2003-08-04 - Unanswered Prayer
Originally Published 2001-12-11
1 Samuel 1:15 "But Hannah answered and said, 'No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord.'"
Prayer is an offering up of our souls to God. It is an opening up of our souls before God, with no reservation. In effect we expose our deepest thoughts, desires, hopes and dreams to God in prayer. Prayer is like a waterfall. Just as a waterfall must pour water, so also, a Christian must pray if he/she be a Christian.
Now we might ask here, "Why must a Christian pray?" We might think, "Well, God knows my heart and mind as well or better than I do, so why do I need to pray?" One reason would be that, while Christ has promised to be merciful to us, He has told us to ask Him for mercies. "Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door shall be opened to you," Matthew 7:7. When we ask Him and receive we then know where the blessing has come from. This leads to the second reason to pray. In prayer we acknowledge the Lord's glory. We honor Him when we come before Him in prayer. We show ourselves to be needy and the Lord to be the fulfillment of our needs.
There is at least one other reason to pray. Job 22:21 tells us, "Yield now and be at peace with Him; thereby good will come to you." However that is a poor translation of the verse. The word yield should really be translated, "know intimately." The idea being that as we know God intimately, and prayer is a good way towards that process, we will experience good things.
Let us quickly touch on unanswered prayer. It is one of the most frustrating things in the world, and I have learned this personally recently. I commented to a couple of friends a short time ago that I was convinced that God no longer hears my prayers. I know from Scripture that this is not true and God may be teaching me 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing," in a painful way. I also know that I am told in Scripture to "call upon Him while He is near," Isaiah 55:6. Lastly, as hard as it is to say, sometimes God says no to the requests we bring to Him. He does this because He loves us and wants what is best for us, but this side of eternity it is often hard for us to have this perspective in mind.
We know that friendship often grows by communication. If we would like to get to know someone we must converse with them. If we would seek to be close to God's heart and to make His heart our heart we must talk to Him in prayer. What kind of a friend would one of your friends be if they never talked to you? I would think that you would think their profession of being your friend to be empty words. If we apply this to ourselves and claim to have communion with God, but never speak to Him, we also speak empty words.
We must press on in prayer. God hears our prayers, but sometimes it seems He His long in answering them. Sometimes He doesn't answer them as we would like, but this is no excuse not to pray. As Christians we pray. It is what we do and the blessings that are ours through prayer we probably will not know until glory.
Soli Deo Gloria,