What is prayer? Why do we pray? Do you get prayers answered? How many have ever gotten one, two, ten, 100, all?
In this passage – there is a promise – a most amazing promise. This promise was given by Christ – it is unconditionally delivered to all mankind. This is not only for a few – not just for the Christian – this is given freely to all… the promise of answered prayer! Do you believe these verses? I don’t know if I really do! I didn’t pray more than 5 minutes on Thursday – if I believed this, I probably would have spent more than 5 minutes Thursday asking, seeking, knocking…
Truth is, most Christians are like me – we ‘try’ to pray – but we’re not consistent, we’re not faithful at it. We let God into little compartments of our lives – never truly being totally honest and naked. We don’t see much happening out of it – so we give it less and less time, until something so big comes up we just have to tell God about it. Sometimes, He comes through – and we’re grateful, so we pray for a while more – a few more days, a few more hours, another week or two – but there we are again on Thursday… only 5 minutes, if that.
Would you admit that you need to learn to pray – to learn how to pray, to pray more, to see it work??? Would you say, like the disciples did… “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk. 11:1)
When I read the Bible, stories like Daniel, the 3 Hebrews, Paul, & Peter… then inspire me to pray – but how often do I see the results they saw? Does God favor them more than He does me? The stories of John R. Rice, Tom Williams, & George Mueller make great sermon illustrations – but honestly, I just ask why can’t I see that in my life? Does God love them more? Am I too human?
Unanswered Prayer Riddles Each of Us… Aren’t you ready to solve the mystery and get an answer to the riddle…?
- God promises to respond to everyone’s prayer v 7,8
– Prayer & Answer – only connected once in Bible (Ps. 143:1)
– “Answers” – receiving, finding, opened doors
- God promises better things than for what we asked v8-11
– Some people are pretty creative with their gift-giving…
but there no match to God’s creativity (think of creation!)
– When you ask for bread – God is wondering… white, rye, wheat, or 42-grain???
- God promises to give more than what we ask for v11
– Some people are pretty generous – but not as generous as God!
– When you ask for bread – God’s desire is to give you a loaf or a sandwich!
- God promises to answer prayers are ultimately designed to change us v12
– Have you ever heard “Prayer changes things” – NO! Prayer changes People!!!
– Prayer is God’s invention – it’s God’s idea… to get us talking to him about our situation… in hopes that we would, what? Ask for a change of scenery? NO! in hopes that we would, what? Ask for a change in our spouse / kids? Not really! But in hopes that we would… Ask for a change in us… and really that, as we shared with Him, we would be changed – from the inside out!
Prayer is our way of entering into a covenant-ship or partnership with God! Pray with faith – God control me, God use me, God change me – don’t think he won’t – He will! What an awesome opportunity.
The Asking of Prayer – receiving the right things… spiritual priorities
Romans 8:26-27 – we need the Spirit’s help… prayer is not Aladdin’s genie bottle!
– refers to the gifts we pray for… getting things from God requires faith
– Don’t allow your past experiences (failed) be the measure of our prayers ahead…
The Seeking of Prayer – finding God in a real relationship… spiritual presence
Romans 8:28 – God is using situations to bring us closer to Him – even in prayer
– refers to our desires (do you crave, dwell on, strive for a closer walk with Him?)
– “It is in prayer & its answer that the interchange of love between Father & His child takes place.” – Andrew Murray
The Knocking of Prayer – open doors of deliverance / opportunity… spiritual power
Romans 8:29 – the will of God is that we each would grow to be like Christ
– refers to admission into / permission requested… to go into, go with, go further
– terrible mark of our diseased state.. resting content without distinct experience of answered prayer
The answer to the riddle // the unveiling of the mystery of unanswered prayer…
Will you continue to deny these verses – the whole of Scripture & the good character of God? Will we live Christian lives because we practiced failed prayer lives? We cannot – we must not… we will see the answer to prayer… if you understand that God’s answer to prayer is to change people, to change you… not things!