I have approached a number of Christians about their attitude concerning prayer. One person complained privately to me, “God isn’t interested in my prayers. I’ve prayed for a number of people and issues and nothing has happened!” One man told me that after he prayed, the circumstances he prayed for GOT WORSE!  Seemingly unanswered prayer is the toughest hurdle to get past for those who are called to a ministry of prayer.

This sermon explores BOTH answers to prayer and what seems to be God’s inattention to our prayers. Since God is infinite and we are finite, we don’t always understand God’s purposes in the affairs of mankind. But He’s still in control. The perspective of time will bear out the reality that God knows what He’s about.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8,9


October 21,2007

Sheepfold Ministries, Rev. Phil Roland

UnAnswered Prayers

Acts 12:1-17

"The purpose of prayer is not to persuade God to give us what we want, or what He can do for us, but to seek Him for Himself."       pastor Phil Roland



"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."                                                                                                     Matt. 6:33


"These things say He that is Holy, He that is true. . .He that opens and no man shuts;"

          Rev. 3:a


"And it shall come to pass, that before they call I WILL ANSWER THEM; and while they are yet speaking, I WILL HEAR.”                                                  Isaiah 65:7   (Read the text)


"These things say He that is Holy, He that is true. . .He that shuts and no man opens."                                                                                                                                                   Rev. 3:b



I.   E L I J A H  -  1 Kings 19:4

“But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!"

            A. Elijah asked God to let him die

            B. God took him up into heaven without dying - 2 Kings 2:11


II.  J O B  -  Job 6:8,9

"Oh, that I might have my request, That God would grant me the thing that I long for!

That it would please God to crush me, That He would loose His hand and cut me off!”

A. Job prayed for God to destroy him

            B. God delivered him and restored him to double – Job 42:10


III.  P A U L  -  2 Cor. 12:7-9

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

A. Paul asked God to take away his thorn in the flesh

            B. God gave him strength/grace to endure


IV.  M O S E S  -  Deut. 3:23,25,26

"Then I pleaded with the LORD at that time, saying: 'O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?

'I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.'” "But the LORD was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the LORD said to me: 'Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter.”

A. Moses prayed to go over into Canaan, the Promised Land

            B. He died on Mt. Pizgah overlooking Canaan – Deut. 4:1,2

            "Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to

observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God

of your fathers is giving you. "You shall not add to the word which I command

you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD

your God which I command you.”

                        1. Why was God angry with Moses?

                        2. He did not obey the Word of the Lord at Meribah

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Take the rod; you and your

brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock

before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for

them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their

animals." So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He

commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together

before the rock; and he said to them, "Hear now, you rebels! Must we

bring water for you out of this rock?" Then Moses lifted his hand and

struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and

the congregation and their animals drank.Then the LORD spoke to Moses

and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the

eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this

assembly into the land which I have given them." Numbers 20:7-12


V.  D A V I D  -  2 Samuel 12:16-20

David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, "Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!" When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" And they said, "He is dead." So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate.”

A. David prayed for life for his child of adultery

B. The child died – Adultery always leads to death

C. What a man sows, he reaps


VI.  J E S U S  -  Matt. 26:38-44

“Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying,

"O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.”

A. Jesus  struggled  in  Gethsemane asking God for another way

                        1. Instead He was forced to drink the cup of bitterness

                        2. He was obedient to God’s perfect will

            B. On the Cross He paid the final price for our sins!








Acts 12:1-17

12:1  Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.

2  Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

3  And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

4  So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.

5  Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.

6  And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.

7  Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!" And his chains fell off his hands.

8  Then the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and tie on your sandals"; and so he did. And he said to him, "Put on your garment and follow me."

9  So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.

10  When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

11  And when Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people."

12  So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.

13  And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer.

14  When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate.

15  But they said to her, "You are beside yourself!" Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, "It is his angel."

16  Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.

17  But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren." And he departed and went to another place.










Closing Illustration:

During World War II, Great Briton was under heavy siege from German Bombs. An English farmer sent a missionary offering to a mission group. He apologized for the small gift, and said the dry weather had created a shortage of water on his farm. He asked the mission staff to pray that no German bombs fall on his property.

The leader of the mission thanked the farmer for his gift, but said he refused to tell God what to do about the bombs. The farmer was a little puzzled about this response because he had only asked for prayer for his farm.

Not too many days later, a huge bomb fell on his property.  It shook the earth, broke windows and exploded with a deafening roar. The farmer’s faith in prayer was shaken! Is this how God answers prayer?

The farmer very carefully examined his pro­perty. No livestock were hurt. No one in his family was hurt but at the bottom of the smoking crater, there was something unusual!

Gushing up from the bottom of that bomb crater was a spring of crystal clear water! There was enough water there for him and for the thirsty crops of his neighbors!

His next season’s mission check was much greater since god had heard and answered the prayers of the mission staff!


There a number of you, reading this illustration who have despaired of prayer. You may have given it up as a hopeless exercise. You may even feel that God doesn’t hear you when you pray. I urge you to reconsider your viewpoint on this vital part of your relationship with God.

God does hear. He does care about you.

I implore you to approach God for Himself, and when He answers in ways you don’t expect, look for the gushing springs of His Blessings.