Summary: Why God doesn't hear our prayer and what to do about it.
How many have ever been put on hold? How many have ever gotten mad when you were on hold? How many have hung up? This sermon is about what to do when God puts you on hold. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is part of a conversation that God is having with Solomon. And we know Solomon is the one who asked for and was given wisdom from God. God is outlining His requirements to Solomon for our blessings, humility, prayer, devotion and repentance. We know that we need to humble ourselves before we go before God Almighty with any and everything. We ought to show some humility, realizing that God made us everything that we are. The Bible records in the Gospel according to John that all things were made by Him and without Him, was not anything made that was made. And that even means that there would be no us if He hadn’t made us. There would be no blood running warm in our veins if He didn’t put it there. But some of us have a tendency, an audacity even to get up on our high horses every now and then, get to big for our britches, talking about we have this and we have that. We have essentially gotten too high for God to hear our cry. And He won’t hear us because we’re not humbling ourselves before the Master. So, being the intelligent people that we are, we’ve discovered and come to the conclusion that we need to pray. A prayer life is an important element in our relationship with God. When we pray we can talk to God, we can fellowship with God, we can turn our problems over to God, we can ask God for help in our times of need, and we can praise God for all that He’s doing in our lives. And you know what, if we stay down on our knees long enough, God can and will talk back to us. But some of us approach prayer like it’s a race. We pray as fast as we can pray and then we’re off to do other things as we give most of our time and effort to those things that do not pertain to God. We don’t spend any quality time with God. There was a time when all people could do was sit around reading from the Bible, praying, singing, and praising God. They would do it in their homes as well as in the church. But nowadays, even when we’re home, our head is stuck so far into the television or our ear pushed up against the telephone so hard that we don’t have time to read anymore. We don’t spend the same kind of quality time that we used to spend with our kids, teaching them that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. A lot of our older church members grew up knowing how to pray, because they had prayer in the home. Things have come a long way, but I’m here to tell you today that if you don’t have a quality prayer life, God will not hear your cry. He will not come through when you want Him to. Then you wonder and have doubts When God Places You On Hold.
Some people are put on hold. Moses was on hold for forty years on the backside of the desert, before God spoke at the burning bush. David was chased by Saul for 16 years in the wilderness, before he was crowned King of Judah. Jesus let Lazarus die, and then waited before showing up at the cemetery. He kept Mary and Martha waiting for 4 days. Some people’s calls get through immediately. Jairus came to beg for the life of his daughter, Jesus went with him immediately. The nobleman came to beg for the life of his sick son, Jesus healed him immediately. The man who was lame 37 years at the Pool of Bethesda, immediately walked. So why does God put us on hold? You are on hold because God is testing your character. “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2, 3). We are to hold on by faith, which means we bring honor to God; but it also means we develop stronger faith in Him. WHY? We are on hold to make us more like Jesus. You are on hold because God is purifying your motives. Sometimes we are put on hold because God wants to check the motives of why we ask, or why we work. In the NIV James says, “When you ask you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3 NIV). You are on hold because God is focusing your faith. There are many times when we lose our focus. It may be because of fear, impatience or doubts. Mary and Martha sent a message to tell Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick. The sisters expected Jesus to heal from a distance, but He did nothing for 2 days. Then Jesus took approximately 2 days to get to Bethany. Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. In the meanwhile, Mary and Martha both kept saying to one another, “Lord, if thou hast been here, my brother had not died” (said by Martha, John 11:21 & Mary, John 11:32). Mary and Martha doubted the Lord could raise him from the dead. They were weeping because Lazarus died, and they lost their faith in Jesus as the miracle worker. They had more faith in death, than they had in Jesus who said, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). NIV puts it like this: “But when you ask, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like the waves of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think that he will receive anything from the LORD” (James 1:6, 7 NIV). You may be on hold because God may be dealing with unconfessed sin. Sometimes when we do not hear from God, it’s because of sin in our life. Isaiah says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1, 2). The psalmist also said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). The blind man said, “The LORD heareth not sinners” (John 9:31). Remember, God forgives both known and unknown sin(s). You may be on hold because God may be dealing with a broken relationship. Sometimes God does not hear us, nor does He communicate with us because we have sin in our life that has caused broken relationships, or we have allowed broken relationships. “Whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment: whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, thy fool shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest thy brother have aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then, offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:22-24). Sometimes God has you on hold because you have problems brother to brother, spouse to spouse, parent to child, or child to parent. If you are on hold because of broken relationships: Pray for forgiveness. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). If you have wronged a fellow Christian, go and make it right. If a fellow Christian has wronged you, you have “aught” in your heart toward a brother.” You must go and make it right. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother (Matthew 18:15). If they will not hear you, take someone with you. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16). Make it a church matter. “If he shall neglect to hear him, tell it to the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican” (Matthew 18:17). You may be on hold because of spiritual warfare. The Bible tells us that sometimes when God does not answer our requests; it is because there is satanic opposition. Daniel prayed for an answer from God but didn’t get it for 21 days, even though he fasted. “I set my face unto the LORD God to seek thy prayer and supplication with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). “I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came meat nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, until three whole weeks were fulfilled” (Daniel 10:2, 3). Daniel did not get an answer for 3 weeks until Michael came to him. “Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; . . . now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days” (Daniel 10:12-14).