Summary: There are several reasons why Christians fail to receive answers to their prayers. Five reasons are given in this sermon.
Why Christians Fail to Receive
INTRODUCTION: There are many reasons why Christians fail to receive answers to their prayers. Some people say, “If you had enough faith you would have received.” Then when people don’t receive, they feel guilty and say, “It was my fault because I didn’t have enough faith.”
The scriptures give other reasons as to why we may fail to receive answers. Many people are not convinced that God WANTS to answer their prayer. Our scripture in Matthew assures us that God does WANT to answer our prayer. Jesus taught his disciples to Ask, and to Seek, and to Knock and the door will be opened unto you. He said, “for everyone who asks receives, and the person who seeks finds, and the person who knocks, the door will be opened.” He lets these people know that God is GLAD to give good gifts to them who ask Him even more than an earthly parent wants to give good things and not evil to their children. If God wants to answer our prayers, why do we fail to receive so much of the time? Does this scripture apply to us today? I would like to look at five reasons for why we often don’t receive.
1. A Lack of Persistence: Someone asked, “If God already knows our need before we ask, why do we have to ASK in the first place?” God wants to see if our need is important enough to us to ASK Him to do something about it. Is it important enough to us to ask more than once? Is it important enough to KNOCK until someone comes to the door? In another scripture in Luke we have the same idea of the need for persistence. A woman went to a friend’s house and knocked on the door asking for three loaves of bread. The friend said, “Don’t bother me. I’m in bed and the door is locked” (Luke 11:5).
If the person just says, “OK and goes on home, that person will go without.” But if the person knocks and knocks, the friend gets up and says, “Oh, all right. Because you are buggin’ me to death, I’ll go ahead and get it for you.”
Because of the woman’s boldness and persistence in this scripture, she got the loaves of bread. Let us not do without because we quit too soon. Keep praying and holding on for the answers you need. Our prayers must be IMPORTANT to us. They must matter enough that we are persistent until we hear from heaven.
Our scripture today goes beyond a few half hearted “ho hum” prayers. In this scripture of Asking, Seeking, and Knocking, we can see a progression from just asking to persistently seeking and knocking at the door. It is not the casual, nonchalant prayer here but the prayer of the diligent person. Do you pray in this way?
2. Asking Amiss: James 4:3 says that we don’t receive because we ask but that we ask amiss. Asking for the wrong things or asking for the wrong reasons and motives can cause our prayers not to be answered. Are the prayers for things that might be totally wrong for us? Are they selfish desires that would hurt other people? We might ask for things that look good on the surface but if granted to us would be a disaster a little while later. Are we praying for something that is in line with God’s will for our lives and others? We might ask God to bring harm to someone we dislike, and He is not going to answer because He doesn’t want harm to come to that person. We might ask for a million dollars or to win the lottery and the Lord would know you couldn’t handle it. It might be a detriment instead of a blessing. You might pray for a certain house to buy and when things don’t work out you say, “Well, God didn’t answer my prayer because He doesn’t want me to have a new house.” God may have known something about that house.
ILLUSTRATION: Some people found a beautiful log house in Colorado that was high in the mountains. It had a beautiful view, and they had their heart set on buying it. They prayed about the house, but one thing after another went wrong. The timing was not right, their financing didn’t go through. They had prayed numerous times, but the deal fell through. They were disappointed and wondered why God hadn’t answered their prayer. During the winter there was a big storm and an avalanche of snow. This house was one that was totally destroyed and slid down the mountain.
In their case God had honored their prayer by answering with a “No” answer because their prayer to get this particular house was a “prayer of asking amiss.”