Psalm for the Day

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unanswered Prayer……..Part II

“We know that God does not listen to sinners. We know if anyone loves and worships God, and does what He wants, God listens to him”.   John 9:31 NLV

Paul was a righteous man, right?   Why wouldn’t God answer his prayer?

By the way, have you noticed that we call prayer “unanswered” when God says “No”?   Isn’t “no” an answer?

Why do you think that is?   Could it be because we feel entitled?

Sometimes God says, “No” even to righteous people if they ask with wrong motives.   James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures”. (NASB)

James also teaches that some people’s prayers are not answered because they are wavering; “…. when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all.  Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind.   If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord”. (James 1:6-8 GNT)

Pride can also get in the way of answered prayers.  Job 35:12-13 tells us, “…. they cry out, but He does not answer because of the pride of evil men.
Surely God will not listen to an empty cry, nor will the Almighty regard it”. (NASB)

In the Gospels, Jesus told a story about a prideful, self-righteous person whose prayer was not answered.   Jesus said, “The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: “I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there!  For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.  I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God.  For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored”.  (Lk 18:11-12, 14 NLT)

 Job also teaches that God does not give the hypocrites what they ask for; “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he may gain much,
If God takes away his life?  Will God hear his cry
when trouble comes upon him?”  (Job 27:8-9 NKJV)

Paul was not perfect, but I have no reason to question his motives or accuse him of being prideful or hypocritical, so why didn’t God remove the thorn in his flesh?

I know God cared for Paul.    He wrote, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope….” (II Thes. 2:16 NIV).

The apostle John wrote similar words, he said, “….so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.   Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”  ( I Jn 4:16 NIV)

So why didn’t God, who loved Paul give him what he asked for?

Because……….He had something better for him instead of a thorn-less flesh.           He chose to give him what he needed--------His grace!

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