Summary: Jesus promised our prayers would be answered. So why do so many go unanswered?
All religions emphasize prayer. Buddhists pray. Muslims pray. Hindus pray. What makes Christians unique is that we expect and receive results from our prayers because we are praying to the living God.
Scripture: John 15:11: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
The word for joy in Aramaic is chara (pronounced, haa-rrrahh) It means, cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness, to be exceedingly joyful.
Where do you get this joy according to Jesus? It is not something we're born with. It is not a temperament. Joy is lightness, calm, cheerfulness and comes from God.
Later in this discourse on the night he was betrayed, Jesus said, "I assure you: Anything you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete." John 16:23b,24
Catch what Jesus said here. Ask and you will what? When you receive, what happens? Your joy is complete, or full. Is that true? Who here has experienced answered prayers? What happens when your prayer is answered? Cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness, to be exceedingly joyful.
When your prayers get answered, chara results. Jesus tells us that his purpose, will and desire is for your your joy to be full. So why do most Christians look like they dipped their face in pickle juice?
Have you ever asked someone, "How are you doing?" And they responded, (With a depressed face and voice) "OK, I’m filled with joy…"
No! Joy shows up where? On your face! You cannot have joy without your face knowing it. Many Christians are doing Face book. Not on the Internet, but their face is the book people read. It might be entitled, Unhappy, Angry or Anxious.
How can you change your Face Book? Answered prayer. Unfortunately most Christians don’t believe In answered prayer! Many have a list a mile long about why and how things cannot change.
Jesus doesn’t say in this verse: “Examine all the facts of your circumstance; see what you’re capable of doing in your own strength and get back to me.” What does he say? Ask (in my name) and you will receive, so that your joy may be full.
In my name, means in his authority. “Use my authority and the Father will give you what you ask for.” Is God just messing with us or is He telling the truth?
One very basic reason prayers fail to get answered. We don't ask! "...you do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:2b) You cannot accuse God of ignoring your prayer requests if you just assume He should know and is not responding. The Bible tells us to ask, so ASK.
"Well, I asked, but nothing happens."
Have you met the biblical requirements? James tell us earlier in chapter 1:6 and I am reading from the Message version: If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open."
A lot of Christians are always trying to keep their options open. That isn't the prayer of faith. Hebrews 11:6 makes it abundantly clear that faith in His willingness to answer is critical to success.
Another key reason many people do not receive is that they are not specific.
I have a pet peeve: Oftentimes I see someone post on Facebook: Pray that God will heal everyone suffering with cancer. It sounds kind and religious but is actually nonsense! "Pray for everyone starving from hunger to be filled." Notice these kind of foolish prayers never get answered. Just religious-sounding nonsense.
Imagine going to Stop and Shop or Shop Rite. You walk up and down the aisle, from one end of the store to another but never put anything in the grocery basket. After awhile, someone will ask you, “Can I help you?” “No, I am all set,” you respond and keep going up and down every aisle.
An ½ hour goes by. Clerk: “Is there something in particular you are looking for?” “No, thank you.” In about 15 minutes they will call security. They figure that you have some screw loose!
No point going to the grocery store if you are not going to pick out what you need. Common sense. And you know what? Every basket is filled with different things because we are not the same. You are never going to see liver, baked beans or cat food in my cart. Why? I don’t like liver and baked beans and we don’t have a cat.