Prayer

the place to ask general questions not prophecy related

Prayer

Postby Abiding in His Word on Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:18 pm

The subject of prayer has been heavy on my mind lately. Let me try to explain why.

Christians ask for prayer on a regular basis. We pray for each other. We have material and financial needs, sickness, unsaved family members, concern about direction in certain areas of our lives, addictions, and other reasons we reach out for prayer. We pray in Jesus name.

When prayers go unanswered, what happens to our faith? I'm not looking at God as a "Santa Claus," so that's not what I mean. But I've heard people ask why God doesn't seem to care and I don't know how to answer that.

Some well-meaning Christians say that the person didn't have enough faith or didn't pray with right motives or didn't pray often enough or...or...or..

I admit it's one area of my faith that leaves me with more questions than answers.

Thoughts? Anyone else feel the same?
User avatar
Abiding in His Word
SITE ADMIN
 
Posts: 28618
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:54 pm
Location: SW Florida

Re: Prayer

Postby GodsStudent on Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:58 pm

My doc told me to read a book called "When bad things happen to Good People" by Harold Kushner. I think that book makes a lot of valid points and it's a great resource for this subject.

When we don't get what we want in prayer we have to come to terms with it. I know this because I go through a lot regarding Matthew 18: 19 and beyond. Is it a lack of faith.....have I failed to believe enough? I just don't have the answers to this, either.....but I do know that I have gotten into a place....even recently......where I became angry because I wanted physical healing and prayed for it, had a wonderful group of saints lay hands on me and pray and....well, it didn't happen.....

We can get angry with the Lord and for a time, I do....and I share that with Him......but at the end of the day, I do end up bringing it back to myself and reminding myself that He has been exceedingly good and faithful to me and literally showed up on SO MANY occasions and that for this reason, I must have faith in Him and trust that His Will is being done.....I don't know why Im not being healed, but it's His World, His Timing, His Will, His knowledge of things and reasons that I don't have and both of us cannot be God and make all these decisions at once......

I sometimes can see why a prayer of mine isn't answered immediately...and sometimes I can't.....but if I trust the Lord then at the end of the day, I must trust that His Word says in ALL THINGS give thanks, and so if it hasn't/isn't killing me, it's growing me or serving some other purpose that I just don't HAVE To have the answer for today. What I need today is faith and to always be able to remember all the ways He has personally showed up in my life and the lives of others so that I can continue to trust He is there, that He DOES care about me even when my negative head talk says otherwise, and that He is NOT my view of an earthly father (the one who breaks your heart)......but He is FAITHFUL.....and after all that working with myself to come to terms.....I let it go and move on....until the next time I have another crisis of faith because my prayers weren't answered.

:mrgreen: I'm sure there are some really good answers coming, but this is my human experience and my humanity has a lot to do with why I don't have the perfect answer, perfect faith, perfect prayer life and perfect peace that so many others don't seem to have, either. :mrgreen:
GodsStudent
Supporting Member
 
Posts: 10994
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:36 pm

Re: Prayer

Postby keithareilly on Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:20 pm

Personally,

Very personally,

I think my prayers go unanswered because I am not aligned with God's agenda. I am pursuing my own agenda instead. I do not think this of others. However, I do think this about myself. I have found too many times in my life that I am worried about what I want and not about forwarding God's Kingdom. I am working on this. I would like to be one with God as Christ prayed for us to be. But, I am not one even with my fellow Christians, so, I am working on that: if I cannot be one with my brothers and sisters, whom I can see, I cannot be one with God whom I cannot see.

Keith
keithareilly
Supporting Member
 
Posts: 1674
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 2:48 pm
Location: Mineral Bluff, GA

Re: Prayer

Postby Abiding in His Word on Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:37 pm

GodsStudent wrote: :mrgreen: I'm sure there are some really good answers coming, but this is my human experience and my humanity has a lot to do with why I don't have the perfect answer, perfect faith, perfect prayer life and perfect peace that so many others don't seem to have, either. :mrgreen:


Oh my....not for one minute was I implying there was a right or wrong or a perfect answer. I apologize if my post sounded like I was asking for such. :cry:

I'm looking for personal perspectives and thoughts and I appreciate yours, Lisa, and keithareilly's as well. Honesty and transparency are wonderful traits! Personal experiences are welcome as we learned empathy from one another.

Years ago while attending a conference I learned this and have never forgotten it..."feelings aren't right or wrong; good or bad; they just are."
User avatar
Abiding in His Word
SITE ADMIN
 
Posts: 28618
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:54 pm
Location: SW Florida

Re: Prayer

Postby GodsStudent on Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:11 am

Abiding, you've got such a beautiful spirit...I made that statement as a result of my own thoughts and not anything you said, but thank you for being sensitive to me in case it was directed at you, which it wasn't.

I thought of this thread this morning as I woke up prematurely and in so much pain (physically) that sleep was no longer an option. I am not rested as I was in extreme pain when I went to bed, so I tossed and turned and reluctantly got out of bed when I could no longer stand the quietness of the bed and the dark and the loudness of the pain. I got up to distract myself with life, but it's going to be hard to enjoy the life I've been given today as I am struggling with the pain I feel.
I say this to say that the drive to have my prayer for relief answered is OBVIOUSLY quite strong, and alternately, the fact that it isn't answered does indeed plague me and is not something I am able to take lightly. I understand the desperation others may feel when they mention their own plights and the difficulty it is to remain faithful and true to our knowledge and love and faithfulness for our Creator in spite of the fact that He appears to let us suffer. Tears are involuntarily streaming from my eyes as I sit here and feel what most, I am certain would be hard pressed to tolerate. I know others with body wide RSD and the hard fact about it is 4 out of 5 commit suicide, so I know a thing or two about extreme suffering.

The human condition on this side of eternity is relevant. It's an imperfect world ever since Eve took the bite and Adam followed along. I am not able to blame myself for this condition I have. If I had to beat myself up for not being good enough in the Lord's eyes and therefore causing this on myself, I think I would be one of the 4 of 5 who did away with myself, because I look at the life I live day to day and the fact that I give my all, and I need to feel that the Lord accepts my efforts and expands on them. In the past several years, I have truly learned to stay connected with the Lord throughout the day and night and I live a life of "pray ceaselessly." Sure, I may eat too much sweets sometimes and there are a few other habits (cursing on occasion, which is now more of an outburst than a lifestyle, BUT it used to be a lifestyle)....so I see sanctification taking place in me....growth....and the Lord is completing a good work......and I certainly don't think He is at the same time BLASTING ME AWAY with pain because I said three curse words yesterday (which I did, and I felt horrible about, because I was being zealously sassy and used poor word choices and honestly, those words flew out of my mouth before I could stop them and make better choices...and frankly, I am and was at the moment I did it, embarrassed by my own choice).....BUT....there was a time when I would have cursed all day long and not given it a second thought......

No......I am not "bringing this pain on myself".......Im sorry, I can't go that route..........Again, a GOOD WORK is being completed in me in spite of my human condition.

Job remained faithful throughout his life of pain and so can GodsStudent. I can only tolerate the reality of my human condition when I know this world is imperfect, and so are our bodies, and all things about us, frankly.....I don't see comfort and prosperity and everything else promised in scripture if I am faithful to the Lord. I do know that in my discomfort, I am offered a choice that comes with a cost....faithfulness in spite of things undone and unseen......is a remarkable testament to my true love for the Lord when it's not easy......because He isn't doing what I want and giving me what I really think I need......
some things to think about.....
and I don't have to beat myself down today....and so I wont.
GodsStudent
Supporting Member
 
Posts: 10994
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:36 pm

Re: Prayer

Postby Jericho on Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:20 am

I think everyone has the potential to get their prayers answered. Why everyone doesn’t get their prayers answered could be a multitude of reasons. Sometimes it may be obvious, other times it may not be. However, John 14:14 says “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” If we take God at His word, then the problem is never with God not answering prayers. The problem lies elsewhere, and it means somewhere along the lines we missed it. There’s no shame in this, because we have all missed it at some point, and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). I have tried to think of some of the reasons why we may miss it. I am certainly no expert on the matter, but I can share some of the things I have learned over the years.

Faith - Obviously faith is a factor, and there are different levels of faith. Most everyone has a little faith, but they don’t take the time to develop it further until a crisis happens. Then they are disappointed when it doesn’t turn out how they expected, but faith doesn’t develop that fast. Faith is sort of like a muscle, you have to exercise it to make it grow. You wouldn’t walk into the gym for the first time and expect to bench press 300 lbs. That just doesn’t happen. You have to exercise and build up to that level. Faith is the same way. One of the questions I would ask to unanswered prayer is how often are they reading the bible and hearing God’s word? Because that is the only way to develop faith, for comes by hearing (present tense), and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).

Unbelief – Unbelief is the other side of the coin, and I think this is where most Christians go wrong rather than having a lack of faith. Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains (Matt 17:20). The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds in the world. This tells me the problem is not often with faith, but unbelief. Faith and unbelief are two different things that can coexist at the same time. Recall the father of the boy who would go into seizures, “I do believe, help me with my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)” When we have unbelief it will negate faith and nullify our prayers.

Patience – Let patience have her perfect work (James 1:4). We often want our prayers to happen instantly and start to get discouraged when they don’t. This leads to doubt and unbelief. From my own experience, prayers are not usually answered instantly. More often than not, it is progressive rather than immediate. Some of the things I have prayed for didn’t change overnight, but it was a slow gradual change over a period of time. So there is usually a period of time where you have to stand in faith, and failing to do so could invalidate the prayer.

Persistence – This sort of goes along with patience. There is a temptation to give up too quickly if we don’t see any changes, but we are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Co 5:7). This takes persistence. Recall the parable of the persistent widow who wouldn’t take no for an answer (Luke 18:1-8). Persistence takes an active role, which means we bear the responsibility of standing in faith until our prayers are answered. Having done all, stand (Eph 6:13).

Hindrances – There are things that can hinder our prayers, such as sin and un-forgiveness. But also there are spirits that can hinder our prayers. Recall that Daniel’s prayer was hindered twenty-one days by the prince of Persia (Dan 10:12). These are the principalities in high places that we wrestle against (Eph 6:12). This requires patience and persistence, but it also requires determination. “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matt 11:12). Faith sometimes requires us to be aggressive, this takes an active role on our part for faith without works is dead (James 2:14).

Lack of knowledge – My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge (Hos 4:6). We have to understand what the scriptures say about what we are praying for to understand how to pray about it. Does it line up with the word of God? We can’t pray, for example, for someone else’s wife or husband because that is not scriptural. If there is not a precedent for it happening in the scriptures, then we can’t pray for it. Another error is to pray “if it be thy will”. The Bible is there to tell you what God’s will is. So there are certain spiritual laws in operation that we have to cooperate with or else it won’t work. This requires studying the scriptures in order to gain the knowledge for our prayers to be answered.

Not taking authority – Many times we are waiting on God to do something, when God is waiting on us to do something. These best example for this is on healing. People will ask God for healing, but if you study scripture God has already done his part when Christ died on the cross. “By his striped we are healed (Isa 53:5\1 Pe 2:24). This means we are not trying to get healed, we are already healed. This, however, does not mean it comes automatically. We have to tap into it with the authority that’s been given to us. It’s like electricity. It's always been there, but it wasn't until we learned how to tap into it that we could take advantage of it. So there's a part we have to play, and when all conditions are met our prayers will be answered.

These are just a few of the things that can affect the outcome of our prayers. So the point is there’s always a reason why prayers may go unanswered, even if we do not know them. As Paul said, we see though a glass darkly (1 Co 13:12). When prayers go unanswered we only see one side of it, we don’t see the spiritual side of it. So when prayers go unanswered, there might be a temptation to blame God, but God is always blameless. That thinking will only lead to a root of bitterness against God, and then you really have problems. Instead we should study the scriptures to understand where we may have went wrong, and learn from our mistakes.
Formerly SwordOfGideon
User avatar
Jericho
 
Posts: 4403
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:05 am
Location: Tx

Re: Prayer

Postby Abiding in His Word on Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:43 pm

Jericho, you have obviously put a lot of work into your comment and I thank you for clearly laying out the many reasons for unanswered prayer.

Since all of those reasons are valid, now I'm left with this...if my prayer is not being answered, how in the world could I possibly know why?? How do I know which one of those obstacles is hindering the answer to my prayer?

Perhaps I shouldn't compare an earthly parent to the heavenly one, but let me just try it for the sake of understanding where I am with this. If my child comes to me and says he's hungry, I'll fix lunch for him. If he comes to me with a scraped knee, I'll apply the appropriate medicine to promote healing. If he tells me he needs $3.00 for school supplies next week, I'll give it to him as I see the importance of school supplies. When I see he needs new sneakers, I provide them. These are normal requests and necessities for everyday life.

Why doesn't this same care, concern, and provision apply to our heavenly parent? Jesus said not to worry about these type of every day necessities because, "your heavenly Father knows you need all these things." But if I'm unemployed for 2 years or don't have finances for a vehicle or insurance, etc., I'm going to worry when my prayer for these things seems to hit the ceiling.

I'm sorry for sounding so negative, but prayer shouldn't be so complicated should it? :( I hope my concerns in this area is not causing someone else's faith to dwindle...but most here are mature believers whose faith seems strong enough to weather a little storm.... :wink:
User avatar
Abiding in His Word
SITE ADMIN
 
Posts: 28618
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:54 pm
Location: SW Florida

Re: Prayer

Postby Jericho on Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:29 pm

Abiding in His Word wrote:Why doesn't this same care, concern, and provision apply to our heavenly parent?


I believe it does, but we also have to remember we live in a fallen world, with a spiritual enemy who opposes us, and often uses people to do it. Satan is described as the god of this world (2 Co 4:4). We are promised me things, but Jesus makes it clear in this world we will have tribulation (Jon 16:33), however, he gives us the tools to overcome this world. That's not to say its easy, were in a fight rather we like it or not.

Of course it wasn't always like this. In the garden, Adam's every need was provided for. It was very much like the earthly relationship between a parent and child as you described it. We are promised it will be this way again, but in the meantime we are stuck behind enemy lines, so to speak.

Abiding in His Word wrote:I'm sorry for sounding so negative, but prayer shouldn't be so complicated should it?


It would be nice if it were that easy, but then I suppose we wouldn't need faith. God could have used any system, but he chose faith. Why? Perhaps in doing so he is using it to bring out certain characteristics in us. Characteristics that would otherwise be impossible to develop if we lived in an idyllic world. And perhaps these qualities will serve us well in our future roles as we rule and reign with Christ. Just something to consider concerning these momentary troubles.

"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Rom 5:3-4)"

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (Jas 1:2-4)"
Formerly SwordOfGideon
User avatar
Jericho
 
Posts: 4403
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:05 am
Location: Tx

Re: Prayer

Postby Abiding in His Word on Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:04 pm

Jericho wrote:It would be nice if it were that easy, but then I suppose we wouldn't need faith. God could have used any system, but he chose faith. Why? Perhaps in doing so he is using it to bring out certain characteristics in us. Characteristics that would otherwise be impossible to develop if we lived in an idyllic world. And perhaps these qualities will serve us well in our future roles as we rule and reign with Christ. Just something to consider concerning these momentary troubles.

"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Rom 5:3-4)"

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (Jas 1:2-4)"


Another aha moment from you to me, Jericho.

I think you hit the nail on the head here. God's primary work in our lives is geared toward our inner being....our journey in becoming conformed to the image of Christ.

We are a very "things" or material-minded generation and perhaps many of the things we pray for are not really necessary. Wouldn't be a bad thing to learn to live with fewer distractions, huh?

Thanks for giving me a very different perspective about prayer.

:blessyou:
User avatar
Abiding in His Word
SITE ADMIN
 
Posts: 28618
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:54 pm
Location: SW Florida


Return to Bible Study Q & A

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron