Series: Touch the Sky
Title: Part 4 - Unanswered Prayer
Date: June 24/25, 2017
Speaker: Geoff Surratt
The Bible is full of commands and promises about how to pray and the results we can expect. lt's tempting to take this as a formula for life. However, scripture is also full of examples of prayers going unanswered, demonstrating that just as life is complex, so is prayer. Geoff encouraged us to see prayer as less transactional and more relational; leaning into God’s unconditional love as we walk with him through times when our prayers aren’t answered in the ways we might wish.
Passages: Psalm 55:22; Ephesians 1:4-8; Matthew 7:7-11
Was there a Christmas present you repeatedly asked for as a kid, but never got? Was there one you finally did get?
What is an unanswered prayer in your life (could be present or past)? How did/does that affect your relationship with God right now?
In his message Geoff mentioned a few reasons that God might answer our prayers with a “no.” Perhaps a prayer is frivolous, perhaps a sin our lives is blocking the way, perhaps our prayer conflicts with someone else’s prayer, or perhaps we are asking God to do something that goes against his nature. What other explanations have you heard as to why some prayers go unanswered? Which are the most satisfying? Which are the least satisfying?
Read 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. Sometimes God delivers you from something and other times he delivers you through it. Share a time in your life when God gave you the strength to get through something or endure a season of life. What do you think Paul meant when he said, “your power works best in weakness?” How does the power of Christ work through us when we are going through hard times?
Read 1 Peter 3:7. How does our relationship with others impact our relationship with God? Why is there such a strong link between how I treat someone and my prayers being answered? If you are married, how could prayer help your marriage?
Read 2 Chronicles 7:14. How does the solution of humble prayer to restore our country, our family, our health, our finances, etc., compare to other solutions? Why is it so hard to let God change us before He changes things around us?
Ephesians 1:4-8. The Bible teaches that God has lovingly made us part of his family. How can this relationship sustain us in times when God doesn’t seem to hear our prayers? In his message, Geoff posed the question, “Could you reach a place where you could say to God that you love him regardless of whether he does anything that you ask?” How would you respond to that question?
Geoff mentioned that we usually don’t learn lessons in the middle of seasons of unanswered prayer, but we tend to learn a lot from these seasons in retrospect. Looking back, are there things you once asked God for that you are now glad he said “no?”
What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?
What will help you remember it?
Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?