in the Bible of God hearing the requests of people ‘not fully there’, yet
o Syro Phoenician woman Mt 15:27 Cornelius Acts 10
So- I believe fully: God hears and answers prayers
’Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God’ Anon
Chris W testimony
2- But it’s not that simple
Prayer does work!
- but, as I said, it’s at an initial, superficial glance, that it appears like a carte blanche
o the Bible, and experience shows us the reality is it is far from as simple as that.
Note my most recent quote: ’Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God’ Anon
We have to understand that prayer is not a slot machine for getting what WE want
Agnes Sanford in ’The healing touch of God’: ’Prayer is not a matter of getting what we want the most. Prayer is a matter of giving ourselves to God and learning His laws, so that He can do through us what He wants the most’