The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints is all about reading. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book or magazine article or blog post I have or am reading. At times, I may post a book blurb (a wannabe book review) or recommend books to be read by others.
As I have been working through Jay Adams’ A Theology of Christian Counseling, I read his chapter on “Counseling and Prayer” yesterday. He gives help on the role of prayer in before, during and after counseling sessions. He gives help on the opportunity we have as counselors to help our counselees learn to pray as a means to “fight their battles.” He uncovers some false ideas about prayer and he explains the various Greek words on prayer.
He completed the chapter by covering the issue of unanswered prayer. It is a section of truth that we Christians often don’t consider, but Scripture teaches us that God does not answer every prayer. There are some kinds of prayers that God will not answer.
Here are 3kinds of prayers God says HE WILL NOT answer:
- God does not answer hypocritical prayer – “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Ps 66:18). The one who is treasuring sin in his heart if harboring unconfessed sin and yet he is approaching God as if that sin doesn’t exist.
- God does not answer unbelieving prayer – “22 And Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:22-24). Do you really believe can do what you ask? God knows the heart, and if you don’t believe it yourself, God won’t answer it.
- God does not answer self-centered prayer – “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (Jas 4:3). It is never wrong to ask for things you need, but to ask for things for your own pleasure are wasted prayers. We are to seek first His righteousness (Matt 6:33), not our pleasures.
Once you get past these, you are ready to be heard by God. I John 5:14 promises us this – “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”