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Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayer?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 16, 2022 9:00 am

Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayer?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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August 16, 2022 9:00 am

Through Jacob, we learn that many of the blessings of God are released into our lives only through persistent, unrelenting prayer.

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Today on Summit life with Judy Greer as a pastor I will tell you up on the people don't have a problem with writing almost every Christian on the right. The problem is what I don't see a lot of answers for the things your brain for so they give up the prayer does work. The problem is not a prayer problem is a persistent problem in this text addresses that pastor out there and religion Judy Greer. I'm your host Molly made a batch today.

Pastor Ginny tells the story of Jacob man who began his life as a deceiver and his life with the land right in the middle actually wrestled with God and received an unimaginable blessing. As a result, Jacob provided a model for all of us who have ever waited on God to answer us through Jacob.

We learned that many of the blessings of God are released into our lives. Only through persistent unrelenting prayer. Be sure to stay 10 to the end. To learn more about our latest resource a set of three prayer books meant to go alongside this current teaching series on the program you can give us a call at 866-335-5220 or visit for more information, but now let's jump into today's message titled why doesn't God answer my prayer and Bible Genesis 32 in her book particles and those you love them, Ruth, Bill Graham, Billy Graham's wife tells the story of waking up in the middle of the night worried for one of her children how to know if you know this but Billy and Ruth Graham who arguably works with the most significant Christians of the 20th century had particles in their family. Most notoriously, their oldest son Franklin, who for many years ran from God heart.

She says it was around 3 o'clock in the morning when the name of someone that I love dearly flashed into my mind. She said it came into my mind like an electric shock. Instantly I was wide awake under there will be no more sleep for me for the rest of the night so I lay there and I pray for the one who was trying hard to run from God.

She says when it is dark and the imagination runs wild there are fears that only a mother can understand suddenly said she said in that place of darkness and fear and worry.

She said a voice spoke to me and said quit studying the problems start studying the promises that might be our theme for this morning.

Quit studying problems start studying the promises, because that's where true tenacity and prayer is inspired the Bible. I have told you is a book of more than 3000 different promises and effective prayer begins with unearthing each of these promises one by one, praying them back to God. It's what we say. You should not merely read the Bible, read your way to the Bible, you should pray your way to the Bible. Today I want to talk about wrestling with God in prayer and refusing to give up.

We're going to use one of my favorite Old Testament stories and that is the story of Jacob wrestling with God recorded in Genesis 32. As we turn there. Let me just point out to you before we get to Genesis 32 that one of the most predominant themes in Jesus's teaching on prayer was the need to persist to cling to the promises to wrestle with God and refuse to give up. It was so central that Luke summarized one of Jesus's parables this way and appointing us up for Genesis 32 don't want you to write off Genesis 32 today is your some weird Old Testament story that was gonna bizarre as a sort of a one-off. This was a dominant theme in Jesus is teaching here so he summarized Luke summarized one of Jesus's parables now.

He told them this parable on the need for them to pray always, and not give up.

This is what is trying to teach me how to pray and not give up and illustrate this. He tells a story about a widow who needs a judge to give her justice, but the judge ignores her because she don't have enough money to hire a lawyer and he's kind of a jerk who doesn't really care about doing the right thing. Just because it's the right thing and so Jesus says this woman because she cannot get justice camps outside of the judge's house and every time the judge goes anywhere work grocery store to the gym.

She pesters him about her need watch this watch is Jesus is for a while. This judge was unwilling, but later he said to himself, even though I don't fear God or respect people yet because this widow keeps pestering me. She won't leave me alone.

I'll give her justice so that she doesn't wear me out by her persistent coming and then Jesus says quite unbelievably, this is how you should pray to God.

Now his point. Of course, is not to compare G compare God to an unjust judge's point is to contrast them with one and he is saying is even an unjust judge will respond to persistence, how much more will your heavenly father you see, in contrast to this poor widow. You and I have a heavenly father who loves to hear from us. He's not an unjust judge you there neither for God or for us. He is so in touch with us and back that he knows what I hear Baltimore heads and bodies us so much that he sent his son to die for us, but some blessings even in that kind of relationship you some blessings he grants only to persistence and asking today were to look at one of the clearest pictures of that of the whole Bible is the story of Jacob wrestling with God. By the way, I've always heard that everything that you really need to know about God can be found in the book of Genesis.

Every core doctrine.

Every beautiful truth. Every essential Christian practice. It's all in the book of Genesis and the rest of the Bible just basically expands on the themes I get introduced in the first book that is certainly true. What were going to look at today. Prayer is a major major theme in the book of Genesis.

It appears in the most dramatic of ways again and again, we saw it last week we looked at Genesis 18 and 19th about Abraham and Lot but don't miss the significance of this in the very first book of the Bible. The books is gonna lay out the foundation for all of the rest of the books and everything else it's taught God establishes the primacy and the agency of prayer and how he does his work on earth. Genesis 32 Jacob, the grandson of Abraham is in quite a pickle engine is alerted to his brother. He thought about the killing and this is the culmination of a 30 year grudge. Let me explain.

For a moment how he got there okay the backup of your job. Research appoints evidence me walk you up to Genesis 32. As I got there, Jacob had been a jerk for most of his life. As I got there. Most significantly, he cheated his twin brother Esau out of the birthright birthright. In those days was the right to officially carry on the family name usually came with upwards of two thirds of the father's wealth and always want to the oldest son Esau and Jacob were twins, but Esau was over by a couple of minutes right so here's how it went down how Jacob got the birthright Esau and Jacob. They were twins were very very different. Esau was tough. He was macho. He was the man's man kind of guy at the text tells us that he was Harry and he liked to hunt at today he would be the kind of guy probably love football drives a Ford Raptor and and has hair poking out the top of his shirt. The text tells us that Jacob I contrast had smooth skin and he liked to cook right up. Which meant he was more than indoors the kind of guy today. He'd probably be the kind of guy who watches the bachelor drives a Mini Cooper and as a Pinterest account okay I see you contrast one day when they were teenagers. Esau comes in from hunting and he's powerful hundred Jacob had just finished brewing up a pot of stew. And so Esau asked him if he could have a have a bowl of of of soup. Jacob, who is very crafty since in a moment of opportunity, says sure I'll trade you something for and Esau said like what. And Jacob says how about you birthright which is an insane ask, but Esau being a teenager and thinking impulsively. As teenagers are prone to do, not have been a well-developed frontal cortex and all and being hungry on top of that said will sure. I mean, what good is my birthright if I die of hunger right now thought to be really good. Then, so they shook on it and Jacob says no take bags and Esau effectively relinquishes his birthright for a few years passed by, and their dad Isaac is about to die and so Isaac, you probably did not know anything about this deal and would have ignored it as a stupid teenager thing if he had known once to formally confirm the blessing on to Esau. So we asked Esau to go out and hunt him up some venison and bring it back and prepare it so they can eat together and he can formally confer the blessing of the birthright on the hip and so Esau leaves to go hot now, Isaac by this point is old and you can barely see or hear anymore, so Jacob thinks here's my chance.

One thing I forgot to tell you. Esau was Isaac's favorite of the twins and Jacob was his mama. Rebecca's favorite Jacob run to get his mama Rebecca's help, while Esau is away hunting and she says Genesis 27, four verse eight. Now my son listen to me and do exactly what I tell you go out to the flock and bring the two choice young goats and I will make them into a delicious meal for your father because he loves him just the way he likes it, then taken to your father to eat so that he may bless you before he dies.

Then Rebecca verse 15, to the best close of her older son Esau's closet got some of his favorite outfits and had her younger son Jacob put them on November 16.

She put the scans of the young goats on his hands and the smooth part of his neck not count as the sure what that says about Esau, but the look and smell like him you would type pieces of a dead goat to your neck and arms but at any rate, were 17 to then hands the delicious food in the bread she had made to her son Jacob. Jacob takes it back in the Isaac disguises his voice culturally deeply and presents himself as Esau will somehow miracle of miracles, they pull it off, and Isaac mistakingly confers the blessing on the Jacob and in those days, once the blessing of the birthright had been formally bestowed couldn't take it back. So when Esau gets home he finds out Jacob has hi sit him. He vows to kill Jacob will Jacob is scared of Esau anyway and so he flees and he is gone for 30 years now Jacob turns out to be pretty resourceful and through a combination of hard work and a lot more trickery.

He becomes really really wealthy is named Jacob by the way, literally means in Hebrew grasp or and the reason I got that name was because when he and his brother were coming out of Rebecca's womb, Esau, like I told you came out first but it says that when Esau came up first. Jacob little hand came out right after Esau left the womb can grab a hold of his heel as if the sale did back in here.

I wanted to come out first so his parents called him grass for but the name Jacob can also mean deceiver answered those two words, grasp or and deceiver pretty well sum up Jacob's life and if your name is Jacob. This morning I sincerely apologize for bringing it out right now but it iterates somewhere during this 30 years that he's gone, God begins to work in Jacob's life. In chapter 31, God appears to Jacob 31 verse three and says go back to the land of your ancestors and your family and I I will be with you now to make a long story, really short, Jacob gets right with God.

So he obeys. And so he starts his long journey home.

But as Jacob is getting close to his birthplace, a place remember that he had been for over 30 years.

He starts to wonder is Arthur wonder what Esau is going to say is Esau still met. Maybe he's forgotten about bowl thing and suddenly he gets word that Esau has come out to greet him with 400 armed men, which is not a kind of group that you bring a welcome party is the kind of group that you bring from master so clearly. Jacob understands Esau has not gotten an answer, Jacob plunges into despair you have questions about why your prayers are answered.

We all do so were thankful for solid biblical wisdom to give us hope in this moment will return to our teaching here on Senate life in just a moment, but I wanted to share a little bit more about our current resource does not weave three bucks each. Called five things to pray they will cover how to pray for your city and community how to pray effectively.

Figure how to lift up your parents and prayer to your learning here on the program this week and truly personal by reaching out today in support of this ministry calling 866-335-5220 or go online to James and reserve your copy today. Now let's get back to today's message with pastor Jamie Greer here on my so he prays Genesis 32 verse 90 God, God my father, Abraham, God of my father, Isaac, old Lord who said to me return your country into your candid tender that I may do you good little year was doing see it, I hope I've taught you that the recognizes she was doing.

He's holding God's words back up in front of God got you said you said return to your homeland and I will do you good verse 10. I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love in all the faithfulness that you have shown your servant.

Please deliver me from the hand of my brother Esau from the hand of Esau brought fear him, that he may come and attack me verse 12, but you said you said I will surely do you good to make your offspring like the sand of the sea which cannot be numbered for multitude you see the second time he's holding God's word back up in front of anything God, you promised you said this Jacob keeps praying to God like this all through the night sometime in the middle of the night. Verse 24, a man notice the capitalization. By the way a man came and wrestled with Jacob until dawn, when the man saw that he could not win the match with Jacob. He touched Jacob's hip and knocked it out of joint. The socket God's finisher signature finishing move is that flick but what do you know how painful that would've been if you've had a finger pulled out a joiner sold without a joint regime that the rapidly okay.

I've never had happened. I don't want to happen because people that have had that happen. States unbelievably painful and the largest joint in your body is your hip and this guy just touches it with his finger and knocks it out of joint to the question you're supposed to ask is this strange man has that kind of power. How in the world did you lose the wrestling match to Jacob right verse 26 and the man said let me go bring it dawn again this guy so powerful they just touched Jacob's hip and knock it out of socket but he's pinned and he asked asked permission to leave one of the world is going on here, but Jacob panted I will not let you go unless you bless me know. Imagine how much pain Jacob is in his hip is out of socket but he won't let go. I will let you go I got no other alternatives. I'm desperate. I want you going to you bless me. Verse 27 muffin partisans were what is your name. The man asked. He replied Jacob okay will sidebar how do you wrestle somebody all night long and not even know the name was this heavenly man is not looking for a random fight when he comes across Jacobs is a pretty boy. You'll do they beat each other up all night and I was okay. Were you anyway is not really was no of course is not what's going on. He already knows Jacob's name is once Jacob to say his name singing. My name is Jake means liar and deceiver. Verse 28. Your name will no longer check. The man told him it is now Israel, which means literally you have wrestled with God and prevailed because he says you've struggle with God and man, and have one verse 29. What is your name Jacob asked him why do you ask the man replied no because you just not my hip socket out of joint and change my birth into a different one and it will be helpful when I'm telling the story. Later, I can at least tell people your that's why verse 29 men never answers the man blessed Jacob there the next few verses, Jacob is going to want to meet Esau and God changes Esau's heart when Esau sees his brother instead of killing him. His heart melts relays on his weapons and he runs to embrace him and they stand there weeping in each other's arms for a long time.

Jacob goes on from this moment not only to be reconciled to his brother, but also the father of the Jewish nation.

Jacob's 12 sons are to become the 12 tribes of Israel and from one of the tribes.

The tribe of Judah Jesus himself would be born now so many questions. First, it was a strange man it's wrestling with Jacob. Some commentators say it was an angel. Yes, I guess there's some that theory.

I don't know why Jeff Leavitt Donnelly's not a vampire, so I'm not really sure what Otto means, but most theologians believe it is God himself because of what Jacob says in verse 30 Jacob named the place. Camille Camille which means face of God, for he said, I have seen God face to face yet.

My life has been spared to Jacob thing since the bank that it's God taking a human body.

So then the question becomes if Jacob is wrestling with God.

How does God not win again.

The guys clearly strong enough that he went Jacob whatever he once you with a flick of his finger, not Jacob's hip socket out of joint. Yet he lets himself be penned by Jacob and what you see is that God is teaching you something important about prevailing with God in prayer and that is that many of the blessings of God are released into our lives. Only through persistent unrelenting prayer. He wants you to pin him, so to speak that raises another question God had clearly promise those blessings to Jacob. Jacob quotes him twice.

God told Jacob go back home and I'll bless you. So why does Jacob have to wrestle all night with God to obtain the blessing.

Write this down. Many of the blessings of God are released into our lives. Only through persistent unrelenting wrestling prayer yes God had promised this blessing to Jacob. Jacob had to wrestle all night with God to get it and only after a full night of wrestling. Does God let you pin him and obtain the blessing God as a pastor I will tell you I find that people don't have a problem or pray almost every Christian on her praise. The problem is when they don't see a lot of immediate answers for the things are praying for them so they give up assuming the prayer doesn't work. The problem is not a prayer problem. It is a persistent problem in this text addresses that y'all remember Martin Luther's definition of prayer that I did you a few weeks ago, effective prayer means catching God in his words.

Luther said, what a story can add another layer to that another dimension sometimes you wrestle with God for a long time to get those blessings now. Please be clear and and will be confused.

I'm not talking here about salvation. I'm not talking about forgiveness. I'm not talking about the filling of the Holy Spirit. I'm not talking about about wisdom. Scripture promises the gobble did you go's blessing the first time you asked for them right over talking about is the outpouring begin breaking of God's goodness into some area of your life. A broken relationship, a career choice a ministry opportunity. That's over talking about now you hear that you asked Susan why don't get why why does God do it that way and always turn hear the words of Martin Luther.

In fact, I quoted them up a few weeks ago to you who compares it to the father who has something in his hand that his kid once, but he won't let it go at first to test the child's resolve to see how badly his kid once it and so the father resist the kids from the port out of his hand and he's resisting to test his kid strength and to test the kids resolve to get it and God does that with us when we pray.

Luther says he holds the blessing in his hand as we wrestle with him and he asked how desperate are you for this.

Do you really believe Honolulu on the one you can give it how quickly you give up on me you really believe that I'm good.

You really trust me, by the way a few weeks ago I asked you is or what is God sometimes make us persist in asking and I just give us what we have one verse summary ask and I know, positive for dramatic effect. Like I don't know and you laughed and that's partially true.

I don't know all the specific reasons in the situation that God delays, but due to I do not I do know, based on stories like Jacobs. I do know what his purpose is for us in the waiting and I know that because Scripture tells us he does so to purify and to perfect our faith. You seem to you really trust me you really believe that I'm good. Do you really believe that I'm the only one who can give this or are you already hatching a plan B in your head, in case I'm not really good and don't come through and if I delay you can just give up and you assume that I don't care for even that I don't exist to see our belief in the goodness of God is measured by how long we will persistent prayer when the answer does not come that your measure of the belief your belief in the goodness or how long will you persistent prayer when the answer can come write this down real prayer, real prayer, the kind that comes from your soul, the kind that Jacob prayed the kind of just comes up as a grown that always leaves you with a wound like a society started to pray.

That way I would like Jacob received a wound were God drives you to the end of yourself were you exhausted all your abilities and you lost any confidence that you can do anything in your looking out saying God there's 400 armed men. I had no answer for that. I get nowhere to run nowhere to turn. My only hope is you and from that point onward you want for the rest of your life with a limp. If you been there may be there right now. You will desperate about something something you want to change some change you want to see in your life. Some change you need to see in somebody else's life.

Some change in the situation and you spare some point, you have found yourself raining by yourself in your car, maybe at home when nobody else is very on the wall and you're screaming at God do this. I don't have anything else. The only one need only one who can envision the only one who can get this was, I will let you go.

No other alternative. I will let you go. Would you bless because I know you're good. These are powerful reminders from pastor Jeannie Greer on Senate night Jeannie, the people I find most difficult to pray for and not because I don't want to are my parents so how can we pray specifically and intentionally for our parents.

Even now, the Bible tells us to honor our parents and some of you don't know exactly what that means. One of the things I've learned is that I can honor my parents were praying for them. There are new challenges they have to face is pray for wisdom for them. Praying for comfort because of a seizure parents age at the time of of losses their same friends pass away, dealing with just the discomfort and pain that goes with their own bodies aging. These things are are ways that you can help pray the promises of God over them and also learn promises that you can be sharing with them to bring them comfort and direction wherever your parents are. This is a great thing to add to your daily prayer time and this is a great tool that will help is part of a three book Mondo how to bridge your kids with your parents about a very for your cities. I think last definition and some clarity how to gauge God's promises. Remember, we're offering three of these five things to pray.

But in a bundle including how to pray for your city as well send this resource $35 or more to support his ministry, give us a call 335 24. You can get online hi Molly benefits sure to join us tomorrow for the conclusion of our next each time I answer my prayer on Senate life. Your ministry

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