Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: All believers should understand why God sometimes says “No” to their prayers.


Prayer: What’s with the silence button?

All believers should understand why God sometimes says “No” to their prayers.

1. It is outside of God’s will.

2. The timing is not right yet.

3. God is testing your faith.

4. God allows people to exercise free will.

5. God is good.

OBJECTIVE: Audience members will be encouraged to keep their hope in God even in the midst of unanswered prayers.


Sometimes the signal between God and ourselves gets broken because of things we have done – that’s what I talked about 2 weeks ago. But sometimes we pray and don’t receive the answers we want, or we feel like we get no response at all, and it is not our fault. We have done all we can do, we’re walking in step with Him – but sometimes we will still pray for something and it will not turn out according to our request. When this happens, what is going on? How can we stay motivated to pray even when the response we seem to be getting is silence? The Bible provides some answers to the question: when it comes to getting my prayers answered, what’s with the silence button?

1. The request is outside of God’s will.

1John 5:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.

So then, if we ask it of him but don’t receive it we know it is outside of his will.

Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Remember in the model prayer Jesus told us to pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done”.

The closer we get to God, the more we know him because we’re praying and reading the Bible, and keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, the more our prayers will begin lining up with God’s will.

ILLUS: As a parent I can see what’s coming down the road in my kids lives. When they ask for me to give them something – I can see that, though it is in my power to provide what they ask – it would work against my greater goal of helping them mature into responsible Christian adults. And so, even though it might not make sense to them – sometimes I say no because of the greater good I am working toward in their lives.

As they mature, they will begin to see these principles at work, and will stop asking for things they know will work at odds with the greater goal, because they will begin to see it is for their good that sometimes the answer is no.

2. The timing is not right yet.

Sometimes what seems like silence from God is actually a “Yes, but you’ll need to wait.” God may in fact be working to bring about the answer to your request, but the timing is not right for it to be revealed. We see this in the story of Moses’ calling to deliver the Israelites from slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt.

Exodus chapter 1-2 tell how the Israelites multiplied in Egypt, where they had settled during a famine a couple hundred years earlier. As “refugees” they were easy prey and became slaves to the Egyptian people. And so the people prayed for deliverance. When Moses was born he ended up being raised in the house of Pharaoh, but at the age of 40 he had to flee from Egypt because he had killed an Egyptian man who was beating an Israelite servant. This led to a period of 40 years in which Moses became a shepherd in the wilderness of nearby Midian. We pick up the story at Exodus 2:23-25

Exodus 2:23-25 During that long period (when Moses was shepherding in the wilderness of Midian), the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

Exodus 3:7,9 The LORD said: I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering….And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.

God was concerned. He heard the prayers. But his plan called for the raising up of Moses to lead his people to freedom from slavery. And that plan took time to bring about. A long time. 80 years just from the time of Moses’ birth!

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