If You Stop Praying Because God Doesn't Answer,
You Are Walking By Sight Instead Of By Faith
By David J. Stewart | August 2014
2nd Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
We've all prayed at times in our life as Christian believers, then become frustrated when God didn't answer. Usually we stop praying for some time due to discouragement until we are challenged again by some external influence, such as a hardship in our life, major life changes or perhaps hearing a Biblical sermon, et cetera. Contrary to what some Charismatic and naive (but well-meaning) preachers teach, the Bible teaches that it is normal for God to seem to ignore us when we pray.
The parable of the unjust judge in Luke 18:1-8 teaches that God ignores us to test our faith. Jesus starts off His parable in Luke 18:1 by teaching that men ought always to pray and not faint. Just as the unjust judge ignored the woman, so also does God seem to ignore us, but for very different reasons. It is not because God doesn't care as the unjust judge; but rather, because God does care and values our growth in His grace more than He does spoiling us by giving us all that we desire. Since faith is what pleases God (Hebrews 11:6), then it makes sense that God would ignore us, which ought to compel us to keep praying, which requires more faith, which pleases God.
Think about it, if God answered every time a Christian prayed, then everyone would pray for all the wrong reasons. God usually ignores us, so it may seem, but we have His solemn promise in the Bible that He does care about us (1st Peter 5:7). Philippians 4:6-7 teach us to pray about everything, and not to worry and fret over anything, and then claim God's promise of sweet peace that passes all understanding, trusting God now that we've prayed and placed our burdens into His omnipotent care. Amen! Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The Bible teaches in 2nd Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” If we pray and then quit because God didn't answer our prayer, or not soon enough to satisfy our apparent demands, then we are merely proving to our self that we are walking by sight instead of by faith. The Bible says to let your requests be made known unto God, not your demands. Many people pray, demanding that God answer, getting upset if He doesn't. Walking by faith means that we obey God and then trust Him, regardless of the outcome. Granted, that's very hard to do sometimes when a loved one dies despite your constant sincere prayers for their life and wellness. Everything that God does is right! The sooner that we learn that, the better off we'll be in life. Proverbs 3:5-7, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”
As we mature in the Lord as His children, we ought to eventually come to the place in our Christian walk where we stop looking for answers to prayers to satisfy our selfish desires and intentions, and instead just pray as the Bible commands in 1st Thessalonians 5:17 (pray without ceasing) and trust God regardless of the outcome. Joseph was rotting in prison one day, but became the second most powerful man in all of Egypt the next day. You never know what God is going to do, but He can do anything! God is full of surprises. God truly does work in mysterious ways, that is, mysterious to us, because we cannot see the big picture as God can (Isaiah 55:8-9).
It requires a much greater faith for a believer to continue praying when it appears that God is not there at all. David in the Old Testament felt the same way. Psalms 44:23, “Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.” It is important that we learn as believers that God normally doesn't answer in the manner that we'd like Him to. God does answer prayer, and He still works miracles in 2014. However, it is the prayer of faith that heals the sick (James 5:15), and not some nutty Charismatic preacher's stage antics, with a big bank account. James 5:15 does not guarantee physical healing each time we pray; but rather, it simply means that there is still a miracle-working God on His throne, Who does hear and answer prayer, IF it is His will.
Prayer Is Dependence Upon God
Do you know what prayer is? Prayer is dependence upon God. God wants us to depend upon Him, and He loves to show off His power and might if we'll praise Him as we ought, and pray as He has commanded. God created man in His own image. God loves praise just as men whom He created love praise. It's a true saying that 5-minutes of praise will do more for a person than a lifetime of criticism. Likewise, you'll get more from God by praising Him for 5-minutes, than you will by criticizing Him a lifetime. God loves man's humble obedience, for He is God and we are His creation. God loves to be praised, and He won't share the glory and praise due Him (Isaiah 42:8). God commands us to pray with a thankful heart (Philippians 4:6-7). God loves when we pray and depend upon Him.
Remember that the Hebrews in the Wilderness complained about everything and angered God. The Bible teaches in Deuteronomy 8:2 that God deliberately led God's people into a barren desert wilderness of scorpions, snakes, draught, no water, no food and unbearable conditions, to see whether or not they would keep His commandments in such dire and harsh conditions. If they simply would have trusted God, praising and thanking Him for His blessings and goodness, and obeying His commandments, then God would have given them everything which they lacked to reward them. We see this truth in Deuteronomy 28:1-15.
It's no different today. A faith must be tested. If you are a born-again Christian, God will test your faith, guaranteed, it is a certainty. Many Christian believers complain about everything and never praise God, yet then expect God to answer their prayers, which would only spoil them more. Yet, God gave the Hebrews food (manna and quail) and water despite their perpetual complaining. Luke 6:35 amazingly says that God is kind to the evil and the unthankful, and He most certainly is. God is good to us all.
Many people foolishly think that pray is reciting some empty words repeatedly. Prayer is talking to the living God Who created us. Prayer is not good “therapy” as other people foolishly think. Prayer is not therapy, nor is it something that we do to be spiritual. Prayer is literally communicating with the living God of the Holy Bible. There is no other God. We should expect answers to prayer, but trust God to answer in ways that we likely won't understand. Since we cannot see the big picture of our life as God can, we often cannot comprehend why God does things the way that He does. Prayer is letting God know that we know that we need Him.
The Blood Of Jesus Grants The Right To Boldly Approach God's Throne For Help
Hebrews 4:14-16, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Believers have a God-given, blood-bought, right to boldly come before God's throne of grace to obtain mercy to find grace to help in time of need. That's what Hebrews 4:16 reads. This does not mean we have the right to be arrogant, disrespectful or demanding of God; but rather, it means that we do not have to beg like dogs as the unsaved do, trying to convince God why He should help a Christ-rejecter. John 3:36 warns that God's wrath abides upon all those who believe not on Christ. Why should God answer the prayer of someone who spits on the blood that Jesus shed for their sins? Yet, God is such an awesome God that He does oftentimes answer the prayers of the unsaved. Albeit, God's inheritance is reserved for His children (Ephesians 1:11), that is, those who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, being born from above by God's Holy Spirit (John 1:12-14).
If you are a born-again Christian, then you can have the bold confidence of knowing that you may come to God at any time, just walk right in, to talk to God about anything that's on your mind. I have a right as God's redeemed child to ask Him for anything, and if it pleases Him according to His perfect or permissive will, then He will grant that request. When God doesn't answer my prayer request, then I do as Brother Lester Roloff says, “Faith Him When You Can't Feel Him!” Or as someone wisely said, “When you can't see the hand of God, trust the heart of God.”
Pray By Faith, Not By Sight
May we as born-again Christians pray earnestly to God continually, about everything, and claim the peace of God which passeth all understanding, knowing that we have placed our burdens, heartaches and concerns into the Lord's hands through obedient prayer. Remember, we walk by faith and not by sight as the heathen world does. If we only pray when we SEE visible results, then we are indeed walking by sight, which is bad. Ah, but if we are walking by faith, then we are going to focus on praying rather than receiving, knowing that God is pleased by our faith and will grant our request if it is according to His perfect or permissive will.
And finally, at times when God doesn't answer your prayers, rejoice in knowing that you have been given another opportunity to show the Lord how much you trust Him, even in the face of unanswered prayers that breaks and disappoints your heart. An atheist would laugh at such a statement and say that there is no God. In view of fulfilled Bible prophecy, nature, science, astronomy, archaeology and history, only a fool would deny God's existence. People who deny God's existence have spent too much time in a manmade world of skyscrapers, big cities, secular philosophy, fast cars and worldliness. God's existence screams for our attention through everything that He has created.
If you believe that God exists, and believe that the Bible is His inspired Word, then you ought to fully trust God with your prayers, knowing that He is all-wise (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent), all-present (omnipresent) and all-loving (omnibenevolent). I encourage you to pray, regardless of the outcome, and keep praying because the Lord commands us to pray without ceasing. Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Notice the importance of maintaining a thankful spirit to God during all prayer. God is so good to us all.
Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” May we as believers choose to walk in the same Holy Spirit Who lives within us, walking by faith and not by sight. Simply pray and then trust God in the unseen world to work behind the scenes as He so beautifully does. I've learned to just pray, and then claim the sweet peace of God which passes my human understanding, resting in the promises of God in the Scriptures, knowing that He has promised to watch over me. 1st Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” END
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