God Always Answers Prayer – Part 1 of 5

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

This week we are going to look at prayer. Or, more specifically, that God always answers prayer.

Garth Brooks sings a song called, “Unanswered Prayers,” where he sings about how when he was in high school he fervently prayed that God would make his high school crush his wife. Then he goes on to sing about how he thanks God for unanswered prayers because had God answered his high school prayer he would have never met his wife.

Interesting concept. But there’s a couple of things about this song that’s off kilter.

There are two truths I want us to remember about prayer.

First, there is never a time when God does not answer prayers. God always answers our prayers. That’s God’s absolute promise, and you can take that to the bank! There are many passages in scripture that tell us that God answers prayers. Here’s one:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11).

Second, God is sovereign. God is God, and we are not.

Romans 8:28 tells us, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

This means God knows what is best for us, and only wants what is best for us. God cannot always answer our prayers the way we want them answered because sometimes the things we ask for are not good for us. Besides, if God were to answer our prayers, he would be merely be our Genie doing whatever we ask for. That would make us gods and God our servant, doing our bidding.

God is sovereign. God is God, and we are not.

For today, the thing to remember about prayer is that:

  1. God always answers prayers
  2. God is sovereign. God is God and we are not

Jesus Knew…And He Washed Feet

I came across a tweet today that rocked me.

Jesus knew. Jesus knew that he had one day left with his disciples before he would die for the sins of the world. And he washed feet!

“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him…After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:3-5, 12-15).

Love God = Love People

“‘Teacher, which commandment is the law is the greatest?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'” (Matthew 22:36-39)

If your theology doesn’t change your behavior, what you know about God doesn’t matter.

Fred Craddock says, “It’s possible to get an “A” in bible and still flunk Christianity.” And, he’s absolutely right.

Growing in the knowledge of God changes us to resemble God in our actions and how we treat God’s children.

The point of the teachings of Jesus was never to make us smarter sinners. The point of the teachings of Jesus is to change us, to make us more like him.

Whenever God reveals Godself through his scriptures, it is always for the purpose of transformation. When you love God, you love what God loves. When you love God, you love the people for whom Christ died for. These are inseparable.

This past Sunday Katie Davis and Jo Ethel Smith preached a fantastic sermon on the Christian response to the racial division that is wreaking havoc in our world. When it comes to pursuing racial reconciliation, the church and her saints ought to lead the way in bringing about peace and shalom to our communities.

As many of you know, I have had multiple surgeries on my heart and have needed blood transfusions. Not once did I ever wonder about the color of the person who donated the blood that kept me alive. I was only grateful that someone went out of their way to donate their blood so that I might live.

I thank God that we have a church who sees all of God’s people for who they are: we are all sinners in need of forgiveness that only Christ offers. We are all God’s children in need of a Savior.

Church, let us lead the way in bringing peace to God’s world.