Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
Increasingly today’s culture is under the political correct prescription and function that proclaims and practices what the Apostle Paul called prayer is to “. . . 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' . . .” (Acts 17:23c NASU). The recent movement to squelch biblically based faith practices of military chaplains is a vivid example. The empty secularist multicultural view spelled out in all levels of the United States government are the results of a leadership educated in secular university where “diversity” training is merely a cover for relativism, the belief that no absolute truth exists and believing that it does (especially in the Holy Bible), places you in the category of either being ignorant, bias, fanatically conservative, and/or possibly dangerously bigot. All this in spite of the Declaration of Independence, which justified separation from England on the authority of the Creator universally recognized as the Judeo-Christian God of Scripture. In the late 1800’s, the US Supreme Court confirmed a conviction of a man of treason because the United States was a Christian nation. They justified this because they declared the United States government and its laws were derived from the God of the Bible. Indeed, even today the United States Supreme Court has four reminders in stone and metal which testify to the biblical based absolutes of American law. They have a statue of Moses with the Ten Commandments in his hands next to the steps, on the main metal doors, and over the head of the Chief Justice’s bench.
True prayers are offered before “the principalities and powers in heavenly places” and “should make … known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,” (Eph 3:10 KJV). When offered up to an unknown deity, they become merely empty words. We can expect them to be answered according to the character, will, and instructions revealed to us by the Almighty God who can be known. Having said all this, why then do prayers remained unanswered?
To find the answer to this question, we must: “…grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV). Can anything run right, if the person trying to do something doesn’t know how the thing works? In prayer, some answers come simply just because God is gracious who gives abundantly and unconditionally (James 1:17 NASB). This is especially true in many prayers prayed in desperation when an individual recognizes only God can help. The operative phrase is “when an individual recognizes only God can help.”
When the individual does not grow in knowing God, often his/her prayers are heard but seldom answered. God does not grant what people ask because He is a God of relationship. He allows the lack of an answer to drive that person to seek to know Him more intimately, and to grow through faith into a desire to have prayer life, a regular conversation with Him.
At one time when Jesus disciples observed Him pray, they were stimulated to ask Him to teach them to pray. He gave them what we call the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13). This was not what He prayed, but was a general teaching outline for day to day living. In the context of this pattern for prayer, He showed what barriers needed to be removed in order for God to answer prayer.
The first hindrance Jesus indicated was the lack of forgiveness. “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:15 KJV). The praying person must realize that one of the purposes of prayer is to bring us into harmony with God. God forgives, so we must forgive in order to commune with God, the Great Forgiver.
Consider this. Who has the right and function to judge sins? Are we gods? To feel our offenders must answer to us is to act as a god. This attitude is exactly what Satan talked Eve into trying to do. “And the serpent (Satan) said unto the woman…and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:4, 5). As individuals, we do not have the right to judge and punish; in fact, we do not know enough to judge.
In fulfilling the need to restrain evil, God has given judicial systems to punish and remove evil (Rom 13:1-5). To know and weigh the truth is the purpose of court deliberations. As ministers of God, truth must be known before a person should be punished or disagreements settled. In a very real way, the emotional turmoil surrounding the desire to judge, punish, and/or take revenge is solved by committing the matter to God and His means. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Rom 12:19). To harbor this daily is to harm one’s relationship with the Lord. Jesus instructed us to daily place the matter in the proper hands - God’s. When a person will not repent and seek forgiveness, either from God and the one they injured, it is definitely the All-Knowing God and Holy who will and can administers justice best.
Related reading: Prayers Not Answered? Why?