Monday 23rd November 2020
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
The headline read: “Unanswered Prayers: Letters to God Found Dumped in Ocean.” The letters, three hundred in all and sent to a New Jersey minister, had been tossed in the ocean, most of them unopened. The minister was long dead. How the letters came to be floating in the surf off the New Jersey shore is a mystery.
The letters were addressed to the minister because he had promised to pray for whoever wrote in to him. Some of the letters asked for frivolous things; others were written by anguished spouses, children, or widows. They poured out their hearts to God, asking for help with relatives who were abusing drugs and alcohol or spouses who were cheating on them. One asked God for a husband and father to love her child. The reporter concluded that all were “unanswered prayers”.
We all know that God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (can be everywhere at one and the same time), omniscient (all-knowing) and thus knows all our thoughts and needs even before we ask of Him (Matt 8: 8b) – but that does not mean He will answer all our prayers the way we want it to be answered.
Yes, He hears our every prayer but His words also tell us that He may disregard our prayers and petitions if we allow sin to destroy our fellowship with Him. The Bible clearly says that God is not obliged to hear us if
• Our heart is cherishing some sin (Ps. 66:18)
• We ignore the pleas of the poor (Prov. 21:13)
• We are living in sin (Is. 59: 1,2)
• There is discord in the home (1 Pet. 3:7)
• We doubt His ability to answer (James 1: 6,7)
• Our requests are self-centred (James 4:3)
Yes, our Heavenly Father wants us His children to talk to Him, to praise Him, to have fellowship with Him, and even to petition Him with our requests. But we cannot assume that He will hear us just because we pray. We must first try our level best to live a life that honours Him and follows His standards. No, He is not asking us to be perfect or sinless this side of eternity, for none of us would be able to do that. In fact, none of the spiritual giants of the Bible was sinless.
The ultimate aim of all Christians is to be more Christlike in our lives. As someone had put it – sanctification is a process whereby we sin less and less and become more and more like Christ. And when we do that, my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, He will hear our prayers and answer them in His own time, in His own way and always for our good. Maybe not always the way we want it to be, but always for our final good.
Father God, sometimes in our foolish ways, we keep asking for what we think is good for us, but only you, the all-knowing God knows what’s best for us. Thank you for not answering some of our prayers Lord for like Mrs Billy Graham said, if you had, she would have married the wrong man!
We also want to thank you for not answering some of our prayers to remind us that we must put our lives right first before we come to the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb 4: 16).
In Jesus’ precious name we pray
这些信是写给牧师的，因为他曾答应为给他写信的人祈祷。 有些信件要求的是无关紧要的东西， 其他的则是由痛苦的配偶、孩子或寡妇写的。 他们向上帝倾心祈求，求上帝帮助那些滥用毒品和酒精的亲戚或不忠的配偶。 有一个人向上帝祈求一位丈夫，好让孩子有一位疼爱他的父亲。 记者总结说，所有这些信都是 “未蒙应允的祷告”。
我们都知道上帝是无所不能（全能的）、无所不在（可以同时存在于任何地方）、无所不知的（全知的），因此，即使我们向上帝祈求之前，祂就已经知道了我们所有的思想和需求 (马太福音8:8b) – 但这并不意味着祂会按照我们希望得到回应的方式应允我们所有的祷告。
是的，我们的天父愿意我们，祂的孩子们与祂交谈、赞美祂、与祂团契，甚至向祂提出我们的请求。 但是我们不能因为我们祈求就认为祂会垂听我们的祷告。 我们必须首先尽我们最大的努力过尊崇祂并遵循祂的准则的生活。 不，祂并不是要求我们在永恒之前做到完美或无罪，因为我们没有人能做得到。 实际上，圣经中没有一个属灵伟人是无罪的。
所有基督徒的最终目标是在我们的生活中活得更像基督。正如有人所说 – 成圣是一个过程，在这个过程中，我们犯罪越来越少，变得越来越像基督。 当我们这样做时，我在主里的亲爱兄弟姐妹们，祂便会垂听我们的祈祷，并按照祂自己的时间，以祂自己的方式，永远为我们的好处来应允我们的祈祷。也许并不总是如我们所愿，但总是为了我们最终的益处。
父上帝，有时我们会以愚蠢的方式不断向祢祈求我们认为对我们好的东西，但是只有祢，全知的上帝知道什么对我们是最好的。主，谢谢祢没有应允我们的一些祷告，就如葛培理师母（Mrs Billy Graham）所说，如果当初祢应允了她的祷告，她会嫁错人了！