The Problem of Unanswered Prayer

— Why does God sometimes not seem to hear us?

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A Frequent Cry from God’s People

The Problem of Prayer

  1. We are praying for the wrong thing
  2. We are demanding, trying to bully God, not trusting
  3. God has a better plan
  4. God has different timing

1. We are praying for the wrong thing

  1. “You do not have because you do not ask;
  2. you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.”

John 15:7-12

  1. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
  2. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
  3. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

John 15:7-12 cont’d

  1. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
  2. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
  3. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

2. Demanding Prayer

3. God has a better plan

  1. And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

4. God has different timing—Habakkuk 1

  1. The following is the message which God revealed to Habakkuk the prophet:
  2. How long, Lord, must I cry for help?
    But you do not listen!
    I call out to you, “Violence!”
    But you do not intervene!
  3. Why do you force me to witness injustice?
    Why do you put up with wrongdoing?
    Destruction and violence confront me;
    conflict is present and one must endure strife.

Habakkuk 1 cont’d

  1. For this reason the law lacks power,
    and justice is never carried out.
    Indeed, the wicked intimidate the innocent.
    For this reason justice is perverted.

Habakkuk 2—God answeres

  1. I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.
  2. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
  3. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
  4. “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his life of faith.

John Newton

John Newton

John Newton’s Mother

John Newton’s Dream

Prayer is a law of nature

  1. Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.”