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Matt Dabbs

I have been writing our LIFE group curriculum at church. This quarter we are studying prayer. Last week the lesson opened with the following question: "What would your life look like if God answered everything in your average prayer?" Follow up question - Would we all be healthy and never die? Or would we be more holy? I think it is important for our prayers to show spiritual priorities. If anyone needs any LIFE group/small group curriculum, I have the link to the lessons posted on my site. God bless

ben overby

Wade,

I don't know if I've really prayed like that; that is, doubt free. One thing I'm learning through a slow read of the Psalms is that the prayers are confident. We're praying Ps. 6 this week and it concludes with, "Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment." (Psa 6:8-10)

He (the Psalmist) had no doubt he was heard and that his prayer was accepted and that in God's time the enemies would be ashamed. If I pray that through the lens of Jesus and imagine Him praying that Psalm, I can see how it accurately reflects His situation. All His enemies were paraded and put to shame. But, there was that long pause defined by agony and a sense of forsakeness--and even death, all which preceded the answer to the prayer. So, though our prayers should be doubt free they will not lead to a life that is pain free . . . and that's a tough one for some to swallow, especially when Christianity (we're told) is supposed to make us comfortable (health and wealth). For now, I just wish I could pray without doubt. Lord I believe, help my unbelief!

Matt Dabbs

I think it is not as hard to pray without a doubt for the will of God to be done because that is on His shoulders. If we are trying to pray without a doubt for anything else, that is a lot harder.

Alan

Our preacher was talking about this very subject on Sunday. He pointed out seven things that can prevent your prayers from being answered:

1) hidden sin Psalm 66:18
2) doubt, unbelief James 1:6-7
3) selfish motives James 4:1-4
4) not forgiving others Mark 11:25
5) not caring for the poor Prov 21:13
6) disobedience Prov 1:24-31, Prov 28:9
7) being inconsiderate of your wife 1 Pet 3:7

John Roberts

I suspect that I fail to see God's answers to many of my prayers because I've already told him how I want my prayer answered, and left myself blind to any other possible answer but my own. I think that's what Jesus means when he says "seek his kingdom, and these things will be given you as well." When we expand the possibilities to kingdom concerns instead of my concerns, we will see that God has answered many of the prayers we formerly thought unanswered.

Tim Archer

I like what the Psalm says: “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psa 37:4) It took me a while to realize that God needed to become the main desire of my heart before that verse could ever become true.

I believe that our nonspiritual society hinders our belief in prayer. I don't believe in "blank check theology" (look at the different times that God told Paul "no"). But I do believe that God is willing to do much more than I ask him to do.

Grace and peace,
Tim

Don

Just a small comment.
I think we need to define "without doubt". Does that mean expecting to get what I prayed for? Does that mean not wondering if I'm praying for the right thing? Does that mean getting EXACTLY what I prayed for? Did Jesus pray with belief and not doubting when He prayed "take this cup from Me"?

Don

preacherman

I don't see prayer as a blank check like some Christians do. The word Christian is about "surrender" "sacrifice" "submission". Paul says, "No longer "I" but "Christ". So when we pray we pray according to God's will. Even Jesus prayed that "Not my will but your will be done." So even before the cross you see Jesus even "surrendering" "sacrificing" submitting" to God's will. What an example for us to follow and remember. That prayer is about His will. It is personal. It relational. A relationship between God and man. More than that Father between son and daughter. How wonderful. How beautiful it is when we fully submit our lives over to him "how he blesses us with every good and perfect gift from above." Will we believe it and accept a God who gives freely what we need (not what we want, big differce, right!) or people will doubt. The man with the son who had a demon said to Jesus, "Jesus I do believe, help my unbelief."

Wade Tannehill

Matt,

Thanks for a really good question. I've been pondering it since you left your comment. I think your question helps verify that prayer is not a blank check. If it were, I think the logical conclusion is that all true beleivers would always be healed and so we would never die.

And thanks for the resource. I'll look into it.

Wade Tannehill

Ben,

Thanks for some very good insights (as usual). I think praying doubt free (if that's possible) doesn't mean an assurance that God will give you whatever you want, but an assurance that you are heard and that he will do what is best. More on that in my next post.

Wade Tannehill

Alan,

Thanks for coming by again. I agree that all the things you mentioned can hinder our prayers. Good list.

I would add that if what we're asking for is not in the best interests of God's grand scheme of things that this would also amount to not getting what we asked for. But in that case I suppose the prayer would still have been answered, but just not in the affirmative. God's answer is sometimes "no." But I'm sure you know all that.

Wade Tannehill

John,

Thanks for coming by and commenting again. I think Solomon's prayer for wisdom to govern God's people is a good example of a prayer prayed for kingdom concerns as opposed to personal concerns. And indeed, all those "things" were added to Solomon(1 Kings 3:7-15). I think a mark of spiritual maturity is getting to that place where we're praying for the advancement of God's causes and not for self-advancement. Then we can truly pray in faith.

Wade Tannehill

Tim,

I cannot really add to what you said here except an "Amen." Thanks for coming by.

Royce Ogle

Many of you read at least part of my series on prayer, so I don't want to just repeat what I have said. However, after many decades of Bible study and many hours specifically focused on prayer, I believe that every spiritually healthy Christian should have regular, specific, answers to prayer.

Will God grant the requests of carnal Christians who place little value on the Lordship of Jesus? Absolutely not. When we come to the place of absolute surrender, when we sincerely try to flesh out Romans 12:1,2, when we can say honestly like Paul, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain", only then are we positioned to have the desires of our hearts. It is that surrendered, Spirit controlled believer who can ask anything he wants and get an answer.

Oh how God delights to do good things for His children! How he wants to answer our requests. But more than that,, he wants our love and devotion.

To ask in "Jesus name" is not to repeat a phrase, but to come to the Father with assurance recognizing that we can come only because of Jesus. It is coming to the throne room of God for Christ's sake and for His glory. That is briefly what asking in His name means. Whether or not you say those 3 words you should always pray in His authority.

Finally, the number 1 reason Christians do not have any answers to their prayers is that they will not ask. You will never mature as a believer until your learn the discipline of waiting on God in sincere prayer.

Grace and Peace,
Royce Ogle

Wade Tannehill

Don,

VERY good question. I'll address it to some extent in a future post.

But for now I think what it means to pray without doubt may depend on the context. In James 1, for example, believers are to pray without doubt that God will give them wisdom in the midst of trials. God doesn't promise an end to the trials, but wisdom to get through them. So in that case to pray without doubt would indeed mean the assurance that we're praying for the right thing. I'm not so sure we can have that assurance in regard to other outcomes, but whenever we're praying to be more spiritually wise, we can know that we're praying for the right thing.

I think Jesus did pray without doubt at Gethsemane. He believed that anything was possible with God. If we don't believe God can do what we're asking then what's the point? But that doesn't imply knowing that he will do what we're asking. The leper said to Jesus, "IF you are willing you CAN make me clean" (Matt. 8:2). The man did not doubt the power of Jesus, but expressed ignorance as to whether his desired outcome would be the Lord's will (And in this case it was).

In regard to Gethsemane, I think Jesus prayed without a doubt that God's will would be accomplished, even if that did not turn out to be what Jesus wanted.

Wade Tannehill

Preacherman,

Well said!

Wade Tannehill

Royce,

Thank you for sharing from your years of experience. My heart is moved by your challenge to a deeper devotion to Christ and by the challenge to "ask."

Neva Cooper

I really liked the post. I think prayer is one of our most underutilized resources. I was thinking about Psalm 37:4 when I was reading, I see Tim beat me to it. There seems to be a specific attitude that must accompany prayer---that attitude that God is God and we are not and He knows and wants what is best for His children. Those things we cannot doubt. Neither can we doubt that He will answer according to His will. When we ask according to His will, I believe we can KNOW we will be granted our request. Delighting in the Lord, not doubting, asking according to His will--all seem to be somehow connected to the attitude and motivation with which we ask.
Just a thought,
Neva

Wade Tannehill

Neva,

Great comments! Very good. I appreciate you coming by.

I agree that when we pray according to God's will we can KNOW we will be granted our request. The big question in some of our minds may be HOW we can KNOW if what we're praying is according to his will. Of course if we're praying for the advancement of his kingdom or our own spiritual growth, I suppose we can know that he wants those things. So if we surrender in faith they will happen.

Some of the day-to-day life things aren't always as clear. Major decisions, physical healing, etc.

But I do know this. If I pray in faith he will answer according to what is best and sometimes only he knows what that is.

Bobby Cohoon

Good thoughts. I think there aremany variables that go into unanswered prayers. I think one of the biggest is "motive" of the one praying. And, when we say, "Thy will be done" mayhbe the pray isanswered...just that his will and our wants are two differnt things.

Keep up the good work,
Bobby

Wade Tannehill

Bobby,

Thanks for coming by. I agree with what you said about motive. As I commented above to John, the granting of Solomon's prayer request in 1 Kings 3 was all about motive.

Josh

Wow. I wish prayer were a blank check, but those who pray to be financially rich don't always get it, do they?

I heard a saying once which I believe is strong in faith. "I pray to God once asking for provision, healing, etc...; every time after that, I thank Him in advance for meeting that need."

Bobby Valentine

Wade perhaps we can further nuance the question: "Is prayer a blank check ... for what?" I think prayer is driven and determined by the needs of the kingdom. In fact I think prayer is "crying FOR the kingdom" to come ultimately in its fullness. Even Jesus' own prayer of "Let this cup pass from me" was sublimated to the interests of the kingdom. Jesus did die but God did not abandon him.

On another note, Brother Harding once wrote, "God is as ready to answer prayer as ever; it is easy for him to do it as it ever was; there is not a good thing that he is not willing, ready and able to give in answer to the prayer of faith; but it is more probable that prayers of faith are very scarce. Here is an enormous power; the mightiest that can be used by a mortal, that few of us use as we could or should" (James A. Harding in 1905).

Perhaps we are too "ready" to explain away than to simply take Jesus at his word. Thus one of my all time favorite prayers is recorded by Luke ... "Lord I believe, help my unbelief."

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

Trey Morgan

I'm still sitting back and enjoying reading your posts on pray. Great stuff, brother, great stuff.

Brian

I am definitely enjoying the series and ensuing comments. just trying to keep my mouth shut and learn something.

keep it up
brian

Wade Tannehill

Josh,

Thanks for coming by. I'm still chewing on that quote.

Wade Tannehill

Bobby V,

Thanks for the inspiring quote from Brother Harding. I'll say again that we saw an example of prayer in the interest of the kindgom in Solomon's prayer for wisdom. As John reminded us above, we are to seek first God's kingdom. I think the one thing we need to remember in prayer is that "It's not all about me."

Wade Tannehill

Trey,

Thanks.

Wade Tannehill

Brian,

I'm glad you at least opened your mouth long enough to let us know you're still reading. Thanks.

Josh

Here's more from my scattered mind on the subject... hehe.

It seems we live in a culture that has a "Bless Me" mentality. From the songs we sing to the books we write a clear theme has been "God, we want, we need, we want, we need."

This may be a little extreme, but I feel like if I see another "God Bless America" sticker I'm going to scream! God has blessed America. It's time for us to get over ourselves and start blessing God back.

Okay, off my podium now.

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