The sincere believer is working up a sweat, but using the wrong tool. Sincerity is not the prerequisite to answered prayer and neither is effort or need. God is a person of creative order and all that He has ordained is by purpose.
Three things happen when Christians use the wrong spiritual tool to bring about a desired (or promised) result.
1. The user of the tool looks foolish and ineffective.
2. The tool looks poorly designed, foolish and ineffective.
3. The manufacturer of the tool looks foolish and out of touch with the needs of the user.
The above three scenarios have been played out time and time again as it pertains to Christianity, God and prayer.
Christians often look foolish and ineffective because their prayers are not working.
How many times have your “prayers” not been “answered”? Most Christians have no idea if their prayers will get answered. This is one of the reasons why we don’t pray for people with boldness. This “unknown” affects how we engage with the unsaved. We don’t know how to get answers from heaven, so we aren’t able to show off the power of God with confidence. Think about how bold you’d be if you knew you could affect a change when you pray.
Some years ago one of our church members called me up to ask if I’d go to the hospital and pray for his employers son. The family didn’t really know the Lord, but their son was in critical condition at the hospital. This little five year old was playing outside and accidently run over by his mother in their Ford Excursion as she was backing out of the garage. A Ford Excursion is the largest SUV Ford Motor Company has made. It’s a 7000 lb. vehicle and the rear tire had run over his chest. Now he lay in the hospital paralyzed from the neck down. I jumped at the opportunity. When I arrived I introduced myself and exchanged some pleasantries. The father was present and wanted to be in the room when I prayed. Therefore I felt a need to explain to him that I would not be praying for his son like he might have understood prayer. I was going to command the boy to be restored and he would be restored. I asked him to work with me by speaking restoration over the boy himself in the coming days and weeks. Once he understood I did my part. I would admit I didn’t have any flash of lightning come in the room, not jolt of power, but God moved and it came to pass as I had said it would. Quickly the boy recovered and regained feeling and movement.
How many times have you stepped out in faith and made a petition to God when you were supposed to command Lazarus to come forth?
Prayer is slandered, thought dumb, dishonored and assumed to be out of date and or a foolish thing that the superstitious did years ago.
God looks out of touch and uncaring because it appears that He doesn’t answer very many of these “prayers” that He told people to pray.
A common cry of people is “where is God anyway?” “If God cared He’d help me!” People don’t understand a God that is so distant and uninvolved with their needs.
It’s no wonder that people aren’t being attracted to the God that we profess. They usually figure that they can do better on their own. And many times it appears that they can.
The truth is we are often only able to offer “spiritual” salvation and the hope of eternal life to those who have tangible needs.
This problem, as I’ve explained it, explains one of the major reasons why often the Christian fails to receive the answer to his/her prayer. He is praying and he is praying hard and fast. He is praying long. He is sincere, he is praying from a pure heart, but all the while nothing is happening.
Why ? He is trying to cut a board with a drill instead of a skill saw. The sincere believer is working up a sweat, but using the wrong tool. Sincerity is not the prerequisite to answered prayer and neither is effort or need. God is a person of creative order and all that He has ordained is by purpose.