Presentation on theme: "Why Prayer is not Answered"— Presentation transcript:
1 Why Prayer is not Answered Copyright by Norman L. Geisler
2 Why Unanswered Prayer I. The Possible Answers to Prayer II. The Reasons for a “No” Answer
3 I. Possible Answers to Prayer A. Four Alternatives1. YesIsa. 65:24: “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”1John 5:14: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”Matt. 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you;seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
4 A. Four Alternatives2. No2Cor. 12:8-9: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”1 John 5:16: “There is a sin lading unto death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”James 4:3: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
5 A. Four Alternatives 3. Wait Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”Psalm 69:3: “I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.”Prov. 20:22: “Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.”
6 A. Four Alternatives 4. Here is something better Psalm 84:11: “No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”1Tim. 6:17: “[Do not] trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us all things richly to enjoy.”Mt. 7:9-11: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?… If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
7 B. Two Conclusions1. Every prayer is answered (there are just different answers).2. A “no” answer is not no answer (A negative answer is still an answer.)
8 II. Reasons for a “No” Answer A. The Lack of SalvationJohn 9:31: “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshipper of God and does His will, He hears him.”Note 1: God does not promise to hear the prayer of a sinner, but His grace sometimes exceeds His promise (Rom. 2:4).Note 2: God always hears the prayer of a sinner repenting (Lk. 18:13 cf. 15:10).
9 II. Reasons for a “No” Answer B. The Presence of SinPsalm 66:18: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”Joshua 7:8, 10: “O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies?…So the Lord said to Joshua: Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned….”James 4:3: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
10 Prov. 15:8: “The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.”Prov. 15:29: The LORD is far from the wickedbut he hears the prayer of the righteous.Prov. 28:9: If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.Prov. 28:13: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.1 John 5:16: “There is a sin lading unto death. I do not say that he should pray about that.” (cf. 1 Cor. 5:5; 11:30).1 Peter 3:7: “Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to thewife, as the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.” (cf. 1 Peter 3:1-2; 1Cor. 7:5, 14).
11 II. Reasons for a “No” Answer A. The Lack of SalvationB. The Presence of SinC. The Lack of FaithJames 1:5-7: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally…and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”Mark 11:24: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
12 II. Reasons for a “No” Answer A. The Lack of SalvationB. The Presence of SinC. The Lack of FaithD. The Lack of Fit with God’s WillJohn 15:7: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”1John 5:14: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”James 4:15: “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”
13 II. Reasons for a “No” Answer A. The Lack of SalvationB. The Presence of SinC. The Lack of FaithD. The Lack of Fit with God’s WillMt. 26:39: “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
14 Conclusions1. No good father gives his child whatever he wants. Nor will our heavenly Father.2. God will not give us a stone if we ask for bread (Mt. 7:9), nor will he give us a stone if we ask for a stone but need bread.3. A “no” answer can be a positive thing.4. God is good when He gives supremely good, Nor less when He denies.Even crosses from His gracious HandAre blessings in disguise.