Why No Answers?
No Answers Because of Broken Vows
Surely all of us have gone through the pain of a
person, friend or family member who did not keep a promise. When a
vow is broken, the closer the person, the worse the hurt. God
cautions, "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for
He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed. It is better
not to vow than to vow and not pay" (Eccl. 5:4-5). The psalmist sang
to God, "I will pay You my vows, which my lips have uttered and my
mouth has spoken when I was in trouble" (Ps. 66:13,14). Many have
made vows when they were "in trouble" and have not paid those vows.
Until they begin keeping the vow and confessing their failure to
keep it, they will not see a flood of answered prayers.
It always frightens me when I hear someone during a crisis make all
kinds of dramatic and drastic vows to God. "Oh, dear God, if You'll
only get me out of this, I'll serve You all the days of my life." He
gets them out of it, and how soon they forget. How well I remember
hearing about multitudes of military people and their families who
promised God how they would serve Him if only He would let them come
home safely. Most of them returned home safe and sound, but where
are they now? What about their vows? Could this be why some draw a
blank when they try to cash in on prayer?
You often see in the media how someone was rescued from a seemingly
impossible predicament--a fire, a near drowning, a hostage
situation, you name it--and they made grandiose vows. It would be
very enlightening to see how well they kept their vows.
No Answers Because of Family Relations
"Likewise, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands . . .
Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving
honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs
together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be
hindered" (1 Pet. 3:1,7). Undoubtedly, that is most revealing! If
family relations are not in order, prayers will be hindered,
ineffective, and unanswered. Why is the marriage relationship so
strongly emphasized? Because the husband-wife relationship is a
picture of the relationship of Christ to His bride, the church.
For a Christian man not to love his wife as Christ loved the church
is a bad image of Christ's love for His bride, you and me. If a wife
is not submissive to her husband, it is a faulty picture of the
church's submission to Christ. If each one in the family does not
perform properly in the home, it can hinder prayer.
Too many are also just enduring their marriages and not enjoying
them. This hinders prayers, and no miraculous answers come. "Happy
marriages do not happen, they are worked at". Ministers and marriage
counselors can tell you that a host of Christian marriages are
hurting badly. The divorce rate among Christian couples attests to
that. Christians must work at making marriages what God intended
them to be--so their prayers will not be hindered.
For a year, my son practiced and played golf in amateur tournaments
with a view toward becoming a professional golfer. He made it and
became a professional golfer. He and another fellow who turned pro
at the same time were in the top ten in their first tournament. This
other pro has won over $600,000 so far this year. My son found out
he was too much of a family man and quit the pro tour to become an
associate pastor and "full-time" family man. He is working even
harder to be a godly husband and father than he did to become a golf
pro. He listens to tapes, reads books, and goes to seminars so he
can learn how to be a better husband, father and servant of God. I
am a thousand times more proud of him for his role as a
husband-father than for all his accomplishments as a golfer. God's
people must work as hard to become better husbands and wives as they
do to become better golfers and dressers that their prayers be not
No Answers Because of No Response
"Turn at my reproof; Surely I will pour out my Spirit on you, I will
make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, I
have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, Because you have
disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my reproof: I also
will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes,
When your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes as a
whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will
call upon me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently,
but they will not find me" (Prov. 1:23-28).
Practically put, God is warning, "Listen to me, I called you, and
you refused to listen" (v. 24a). "I have reached out to you, and you
didn't pay any attention" (v. 24b). "You set aside my counsel (v.
25a). "You wouldn't respond to My reproof" (v. 25b). "Now when your
calamity and fears come, you will call on Me, but I won't answer"
(v. 27,28). They were recalcitrant, totally unresponsive. To me this
is one of the most terrifying truths in the Bible. It sends shivers
up and down my spine for those who pay no attention to God. The
tragedy is many people are living in dreadful and dark days as
described by the writer of Proverbs. You cannot ignore God without
paying for it.
Many have no answers from God because, in the past, they have
ignored Him and His commandments and are now reaping a horrible
harvest. God sums it up: "One who turns away his ear from hearing
the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination" (Prov. 28:9). Some
people must have radical surgery before they will obtain answers to
No Answers Because of Selfishness
"You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss ["from wrong
motives"] that you may spend it on your pleasures" (Jas. 4:3). If
the main reason for asking is your own selfish desires, God replies
that you will not receive. If a wife prays for her husband to be
saved only so life will be easier for her, she may not see him
saved. Sometimes a Christian loves possessions and prays for a raise
in order to buy a boat, a fancy car, designer duds, or a palatial
home. Prayers with wrong motivation will not be answered. Elijah
gave the supreme example when he prayed for the fire to fall, and
said, "hear me, O Lord, hear me. That this people may know that You
are the Lord God," (1 Kings 18:37). This gets God's attention. This
is the right motive for asking.
No Answers Because of the Spiritual Warfare
Daniel, the "man greatly beloved" to whom God
sent Gabriel in answer to his prayer earlier now prayed and fasted
and agonized for "three whole weeks" and heard nothing at all from
God. He wasn't backslidden, he wasn't out of the will of God, he
wasn't insincere but he heard nothing. He did not vacillate, but
kept on praying. Finally after three weeks Daniel "hears a voice",
"a hand touched me," and a "voice spoke to him" until "he stood
trembling." He was scared to death and who wouldn't be? Who it was
we do not know but then he said to me, "Do not fear, for from the
first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble
yourself before you God, your words were heard, and I have come
because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia
withstood me twenty-one days, and behold, Michael, one of the chief
princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the
kings of Persia" (Dan. 10:12-13). Who this person was we do not know
for sure but it was obviously one of the heavenly host. "The prince
of the kingdom of Persia" was no mere man but one of the demons who
hindered him from coming with the answer to his prayer for 21 days.
Michael, the arch angel, imagine this, came to help this messenger
get through. All of this took place without Daniel having a clue as
to why he had not heard from God.
This is scary. This is eerie. This is satanic. There are demons as
active in this age and in this country as there ever has been or as
there are in any place in the world. The war is on. The battle is
fierce. The stakes are high. You and I are in the very middle of it.
Now listen and listen carefully. If you really get serious and
aspire to enter the big leagues of prayer, you will stir up the
hosts of hell. That is why you must pray night and day. "Deliver us
from the evil one." You begin to influence the leaders of the world
through prayer, you rob Satan of his kids by praying "for all men,"
you pray for Israel, whom Satan hates, by praying "for the peace of
Jerusalem" and you just might see your prayers hindered as well!
Does that make sense? You had better believe it.
By now do you realize how important you are to the kingdom of God?
Do you realize the power and influence you wield through prayer?
Does this give meaning to life like nothing else ever could? The
heads of the mightiest corporations of the world, the wealthiest
people on earth, the most powerful leaders of the world do not hold
a candle to your importance to God and good around the world. Prayer
is more powerful than all the atomic bombs ever made. Now use it to
Key: Let's be realistic. There are hindrances to prayer. Do
you have any hindrances to your prayers?
Let Us Reason Together: The majority
of believers are not seeing specific answers to their prayers. Don't
you be one of them. Let's "judge ourselves" (1 Cor. 11:30). Let's
"purge ourselves" (1 Tim. 2:21). Let's "sanctify ourselves" (Josh.
3:5). Let's "humble ourselves" (2 Chron.7:14). Let's do whatever is
necessary to allow God's intervention into every area of our lives
to His glory and honor.
Decision Time: What are
you going to do about it? "Multitudes in the valley of decision"
(Joel 3:14). Confess any hindrances and commit yourself to "Keep on
asking and you will receive." Do it daily for the rest of your life
on this earth.
Five Reasons Many Do Not Pray Today
1. They have seen no miracles
Like the prestigious professor, they have not experienced nor seen evidence of any miraculous answers to prayer, at least not any answers lately. Israel was mired in that miserable wandering in the wilderness. God tells us, "When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord, nor the works which he had done for Israel" (Jud. 2:10). Many second and third generation believers, as were these, have not beheld "the works of God" so they fail to pray. They have no feel for God, they have little fire from God and thus they have little faith in God. Understandably they do not pray. Think of what they are missing.
2. They see no need to pray
Quite frankly, even today in their worldly wanderings, some see no need to pray. It is quite evident that the spirit of the Laodicean church is upon us. Of them the Lord God declared, "Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing . . ." (Rev. 3:17). "Laodicea," we are here. If you "have need of nothing" you won't pray. Our prosperous and pagan society has said, "I have need of nothing" from God and thus have outlawed prayer from school, sporting events and social gathering of all kinds. It appears that even professed believers, by their malaise, presume they can do fairly well without God's help and perceive no pressure to pray.
God gave a wise warning about this: "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statues which I command you today, lest--when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; . . . you shall remember the Lord your God; for it is He who gives you power to get wealth" (Deut. 8:10-14,18).
Yes, even the power to gain wealth emanates from God, and a repeated reminder of that fact is essential. Anyone of us could be flat on our backs tomorrow and never earn another dime. Everything that happened to Israel was passed on for our admonition (see 1 Cor. 10:11), and the application of this passage today is overwhelming. Many who have prospered have tended to forget God or their need of Him.
3. They Have No Desire to Pray
A third reason some do not pray is--and this is a shocker--they have
no desire to pray. This may be the saddest reason of all. "For it is
God who works in you both to will [desire] and to do for His good
pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). Isn't that mind-boggling? God has to take
the initiative for believers even to "desire" to do His good
pleasure, which includes praying.
God admonishes us to "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon
Him while He is near" (Isa. 55:6). Many people, too late and to
their loss, have found that they did not respond to God "while He
was near" and now have no desire to pray. You simply do not shut God
out nor shove Him aside until a "more convenient season". You must
respond to Him while He is near. Some have so "quenched" or
"grieved" the Holy Spirit that they have no desire, no prompting by
Him, to pray or do anything else for God or for His glory.
These people are probably worse off than any others. Gratefully
there is a remedy, there is a reprieve for God promises "Draw near
to God and He will draw near to you" (Jas. 4:8). They need to take
the first step and rediscover that passion to pray. Isaiah expressed
it poignantly: "There is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs
himself up to take hold of You" (Isa. 64:7). What an indictment but
the grace of God provides an escape hatch. For the sake of the
kingdom of God they need to make a serious effort to "draw near to
4. They Are Worldly
A fourth reason people fail to pray is because of worldliness in
their lives. "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If
anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1
John 2:15). Complicity with the world will surely kill your appetite
to pray. Loving the attractions, allurements, and acceptance of this
world will cause your love for God and His kingdom to diminish. You
will never witness a worldly Christian who has a pressing passion to
pray. Worldly pleasures to the worldly parishioner are like candy to
an coddled child. When he eats candy, he loses his appetite for meat
and potatoes. The attitudes and actions of the lost world can kill
one's propensity toward prayer. The media, so out of control
today--television, movies, magazines, audio and videotapes, you name
them--have drastically deadened more appetites for God than all else
in present-day society.
Many of God's people have had their appetite for prayer prostituted
by some worldly pleasure, possession or person. They need to heed 2
Corinthians 6:17, "Come out from among them and be separate, says
the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you." "Do
not be deceived, evil company corrupts good habits" (1 Cor. 15:33).
It is better to be alone than in bad company. Some need to "put off,
concerning your former conduct the old man which grows corrupt
according to the deceitful lusts" (Eph. 4:22).
5. Because of Sin
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Ps.
66:18) bears repeating. You will never be sinless in this life, but
you must be blameless. We cannot be sinless but we can sin less. If
there is a covert and covered sin, unconfessed or unforsaken sin
that you know about, then you "regard" iniquity in your heart. God
not only will not answer your prayer, He will not hear your prayer.
Gratefully, there is a righteous remedy for "If we say that we have
no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." [A wise
word is, you will never submit to God what you never admit to
yourself] "If we confess our sins, He is faithful [because He
promised] and just [because Jesus suffered and died for our sins] to
forgive us our sins and to cleanse us [He forgives and forgets] from
all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8-9).
The devil tries to persuade people that their sin is too terrible
and that God could never forgive them. What a lie! Satan is the
father of lies, you know (see John 8:44). What about adultery?
Remember the woman at the well who had been married five times and
was living with a man right then to whom she was not even married.
Sounds like today, doesn't it. She went away forgiven. The woman
taken in adultery went away forgiven but she was told not to do it
again, "go and sin no more". What about murder? Think about the
terrible thief on the cross who pleaded for mercy. Jesus forgave
There is no excuse for sinning, but there is also no excuse for not
being forgiven for Christ died for our sins. He paid the debt in
full. Yet, if the sin has not been confessed and forsaken, the
believer will often feel forsaken of God. Like Adam and Eve, they
often run from and hide from God. They simply need to confess the
sin and claim the promise of God, by faith, that it is forgiven and
Remember when Joshua and Israel won that valiant victory at Jericho?
Then they turned around and got whipped to death at little old Ai.
Joshua began to intercede for Israel in prayer, but "The Lord said
unto Joshua, Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel hath
sinned" (Josh. 7:10,11). What had been done? They took some of the
loot. Some might call it a little sin. It is a great sin to tolerate
a little sin. "Sin now, pay later." There is no point in praying
until the sin is clear, confessed and cleansed. Many babes in Christ
are still bound by the grave clothes of their old lives and like
Lazarus need to shed the grave clothes. Jesus said "Loose him and
let him go". When sin has been forgiven and forsaken that person
will be loosed and let go to behold the blessing of God and to
acquire answers to prayer.
Why You Draw a Blank
The unanswered questions of life can haunt a person until he dies. We have all seen the "The Answer Book" or "What Everyone Wants To Know About (something) But Is Afraid To Ask." Well God has some answers and wants to relieve our minds to many of the "Whys" of life.
Once I heard a renowned seminary professor make this statement to his class, "I have never seen a miraculous answer to prayer." I could hardly believe my ears! Had this been said by an atheist or an agnostic or an anonymous Christian it might not be shocking but by a brilliant believer shocked the socks off us all.
Have you seen a miraculous answer to prayer? You might reply, "Certainly I pray." But do you receive answers? Have you recognized a divine intervention of God to meet that need or answer that prayer? Over the years I have heard hundreds admit to having no answers to prayer or no answers in a long time. Has the well run dry with you? Do you wonder why there are no answers? Do you inquire, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" (2 Kings 2:14). Have you even questioned the validity of prayer?
Some teach and preach that God answers every prayer of His children. Others feel that sometimes the answer is "wait a while." A reality check declares He will not even listen to certain people when they pray. The Psalmist cried out, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Ps. 66:18, KJV). There are prayers and people God refuses to hear, in fact, His face is set against them as stated in 1 Pet. 4:12, "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil". The people of God must recognize there are specific requirements and restrictions concerning prayer if they are to get their prayers answered. Let's delve into some issues and see why many "draw a blank" and seldom or never see answers to their prayers. Whatever you do, do not miss the last reason of this chapter why your prayer has not been answered yet.
No Answers Because You Don't Ask
Go back to this stellar statement, "you don't have because you don't ask" James 4:2. This isn't just hatched up. The consensus is that most Christians pray only two to five minutes a day and multitudes never pray at all. This seems preposterous but very probable! Many pray, but for the most part, they send up only a few quick emergency calls now and then. They dial God's "911" number. They pray only when they are in terrible trouble. Let's look at five reasons why many do not pray or do not "keep on asking" and thus get no answers.
What's The Use In
Asking? Why Pray?
No believer I have met has ever suggested we ought not to pray, but the fact is: we often do not pray or do not pray as we ought. Christians might ask, "What's the use in asking? What difference does it make? It does make a difference. Let's look at some treasured truths that may urge us to pray even more and, of course, more effectively.
1. That You Faint Not
"Men always ought to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1).The word "lose heart" is translated "faint" in the King James Version and "give up" in the New International Version. The danger is that we pray and, when the answer does not come "on time", on our schedule, we "faint" and give up. We become discouraged. This loss of heart, this fainting, can lead to disaster in the Christian life. This is why Jesus gave the parable of the widow who did not "lose heart" and "give up" but "continually", kept on coming with her request.
Prayer--consistent and continual prayer--is the antidote for spiritual fainting spells, for losing heart, for becoming discouraged and giving up. Just look around, and you will notice many churches filled with empty pews left vacant by fainting Christians. These fainting Christians need to remember that life is like a taxi meter, it keeps running whether we are getting anywhere or not.
Here is a startling statistic. The average length of time a Christian is faithful in church attendance is seven years. One thousand pastors of a major denomination leave the ministry each year. Some leave for retirement, but the vast majority move on because of a fainting spell. Thousands of students drop out of Christian colleges and seminaries each year. In an excellent Christian school, a counselor reported that every "dropout" he had counseled had quit having personal devotions before quitting school. They did not pray and they, too, had a fainting spell. When the going gets tough the tough get going.
"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint"
(Isaiah 40:31). They will not have a fainting spell! Every believer, whether in the pulpit or in the pew, needs spiritual strength that comes only through prayer. The admonition is, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). Like bears who store up fat for the hard winter days, the believers need a storehouse of grace for those times of need so they will not faint, will not lose heart, will not be discouraged, will not give up.
Because of the Fears of Life
Today we see "Men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth" (Luke 21:26). Sadly enough this is not only true concerning the sinners of the world but also of the saints of the church. "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You"
(Isaiah 26:3). The way to keep your mind stayed on the Lord is to "Pray without ceasing" (1
Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is powerful. It is the answer to a host of the problems of life.
God's answer for the fears of life is "Be anxious for nothing but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7). Every phrase in these verses is packed and stacked with fruitful help in prayer. God tells us not to be "anxious" about anything. So many of God's people are needlessly filled with anxieties!
What is the remedy? "In everything," in feast or famine, in sickness or health, in tribulation or triumph, pray! God pleads, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me" (Ps. 50:15). How do you pray when you are about to go under, when your ship is swamped, when you fall into all kinds of testings, when the bottom falls out, and the roof caves in?
First, you question God during the time of trouble. You can ask why, if you ask inquisitively but not accusatively. You can ask why is this happening to me to learn and profit from it but not ask why to accuse God of being unjust or unkind to you. The old saying, "ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die" is only partially true. It is imperative to ask why inquisitively so you do not miss what God has for you through this time of trouble.
Secondly, you simply "let your requests be made known to God." Just tell Him all about it. The results! Why, "the peace of God will guard your heart." This is the peace of God, not peace with God. Everyone must have peace with God before he can even pray and be heard for "we know that God does not hear sinners" (John 9:31). "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You"
(Isaiah 26:3). The way to keep your mind stayed on the Lord is to "Pray without ceasing" (1
Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is powerful. It is the answer to a host of the problems of life. "The peace of God passes all understanding." and all "misunderstanding" as well. Thirdly, you pray for deliverance for He said, "I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." Israel finally "prayed" while in trouble and God sent a deliverer, Moses. It is a mystery why it took so long for them to really pray for deliverance. There is no answer that I know of. It is incredible why so many Christians don't really pray or don't get the answer in their times of trouble. Maybe it is because they have not learned what God is trying to teach them or have not judged themselves yet.
Because of the Fun or Joy it Brings
Jesus propounded a formula for joy when He advised His disciples, "Until now you have asked nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24). Is your joy full? Is your cup running over? If not it may be because you are not "asking" and receiving. He offers fullness of joy. It does not come through the accumulation of possessions in this world. Howard Hughes proved that. It does not accrue through beauty and bounty. Marilyn Monroe proved that. It is not produced by popularity. Elvis Presley proved that. Jesus said it comes though "asking and receiving".
It is summed up in 1 John 1:3-4 when John penned these words, "That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full." How are we to have fullness of joy? Through fellowship with the Father and His dear Son, Jesus. Make time and take time to pray.
How important is this joy? Nehemiah 8:10 tells us "the joy of the Lord is your strength." Absenteeism from church is at an all time high. The dropout rate is staggering. The no-shows on any given Sunday are appalling. Those who are shipwrecked on life's sea are disasters. There are too many Christians who are too weak to make the trip successfully through life. What is the cure? Get your cup full by "asking and receiving" from God. Yes, "these things we write to you that your joy may be full."
4. Pray for Food
"Give us this day our daily bread" (Matt. 6:11). As pointed out in a previous chapter, "bread" as it is used here, in the Hebrew culture included daily needs. It is there for the asking. To recapitulate, "You do not have because you do not ask" (4:2). We are to obtain our daily needs by "asking." Nothing complicated about that, is there?
My wife and I took a cruise on a ship. The meals were included in the ticket. All we had to do was show up for the meals each day. Many slept in; others were at the gambling tables; some were too busy having fun; several just did not show up and missed some meals. But how tragic it is that many believers miss the succulent meals and gracious accommodations that are included in the ticket of salvation--and they are ours only through asking. "God offers no loaves for the loafers" in prayer.
Sometimes there are events where the tickets are free, but you must secure your tickets when and where you are directed before the event. God has already provided for our needs, but we must show up at the throne of grace "daily" and "ask".
Because of the Fight
Satan is alive and active. Realizing he has already been defeated by the cross and the open tomb, he is "raising cane" in these last days, as clearly prophesied by God's written Word. He is a busybody, up and at ‘em, every day. He takes no "time off" He never seems to sleep. He is unstinting in his horrendous holocausts around the world. The Bible cautions, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8,9). He is after you, He never gives up. He wants to devour you. You can count on it. As instructed, we must pray daily, "Deliver us from the evil one."
The Vietnam and Korean wars were colossal catastrophes, because war was never officially declared in either case. We never set out to win it. The same is true of the Christian's conflict today. A mass of Christians have never declared war with the devil, Tricky, cunning Satan is the craftiest guerrilla warrior in history, adept at sneaking up on our blind side, hitting us, and then running. In the flesh, Christians are no match for him whatsoever. Follow our Commander, the Captain of our salvation, and withstand the devil with our daily battle plan of prayer: "Deliver us from the evil one" (Matt. 6:13). The Lord Jesus spent considerable time in prayer as He prepared for His encounter with the devil. Shouldn't we?
5. For Favor with the Father
"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" was the response of the Father to His Son's obedience when He was baptized. Oh that God were well pleased with everyone of His children. "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and He ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (1 Peter 3:12). Those who please Him will get His favors. Those who don't, won't, His face is against them. Oh, the tragedy of what they miss. "I always do those things that please Him" said the Lord Jesus in John 8:29. Now, here is an awesome assertion, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:52). He "pleased" the Father and increased in "favor" with God and man. We must also by praying as He told us. An added dividend is that "When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" God tells us in
Proverbs 16:7. God has no favorites but He does have some intimates. Do you want His favors? Then obey and pray! "No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly", who obey and pray! (Psalms 84:11). This is an incontestable fact!
You probably recall the father who had two sons, as recorded in Matthew 21:28-31. He instructed them to go work in his field. The first one answered, "I will not," but afterward repented (changed his mind) and went. The second one replied, "I'll go," but never did. Now which one did the will of his father? The one who obeyed, of course. It is as simple as that. Walk by faith. Walk in obedience to the Father in heaven and get in on His favors. Santa Claus has absolutely zilch in his bag but "every good gift comes from the Father of lights".
You have looked at many a non-Christian who is mixed up and has messed up his life miserably and thought to yourself, if only he would come to Christ! If he only knew what he's missing! Jesus said to that woman at the well, "If you knew the gift of God... you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water" (John 4:10). There are countless Christians who are filled with problems and poverty, with virtually no power and purpose in their lives, and we think, if they only knew what they're missing! If they would only pray. If prayer were a priority. If they pleased the Father by praying as He taught.
"Come now, and let us reason together," says the Lord (Isaiah 1:18). Isn't all of this reasonable? Doesn't it make sense to obey and pray? Don't be complacent. YOU must respond and obey and pray. Don't worry about what others do. When Peter asked about John, Jesus said in essence, That is none of your business, "what is that to you, You follow me" (John 21:22). I am excited about each of you who is reading this right now. Follow the Lord, please the Father, you be different, lead the way, gain His favor, get good things and show the world and all of His family how wonderful He really is. You will make an impact in your family, in your church and in the world that will actually be more important than all the president does this whole year! I believe that with all of my heart.
KEY: The road is rough, there is reason enough to pray. The fainting, fearful and fleshly Christians have every reason to pray. Those who want the favor, food and fun the Father wants to give would be foolish not to pray. Read the menu and then put in your order!
"LET US REASON TOGETHER": Don't these reasons to pray make sense to you? They are right where you live. With these reasons given it is an absolute enigma whey we do not all pray more.
DECISION TIME: What are you going to do about it? Peter had fished all night and caught nothing but he said, "At Your word I will let down the net" (Luke 5:5) and he caught a multitude of fishes. "At His word" will you pray for the reasons He said? Make that decision to pray what He taught us to pray every day.