Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the meaning of prayers that apparently are not answered.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
When There is No Answer to Prayer
““And Jesus said, ‘‘That men ought to always pray, and not faint.’’" Luke, Chapter 18, Verse 1.
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we share some additional insight into prayer, especially when there appears to be no answer to our petitions. When we are seeking the answer to prayer on some grievous matter, "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
In order to gain this insight, we must again return to the purpose of prayer and how the Father answers prayer. First and foremost, we must remember that no prayer can be answered unless it is consistent with the Father’’s will. When Jesus admonishes us to pray and not faint, he is not advocating that continuing to pray in the face of no answer will change the Father’’s will; rather if we continue to pray we will learn what the Father’’s will is. Therefore, prayer is a technique for learning how to do the Father’’s will. And it is through the Father’’s will that we become perfect even as he is perfect. Jesus revealed this to us. Therefore we should pray for the fruits of the spirit, which are the indicators of perfection of character, "for the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.
The Father answers our prayers by making us like He is, perfect in spirit and in character, as demonstrated by His Son, Jesus. When we pray we are thus learning how to recognize the Father’’s character and to make that character part of our own characters. This is what it means to be made in His image: to possess the divine values and meanings that are apart of Him, as we become increasingly like He is.
We are material creatures, and it is natural that when we start our conscious relationships with the Father, relationships from our parts tend to be materialistic. But under the transforming influence of prayer, material relationships grow into spiritual relationships, the speed of which depends on our spiritual growth, which is dependent on maintaining a continuous relationship with the Father. And as we continue this relationship with Him, we become like Him and can share His point of view. We recognize the divine spiritual traits of His character in our minds and souls. Altruistic impulses, spiritual values of love, faith, goodness, gentleness, temperance, meekness, long-suffering, peace, and joy appear in our souls, and the meanings thereof in our minds. As we interact with our brothers and sisters, these values more and more dominate our responses to them.
As we move through personal crises, we seek to know the Father’’s will. Our human self sometimes suffers emotional causalities, but since we are dedicated to doing the Father’’s will, having recognized that will, we execute that will with the power of love. As we continue to seek that will in a personal crisis in response to what we perceive as no answer, the Father increasingly reveals the truth, beauty, and goodness of his love. These qualities contain the answer to all our personal petitions. As we are able to more perfectly dedicate our will to doing the Father’’s will, then to that degree are we able to extract the divine values and meanings from these divine revelations of truth, beauty, and goodness of the Father’’s love.
The revelations of truth reveal what the true relationship should be in any given personal situation. This allows the seeker of the Father’’s will to align correctly with the person in question. We must always be cognizant of the free will of other individuals. Ordinarily, with the exception of dependent children, the right of free will choice must be respected. This means that the Father’’s will must operate within the free will choice of other individuals who may or may not choose to abide by the Father’’s will. But remember, human beings are constructed so that they find their greatest happiness in submitting to the Father’’s will--and we all know how humans love to be happy. Therefore we can expect in most ordinary situations that the individual will respond to the display of the Father’’s will sooner or later.
The Father reveals the truth of the situation, and as we continue to pray and pray, we become convicted that our divine assessment of the situation is indeed right. This conviction is the goodness of God, one of the qualities revealed in response to the prayer for knowledge of the Father’’s will. This goodness——our foundation for trusting God--instructs us that not only is our divine assessment of the situation true, but it is also good, right, moral. And with these two foundations we can stand and weather the rain of evil that may be showering down upon us. But there is another quality that the Father reveals in response to prayer: increased appreciation of beauty. Such beauty gives us the aesthetic satisfaction of knowing and experiencing that not only is the Father’’s will true and good, it is also beautiful, attractive, satisfying, pleasure-producing. The unified, free, faithful, and reliable soul is dedicated to doing the Father’’s will and knows it. All competing claims for our loyalties have been eliminated.
The person who is dedicated to doing the Father’’s will always have the answer to his personal crisis because the answer is to bear more fruits of the spirit. Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." And now we see that the increasing personal difficulties of life are the Father’’s pruning of the branches so that they may bear even more spiritual fruit. And this pruning continues until the fruits are manifested in perfection. And thus it is shown that when there appears to be no answer to prayer, the answer is in reality patient long-suffering, while other spiritual qualities are showered upon the individual. When all moral and spiritual obligations are complied with in a given personal crisis, the answer is divine patience.
This concludes today's message on the meaning of not receiving answers to prayer. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.