Summary: When we look at answered prayer, do we wonder if the prayer will be answered?
When Prayers Are Answered
Sermon by CH(CPT) Keith J. Andrews
All scriptures marker ESV: The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Several years ago the was a book called, “the prayer of Jabez.” I have not read the book, so I won’t give you a critique on it, but I understand that the book is about a specific prayer to pray. It is a prayer to extend your borders and that the Lord will bless you.
My father and I were talking about how there was so much excitement about this book.
And my father very wisely asked, “Why is it a new revelation that God answers prayer? What is the big deal? Why don’t we get excited about the words of Christ, who said: whatsoever ye ask of the father in my name, he may give it to you”.
When we look at answered prayer, do we wonder if the prayer will be answered? We lack the faith to know that the Lord has made a heaven and earth by his great power.
Jeremiah 32.17 says nothing is too hard for him. And this should apply to our prayer life. Nothing is too hard for God, so why do we pray at the last moment? We should expect our prayers to be answered.
There are three ways that the Bible shows that God answers a sincere prayer.
1. The answers are different from their requests.
Deuteronomy 3 tells the story of Moses was pleading with God to allow him to enter the Promised Land. Moses had worked for large portion of his life to lead the people across the Jordan. But God said no. Moses continued to plead. Then God gave him an answer,
26 But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan. (Dt 3:26-27. ESV)
God allowed Moses to climb to Pisgah peak and view the Promised Land. God had a better plan.
But Moses’ prayer was still answered.
In John 11, we see the story of Lazarus. The prayer was that Jesus would heal Lazarus from being sick. But Jesus let Lazarus die. He was dead for four days. But Jesus had a better plan.
39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
(Jn 11:39-44, ESV).
Jesus was able to do more than simply heal the sickness. Jesus raised him from the dead. And the prayers were answered.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 says;
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Co 1:8-9, ESV)
Then Paul prayed that God would take away his weakness. We understand that Paul was plagued by this particular weakness. And Paul wanted it to be taken away. But God had a better plan, his plan was to teach Paul to trust completely in God.
Are you praying for something today? Are you continually receiving an answer that is different from your request?
We have all probably heard about the story of the man in a flood. His house was surrounded with water, and he sat on top of the roof. He prayed to God “come save me”.
And soon, a boat came. The man said, “thank you, but God will save me”. And he waved the boat away.
The man prayed “God Save me”. The water got higher, and soon a helicopter came. And the man said, “God will save me”. And then waved the helicopter away.