Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘unanswered prayer’

Unanswered Prayer

Have you ever prayed for something for someone that you, yourself, also needed or desired, and your prayers for them were answered, but not yours for yourself? That can be extremely disheartening and can cause one to cry out, “What’s wrong with my prayers, Lord?” This happened to Abraham in Genesis 20:17.

Abraham and Sarah, you may recall were childless. When Abraham was 75 years old, God promised Abraham that his descendants that would occupy the Promised Land (Genesis 12:7; 13:15). God also promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous and the dust upon the earth (Genesis 13:16) and the stars in the sky (15:5). God promised that from Abraham would come great nations and kings (Genesis 17:6) and these would come from Sarah as well (Genesis 17:16). When the time drew nigh, God even told them that Sarah would have a child within the year (Genesis 18:10). But it had been 24 years, and it hadn’t happened yet, and Sarah wasn’t even pregnant…

At that time Abraham and Sarah moved to the Philistine city of Gerar (Genesis 20:1). And Abraham, still in his “self-preservation mode” told Abimelech, the king, that Sarah was his sister. Abraham’s lies continued to roll easily off his tongue (see Genesis 12:11ff).

As had happened with Pharaoh (Genesis 12:11ff) God preserved Sarah, pure, and revealed to Abimelech that Sarah was Abraham’s wife. Apparently Abimelech, his wife, and his whole household of slaves were barren (Genesis 20:17). Perhaps this is the reason he was so anxious to take Sarah into his harem – this was another chance at an heir. (Little did he know that Sarah, too, was barren!)

“But God…” (Genesis 20:3) How thankful we can be for the times in the Bible when we read, “But God…” (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 1:27; Ephesians 2:4, just to name a few). But God came to Abimelech, a Philistine king, a pagan, and warned him that Sarah was Abraham’s wife. God’s mercy… Abimelech did not know the Lord, but God came to him anyway – not to save Abimelech, but to preserve Sarah, pure. God works through unbelievers for the sake of His own.

“Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children” (Genesis 20:17). The very thing that Abraham and Sarah wanted desperately was the same thing that Abimelech wanted – children. Abraham prayed for Abimelech and his household and God answered the prayer… Meanwhile – Sarah was still not with child.

When I read that I had to wonder how Abraham felt. Here he and Sarah had waited 24 years. God had promised and promised and Abraham knew that God would provide a child (and the very belief of God’s promise was what saved Abraham, Genesis 15:6 “And he believed in the Lord, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness) but it hadn’t happen yet…

I’ve experienced that. I have prayed for others and had the prayers answered, while my prayers for myself have gone unanswered. It can be very painful. So painful, in fact that I have cried out…

I cannot, not pray.

I can no sooner not breathe than I can not pray.

For indeed, not breathing would mean death, and that’s the only thing that can stop me from praying.

But I cannot, not pray.

Believe me, I’ve tried.

I’ve kicked at gravels in the driveway and I’ve swung my fist through the air, and I’ve cried with the prophet Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:2) “How long, Oh Lord will I cry for help and You will not hear?”

I’ve cried, “How, Oh Lord, can I pray for others when I can’t see answers to my own prayers? How long can I keep telling others that I’ll pray for them when in my own life I hear only silence?”

How long, oh Lord, how long?

“I know!” (I’ve said in my frustration) “I’ll just quit praying. What’s the point anyway? If God’s will is going to be done – regardless of my praying, then why pray? Why worry about it? I’ll just leave it all up to His sovereign will.”

But the next thing I know, I’m talking to God and I “hear” in my spirit, “I thought you weren’t going to pray anymore.”

And I cannot, not pray.

Answers come (or they don’t; at least not that I can see) and I eventually kneel with the prophet Habakkuk and say, (Habakkuk 3: 17-18) “Even though the fig tree doesn’t blossom and there’s no fruit on the vines; even though the olive may fail and the fields produce no food; even though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls,

Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

Because, I cannot, not pray.

We don’t know how Abraham felt – we only know that Abraham was faithful. Yes, he messed up. Yes, he sinned. Yes, he trusted in himself – but he was still faithful in his praying for others when God prompted him to pray (Genesis 20:7; 17). And when God’s time was right (Genesis 21:1-2) Sarah conceived and bore a son.

All we can do – is be faithful. When God prompts us to pray for someone – we… must… pray.

Prayer:

Gracious God, forgive me in my failure to respond to Your promptings to pray for someone because I haven’t yet received an answer to my prayer for myself. Timing is everything! “In the fullness of time…” (Galatians 4:4) when your timing is perfect, You will answer prayer. Who am I to question Your timetable? God forgive me. I beg this in the precious Name of the One who came – “In the fullness of time…” Amen.

 

Read Full Post »

A new devotional/study (for a change!)

 

Unanswered Prayer

 

Have you ever prayed for something for someone that you, yourself, also needed or desired, and your prayers for them were answered, but not yours for yourself? That can be extremely disheartening and can cause one to cry out, “What’s wrong with my prayers, Lord?” This happened to Abraham in Genesis 20:17.

 

Abraham and Sarah, you may recall were childless. When Abraham was 75 years old, God promised Abraham that his descendants that would occupy the Promised Land (Genesis 12:7; 13:15). God also promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous and the dust upon the earth (Genesis 13:16) and the stars in the sky (15:5). God promised that from Abraham would come great nations and kings (Genesis 17:6) and these would come from Sarah as well (Genesis 17:16). When the time drew nigh, God even told them that Sarah would have a child within the year (Genesis 18:10). But it had been 24 years, and it hadn’t happened yet, and Sarah wasn’t even pregnant…

 

At that time Abraham and Sarah moved to the Philistine city of Gerar (Genesis 20:1). And Abraham, still in his “self-preservation mode” told Abimelech, the king, that Sarah was his sister. Abraham’s lies continued to roll easily off his tongue (see Genesis 12:11ff).

 

As had happened with Pharaoh (Genesis 12:11ff) God preserved Sarah, pure, and revealed to Abimelech that Sarah was Abraham’s wife. Apparently Abimelech, his wife, and his whole household of slaves were barren (Genesis 20:17). Perhaps this is the reason he was so anxious to take Sarah into his harem – this was another chance at an heir. (Little did he know that Sarah, too, was barren!)

 

“But God…” (Genesis 20:3) How thankful we can be for the times in the Bible when we read, “But God…” (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 1:27; Ephesians 2:4, just to name a few). But God came to Abimelech, a Philistine king, a pagan, and warned him that Sarah was Abraham’s wife. God’s mercy… Abimelech did not know the Lord, but God came to him anyway – not to save Abimelech, but to preserve Sarah, pure. God works through unbelievers for the sake of His own.

 

“Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children” (Genesis 20:17). The very thing that Abraham and Sarah wanted desperately was the same thing that Abimelech wanted – children. Abraham prayed for Abimelech and his household and God answered the prayer… Meanwhile – Sarah was still not with child.

 

When I read that I had to wonder how Abraham felt. Here he and Sarah had waited 24 years. God had promised and promised and Abraham knew that God would provide a child (and the very belief of God’s promise was what saved Abraham, Genesis 15:6 “And he believed in the Lord, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness) but it hadn’t happen yet…

 

I’ve experienced that. I have prayed for others and had the prayers answered, while my prayers for myself have gone unanswered. It can be very painful. So painful, in fact that I have cried out…

 

I cannot, not pray.

I can no sooner not breathe than I can not pray.

For indeed, not breathing would mean death, and that’s the only thing that can stop me from praying.

 

But I cannot, not pray.

Believe me, I’ve tried.

I’ve kicked at gravels in the driveway and I’ve swung my fist through the air, and I’ve cried with the prophet Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:2) “How long, Oh Lord will I cry for help and You will not hear?”

 

I’ve cried, “How, Oh Lord, can I pray for others when I can’t see answers to my own prayers? How long can I keep telling others that I’ll pray for them when in my own life I hear only silence?”

 

How long, oh Lord, how long?

 

“I know!” (I’ve said in my frustration) “I’ll just quit praying. What’s the point anyway? If God’s will is going to be done – regardless of my praying, then why pray? Why worry about it? I’ll just leave it all up to His sovereign will.”

 

But the next thing I know, I’m talking to God and I “hear” in my spirit, “I thought you weren’t going to pray anymore.”

And I cannot, not pray.

 

Answers come (or they don’t; at least not that I can see) and I eventually kneel with the prophet Habakkuk and say, (Habakkuk 3: 17-18) “Even though the fig tree doesn’t blossom and there’s no fruit on the vines; even though the olive may fail and the fields produce no food; even though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls,

Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

 

Because, I cannot, not pray.

 

 

We don’t know how Abraham felt – we only know that Abraham was faithful. Yes, he messed up. Yes, he sinned. Yes, he trusted in himself – but he was still faithful in his praying for others when God prompted him to pray (Genesis 20:7; 17). And when God’s time was right (Genesis 21:1-2) Sarah conceived and bore a son.

 

All we can do – is be faithful. When God prompts us to pray for someone – we… must… pray.

Gracious God, forgive me in my failure to respond to Your promptings to pray for someone because I haven’t yet received an answer to my prayer for myself. Timing is everything! “In the fullness of time…” (Galatians 4:4) when your timing is perfect, You will answer prayer. Who am I to question Your timetable? God forgive me. I beg this in the precious Name of the One who came – “In the fullness of time…” Amen.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: