Tuesday 8 March 2022


The problem subject to-day is  prayer.

There are very few people who can say they never pray.  There are different standards of praying. True Christian prayer will have concerns for praying for the gospel, to glorify God and Jesus Christ, for the Church, for the good of the country, peace, human tragedies.

Personal praying for family, and personal problems. The selfish praying when in some difficulty or need, and expect a God they never think about to just attend to then and answer.

There are conditions for when praying.  Writing in his bible Letter, James the leader of the early Church at Jerusalem, and brother of Jesus stated, when you ask God, be sure in your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea, that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect anything from the Lord.

In clear statement, you must have faith in God.

When a child asks an earthly father for something, he/she does so in a personal relationship with trust in each other. When we ask God to help us we should be able to do so as children of God, approaching our (heavenly) Father with complete faith.

The Bible makes it perfectly clear that there is only one way to God, and that is by Jesus Christ. We should have accepted, that Jesus, by his sacrificial death on the Cross, has made God accessible to all who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. He has created a way for us to approach God in a direct way, without needing a priest or anyone else as an intermediary. 

We are then talking to the creator of the world, the God of Abraham, David, the great prophets and apostles; the Father of Jesus Christ. You are in fact knowing the God you are speaking to.

There are several responses to prayer to consider. I had been in ministry for quite some time before I realized the subject of prayer was not fully understood.  Ministers were telling people to pray and God will always grant what is asked for, which in many cases may be so, but in fairness to God and the person praying, it should have been explained that God may  answer in a way not immediately revealed. God has a plan for all our lives, and such that we sought for may not have fitted within that plan. Like an earthly father, he could see it was not within our best interests to do so.

Ministers can often give quite ridiculous statements about prayer.  |There is a prominent American evangelist who is pastor of a very large Church, who I once heard preach on prayer, and he told his congregation if there people whose prayers were not being granted, it was because they were not praying hard enough. It was rather a case he was not being truthful enough, for God is a just and merciful God, and has more grace than the Minister who was leading people astray.

I once had to deal with damage a deaconess had caused. She saw an elderly lady who suffered a lot with arthritis, and had medication from a doctor. She told the lady to throw away the tablets, and she would lay hands on the lady for healing and pray for her. The lady did dispose of the tablets, but the consequences led to her becoming seriously ill.

It does not need a genius to realize, that all who are ill will not be answered as we wished by God, for if so there would not be a need for as many hospitals as we have, and fewer Christian people dying.  But God does indeed answer favorably to  prayers people make.

Some of you who will be reading this sermon, will remember two years past I asked for prayers for my wife who was seriously ill, when two vital body organs failed, and there was no medication that could deal with things. In addition, a lady African friend who was a devout Christian, also organized prayer meetings for the occasion, and my wife was restored to health within three days. Yet even Minister friends smiled benevolently at me when I stated I believed God had responded so wonderfully.

I can add that my African friend was the most gifted person in prayer that I met in over 40 years ministry. I had to undergo several operations and in each case she prayed for me prior to entry to hospital, and each time I was successfully healed. I never went to the doctor without her prayers. God does, as the Bible states, give gifts of healing tohis chosen people.  But look at reasons for (seemingly)unanswered prayer. 

Some prayers are better unanswered.  In my previous occupation I moved upwards reasonably quickly to a good position, and seemed destined for a senior post, but it never happened.  I was very disappointed at the time, but now I thank God deeply, for if it had have taken place I would have gone to an end with nothing to show for in my life.  Instead, I was led into ministry and have had many happy years in the Church, led people to find Christ, and made so many lovely people, some of whom have kept contact still. So do not be despondent and sad if things have not happened as you wished, God does know what is best for you.

In other cases, there delayed answers.  Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had to wait years before their son John was born. Hannah, in the Old Testament prayed fervently for a child, for it was deemed a disgrace for a woman not to have a child, but God answered her to give a son named Samuel.

Elijah became despondent and pleaded with God to let himself die. God did not answer that way, but made him a great prophet and servant who destroyed the pagan enemies of God at Mount Carmel.

Sometimes prayer happens when we do not expect it.  God knows what we want and in his goodness gives it us.  In Acts 12 Peter was in prison, and his friends held a prayer meeting where they prayed fervently for his release, despite him being held in a prison with guards, in addition to a barred cell. Whilst his friends were praying, an angel of the Lord helped Peter to escape the prison, and he arrived at his friends door.  When Rhoda answered, saw Peter and told the meeting, they didn’t at first believe her.

There is answered prayer when God grants forthwith for what you prayed for. Often this is received and you are relieved and overjoyed; but do you thank God for answering or just accept it as a matter of course?

Often it appears as prayer is not answered, and there are explanations when it is not.   

Consider now some of the essential necessities for praying.  For true Christians, (as opposed to just Church members) there has to be a belief in God.  This means more than just accepting there is a God, even the devil knows that.  You need to know God, and recognize you are in God’s family, which you can only be when you have accepted being a follower of Jesus. Remember, for Christians, there is only one God, the God of Israel and Father of Jesus, which other faiths don’t recognize.

You must have a clean life, there is no point in praying to God if you are living in a sinful way, any way which is contrary to the teaching of Jesus , for God will not answer any who are disobeying.

You have to ask in the name of Jesus and with faith. God will not answer if you are dishonoring Jesus by acting against Jesus teaching.

Pray as Peter’s friends did ‘fervently’.  Speak to God as you would to your own father, no need for dramatic tones and actions.  Let God know your need. Have as James stated, with complete faith.  Just as you would appreciate being thanked for any effort you made for someone, show your thanks to God for his answer.


May God bless you, be with you, and treat you kindly. May God’s holy Name be praised.

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