Monday, March 7, 2011

Prayer 02: Why Didn't God Answer My Prayer? Follow Up

Why Didn’t God Answer My Prayer? Week 2
What is something you are currently praying for that God has apparently not yet answered? How have you handled this prayer not being answered?

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have r eceived it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
Mark 11:24-25 (NIV)


Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7 (NIV)

•    The previous two verses would seem to indicate relationships with others have some affect on our prayers. What do you think the connection might be? Has your ability to pray ever been affected by your relationships?
•    Discuss a time when God said “no” or “not now” to a request. Did you understand the reason for His answer then? Do you understand it now?
•    Do you think there will be answers you may never understand? If so, how does that make you feel?
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives..
James 4:3 (NIV)
Describe a time when you prayed for something but your motives may have been less than pure. How did God respond to your prayers?

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord...
James 1:6-7 (NIV)

•    How would you rate the degree of faith you currently have in God’s ability to answer prayers: High, low or in between? Why?
•    What are some ways you’ve seen God work in others lives to build up their confidence and trust in Him? Have you experienced that in your own life? If so, how?

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.
1 John 5:14-15 (NIV) 

Final Thought: With your group pray for any requests that may have left you feeling confused, uncertain or even unheard. Be open and honest with God. He can handle it. Ask Him to help you examine your heart, your motives and your faith. Ask Him for a willingness to hear whatever His answer, whatever it may be, and to trust in His goodness and His wisdom.

For Further Study
To use this resource, simply select one or two questions from each category below that you think will help your discussion. Alternatively, you can use these questions and Scriptures in your own personal devotions during the week.
•    If you could ask God for anything, what would it be? Explain why you would ask for it.
Read Mark 11:20-26
•    How did Jesus use this, seemingly insignificant event as an opportunity to teach the disciples? (11:22)
•    On what do answers to prayer depend? (11:22-25) 
•    What truth did Jesus illustrate with the withered fig tree? (11:23-24) 
•    What promise did Jesus offer regarding answers to prayers? (11:24) 
•    What can stand in the way of God’s forgiveness? (11:25) 
•    How can holding a grudge affect the way God answers prayer? (11:25) 
•    How is some unanswered prayer accounted for? (11:25) Reflect
•    What does this passage say about the relationship between faith and forgiveness?

When do you find it most difficult for you to forgive others?
Has this passage challenged you to reexamine your faith in your conversations with God?
•    What is one specific request that you could pray for each day for the next week? Share with the group how they can be praying with you.

Here are some suggestions you may want to use for your time with God this week:

Day 1—Pray for your unanswered requests. Have an honest conversation with God as to why these requests have yet to be answered. Read John 9:31

Day 2—Spend time praying for those in your life you may have grudges against. Ask God to soften your heart to those people and work toward reconciliation. Read 1 Peter 3:7

Day 3—Have an honest conversation with God about the current state of your faith. Pray that he will strengthen your faith. Read James 1:6-7 and Matt. 9:29- 30.

Day 4—Seek God’s will for your life. Not only ask God for His will, but also take time to listen for His response. Read 1 John 5:14-15 and Luke 22:42-43

Day 5—Thank God for the prayers you know He has answered in your life. Pray for those unanswered prayers that may have been mentioned by your group. Read Colossians 1:12, 1 Chronicles 16:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Remember it is about the earnest pursuit not the ability to get through questions. What are you learning?  Do you sense greater closeness as you strive to stay in contact?


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