Points to Ponder : Why Doesn't He Answer Me?
Points to Ponder
Why Doesn't He Answer Me?
Does God answer all prayers? Yes, with one of at least four possible responses:
3. It's not for you to know (e.g. Acts 1:7)
4. Can't answer right now
Then there are the prayers He does not hear. How can God not hear? God will not hear the prayers of those who blatantly defy Him and treat His holiness with total disregard.
"If I regard iniquity in my heart He will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18).
"Then they will cry to the Lord, but He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, because they have been evil in their deeds" (Micah 3:4).
"When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood" (Isaiah 1:15).
God's glory, not our comfort, is the purpose of life. "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Don't you think what God wants is right; and therefore, it encompasses what's right for you?
I wonder how or if God answers the prayer of a believer who has not done what he could do to contribute to the desired result? Sin, illness, and ultimately death are all part of the fallen state of this world and the sin nature of humankind. "The wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23). But some people blame God for the illnesses, diseases, and death of loved ones. And some, upon begging God's intervention, will turn from Him in disgust and anger if He doesn't give them the answer they felt they deserved from Him. "The way of the Lord is not fair" (Ezekiel 33:20).
Yet how much of what we long for is up to us to contribute? Does He withhold His hand when the prayed-for is engaging in behavior that actually opposes the healing intervention desired?
I encountered a man from our community who was battling cancer. Not one to go to church, he was still not shy about asking the local churches to pray for him. As I walked into a local store, he was laying two packs of cigarettes on the check-out counter. He greeted me and said "Reverend...keep praying for me." Not, "pray that I can stop this smoking." No, pray that God will heal the cancer. Now, here's the blunt point, which I am pondering: Why.
Why should I pray for the hand of our Holy God to intervene and heal if the person requesting healing is not invested in using his own choices and abilities to stop feeding his problem? And, why should God grant the healing? It is a relatively small thing (no matter how difficult in our view) to change priorities and lifestyle practices when compared to the bold request one is making of God, the king of the universe.
If you have problems, which a government agency can help with, you'd probably never write to the President and actually expect his personal involvement in your issue. But in a world of six billion people, many will come to God with their personal problem and expect His personal intervention. Jesus Christ is the living proof that He can, has, and does get intimately involved in the lives of individuals. BUT, do we thwart the answers we want from God? Is it possible that He longs to do for us "more than we can ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20)? Do you come before Him with an entitlement attitude? How many refuse to attend Sunday worship, rarely crack open their Bible, never give thanks for a meal - or anything else - and then dare to expect God to serve their need? And why should He?
That's not a rhetorical question. If you feel like your prayers bounce off the ceiling, that God is not listening - or at least not answering - why should He? Is there something you need to do differently? Both Peter and James state a basic scriptural principle worthy of study:
"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6; I Peter 5:5; Proverbs 3:34).
Look up the above references, study the verses that precede and follow the passage. Then meditate on Jesus' words:
"Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com