When God Doesn’t Answer Prayer

By John Thiel

Have you ever prayed for something earnestly and it doesn’t happen? How do you feel? Perhaps you have prayed for someone who is sick and you prayed in the name of Jesus and you really pleaded but instead of getting better they get worse and then they died. How did you feel? Apostle Paul had an experience like this. He had a thorn in his flesh that God did not take away.

2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Moses prayed and God said “don’t talk to me about that again.”

Deuteronomy 3:25 I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that [is] beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. 26 But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.

Do you feel disappointed and rejected and say “I want my way”?

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].

In his name is the condition. What does this mean?

Jesus said, “Ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you.” “I have chosen you: . . . that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.” John 16:26, 27; 15:16. But to pray in the name of Jesus is something more than a mere mention of that name at the beginning and the ending of a prayer. It is to pray in the mind and spirit of Jesus, while we believe His promises, rely upon His grace, and work His works. {SC 100.2}

But it is not always safe to ask for unconditional healing. Let your prayer include this thought: “Lord, Thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons; for Jesus, their advocate, gave His life for them. He loves them better than we possibly can. If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of these afflicted ones to raise them up to health, we ask Thee in the name of Jesus, that health may be given them at this time.” In a petition of this kind, no lack of faith is manifested. {CH 375.1}

The Lord “doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:33. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13, 14. He knows our heart, for He reads every secret of the soul. He knows whether or not those for whom petitions are offered would be able to endure the trial and test that would come upon them if they lived. He knows the end from the beginning. Many will be laid away to sleep before the fiery ordeal of the time of trouble shall come upon our world. This is another reason why we should say after our earnest petition; “Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done.” Luke 22:42. Such a petition will never be registered in heaven as a faithless prayer. {CH 375.2}

The apostle was bidden to write, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:13. From this we can see that all are not to be raised up; and if they are not raised to health they should not be judged as unworthy of eternal life. If Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, prayed, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me,” and added, “nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39), how very appropriate it is for finite mortals to make the same surrender to the wisdom and will of God. {CH 375.3}

Would they benefit from the restoration? How do you feel when God doesn’t answer your prayer or at all?

A True Story

We should pray for the sick and when we do we should pray that Gods will be done. There was a family in a very bad car accident. Their little girl was in hospital with severe injuries and the family pleaded earnestly that she would be restored. The minister of the church asked everyone to pray. God gave them what they wanted and returned the girl from a coma to full health. When she grew into a young lady she left her family and the LORD. What a grief for that family. God knew what would happen if she recovered her health and they could have been spared that grief.

What a wonderful thought it is that we, poor, fallen sinners, can become one with Christ, partakers of His divine nature, through His grace refined, purified, glorified. We may overcome, and sit down with . . . Christ. We are to be conformed to His image. He loves, and He will help us. We are to be passive in His hands. {TDG 202.3}

This is part of the exercise of praying to overcome

The very trials that test our faith most severely, and make it seem that God has forsaken us, are designed to lead us more closely to Christ, that we may lay all our burdens at His feet and experience the peace He will give us in exchange. You need a new conversion; you need to be sanctified through the truth and to become in spirit like a little child, meek and humble, relying wholly upon Christ as your Redeemer. Your pride and independence are closing your heart to the blessed influences of the Spirit of God and rendering it as unimpressible as the hard-beaten highway. You have yet to learn the great lesson of faith. When you surrender yourself entirely to God, when you fall all broken upon Jesus, you will be rewarded by a victory the joy of which you have never yet experienced. As you review the past with a clear vision, you will see that at the very time when life seemed to you only a perplexity and a burden, Jesus Himself was near you, seeking to lead you into the light. Your Father was by your side, bending over you with unutterable love, afflicting you for your good, as the refiner purifies the precious ore. When you have thought yourself forsaken, He has been near you to comfort and sustain. We seldom view Jesus as He is, and are never so ready to receive His help as He is to help us. {4T 220.1}

What a victory you will gain when you learn to follow the opening providences of God with a grateful heart and a determination to live with an eye single to His glory, in sickness or health, in abundance or want. Self is alive and quivering at every touch. Self must be crucified before you can overcome in the name of Jesus and receive the reward of the faithful. {4T 220.1}

We have trials that test us severely and make us think that God has forsaken us. We plead with the Lord and think he has forsaken us but that is designed to lead us more closely to him. Remember Job? He was really suffering. What did his wife say? Curse God and die. That mentality of if the Lord doesn’t answer my needs is a danger for us to receive an attitude to give up. Like with Moses and Paul the Lord did not answer their request. What a statement to make to Moses – don’t talk to me about this as Moses wanted to go into the Promised Land. He was wrath with Moses and said, don’t talk to me about it. I have said and that is it. How do you feel when you don’t get what you are really yearning for? Doesn’t that humiliate you? Does it make you fall passively into God’s hands?

You need a new conversion; you need to be sanctified through the truth and to become in spirit like a little child, meek and humble, relying wholly upon Christ as your Redeemer {4T 220.1}

Have you seen a child that wants its way and doesn’t it get it? He gets upset and then after a while it goes on. The Lord wants us as a little child meek and lowly.

Your pride and independence are closing your heart to the blessed influences of the Spirit of God and rendering it as unimpressible as the hard-beaten highway. You have yet to learn the great lesson of faith. When you surrender yourself entirely to God, when you fall all broken upon Jesus, you will be rewarded by a victory the joy of which you have never yet experienced. {4T 220.1}

If I want to find a joy which I’ve not yet experienced, fall passively into his arms. Surrender yourself entirely as there is nothing satisfying me and my spirit is all broken up. As you review the past with a clear vision, you will see that at the very time when life seemed to you only a perplexity and a burden, Jesus Himself was near you seeking to lead you into the light. In the most horrifying circumstances of my life, Jesus was there seeking to draw me.

As you review the past with a clear vision, you will see that at the very time when life seemed to you only a perplexity and a burden, Jesus Himself was near you, seeking to lead you into the light. Your Father was by your side, bending over you with unutterable love, afflicting you for your good, as the refiner purifies the precious ore. When you have thought yourself forsaken, He has been near you to comfort and sustain. We seldom view Jesus as He is, and are never so ready to receive His help as He is to help us. {4T 220.1}

He wants to help us different to what we want. I want the victory. We want to conquer as Jesus said we are to overcome as he overcame.

What a victory you will gain when you learn to follow the opening providences of God with a grateful heart and a determination to live with an eye single to His glory, in sickness or health, in abundance or want. Self is alive and quivering at every touch. Self must be crucified before you can overcome in the name of Jesus and receive the reward of the faithful. {4T 221.1}

Self must be crucified before you can overcome. I am praying to the Lord to help me overcome my weaknesses and get the victory over sin and I’m praying and praying and I don’t get the victory, should I give up? The reason why I’ve not got the victory over certain things in my life is because self is not totally crucified and the Lord has to wait as I’m pleading and praying for self to be broken up. The only way for self to be broken up is to fall into his hands. What is the answer to my prayer? I want to overcome and stop sinning. We try to keep the law but keep on fainting until we finally resign. I can’t do anything of myself, Lord take my life and keep it for I can’t. Until we are in that position we can’t gain the victory. The Lord doesn’t answer us according to our expectations.

Our walk with God is that we would be more humble. We have been humbled to a degree and we get a victory and the next minute we strutter around. In the ministry this is what happens. You are struggling to help souls and proclaim the truth and you are asking the Lord help and you are labouring hard and then comes the thrill that we have answers and I feel I am the answer to people’s problems. I can preach in a way no one else can preach. The moment we think like that we are down. I am nothing. Only when I am nothing can the Lord lead. My strength is manifest in weakness. I don’t have to prove anything and what position we are in, the Lord has designed this. This is what he said to the children of Israel. We have to be humble like them on their journey.

Deuteronomy 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, [and] to prove thee, to know what [was] in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

Weren’t the children of Israel humbled enough? Weren’t they already slaves in Egypt? He had to take them to the Promised Land in a journey of humiliation.

Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every [word] that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

We often quote this scripture that we must live by every Word but we miss the other bit before that. If I’m going to live by every Word that proceeds out of Gods mouth I must be in a position of total passive humility and not say I will pursue the path that I choose. God humbles us and causes us to hunger because blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. The only time I will be filled is if I hunger and thirst. The only way I will hunger and thirst is if I pray and nothing happens. The Lord often doesn’t answer our prayer till we are in a position to submit.

Elijah was praying for rain. He prayed seven times and had to be passive in the hands of the Lord. He had to learn to be patient even when it looked like nothing was happening. Each time he prayed he became more humble. The Lord said the rain would come and it didn’t so he prayed more and more. When self was nothing and God was everything and when that happened, the rain came. This is Gods purpose for us as he wants us to come to the position where his hand that is sustaining us is not interfered with when he is working with us. No lumps in the clay. It has to be soft and pliable as then he can mould us to his glory. Can you reflect back on your life? Do you know the experience of times where you were really confronted with that overwhelming sense of where is the Lord? When you resigned, and truly gave over, do you remember the victory? This is the experience of being passive in the Lords hands.

Amen.

Posted on August 13, 2010, in Prayer, Prayer Meeting Sermonettes, Sermons by John Thiel. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. nyc message i feel that i should always be humble and accept God1s will to prevail

  2. I so needed this….THANK YOU LORD JESUS!

  3. I enjoy reading this passage it’s very inspiring.Its all about humility, if we are not humble we are no way with God.

  1. Pingback: When God Doesn’t Answer Prayer (Reposted with permission of Sabbath Sermons) « The Christian Gazette

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