What If Our Prayers Go Unanswered?

Prayer

James wrote, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). With this in mind, many people pray to God hoping that their prayer will be answered. They want to have a divine response that is visible and tangible. When we pray for the sick, we want to see the sick recover. When we pray for someone’s safe travel, we want to see that they reach their destination without incident. When we pray for help finding a job, we want to actually find a job. There are many other examples as well. We pray and let our “requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Since “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much,” we expect to see – at least some of the time – real and positive responses from God to our prayers.

But what if we do not see this? What if our prayers, as far as we can tell, go unanswered? This is likely something that most of us have perceived at some point. It can be discouraging, but we should not allow it to shake our faith in God. After all, Paul wrote, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). It does not say that true faith comes as a result of something happening that we determine must be God’s answer to our prayer. Sadly, many allow their faith to be either established or shattered based upon their own labeling of certain events as being God’s answers to their prayers. This is purely subjective. This is not true Bible faith.
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Balm of Gilead

By Deror_avi - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36512852

We sometimes sing the song, “Did You Think to Pray?” In one of the verses, it mentions the “Balm of Gilead.” This may be an unfamiliar term to us. What exactly is the Balm of Gilead? In order to have a better understanding and appreciation for the words we are singing, let us notice what the Bible says about it.
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Making the Most of Your Time

Pocket Watch

Each one of us is busy with obligations and responsibilities that have been placed upon us and that we have taken upon ourselves. Our lives can be hectic and we sometimes wonder how we will ever have time to do what we need to do. This is just as much of a challenge for Christians as it is for anyone else.

Paul provided some instructions about time management that would be good for us to heed:

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

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God Knows What We Need Before We Ask

Prayer

In teaching about prayer, Jesus taught to avoid using “meaningless repetitions.” He explained that using “many words” does not mean that God is going to hear us any better (Matthew 6:7).

Jesus went on to explain one reason why repeating the same words over and over is meaningless: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8).
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Whose Prayers Are Answered?

Tim Haile has written a good and concise article on prayer and the conditions we must meet for God to hear our prayers – “Whose Prayers Are Answered?

“The initial response of most people to this question will be that “God answers the prayers of all people.” And while it would be quite comforting to believe this, the Bible actually teaches something very different. God has given certain rules and guidelines that govern prayer…”

Read the rest of the article here – Whose Prayers Are Answered?

The Christian and Civil Government

Capitol Building

Christians are “aliens and strangers” in this world (1 Peter 2:11). While we live here in the nations of men, “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). However, even though we are a separate people (1 Peter 2:9), we cannot help but live among those in the world (1 Corinthians 5:9-10). So wherever we are, we must live under some form of human government. How then is the Christian to respond to and use the civil government?
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The Lord’s Prayer in the Garden

Jesus in the Garden

Shortly before His arrest, trials, beatings, and crucifixion, Jesus spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane praying to the Father. Some interpret this prayer in such a way as to try and show that Jesus was praying that He might escape death. They say that this was a moment of weakness for Jesus and describe Him as being in dread of the cross. They depict Jesus (perhaps unwittingly) as if He were some miserable coward. Can such an interpretation be correct?

Notice Matthew’s account of the Lord’s prayer:

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there to pray.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’ […] He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matthew 26:36-39, 42).

After reading of His prayer, let us seek to answer this question: Did Jesus wish to avoid the cross?
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