All of us have hit this problem at one point in our lives. You're praying so hard, probably about multiple things, day in, day out; yet God is not answering your prayers. He is not blessing you. Maybe you're praying that your friend would turn to Christ. Maybe you're praying for financial aid. Maybe you're praying for peace of mind or that God would bring you out of spiritual depression.
But the days go by and your prayers go unanswered. This can sometimes lead to a dangerous faith-crisis. Sometimes we get angry with God; we say "God! Why aren't you answering my prayers!? Why aren't you blessing me!?" And this often times leads us to turning our backs on God for a time. We lose our hunger for His word. We stop praying. We stop talking to Him. We either stop going to Church or we go but don't pay attention to the message from the pulpit.
We start blaming God.... Which is an absolute "No-no".
Time after time after time we see in the Bible that when someone blames someone else, you can usually trace the blame back to the accuser. Let us not forget the famous words of a certain man in the Garden of Eden:
"...This woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Genesis 3:12 (NASB)
Not only is dear Adam blaming Eve for his troubles, but he is blaming God. And, of course I don't have to tell you what's wrong with this. But I'm going to. It was Adam's choice to take the fruit from Eve. She didn't make him eat. He took it.
So, perhaps you're blaming God. But now, as you look at your finger, pointing upward, you noticed three other fingers pointing back at you, as the age old saying goes.
But maybe you're trying not to blame God. And whenever you're about to, you turn away. Well that's good. But, either way, you will most likely find that the problem is yours, not His.
If God isn't answering your prayers or blessing you, it's time to start examining yourself. Chances are, if you dig deep enough, you will find that there is Sin in your life that you have not yet let go of. A habitual sin, which we are warned of all throughout 1 John. Something you're doing, something you're holding onto, maybe even something you did in the past that you haven't had fixed yet. Maybe you hurt a friend of yours some time ago in some way and never apologized. Maybe the friend doesn't even know you hurt him, and you need to confess it to him (and to God, if you haven't already). Maybe you're engaged in illegal activity, but you try to dismiss it as 'nothing', making up excuses for it. Maybe you've set up an idol in your life; your TV, computer, video games, sports, work, a relationship; something that you just can't let go of. That is an idol. And the Second Commandment commands us to do away with our idols. Maybe you're not tithing each Sunday; not giving your 10% to God; this is thievery. You are stealing from God. And then while you're stealing from God you turn around ask Him for financial aid..... This doesn't work!
"Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' - In tithes and offerings." Malachi 3:8 (NASB)
I can tell you from experience; there was a time, I am ashamed to say, (to listeners of the show this is old news) that I used to download computer programs illegally off the Internet. Programs I didn't pay for. So I was stealing these programs from their manufacturers. During this time, I hit so many rough bumps I nearly turned my back on God once or twice. But when, through Christ, I was able to rise up and do away with those programs, I turned to God with a renewed heart and renewed strength, and He brought me by the hand out of my Spiritual Depression. My hunger for the Bible returned. My comfort in talking with Him returned. He brought great joy in His Grace into my life. And while it was very hard to give up those illegal programs, the joy and blessing I received afterward gave me more peace then I had ever known up to that point. And since then I have been working with God to reveal all my deepest Sins that I haven't yet confessed, or maybe habitual sins that perhaps I didn't even know were sins.
Maybe you don't know what sin you're committing. But that's when you need to ask God to reveal it to you. And because He desires to have no hindrance in His relationship with you, He will help you! But either way, we must rid ourselves of the sins we are holding onto, otherwise John calls us liars:
"If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." 1 John 1:6 (NASB)
God is waiting eagerly to bless you, to answer your prayers! But you need to let go of your sins, first. Stop walking in the darkness and start walking in the Light that you profess to walk in. Stop being a liar and "practice the truth". Seek out what's hindering God from blessing your life and answering your prayers or what's causing you spiritual depression. And when you, through the strength of Jesus Christ, remove that hindrance, God's blessings will pour out. Now this is not, necessarily, to say that you will find the type of blessings that certain "pastors" would have you believe, such as health, wealth, and prosperity. God will bless you in that He will meet your needs in the way that He knows is best for you, not what you think is best for you, what He knows is best for you. With the hindrance gone, you will regain a hunger to read the Bible. You will find yourself in almost constant deep gratitude to God for what He's done. You will find peace in talking with Him. These blessings which have to do with your relationship with HIM.
We will go more into this issue in a future newsletter, because I should also note that unanswered prayers do not always mean something is wrong, for God may have other plans, but for now, examine yourself, seek out the hindrance with God's help, and overcome it through Christ's strength.
"I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 (NASB)
Meditate on this as we near the closing of the week, and may the Grace of Christ be with you.