Unanswered Prayer

Prayer may not always be answered the way we want but God does answer. He knows what is good for us and His timing is perfect.

Scripture: Psalm 91:14


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I’ve just been asking our Heavenly Father to put His truth and power, and His love and compassion into my words and into my voice. You can’t see the person speaking. We can’t see each other. Sometimes that’s a good thing, isn’t it? [chuckle] I meet people in meetings and they look at me and say, “Oh, you don’t look a bit like I thought you would.” [chuckle] And I have to smile and say, “Well, I hope it’s not too great a shock.” We can’t see each other but oh, you can tell a great deal by the sound of a voice, can you not?

Sometimes people will write to me and they’ll say, “You sounded discouraged today, what’s the matter with you?” [chuckle] Well, I very rarely get discouraged. I am an incurable optimist, which is probably a good thing. But oh, I’ve been praying that God would bring His love and His power and His truth, Himself by the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit to bear on your life through this ministry of the Word by way of radio. Thanks for being there.

Come with me, then, to the closing words of the 91st Psalm. We’ve been walking around in this Psalm just as a little break in-between our study of books of the Bible. We finished Mark and we’ll go on to something else in day or so.

But I’m looking now at verse 15 and 16. “He shall call upon Me and I will answer Him. I will be with Him in trouble. I will deliver Him and honor Him. With long life will I satisfy Him and show Him my salvation. He shall call upon me and I will answer Him.” Peter Deyneka, Sr., “Peter Dynamite” we called him through the years. He was a dear friend of mine. His verse so often quoted was Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” When he quoted that verse very frequently he would add, “Much prayer, much power. Little prayer, little power. No prayer, no power. Let’s have much prayer, much power.”

Yes, the reality of answered prayer is one of the great blessings of belonging to our Lord. Now, notice the because phrases again, because he hath set his love on Me, I’ll deliver him, I’ll set him on high, because he hath known my name. Last time we got together we were discussing some of the names of God and the names of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He hath known my name. How do you know the name of a person? Well, you know the person. He hath known my name. His names in the Bible describes His attributes. And as you walk with your Lord day-by-day and study God’s Word, you begin to understand what these various attributes mean to you. Not simply in a recital of them, as you had to do if you were studying Bible doctrine years ago, we had to know the attributes of God and we put them down on the examination paper in order to pass the course. This, however, is something more: To know God, to know what His name means. A very simple illustration of this, Matthew 1:21, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.” That name, that blessed name of Jesus means Savior. And if you believe on His name, as John 1:12 has it, “Unto them that believe on His name, if you believe on His name.” What does that mean? It means you will trust Him to do what His name means.

People used to be named for their occupation. There’s Mr. Cook and Mr. Baker and Mr. Banker and Mr. Shoemaker. Many different occupations became the names of people. His name means Savior. If you were gonna trust me to do what my name means you’d let me do the cooking. If you would trust Mr. Banker for what his name means, you’d let him do the banking and so on. If you’re gonna trust the Savior to do what His name means, you’re gonna let Him do what? To save you from your sins and to make you a child of God through faith. He hath known my name. To know the name of God means to let Him do what His name means to you.

Well, verse 15 says, “He shall call upon me and I will answer Him.” Answered prayer, how do you cope with the fact that we don’t get everything we ask for in prayer? Well, the Lord Jesus explained it in one of the New Testament passages. He said, “Which of you being a father would give a stone to his son if he ask for bread, or give him a snake if he ask for an eel, or give him a scorpion if he ask for a little bird’s egg?” No, you’d give him the right thing. You’d give him what is good, and so then He said, “If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give good things to them that ask Him?”

He shall call upon me and I will answer him. The answer of God is not always a yes answer. Someone has said that God has three answers, yes or no or not yet. However it may be, the fact is you can hear from heaven. So often as I’ve been praying earnestly about a matter, the faithful indwelling Spirit of God would whisper to my heart, “Listen, this isn’t the time for that.” And I’d simply put it on the back burner and say, “Alright, Lord, I’m willing to wait.” The Bible says, “Wait on the Lord. Trust in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” The timing of God is exquisitely beautiful. Our Lord Jesus got the news of Lazarus’ illness and it said He stayed two days more where He was and then He took His time getting to Bethany.

And then when He got to Bethany, He didn’t go into town, He stayed outside until the grapevine had carried the news from neighbor to neighbor that the Lord Jesus was outside the town, and Martha came zooming out and said, “Lord, you blew it. You should’ve been here in time to heal Lazarus. Now, he’s dead and buried. It’s too late.” The timing of God is beautiful. Why? Because the Lord Jesus was not contemplating a healing, He was planning a resurrection.

And He had allowed Lazarus to be in the grave long enough for everybody to know for sure that he was indeed dead. So that when he came forth bound hand and foot with grave clothes, a living person, they knew that he had been restored to life by the power of the Son of God. God’s timing is beautiful and perfect. His answers, therefore, to our prayers may not always be what we had asked for. We ask for candy, He gives us spinach, but He knows what’s good for us. He will call upon me and I will answer Him.

Now, does answered prayer mean that you can avoid all the troubles of life? No, indeed. He says, “I will be with him in trouble.” You see, the difference between a believer and an unbeliever is that the unsaved person has no one with him. He’s on his own. The believer, the Christian, the child of God, has someone, a very wonderful someone with him, the very presence of God in the trouble, so that David could say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley.” God doesn’t keep you from going into the valley of the shadow; He does, however, go with you. “I will fear no evil for thou art with me.”

So, it doesn’t matter where you are, it matters with whom you are. Do you see the difference? “I will be with him in trouble.” Now, what’s the answer? Some of you are going through troubles today. Somebody’s just lost a loved one and your heart is hurting so bad, and all the sympathy of your friends doesn’t seem to take the heartbreak and the loneliness away. Someone has just been failed by a spouse, and here she has walked off from you, leaving the home broken and your heart broken with it.

And you think to yourself, “Why did it happen? Where did I fail? Wasn’t I good enough? Wasn’t I kind enough? Wasn’t I thoughtful enough? Didn’t I try hard enough? And all of these things come tumbling into your mind combined with the hurt and the rage of having been betrayed. Trouble. Oh, yes. It’s real, isn’t it? It hurts. Some people are facing business troubles. You’ve invested in something and it hasn’t paid out and now you face the loss of what you put up for collateral.

And that’s hard to re-contemplate because you think, “Oh, if it had only worked out differently, and I prayed so hard.” [chuckle] Well, what of it? Number one, talk isn’t going to ease the hurt. Good advice isn’t going to ease the hurt, and good advice saying, “You should’ve done this or that.” isn’t gonna bring back the money you invested. What is going to help is to get in touch with your blessed Lord, so that He can say, “I’m with you. I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

There is never a point at which you need to give up and say, “Well, I blew it. It’s all over. There’s no hope.” Yes, there is always hope. He said, “I’ll be with him in trouble.” And if today out of your hurt and your heartache, the loneliness of sorrow, or the heartbreak and rage of having been betrayed by a spouse; or the even deeper heartbreak for the parent who has a prodigal son or daughter, and you just wish somehow that you could reach them; or the business trouble that some may be in, if you will now get in touch with your Heavenly Father in prayer, He will be with you.

And there is always one step of obedience that God will show you when you pray about a matter, did you know that? When you pray about anything earnestly, the Holy Spirit of God who indwells the believer will show you a step one at least, step of obedience that you can take. Worry, Dale Carnegie used to say, “Is the absence of an organized plan.”

And you can get rid of your worries if you’ll talk things over with your Blessed Lord and let Him reveal to you the next step in His organized plan for your life. “Be care filled for nothing,” said Paul. That means don’t worry about anything. “Be care filled for nothing, but in everything.” You should pray about everything in your life. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And as a result, the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep… ” Like a garrison of soldiers, “Shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Pray about it and God will give you His perfect peace.

Then he will also give you His next step. He will set your mind thinking in the right directions, whether things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, praise. Think on these things and then having set your mind properly programmed, moving in the right direction, He’ll give you the next step. “Those things,” says Paul, “Which ye have seen, heard, learned and received in me, do and the God of Peace shall be with you.” There is a step of obedience that God will give you when you pray about a hopeless matter and it says, “I’ll be with him in trouble.” Turn the trouble over to your blessed Lord and sense His wonderful presence in your life this very day.

Dear Father, today, give us the good sense to call up heaven and pray when we’re in trouble so that we can enjoy Thy presence. In Jesus’s name, I pray this. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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