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Unanswered Prayer

Mark Smith

19 . 5 . 2020

My first effective prayer was on 8th January 1957. It was a prayer of repentance and cry for God’s forgiveness for a guilty sinner. this occasion was accompanied with great joy. Why the joy? because at that moment I stood a forgiven sinner without a single unconfessed sin on my account. 24 hours later, it might be another story.That first act of repentance covered all the sins I would ever commit in my life, however short or long.

Perhaps the saddest condition in life is a joyless christian. At salvation we experienced the greatest of miracles. A bankrupt sinner declared righteous before God and accessing an inexhaustible resource of an omnipotent God. No wonder the joy! Why then are so often prayers seemingly unheard? after all, The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).

Here are some reasons for unanswered prayer:

- Refusal to obey revealed truth will hinder my prayers. Proverb 28:9: He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination. I believe that if I refuse to submit to doctrine I have learned, I will make no further progress in my spiritual growth.

- Unconfessed sin will interfere with my communion. Psalm 66:18: If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. Miraculously, at salvation, my sin in total was forgiven. However confession is essential to restore and maintain communion. Sin in a believer is no less heinous than in an unsaved person. God’s capacity to forgive is boundless! 1 John !:9 If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

- Praying faithlessly. James 1:5-7: Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for let not that man think he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

- Asking amiss. Seeking God’s approval for action clearly contrary to His will. James 4:3: Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

- Family relationships. 1Peter 3:7: Likewise, ye husbands, dwell……. giving honour to the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

- An unforgiving spirit. Mark 11:25: And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any ……

What is sin? apart from the obvious:

- Romans 14: Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. (i.e. thoughts, words and actions that are contrary to our conscience).

- 1 John 5:17: All unrighteousness is sin.

- Proverbs 24:9: The thought of foolishness is sin

In my youth an expression was often on the lips of our guiding shepherds: “Keep short accounts with God”. Excellent counsel don’t you agree?

Also: (forgive me!) 7 prayerless days make one weak (Wayside Pulpit c 1960)

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