Sunday, March 26, 2017

Healing Prayers

I love this story.  Here we see Jesus healing not one person or two but four in three separate instances and if we had of kept reading we would have discovered that after leaving the blind men he healed a man who was mute.

And this wasn’t an isolated incident in the story.   Contained within the 4 Gospels are 16 specific instances of Christ healing people, He healed the lame, the blind, the lepers, the epileptic, he even healed one of the soldiers who came to arrest him.

And after Matthew had recorded these four specific healing incidents, he tells us Matthew 9:35-36  Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
As we read through the gospels one thing that we discover is that Jesus really didn’t seem to care who he healed, he wasn’t all that selective over the type of disease, the geographical area, the race of the healee or the technique that he used.

He healed blindness, epilepsy, leprosy, and paralysis.  He healed in Galilee, Nazareth and Jerusalem, and he healed Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles.  Some people he touched, some he spoke to, some he made mud packs for their eyes.  Some he didn’t even see but simply spoke the word from a distance and the healing took place.

And in all the charges that Jesus’ enemies brought against him they never doubted that he healed people, there was just too much evidence.  In some instances his critics  saw it with their own eyes.

The one common denominator that we see in all of these healings is the element of faith.  Time and time again we hear Jesus tell people “You are now well because of your faith.” and sometimes it didn’t even have to be the sick person who had the faith, in the book of Mark some guys brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus and when they couldn’t get him through the crowd they went up on the roof tore a hole in the roof and lowered their friend down listen to what it says in Mark 2:5  Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Notice it wasn’t how much faith the crippled man had but the amount of faith the crippled man’s friends had. 

Years ago, I met a man by the name of Rod Lewis.  He was a singer, and had been in a wheelchair since birth.  And he told me about how he’d been prayed for at different times through the years to be healed and when it hadn’t happened he had been rebuked for not having enough faith. But throughout the bible we see people being healed and a lot of times it wasn’t necessarily their faith that was commended. 

Sometimes they didn’t even know that a healing was in the cards.  One of my favourite stories in the bible is from the book of Acts when Peter and John were on their way to pray in the temple and saw the crippled man laying outside the gate begging. 

And Peter goes over and tells him Acts 3:6  But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

The beggar didn’t have a clue who Peter was or what Peter had to offer, all he wanted was some change and he was healed, not because of his faith but because of Peter’s faith. 

The story is told that Thomas Aquinas, was being entertained by Pope Innocent IV.  One day the pope, looked around at the Papal palace and told Aquinas: "You see that the Church is no longer in an age in which she can say, Silver and gold have I none" "It is true, holy father," replied Aquinas, "nor can she now say to the lame man, Rise up and walk!"  That is what is known in preaching as “An aside”.

But what is faith?  The Bible defines faith in the book of Hebrews 11:1 when it says Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Often when we think of healing we think of a physical healing, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the mute speak the blind see.  But that isn’t the only type of healing we see in the bible.

There is a Healing for our Spirit.   Sometimes we view the people of the bible through rose coloured glasses, never believing that they might have problems or be in the least bit down or depressed. 

In the book of 1 Samuel we read the story of Hannah, maybe you know the story, maybe you don’t.  In the first chapter, we discover that she was married to Elkanah and they loved each other very much but they couldn’t have children.  And that was something she wanted desperately. 

It’s so hard for those of us who have children to understand sometime the heartbreak felt by those who are childless.  On the other hand, It’s so hard for those who are childless to understand sometime the heartbreak felt by those of us who have children.

And it’s not all that uncommon, just off the top of my head I can think of a number of couples within my circle of acquaintances who can’t have children for one reason or another and I’m sure that many of them share the feelings that Hannah expressed in 1 Samuel 1:10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.

But Hannah wasn’t the only person in the Bible that experienced the blues listen to what Moses had to say in Numbers 11:14-15 I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy!  If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”  Sounds like the life of the party doesn’t he?

And listen to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” 

And then there was King David, who wrote most of the Psalms, who penned these words:  Psalms 22:6-8 But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, “Is this the one who relies on the Lord?” Each of these people needed to have their spirits healed because they had given up.  And each of them eventually received the emotional healing they needed.

I’m not saying that their problems weren't severe, but their problems certainly weren’t unique nor were they fatal.  In 2017 our country and our churches are full of people who have fallen and can’t get up.  And here is the good news for the morning, we will all fall.  You ever watch babies learning how to walk?  They don’t just get it.  They try and they wobble and they fall down, and they get back up again and they try again and they wobble again and they fall down again. 

It’s kind of a recurring theme until they finally get it right, because babies have discovered the truth of life and that is “If you walk you will fall.”  Sometimes we fall because of fear, or inexperience or lack of preparation or over confidence or sometimes we just fall.

And the more we attempt to do the more likely we are to fall.  Like it or not them are the facts.  Can anyone remember where they were on January 28, 1986?  No how about this can anyone remember where they were when Christa McAuliffe died?  She was the school teacher aboard the space shuttle Challenger when it exploded 73 seconds after take-off. I was driving on Pictou Road in Bible Hill when I heard the news on the radio.

There are those who would say that had Christa McAuliffe not gone into space that she would have survived, yes but the question is would she have lived?

Life is going to be full of falls, the farther you reach, the faster you run, the longer you go the percentages begin to pile up.  The privilege of success is tempered by the risk of a fall.

The difference between Success and failure is contained in our reaction to our falls.  Some people center their entire experiences around one fall, they look at it, replay it, over and over again but they never get on with life.  It doesn’t matter how successful they had been and can be all they see is the fall.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’re not a failure until you quit.  Never be down, either be up or getting up.

And if you are down, and you don’t think you can get up by yourself maybe you’re right.  But then again if you are a child of God then you don’t need to get up by yourself cause he’s there to help you up.  When Christ started his earthly ministry, he began by making an appearance in the synagogue he read a passage of scripture that would shape his ministry listen. 

The scripture that Jesus read that day were the words of Isaiah 61:1  The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

If you’ve fallen then God is there.  If you can’t get up, if you’re too tired and you’ve called it quits, don’t despair listen again to the words of Jesus He has sent Me to comfort the brokenhearted.  Do you fit in that category?  Has your heart been broken, has your spirit been crushed?  But you have to be willing to be picked up.
Are you crying out to God today for an emotional healing?  If so he’s there.  David must have discovered that as well because he wrote in Psalm 34:18  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
And so Jesus is there to heal your broken spirit, but more then that we read in Jeremiah 3:22 “My wayward children,” says the Lord, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.”
There is a Healing for Our Souls 

Sometimes we pray for a physical healing and neglect a spiritual healing.  As a matter of fact, I marvel when I hear Christians ask for prayer for the physical healing of an unbelieving loved one and yet they’ve never asked for prayer for their salvation.  

If we go back to the scripture we started with we read in Matthew 9: 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Why did Jesus have compassion on the crowds?  Not because they were sick but because they were lost.

As much as we place a high premium on physical health, think of weight loss centers, gyms, fitness clubs etc. we need to put an even higher premium on spiritual health.  Psalm 41:4 “O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me. Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

Let me paraphrase the words of Jesus from Matthew 10:28 Jesus said “Do not be afraid of those diseases which can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of those diseases which can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  That disease is sin. And it is a terminal disease.  Listen to what the Bible says in Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.

That’s not physical death, because if you haven’t heard yet we are all going to die.  Instead it’s a spiritual death.

Sin is what separates you from God, it creates a chasm that you cannot cross, and the only part that you have in your spiritual healing is repentance.  Repentance is simply telling God that you’re sorry for what you’ve done, not just a little sorry but so sorry you’re not going to do it again.  That's the message that Peter was teaching in Acts 3:19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.

Did you catch what happens there, your sins will be wiped away, that’s called forgiveness and that’s God’s part.  Are you crying out to God today for a spiritual healing? If so he’s there. 

But the healing that Jesus offers is not just for our spirits and our souls.

James 5:14-15 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.

There is a Healing for Our Bodies  This is the one you were waiting for isn’t it?  You are wondering “Where’s he going with this, does he believe in divine physical healing?”  I not only believe that Jesus Christ healed people when he walked through the Holy Land 2000 years ago, I also believe that he heals people today.  You with me?

But in saying that here a couple of things to think about:  

1) Let’s keep God’s will in mind.  Probably praying for your 96 year old granny to be healed physically may not be what God has in mind.  We need to admit that some people are ready to be with God, and when we pray for their healing we are praying out of selfishness, cause we don’t want to lose them. 

We say that heaven is a wonderful place, but we don’t always act like we believe it.  Sometimes we need to use common sense when we pray for physical healing. 

Adam Clarke, a preacher from the late 1700’s wrote that when we pray for healing it ought to be like this:  “If it be most for thy glory, and the eternal good of this man's soul, let him be restored; if otherwise, Lord, pardon, purify him, and take him to thy glory.”

2) Healing isn’t absolute  We don’t know why but God doesn’t always heal.  Paul spoke about his thorn in the flesh, we don’t know what it was but most scholars feel that it was some type of physical ailment that Paul wanted removed, listen to what he said in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

If God healed every physical problem then people would never die and people do die.

When you say “Faith Healing” a whole generation of people think of Kathryn Kuhlman who traveled the world doing Healing Crusades from the late 40s to the mid 70s and she died of heart problems on February 20th 1976.

John Wimber one of the founders of the Signs and Wonders movement in the seventies wrote “Power Healing” and yet he died of a brain hemorrhage on November 17, 1997. 

I saw a sign in a doctor’s office once that said, “Don’t take life too serious you’ll never get out of it alive.” Ain’t that the truth. 

When I was in High School in English we had to take poetry, remember?  And as a 17 year old one of John Donne’s Holy Sonnets struck a chord with me, perhaps you remember it as well.

Holy Sonnet # 10 or Death Be Not Proud

Death be not proud,
though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful,
for thou art not so,
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure: then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

The ultimate healing for the Christian has to be death, and that’s not a cop out, death may be the enemy but it’s a defeated enemy, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15: 54-55 “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

3) Let’s recognize that we don’t pray enough for divine healing.  People have died because they had not been prayed over, do you believe that?  God does heal and he expects us to pray for healing.  Does that mean we should neglect proper medical care?  No, being a believer doesn’t mean that you are stupid, or at least it shouldn’t.  God can and does heal though doctors and hospitals.  

4) It is an act of faith.  The term faith healer is redundant, it’s like a Born Again Christian, you can’t be a Christian unless you’re born again, and you can’t heal without faith.  But the onus appears to be on the healer not on the healee.  How much is enough faith?  I don’t know, obviously enough to heal.  And faith will never ask less than that you believe.

5) The Bible gives us clear direction for healing and that’s laid down in the scripture in James 5:14-15  Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

1) They should call the elders of the church.  Who does the calling? The person who is sick. You can’t force a person to be prayed over, and we can’t force our desire for someone to be healed on them.
2) The leaders should pray over the person who needs to be healed for healing.  Specifically for healing, let’s not beat around the bush on that one.
3) There is an anointing with oil.  And I’ve read that because oil was considered. . .
4) It should be done in the name of the Lord
5) It must be a prayer of faith.

So, where you at? 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Unanswered Prayer

God Answers Prayer, But Not Always
Prayer helps us feel closer to God, more connected to the church and extremely guilty if it is perceived that we don’t do it enough or correctly.  And this is one of the verses that is often claimed as a promise for praying Christians:  James 5:16 The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.   And no matter what translation you read it in it is just as powerful, the King James Version says James 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
While the New International Version reads:  James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
And it is my opinion that this is the one of the most encouraging verses for praying Christ followers and in the same breath one of the most discouraging verses for praying Christ followers. 
Encouraging because it truly is a great promise, listen to it again: James 5:16 The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.  If you are a righteous person and if you pray earnestly your prayers will have great power and produce wonderful results.  And we have all heard incredible testimonies about the answer to prayers, people healed, love found, employment gained, children saved, football games won. Obviously, those who prayed were righteous people who prayed earnestly.
But what about when people aren’t healed?  When love is lost, a job can’t be found, children continue to wander and the football game is lost?  What then?  What does that say about the person who prayed?  Are they not as righteous? Are their prayers not as earnest because the results are not wonderful and not powerful?
This scripture came to mind a couple of weeks ago in a matter of answered prayer, and because I’m older than dirt I remembered it in the King James James 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  And as I thought about it and celebrated it I realized that James didn’t finish the thought, what he should have written was James 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, but not always.
Now before you get out your torches and pitchforks in an effort to run me out of town you need to recognize two things.  The first is “You can’t” and the second is that I’m right.  Because no matter who you are, no matter how righteous you might be, no matter has fervently you might pray, not all of your prayers have been answered.  And if you were feeling particularly honest then you would admit that you don’t always understand why not and sometimes you get a little cranky about it.
If we are truthful, there have probably been times that you felt like David when he wrote in Psalm 22:1-2 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.
And if the truth be known you don’t need a sermon on how to pray, you’ve got that figured out.  You might not feel comfortable praying when other people are around or praying out loud or in in public but you have no problem praying then you know how to pray, it’s just talking to God, even if it’s as simple as “Dear lord I pray his radar wasn’t turned on, or help my baby get better, or let me win the lottery.”
But prayer shouldn’t be a shopping list, it should be a conversation between hearts.  A conversation between your heart and God’s heart.
And we know why we pray, we pray when we feel helpless and when we can’t do it ourselves.  So we know the why and the how of prayer.  Sure we might need to be reminded that prayer is supposed to be an ongoing conversation with God and not simply a shopping list of things we want, that it should include some thank-yous along with the pleases.    Because we’ve been quoting Meister Eckhart a lot lately he once said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

But for the most part we all know how to pray.    Maybe we don’t do it enough but most of us do it, even if it’s a prayer like  Jacob Astley’s  “O Lord! thou knowest how busy I must be this day: if I forget thee, do not thou forget me.”
So here is the question, why aren’t some prayers answered?  Good question, so I Googled it and got a whole bunch of reasons.  Here are some of those reasons:
1. You are out of fellowship with God.
2. You aren’t trying to please God
3. You have Unconfessed Sin in your Life
4. You’re praying with Improper Motives
5. You don’t know how to pray
6. You have a lack of faith
7. You quit too soon.
And well those are undoubtedly reasons; I don’t think it’s super productive to tell people “The reason that your prayers aren’t being answered is “you”.
“You” have no faith, or “You” have the wrong faith or “You’re” just plain sinful.”  “Well thank you very much.” 
But without getting personal there are some reasons for unanswered prayer and some things we need to understand about prayer and about limits that God places on prayer.  Now I know that we like to think that the power of prayer is unlimited, and in theory it is. But remember “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.”
But for all practical purposes there are limits on prayer that are imposed by God himself.
And there are things we need to understand
We Need to Understand that God Has a Plan.  At this point we could say that prayer is limited by God’s will, but we all have different ideas of what God’s will is, so let’s stick with understanding that God has a plan for this world.
God’s design for this world is that we would accept him as our Saviour and so when we die we will live with Him for all eternity.  From time to time I hear people talk about healing and occasionally they will say that God wants everyone to be healthy and within certain limits I still believe that.  
However, the bible does say in Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment.   People do not live forever, that’s a plain and simple fact of life, and because of that we shouldn’t be surprised when prayers for healing are not always answered.
In 35 years of ministry I have discovered 2 things.  The first is that everybody dies.  The second is that in most cases everybody dies too soon (Give Examples)
I believe in the power of God to heal, and I know that God does heal people, but I also know that not everyone is healed.  And people die, Jesus died and was raised to life again.  Our hope is a resurrection hope, that’s God’s plan for the world and our prayers are limited by God’s plan.  That doesn’t mean that you don’t pray for healing, but pray knowing that God is in control. 
I love the quote from John Wimber, one of the founders of the Vineyard Church, who said “When we prayed for no one, no one was healed.  Now we pray for lots of people and some people are healed.”
When I was younger I thought that when you prayed for healing and added “If it’s your will” that it was just a cop out, that by adding that disclaimer you could always fall back on the “Well I guess it just wasn’t God’s will.”  But as I gotten older and perhaps wiser, depending on who you talk to, I’ve come to understand that ultimately God knows what he’s doing, even if we don’t understand it or agree with it.  And I’ll talk about that later.
We Need to Understand that God Designed the World A pastor came into his church one day and noticed a boy at the front praying, he went over to comfort the child and when the boy was done the pastor asked him, “I know you were praying but why did you keep repeating Calgary, Calgary, Calgary?” To which the boy responded, “I just finished my Canadian geography test and I was praying that God would make Calgary the capital of Alberta.”  Probably not going to happen. 
There have been times that I’ve prayed for 48 hour days and unlimited energy so that I could accomplish all I wanted to do.  But the sun still set at the usual time and I still needed my rest.  Step off a building you will get hurt, because gravity isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. 
God created this world with certain laws in effect. We need our rest, and we need the universe to be a stable place to live.  Design and order are necessary.  I know that in the book of Joshua, Joshua prayed and God made the sun stand still but when we pray for such things we must know that we’re praying for a miracle.  And a miracle doesn’t require God to violate a “natural law” so much as it requires God to violate the consistency of the universe.   Psalm 104:19 You made the moon to mark the seasons and the sun that knows when to set.
Prayers for God to move outside of those boundaries affect the very course of nature.
We should not be surprised when our prayers for miracles sometimes go unanswered.  
We Need to Understand the Primacy of Free Will  Who remembers the movie “Bruce Almighty”?    If you didn’t watch it you probably still know the premise.  Bruce Nolan, played by Jim Carrey, is a reporter in Buffalo New York who is constantly gripping about how God treats him, so God, played by Morgan Freeman gives him his power, temporarily,  to see what it is like to be God.
Here is the scene where the rules are explained:  (Clip from Bruce Almighty)  You got that right?  Don’t mess with free will. 
God didn’t violate your free will to force you to become a Christian and he won’t violate the free well of others to force them to become a Christian.  Nor will God force people to give up alcohol or drugs or a destructive lifestyle. 
The greatest gift that he ever gave us was the freedom to make choices for ourselves and he isn’t going to take that gift away from someone else simply because you pray for it, no matter how noble your motives are.  We should not be surprised when some of our prayers for others go unanswered.  
Now if you’ve ever asked me to pray for the salvation of a loved one, I will pray for their wisdom, I will pray that God’s brings people into their path who will share a positive witness, I will pray that you become a better example of Christ’s love and that you will have the courage to share Christ with your loved one, but I will not pray that God will make them a Christian.
Nor will I pray that God will make them stop drinking, or smoking or cheating. 
We Need to Understand That We Are Not the Only One Praying How should God decide whose prayers to answer. 
During the Super Bowl I wonder how many Falcon fans were praying as compared to the number of Patriot fans? Do we presume that more New England fans prayed than Atlanta fans?  And they have a lot more mega churches in Atlanta, there’s a Wesleyan Church in Atlanta whose Sunday morning attendance is great then the Sunday Morning Attendance of every Wesleyan Church in Canada combined.  So And there are more mega churches in Atlanta than there is in all of New England, so what does that say about their the prayer lives? 
Probably the great example of this is weather.  How many people pray for specific weather requests?  We are probably all guilty of that, aren’t we?  Lord let it be a nice day for my wedding, let it be a nice day for the picnic, let it rain for the crops and snow for the skiers.
What would happen if God granted everyone’s weather requests?   Can you imagine it?  I mean the weather would have to be different about every hundred feet!  It would have to be rainy in this field and it would have to be sunny out behind this house.  It would have to be twenty-eight degrees down Main Street and there would have to be a ten-foot pile of snow in every child’s back yard!  It would be ridiculous!  
And we shouldn’t be surprised that isn’t how things work!  The Bible tells us that God is concerned about us as individual people but it also tells us that God is concerned about nations and groups of people and on some level that means God has to be concerned about all of us together.   
If you remember in Bruce Almighty, Bruce gets so overwhelmed with all the prayer requests that he answers everyone’s prayers with a collective yes and everyone wins the lottery, they each get $17.00.  But that wasn’t what they were all praying for.
And some of those prayers are selfish.  If you are praying that you will get that great job you are praying that someone else won’t.  If you are praying that someone you know gets into surgery sooner because of a cancellation what are your prayers saying about the person who had to cancel?  And where will they go in the line-up.  And what are we praying when we are asking for an organ donation for someone.
We Need to Understand That God is Probably Smarter Than Us Outside of the limits that are on prayer we also need to realize that God created the universe and most of us have a hard time putting our kids toys together at Christmas. This would lead me to believe that God is smarter than we are.  Often prayers aren’t answered because it wouldn’t be in our best interest.  Just for a minute ask yourself what would happen if every prayer you had ever prayed had been answered.  Who would you be married to, what would you be doing for a career, where would you be living.
Sometime we just have to believe that God knows best.  Maybe St. Teresa of Avila had it right when she said There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.  Which is very similar to the words written by Garth of Oklahoma who said “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers,  Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs That just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

Have you ever made a purchase or decision that you regretted soon afterwards?  You know, buy a computer or phone and the upgrade comes out the next week.   Start dating Mr. Right and then meet Mr. Right 2.0.  Jump at a job opportunity and the company folds a month later.  Order the burger and then see the nachos at the table next to yours. 
Sometimes God is waiting for even greater things for you, more than you can imagine right now.
What should we do when our prayers aren’t answered?
That wasn’t all that helpful, was it?  Learning why our prayers might not be answered.  So what do we do when the sick friend or loved one doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and the wayward child still hasn’t come back to God.  Does the fact that there are limits on our prayers mean that we should just give up?  By no means.  Here are a few suggestions.
1.  Be Patient
First of all and maybe most importantly, be patient.  Many of the things that we pray for we expect to happen overnight. “Lord teach me to be patient” we pray one evening and expect to have the patience of Job by daybreak! Be patient!  Just because it didn’t happen today doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen tomorrow, or next week or in a year.  A request delayed is not a request denied.
2.  Trust God
     Be patient but also trust God’s wisdom.  Every child knows that there are times when parents say “no” and that there are demands that parents don’t fulfill.  When it looks like a prayer isn’t being answered don’t get your knickers in a knot!  God hasn’t fallen off His throne.  The angels sent to guard you didn’t take a wrong turn on the trans-Canada and wind up in going to Florida for the winter. Whatever is happening for whatever reason God knows. Trust His wisdom and goodness.  I always go back to a story I heard years ago.  Two women were talking and one say “Maybe God will be good and will heal your little boy.”  To which the second responded and said “God will be good whether he heals my little boy or not.” 
Can we trust the wisdom of God even when it runs contrary to what we think should happen?
3.  Ask Why or Why Not 
If a prayer isn’t being answered and God knows why and what’s happening then we should also ask for some insight.  We’re often told “don’t question God.”  True, it isn’t healthy to doubt God’s intentions, but often I hear this kind of thing said of situations when we should ask God.  If God knows then we might stand to learn something if we ask.
What if we stopped and asked, “God why didn’t I get that job?”  or “God why don’t I have a relationship right now?”  
Think about a child who begs continually to eat sweets. What would happen if they asked why? Think of what they might learn about nutrition and discipline and about always getting what we want!  Think of how much more they could know than that “mean old mom won’t let me have what I want.”  
It’s the same way with God.  When we don’t get what we ask for it’s a good idea to ask for more information.   And as parents you know that sometimes the answer is “Because I say so.”  And sometimes God’s answer is very simply “Because I say so.”
4.  Keep Praying  
     Perhaps the best thing we can do when a prayer goes unanswered is to continue praying. Keep praying!  But remember prayer isn’t just asking.  It’s a conversation.  Sometimes we see God as a giant vending machine, you put in a prayer, pull out a healing, stick in a prayer pull out a solution. 
Have you ever had someone in your life that every time you see them they ask for something?  Gets a little annoying doesn’t it.  Sometimes prayer is just talking to God, telling him about your day and thanking him for all he’s done for you.
It’s easy to get discouraged when a prayer hasn’t been answered. It gets hard to keep praying when we don’t see direct results, but we ought to keep praying because the Bible and our experience both tells us that God answers prayers.  Every time we pray there is the real possibility that God will do something about our request.
Be patient! Trust God’s wisdom and goodness!  Ask Why!  Keep Praying!
And as Jesus said John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

And Jesus still reminds us of that promise 2000 years later.