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December 6th, 2010

Why Our Prayers Are Not Answered

Why Our Prayers Are Not Answered

We wonder many times, why our prayers are not answered! The reason can be one of these…

There are times in our life when we pray but don’t seem to get an answer. When prayers don’t get answered we are disturbed, anxious, worried, afraid, and lose hope. There can be many reasons why our prayers may not be answered.

Lack of faith is a reason why prayers are not answered. We read how Jesus stills the storm in Mt. 8:23-27. The disciples woke up Jesus saying that they are perishing. Jesus questions them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” May be Jesus is asking us the same question. When praying for the sick, James 5:15 is so clear, “The prayer of faith will save the sick.” One way of building faith is to get to know the Lord. The more we get to know Him, the more we shall trust Him. Trusting the Lord involves complete surrender. Praying the Apostles’ Creed repeatedly will also build our faith.

Righteous people are those who are right before God, those who do the Will of God. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles (Ps 34:17). For “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers” (1 Pet 3:12). “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (Jas. 5:16).

Perseverance in Prayer
Many times in our life we would pray once or twice for a particular need and then give up. We would then ask others to pray thinking God will hear their prayers and not ours. The parable in Luke 18:1-7 taught me a beautiful lesson. The parable begins by Jesus telling the disciples about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. The parable narrates how a widow goes to an unjust judge to seek justice. The widow kept bothering the unjust judge for justice. The widow was persistent in her request and in the end the unjust judge grants her justice. Jesus ends the parable with a question and the answer. “Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long in helping them? I tell you, He will quickly grant justice to them” (Lk 18:7-8). Romans 12:12 says ‘Persevere in payer’. It is when we learn to wait in prayer that we will be able to develop the fruit of patience.

The Lord delights in the humble. “The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds and it will not rest until it reaches its goal” (Sir 35:21).

In Luke 5:4-8 there is a beautiful lesson on obedience. After Jesus taught the crowds, He said to Simon Peter, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch”. Simon Peter was a fisherman and he knew where to catch fish and he tried the whole night to fish but caught nothing. Simon answered the Lord, “Master we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets”. When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. There is blessing when we obey. In 1 Sam 28 we read that Saul had a big obstacle ahead of him. The army of the philistines gathered against Israel and Saul saw it and was afraid. In verse 6 we see Saul inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him. Saul goes to a medium to inquire of her.

This is a sad plight we see around. When some Christians do not receive answers to their prayers, they go to soothsayers, palmists, and fortune tellers for consultation. To remove obstacles in their life they would go for witchcraft, voodoo, black magic and so on. Some go ahead with games such as tarot cards and the Ouija board. The Church in her teaching is very clear. All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future (CCC 2116). Deut. 18:12 says, “Whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord.” Those involved in such practices should repent, cleanse themselves and dedicate themselves to the Lord. In moments of suffering when it seems that God is not answering we must learn to be patient.

Avoid Sin
In Jn 9:31 we read ‘God does not listen to sinners’. We need to reject sin and diabolical temptations for God to hear our prayers. Sin not confessed can be a barrier between God and us. We must confess our sin and receive absolution. “So if one fasts for his sins, and goes again and does the same things, who will listen to his prayer? And what has he gained by humbling himself?” (Sir 34:31). “When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Is. 1:15-17).

Fathers will
Our prayers should be in accordance with Abba’s will and not petitions based on selfish desires (Js. 4:3). 1 Jn 5:14 says “And this is the boldness we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prays for Abba’s will in the most trying situation of His life. Many of our petitions are based on the temporary needs of this life. Abba looks at eternity when answering our prayers. Abba will give us only what is good. ‘God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what He is prepared to give’ – St. Augustine.

God will withhold His mercy if we do not forgive (Mt 6:14). Sirach 28:2-4 says “forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Does anyone harbour anger against another, and expect healing from the Lord? If one has no mercy towards another like himself, can he then seek pardon for his sins?” We must root out all bitterness, resentment and hatred before we expect our prayers to be answered. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, it is meaningful only if we are free from bitterness, hatred and resentment.

Helping the Needy
The poor have no one to defend their cause. God will answer our prayers if we give ear to their desperate needs. Is. 58:7-9 says, “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be rear your guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and He will say, here I am.” If God’s word abides in us, our prayers will be answered (Jn. 15:7).

– – – written by Patrick Horne

November 29th, 2010

Experience : The Best Teacher

Experience The Best Teacher

A young man presented himself to the local expert on gems and said he wanted to become a gemologist. The expert bushed him off because he feared the youth would not have the patience to learn. The young man pleaded for a chance. Finally, the expert consented and told the youth, “Be here tomorrow.”

The next morning the expert put a jade stone in the boy’s hand and told him to hold it. The expert then went about his work, cutting, weighing and setting gems. The boy sat quietly and waited. The following morning the expert again placed the jade stone in the youth’s hand and told him to hold it. On the third, fourth and fifth days, the expert repeated the exercise and the instructions.

On the sixth day, the youth held the jade stone, but he could no longer stand the silence. “Master, he asked, when am I going to learn something?”

“You will learn,” the expert replied and went about his business.

Several more days went by and the youth’s frustration mounted. One morning as the expert approached and beckoned for him to hold out his hand, he was about to blurt out that he could go on no longer. But as the master placed the stone in the youth’s hand, the young man exclaimed without looking at his hand, “This is not the same jade stone!”

“You have begun to learn,” said the master.

Experience is the Best Teacher

Even Moses had absolutely no confidence. And God even stopped the mans stutter. It was experience that gave Moses confidence.

The Christian faith is a practical faith. God employs experience in order to teach us, to develop our abilities. And even then, He is more interested in the interaction He has with us in the process than He is in teaching us anything at all. God is not our boss, He is our Father. The whole world is an educational playground God is using to bring you toward perfection, to raise you as His own child.

It is very difficult for us Americans to believe in the God who guides us through educational experiences. Advertising teaches us that if we invest something, we get magical products that solve our problems. But God is more interested in being with us, than in entertaining us from a stage.

The truth is, if you do the work and gain the experience, you’ll have more confidence because you’ll actually know what you’re doing, and you will have spent some great time with God.

November 27th, 2010

Speaking Faith

Speaking Faith

There may be times when you wondered how the entire universe came into existence. In Hebrew 11:3 we read, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible”.

Plainly speaking, the universe was formed out of nothing! This goes well with Genesis 1:2,3 which says, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light”.

So our God is a God who can create something out of nothing. If you are facing a situation where you feel everything is dead and gone or nothing is going to work, let me encourage you – God can!

He is a Specialist in forming beauty out of ashes. He says in Isaiah, “I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland”. Where you don’t find a solution, He gives you a solution!

Quit speaking negative words. Speak God’s Word over your situations just like God spoke to the empty, formless earth. And the Holy Spirit will create something beautifully new out of that word you speak!

– – – written by Ancy Joe Abraham

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