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How to Deal with Unanswered Prayer

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 18, 2022 9:00 am

How to Deal with Unanswered Prayer

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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August 18, 2022 9:00 am

We’re beginning a new series from Pastor J.D. that takes a look at the revolutionary teaching of Jesus regarding prayer.

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Today on Summit life with Katie Greer Jesus God in the flesh felt like he could do nothing on his own and so they drove him always to pray, why would you will not go throughout our lives with so little for we honestly think of ourselves as more capable than Jesus and less dependent on the father after author in legend JD. As always, I'm your host Molly which we are so glad you're back with us today.

All of Jesus's teaching on prayer can be summarized in one little word.

Ask me wisdom, ask me provision. Ask the healing ask, there's really no limit.

Just ask. We are beginning a new teaching series from Pastor JD today that takes a look at the revolutionary teaching of Jesus regarding prayer.

We'll see that the gospel of Jesus not only teaches us how to pray with boldness, desperation, interest also shows us that God is eager to listen ready to answer. Let's get into God's word together and start this series with a message titled how to deal with unanswered prayer. Most of us don't really have a healthy and robust prayer life, I'm not saying that because I'm judging you. I don't like you but diligent DA Carson says that if you really want to embarrass the average Christian just ask them to tell you the details of their private prayer life. A lot of us can impress others by our Scripture knowledge we can impress others by our evangelism stories, but we really start talking about the amount of time and how we seek God in prayer on a day by day basis. It's embarrassing. What's scary about this is that Jesus told us that apart from me you can do nothing in the main way that we access his power is the prayer so we got your Bible this week in Luke chapter 11 drug want you to begin to turn Luke who wrote the gospel that were going to study this week. Luke seems to go out of his way to show us some of this but the source of even Jesus is power was prayer Jesus of course was God. But Jesus declared in John 519.

I don't do anything by myself.

I only do what I see the father doing. That meant that Jesus's ministry. His ministry was not of his own initiative.

Jesus depended on the power of the father in him and through him and that was a power that Jesus access through prayer. So what Luke does throughout the gospel of Luke as he shows you that Jesus entire life at every stage was saturated with prayer he shows, for example, Jesus praying at his baptism with 321 in chapter 4 he shows us Jesus praying through his temptation by Satan in chapter 5 he tells us that Jesus often got a loan off by himself to pray in chapter 6, verse 12. He reveals that before Jesus chose a single one of his disciples, is for the whole night in prayer.

Chapter 9 verse 18 before he presents the disciples with the do or die question.

Who do you say that I am before he presents them with that he spends the morning and afternoon in prayer after they made their declaration putting their lives at risk when they say you are the Christ, the son of God. Luke tells us, he immediately takes him up into a mountain cloth by themselves to pray in chapter 18 verse one. Luke tells us that Jesus taught his disciples always to break in chapter 11. The disciples asked Jesus Lord, teach us to pray, which is interesting when you think about all that they had see after the sermons they heard the miracles they saw.

They didn't say teachers to preach or teach us to do miracles. They said teach us to pray because evidently baseball bat is the source of his power.

In chapter 22. Jesus promises Peter but he will pray for him during this hour of trial in the dinner chapter 22 Jesus commands his disciples to pray. So they will not fall into temptation.


Luke shows us that Jesus was last breath last breath was a prayer. The point that Luke seems to be making is this if Jesus God in the flesh felt like he could do nothing on his own and so that drove him always to pray, why would you and I go throughout our lives with so little prayer we honestly think of ourselves as more capable than Jesus and less dependent on the father and Luke second book, the book of acts in your Bible demonstrates that prayer was the foundation of the early churches ministry that will be apostles and sing of Jesus. That's what they do in acts. It was the secret behind all of their growth acts chapter 1 Bell devoted they'll join themselves constantly in prayer 242 they devoted themselves to prayer 424 they prayed for an outpouring of signs and wonders in the face of persecution. Acts six says that the apostles devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word, by the way both of those are considered ministries of the church.

It's not that the word is the ministry and prayers. What you do to get ready for the ministry of the word. It's that the ministry the Lord is one thing and the ministry of prayer is a ministry of the church fax 940 Peter prays for the sick Maxwell five. The church pray for Peter to be released 13 to their praying when God raises up missionaries to take the gospel into the world. 1423. They appoint elders to prayer. Luke includes a book a batch by describing Paul's ministry is preaching dealing and praying you can literally find the church in prayer in every single chapter of the book of acts. It was fundamental to what they did to see here is my concern. What was fundamental for the early church has become supplemental. It is something we now do to kind of help out the other ministries but we don't see it as the ministry of church we look at prayer as something we do on the way to ministry. The early church looked at prayer as the ministry and it shows right now told you before you see how when Jesus ascended into heaven he left the church and told him to pray. They pray for about 10 days there in the between acts one. In acts two. Peter stands up at the end that Sunni preachers for 10 minutes. 3000 people get saved I told you what we do as we pray for about 10 minutes. I prefer what feels like 10 days and three people get saved. In addition, we rearrange the zeros. What we find in acts is that it is more important to talk to God about people than it is to talk to people about God to the question is why is it you know this.

Why do we find it so difficult to pray most of us would point to a problem first place. Report is a problem with our self-discipline is a lot of credit for the same reason I work out enough and reasonably enough alfalfa sprouts to select self-discipline. So you're thinking that this first message. Here's my attempt to get you to make prayer a New Year's resolution this weekend. I want to humbly but accurately put forward a different primary reason that you don't pray like this could be a little painfully honest but I'm telling you it's the truth.

For many of us were just not sure how much good prayer actually does. I know I know nobody wants to admit this in church she sometimes you pray and things happen sometimes you pray and they don't. And sometimes you forget to pray in the thing you forgot to pray for happens anyway and you're like I'm not really sure there's any connection between me prayer not evident. That's why many of you struggle with pray to see. It's encouraging to me that in Luke 11 when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.

Luke 11 120 when they say, teach us to pray after Jesus gives them some some initial instructions about how to approach God. Jesus immediately listen to this tells a story that deals with the primary obstacle we have to pray that is on answered prayer like a set for many of you this is the reason that you stop praying maybe for some of you this is the reason you gave up on church and God altogether because years ago.

You pray for something and you just knew that God wanted you to have that you were sure of any loving God would take care of this and you prayed and prayed and prayed and it didn't happen. And it didn't happen and you can't make sense of that and you just gave up on God and church altogether. Clearly, Jesus was aware of that frustration because it was the first thing that he went to after he gave instructions about prayer that can give you some good news Flemings for you doubters out there that means there's nothing really wrong with you. It's not that you got here some strange evil, unbelieving person or you're just not cut out to be a Christian. Jesus recognize this was a natural question. He recognized it will be our biggest hang out with prayer to the very first thing he does is right it is me talk about unanswered prayer for a minute to tell you a story to address Luke chapter 11 verse five. He said it in. Here's a story which of you as a friend will go to him at midnight said him, friend, lend me three loaves for a friend of mine is arrived on a journey to late at night it's midnight and I've got nothing to set before him. Unfortunately you see in the first century Palestine, the 24 hour grocery stores are no late night taco bells or I guess falafel bells or whatever they would've called him back then in the first century, hospitality was huge. She never want to send away a friend who came to stay with you at night. You want some boy hungry so this guy goes over to his neighbor's house in Haiti. Got any anything to eat, he will answer him from within.

Don't bother me. The door is now shut my children are with me in bed.

I cannot get up and give you anything you a few of the details that will help you make sense of the story.

First, in a country without electricity. Midnight is really the middle of the night. Not like in Chapel Hill or NC State were midnight is still three hours before bedtime. These people went to bed at sundown because it was electricity so point is by midnight. This guy's been asleep for about four hours and he's thoroughly the midst of REM sleep type then notice it says that he is in bed with his children. In those days people lived in one room houses with one large bed area, and so everybody, slept in the same room together. In other words, in order to get bread. He has got to wake everybody up.

I do not have to tell you how irritating it would be to be at home with your foot, five kids and you're in one bedroom apartment and you finally got the last one quiet and in some dude starts banging on the door asking you for a favor when my kids were young we got that last one elderly breeze.

Nobody is allowed to call because I don't want to upset the back. Once there, by the way I love how Jesus starts the conversation friend Mike that's a really good word for that. God to use in that context is when you wake somebody up at midnight. That whole friendship is on thin ice right are detailed and noticed the man making the request here doesn't have an emergency. He's not like a my wife is Paul and she's bleeding out of years. He's like, hey, I had to guess show up unexpectedly and I'm not a pop tarts and I need to borrow some from you is not an emergency. It's it's just a request.

Finally the request that this man puts forward is exorbitant in those days, bread loaves were huge, and one loaf would feed a large family for the entire day. This guys not asking for one. These asking for three verse eight I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend back after this incident, probably not to be afraid anymore because of his impudence. Some of your translations a boldness or shamelessness there because of that he will rise and give him whatever he needs. In other words, you get your request, not because the other guy loves you was a friend because of your boldness and persistence in asking then Jesus continues.

So I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you seek and you will find knock and it will be opened unto you, that whole an analogy of knocking just reinforces the idea of persistent asking that met me when you not just walk toward it once there, my wife and I hit you hear a single solitary thought in the middle of the night, we don't assume somebody's not been missing when her kids fallen out of their bunk bed right so the ideal of knocking is you just hit and you keep on hitting Jesus is like when you pray not nobody comes to the door. Keep knocking you let them know it's no use delighted to be in all for you. You know their own and they know you know they know they're at home right and you're not going away because you're just one of those kind of people and you gonna stand there and you really keep knocking and you're not gonna let them sleep and they might as well give up and just, give you what you need because you cannot annoy them to death your glasses holds picture jive with the whole idea of God's sovereignty God's will give us the request want to give it to was the first time you asked for it.

Honestly, I'm not sure I have a couple ideas on shared a moment, but the point is very clear. Is it not God only gives some things in response to ongoing patient relentless persistent prayer you might write it down this way God delights to share his power with those who are bold enough to bother him consider right from her teaching for just a moment here on MetLife, you know, one way to be sure that you continually see God's word stature reading in your life is to sign up and participate in our daily email devotional from Pastor Jamie. We all use encouragement first thing in the morning or after work to remind us of God's plan. I note the busyness of life can quickly check out any joy that we feel in our walk with God. Remind ourselves moment by moment and is not in devotion to add and engage with his word even more. Sign up for this reading resource Jamie JD GR ballots return for the conclusion of today's message. Once again hold you place a look 11th Blvd., Luke 18 Luke 18 is I want to show you how Luke records.

This same teaching twice.

It's also the same parable basically to switch as the characters in it and the reason I think it records it twice is because this is such a common problem. The problem of unanswered prayer and so the teacher so counterintuitive what you strength each year. Looks like our only gives you getting something together first time locating verse one retold in the parable of the fact that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Here's a story this time in a certain city that was a judge leader fear God nor respected man. In other words, this is a bad dude is not the kind of guy you want to stay in import with and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying give me justice against my adversary for a while. He refused. But afterwards he said to himself, though I neither fear God nor respect man and it was unknown about it on her by God are people because this widow keeps bothering me give her justice just so she will not beat me down by her continual coming.

Then Jesus says, unbelievably, this is like praying to God is the only materialism about parables when you're hearing a parable. There's always some I the parable to represent you and somebody else in the parable represents God to the disciples listen to this and like okay in this parable who represents us will I be. She's gotta be the widow because she's among the need and that's like us, that would make God the unjust judge you didn't care about God are people I mean, seriously, all who would Jesus could get away with that analogy right I'm he's comparing God to this crooked old grumpy judge to only gives the woman what she needs because she won't stop annoying him.

The point is really straightforward. If you want something from God. Just keep banging on the door eventually got a respond you, not because he loves you. But just because you are bothering him to death.

I'm honestly right. Is there any other way that you can read the parable am I doing any injustice of the text here. Is there any other point is to be made. Jesus's point. You see, listen, listen, this Jesus point is not to compare God to an unjust judge's point is to contrast him with one and what Jesus is saying is this even an unrighteous selfish judge would grant answers because of persistent relentless asking and even a sleeping, stingy friend will eventually get up and give you your request, how much more will your heavenly father who does love and care for you and constantly watches over you, how much more will he get up and give you what you need when you persistently come to him and ask him right back to Luke 11 through these parables Jesus is going to teach us for important things, dare I say crucial things about how you and I should break number one we should pray desperately we should pray desperately. Both of the characters in the stories are desperate both of them are entirely out of options. The hungry man has nowhere else to turn their grocery stores and or Taco Bell the wrong woman has nowhere else to turn for just that she is poor she got no husband. She got in her defender.

This judge is her only hope one of the things that keeps us from praying, listen, maybe the main thing is our failure to recognize how utterly desperate we are. For God so you see as Americans we are the can do people we are a people who assume that given enough time and energy. We can figure out the solution anything I mean right it's right there in her name. America can were not American ants were mere chance. We got books for dummies on every possible subject. I've even got a book in my library called God for dummies we can thought when you break anything down. We just figure it out.

We become capable we are a DIY people and that's good in most areas.

It's good in most areas is given us a lot of success, but it is deadly when you're dealing with a God who says, apart from me you can't really do anything of lasting significance. Paul Miller, who wrote a book called the praying life are probably the best book on prayer that I have ever read. Personally, I would heartily committed to you. But Paul Miller says this was in this. If you are not pray for those you who struggle to maintain an ongoing robust for life.

If you're not praying.

Here's the diagnosis you're quietly confident time money in town are all you need in life you never say that you said that allow that's what you think in your heart you always be a little too tired a little too busy to pray but if, like Jesus, you realize you can do life in your own in the matter how busy, no matter how tired you are.

You will always find the time to pray for my wife and I've experienced this in parenting first became apparent. Some 14 years ago I read about every possible book I could get my hands on the subject parent because my philosophy was this if I can become an expert in Christian parenting.

If I can figure it out but I will be able to guarantee that my kids will turn out right but maybe the most impacting book I read during that season was by Elise Fitzpatrick was a little book she wrote called, give them grace and she said most books on Christian parenting have this philosophy. Here the principles if you do this, a BNC and this is what will happen right hasn't exactly. That's exactly what I'm looking for right there, she did.

Here's the problem with that philosophy. God was a perfect father and one third of the angels and the only two humans he directly created all rebelled and she's like you really thought your to be able to out technique God is appearance.

She says the really dangerous problem with this kind of thinking though with thinking that there's a foolproof way. Parenting is it keeps us from the one thing we most desperately need and that is to daily cast ourselves down at the feet of Jesus looking to him for his mercy in our kids lives to do what we cannot do.

She says I did my best parenting by prayer. I begin to speak less of the kids and more to God about the kids prayer she said is not just preparation for the ministry of parenting. Prayer is the most important element in the ministry of parenting to build a whole book around this passage in first Peter five for Peterson's humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, humble yourselves in prayer and said that at the proper time. He will exalt you cast all your anxieties is apparent on him because he cares for you and she asked the question who is it that does the exalting who raises your kids upright you. You by your great principles.

No it is God. My hope for my kids is not in my parenting skill, not even in the skills I learned from the Bible. It's in the grace of God, who will himself raise them up. My hope for my marriage is not a good Christian techniques and relationships as important as those are at the end of the day.

My hope is in God's grace.

My hope for our success as a church lies not in mastering the right strategy or in our talent. It's entirely in God's grace when it comes to my kids. All the best picture the Bible of me is the dad but dad, and in the in the Gospels who brings his little girl to Jesus and says I can't help her.

Nobody can help her. She said I can only you can help. Are you gotta do in her heart when I can't do no skill not even biblical skill is sufficient. Scripture says person is the manage trust in man is made, the arm of the flesh his strength. One of the ironic ways that we can trust and then is we can master biblical principles and think that those by themselves guarantee spiritual life.

Jesus did not save us by teaching us principles he saved us by giving us resurrection power.

It is a tragedy to master the principles and then forget the relationship that gives them life. Yes, you should learn the principles, but most of all, most of all, you should cast yourselves on the mercy of God in prayer. That's where I hope it is who will himself lift us up and establish us. That realization by itself is enabled Veronica and me to have a more regular prayer time together and I got relatively speaking, I'm fairly self disciplined person for for years Veronica and I struggled to have a time. We consistently pray together even with all the self-discipline I could muster. Now that we got four kids approaching the teenage years. We pray together all the time. Seriously, it's not discipline it's desperation the core of effective prayer is desperation, not discipline. That's where the core is that's where you should be looking to let me to say this really privately before I move on to number two.

Some of you should probably therefore focus less on setting a wall, morning prayer time and more on just teach yourself to pray about everything because of how much you know you need God's help not only be clear and establish morning and/or evening time is good and important. Also, if you do it for a long time but I think it's even better to learn to pray over everything throughout the day. One of my prayer heroes. You say that he never in his life was in this pray for longer than 20 minutes, yet he also said he said I never went longer than 20 minutes without pray. I think that's actually a healthier attitude than the person who prays for an hour out of self-discipline and then charges throughout the day without thinking much about their needs constantly of the power of God, prayer is desperation, not discipline. That is an important distinction. This is Summit life. The teaching ministry of Pastor Jamie Greer if you enjoyed today's program or if you want to hear more encouragement just like you can find us or in your favorite podcast that said this month we are offering a bundle of three prayer bugs and one of them is titled the high things to pray for your kids. Our culture says that the most important things for children are education good health treats entertainment and material things get, as Christians, we know that a child spiritual health is the most important thing so we need to pray for them, but when we start this but can be used in any number of ways work through it as a part of your daily quiet time or you can pick it up whenever a particular need arises. Maybe even pray some of these things with your children.

It's worth stepping out of the busyness of life for five minutes to pray meaningfully for your child, grandchild, godchild or kids in your church. Please let to hear from you and get bundle of three prayer backs will send a set today as our way of saying thanks for your financial get $35 or more to support this ministry. Give us a call at 866-335-5220 or go online to get and request your copy Jamie and our website and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter ministry update information on new resources and Pastor Jamie latest blog post delivered straight to your inbox. A great way to stay connected with Senate life when you go teaching I'm all even if it's inviting you to join us again tomorrow when we continue our series, on Senate life. Your ministry

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