The world misunderstands how prayer works, and the mockers use those errors to attack the church. We must understand it otherwise we may fall into temptation and lose our faith.
Here are just a few of the misunderstandings about prayer:
- When bad things happen in the world, mockers attack when someone says, “our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
- When a prayer is not answered, the weak in faith and those that don’t understand, get angry with God and fall away. One fellow said, “Me and God aren’t on speaking terms.”
- When God says no, some doubt their own faith and become disillusioned about the effectiveness of prayer.
- Others fall into atheism when God doesn’t give them what they ask for in their prayer. Perhaps a sick child passes away despite the ongoing prayers. David teaches us a better way. [2Sam 12:16-23].
- Some get weaker. Paul was told no in 2Corinthians 12:7-10, but he became stronger. We can too, once we learn why God might say no to our prayer.
WHY WOULD GOD SAY NO?
AGAINST HIS WILL. Let’s face the facts, some of our prayers are not according to His will. We don’t know what He wants because we don’t read His word and we ask for things God has never promised to give. It’s incumbent upon us to know what He wants.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
MISUNDERSTAND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. God looks to those in Christ as His children and is training us as a Father does with a child. Would you give your young child everything he may wish? Certainly not, and God won’t either, because He loves us too much to give us something for which we are too immature to handle.
“Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” [Hebrews 12:9-11]
INDECISIVE PRAYER. Our prayers are duplicitous, or in opposition with other prayers. We shouldn’t expect anything if we’re praying against ourselves or if we doubt that God can answer. Some even begin their prayer with, “God, if you’re there…”
“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.” [James 1:6-8]
SELFISH PRAYER. For some, prayer is nothing more than having a genie in a bottle. You see something you want so you pray for it, as if God is just sitting on His throne granting wishes.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” [James 4:3]
SINNER PRAYER. This is not the prayer of the sinner asking God for enlightenment as Cornelius did [Acts 10:1-2]. Which, when he heard the word of God, he obeyed the gospel in Baptism. No, I’m referring to the prayer of an unrepentant sinner. If you’re asking God for some blessing while you’re disobedient to His word, living in an unsaved condition, don’t expect a single thing from Him. It’s a worthless prayer because God has said that He doesn’t heed the prayer of the sinner.
“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. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,” [Isaiah 1:15-16]
There are many more such examples of God promising a NO to those who continue in sin. [Joh 9:31; Job 27:9; 35:12; Ps 18:41; 34:15; 66:18; Pr 1:28; 15:29; 28:9; Isa 1:15; Jer 11:11; 14:12; Eze 8:18; Mic 3:4; Zec 7:13; Joh 21:25]
CONCLUSION: You see, we ask and do not have because we ask AMISS [James 4:3]. It’s proven that we can pray in vain error. When we ask AMISS, don’t expect anything from God.
“For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;” [James 1:7]
My prayer is that you come to a full understanding about prayer so that you can have the confidence that your petitions to God are heard according to His will.