When Prayers Fail

Have you given up on prayer? Some have. They have prayed and prayed without results. They asked but did not receive. Consequently, they begin to question the validity of prayer. Nevertheless, in a time of stress, they still feel the impulse to pray. Why? Because Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9), and again, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).

Isn’t Jesus to be trusted? If we cannot rely on His words, when it comes to prayer, can we trust Him in anything else?

To Jesus, the meaning of prayer was not that God would give Him anything He asked. This is evident from the prayer, which He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Needless to say, the cup of suffering was not removed. It couldn’t be if God were to accomplish His plan. And in every circumstance, Jesus wanted God’s will to be done. Jesus’ petition for His own welfare was superseded by His overriding concern for God’s will.

Is it possible that selfishness rather than submission is often a hallmark of our praying? If it is, then our failed prayers might be our own fault rather than God’s. James stated it plainly when he said, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3 NIV).

If I remember correctly, the words “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” follow the verse which says, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 7:7; Matthew 6:33). John Gipson

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets