Many times we have prayed to the Lord asking for His help and mercy in every time of need. While God does tell us to pray and seek Him whenever we need Him, there are times when His response doesn't seem to arrive.
Worse, He doesn't respond with a "yes" at all. Why would He do that? Why would a loving God "ignore" the cries of His people?
My friends, there's a really good reason for that. Let's talk about that.
All of us who follow Christ know what it is to be loved by God: He loved us so much that He gave His one and only begotten Son to save us, that He lavished His love on us that we could be called "children of God," and that His love for us in Christ will never be separated. (see John 3:16; 1 John 3:1; Romans 8:31-39)
Yes, we all know that.
But did we know that in response to His love, we ought to love Him back? And loving Him isn't actually so hard to understand:
"Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." (John 14:23 NKJV)
Keep His Word
Friends, here's what I am trying to tell you: Loving God means following Him and obeying His will according to His word. We don't follow our own desires (see Matthew 16:24).
We all pray to God and demand that He would do as we ask. We present all our requests to Him, let our petitions be made known to Him, and openly lay down our hopes and our desires.
Whenever we do that, are we really asking Him for something that pleases Him? Are we requesting something that honors Him? Are our hopes and dreams self-centered or centered on Him?
An even better question to ask is this: do we really regard Him as higher and more important than us, enough to obey Him and repent of our sins that have separated us from Him? Consider this short but profound passage as to why God doesn't say "yes" to our prayers at times:
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." (Psalm 66:18)
Is it for God or for you?
Friends, ask yourself if you truly love God. Ask yourself if what you're asking of Him is something that would please Him or simply something that would please you. Then honestly ask yourself, "Is God the God of my desires?"
If we love the Lord, we will do well to repent of our sins and seek to honor Him. Our very desires would change, because as we delight in Him He will give us new desires - desires that are birthed from a passionate pursuit of our loving God (see Psalm 37:4).
Think about it. Should God grant our selfish desires? Or should God ignore them in order for Him to mold us into the likeness of Christ, totally obedient to Him?