IV

HOPELESS PRAYERS

Lay me on an anvil, O God.

Beat me and hammer me into a crowbar.

Let me pry loose old walls.

Let me lift and loosen old foundations.

By: Carl Sandburg

Have you wondered why so many prayers go unanswered? Have you wondered if God is even listening to your prayers? We've wondered these same things at times and discovered these feelings are at least partly correct. Some prayers are wrong before we utter a sound.

Can you imagine for a moment what would happen if God gave us the power to speak anything and have it come true immediately? Imagine rush hour traffic in a big city and the hopeless frustrations we verbalize as we, Christians (Yes Christians) go to work and home again. How many people would we curse or condemn to hell if we had that power? Frightening, isn't it?

While on the freeway last year and thoroughly frustrated because the traffic was only moving 20 miles per hour, it suddenly dawned on me that I should be thanking God for the traffic. Heavy rush hour traffic is a sign that there are a lot of people who have jobs. Light traffic suggests a lot of people out of work. Bottom line, we need to change the way we think and see things. We need heavenly vision.

Instead of complaining about our husbands and our problems, we should thank God for the things we have and for the good things they do. God does not respond to complaining: remember the children of Israel while they were wondering in the desert? They complained about almost everything and finally they complained about crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land.

You grumbled in your tents and said, "The Lord hates us; so he

brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites

to destroy us. Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose

heart. They say, `The people are stronger and taller than we are the

cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the

Amakites there.'" Deuteronomy 2:7

When the Lord heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly

swore: "Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I

swore to give your fore-fathers, ...You came back and wept before the

Lord, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf

ear to you. Deuteronomy 1:35, 45

Grumbling and complaining is not the way to receive the promises from God. Were the Israelites trusting God as they grumbled? Are you? Did you know that the opposite of faith is sight? (2 Cor. 5:7) Trust God in everything. Live by faith, not sight.

In James 4:1-3 we read:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from

your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't

get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.

You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask

God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with

wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

In verse 3, we see that our motives are not always pure but selfish and unfair. We quarrel and fight over new carpet colors and many things much more important. Many of our prayers for our husbands are like that. Our concern is seldom for our husband's soul; but for our own convenience and comfort:

1. We would have fewer problems.

2. We would have someone to go to church with us.

3. They would no longer hurt us.

4. They would care about how we feel.

5. They would like to do things we like to do.

6. They would not yell at us or throw things.

7. They would spend more time with us.

8. They would help us more.

9. They would want to be with their children more.

10. They would not criticize us as much.

God knows our hearts and our real motives. You say, God said we could ask anything and we would receive it. If we look at the whole context of these promises, we will find it always says "if" you are fruitful or obedient or words to that effect. We are usually not obedient and, lately, not very fruitful.

In Gal. 5:22, the first fruit of the Spirit is love and this is the opposite of selfishness. Lust and selfishness go hand in hand. In fact, we've had a hard time doing much in love for our husbands because the hurts have buried it. That's why we have to learn to love our husbands again.

Hate! This is totally out of the question. In 1 John 3:15, Jesus said if you hate a person you have already killed him. How can we honestly pray for someone we hate?

Sin! In Matt. 5:23, 24 we read that God will not accept our gifts until we go and ask the person we hurt to forgive us. If God won't accept our gifts, why do we think he will answer our prayers? We should go to our husbands and apologize for anything we have done that hurt them and ask them to forgive us. If they do not accept our apology, we have at least tried - forgive them anyway.

Anger, bitterness, and slander: Eph 5:31 says LET IT BE REMOVED. Implying that God will remove them "if" we will allow it. Sometimes we feel justified in keeping our anger; but remember, "Acid corrodes the vessel that contains it." We only hurt ourselves when we choose to keep it. Remember the promise and allow God to remove these things so you will have answered prayers. If necessary, go through the process of letting Jesus remove the anger from you with each person you are angry. There is no limit on how often you can use this promise.

I prayed for 13 years for my husband to be saved and nothing happened. The first 4 years I wanted him saved so he would go to church with me. I hated going to church alone. People would always come over and want to know if I was married and where is your husband? I found it embarrassing to tell them that he did not believe in God and would not come. God did not answer the prayer; it was for selfish, prideful reasons.

When Al became distant and started treating me bad, I started praying for God to save him so he would change and treat me better. I prayed that prayer for over 8 years. God did not answer it because it also was selfish. I felt like God deserted me but I kept on praying and helping others.

After 12 years of selfish prayers, Al became suicidal and I became concerned for his soul. I was afraid he would kill himself and go to hell. I prayed this prayer one time and God gave me the way to get my husband saved. I did what God said to do and continued to pray for my husband's soul.

God saved Al after 8 months of praying correctly: unselfishly.

Do you have something or someone in your life that is all consuming to you? Do you pray selfishly for it and hate anyone who stands in your way? Do you feel like God has deserted you and left you to flounder in the dark?

God tests us and he usually uses the thing that irritants us the most to see if we will remain faithful and trust Him no matter what. When our dark time of testing comes and we can't hear God, we should keep on keeping on with whatever he showed us last. We should not stop loving everyone and should continue moving forward in what we know is God's will.

You can have peace in darkness and turmoil during this time. Seek God's peace and stay in it and the time of darkness won't be as bad. Since you are sealed with God's Spirit, you have a piece of God in you and are never alone.

Sometimes we get out of God's will and wonder why He left us. We need to remember that he has not left us. We are the ones who wondered off. We need to draw near to God so he can draw near to us.

I heard a story about an old man and his wife riding along in their truck. He on his side, driving and she, with her arm out her window. A young couple, just married, passed them all cuddled up as they went on their honeymoon. The wife started to reminisce about the good old days and how they used to cuddle like that. She said she didn't understand why they didn't do that anymore. Her husband turned to her and said "I haven't moved." Jesus hasn't moved either. He is just waiting for us to slide a little closer.

God hasn't gone anywhere but we can run away and do our own thing until suddenly we realize we have become lost in the woods of life. Thank God He knows where we are and how to lead us back to where He is, if only we'll follow his leading.

If you are going after the things of this world (what money can buy and worrying about such), you are out of God's will. According to the parable of the sower, you are thorny and the thorns (desiring things of this world and worry) are choking out the fruit (love, joy, peace, etc.). Jesus said "if" you are a fruit bearer, your prayers will be answered.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear

fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask

in my name. (Jhn 15:16)

You need to examine yourself and see if you are a thorny person. If you are, get rid of the thorns by turning your life over to Jesus. Ask Him to give you the faith you need to overcome worry and fill you with His Holy Spirit so you can overcome the worldly desires. This is what Jesus meant when he said to "seek the kingdom of Heaven first and then all these things will be added unto you."

The worst thing we can do is to be angry with God. There are times when we misunderstand God's will for our lives. Acting on what we thought was God's will, we find ourselves on the edge of a cliff with no help in sight. We feel that God led us here and abandoned us to a bad fate. It only takes a little hardheadedness on our part and we believe itís God's fault. We, then, get angry with God.

Did you ever get anything from your dad when he knew you were mad at him? How much do you want to give your children when they are angry with you for rules you put in place to protect them from pain? If we put on our parenting cap for a minute, itís not hard to see how God feels towards us at times. As with your own children, the answer is obvious.

We need to surrender and try to understand that our heavenly Father did not lead us into this circumstance. We did it to ourselves. The solution is to surrender and go agree with Dad that the mistake was ours and apologize. How would you feel if your kids came to you that way? It makes you want to kill the fatted calf and have a party: doesn't it? That is what the parable of the prodigal son is all about.

If we admit our mistakes to God and others we may have hurt, we will find God very close. The mistakes are ours; if we will realize that and admit it, God has a promise for us. The promise is in 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." FORGIVE AND MAKE US RIGHT AGAIN! God promised it and he will do it. Oh what a light load we carry when we are sincere. Al and I have been there and our testimony is: IT WORKS.

Finally, the Bible says God only hears the prayers of the righteous. We become righteous when we believe God. (Ro. 4:3) Our attitude should be: if God said it, it is true. We should not question whether God knows what he is doing. He should have the final say in all we say and do.

Do you believe God when he tells you something (directly, through the Bible, through the church or through a fellow believer)? If you trust him, you will. The word believe means trust in action. Do you act on what God shows you?

We have already realized our sin, repented (changed our minds and turned around) and asked God to forgive us for marrying a non-Christian. We are diligently seeking God's will or we would not be this far in the book.

We know that when we ask God to forgive us, He does. Forgive means to no longer hold a person accountable for what they have done. The result of forgiveness is we no longer have negative emotions about the person when the event is remembered. God has forgiven us and made us righteous. If we continue to try to please God, we stay righteous (right with God). As long as we strive to do what we need to do to get our husbands saved, we will remain righteous and God will answer our prayers.

God loves us; but do we love Him enough to trust and obey. We cannot say that we trust and then not obey: they go hand in hand in Scripture. You can trust Jesus: He is faithful and will do everything He promises.

Home

pennywind@pennywind.com