Ice Breaker: Split the group into smaller groups (3/4’s) and get them to blindfold one member of their group, they must talk to the blindfolded group menu and describe how to draw a picture that has been given to them to copy.
Introduction: Tonight we’re going to be looking at the topic of unanswered prayer, our Christian lives are full of moments when we really feel God’s presence and hear him speak to us but in reality we have moments of our lives when we don’t know where God is, we can’t sense his presence and even the idea of Him answering our prayers seems so far off.
Discuss: Does God answer your prayers? What has he answered? What prayers does he seem to have ignored?
Explain: Often we have this perception that if God doesn’t answer our prayers there’s something wrong with us but in reality some prayers are answered and some aren’t…we can’t even fathom our why but we need to know that God is always in control.
Reasons For Unanswered Prayer
Video Clip: Bruce Almighty Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes from 16:30 to 20:32
Explain: We find that our prayers go unanswered for a whole variety of reasons and actually all of our prayers being answered could lead to disaster, we have to remember that although unanswered prayers can be frustrating and difficult to cope with God knows what he’s doing and he knows the best for us.
Bible: Psalm 139
Explain: That Psalm reminds us that God knows everything about us and so knows what’s best for us. One of the most misquoted bible verses is Romans 8:28 which says ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him’ it doesn’t mean everything will be lovely but it means that whatever is happening in our lives good or bad…however much unanswered prayer we have, however much frustration we feel towards God he is working for the good of us…ultimately he knows what is best!
Explain: We’re going to have a think now about reasons God doesn’t answer some prayers
Discuss: Why do you think God doesn’t answer prayers? (God’s will is best, something better, contradictory) (Recommended reading – God on mute – Pete Greig)
The Unanswered Prayers Of Jesus
Read: God On Mute: P.134 from ‘Then…’ onwards
Explain: One of the amazing things about Jesus coming to earth was that being human he experienced the things we experienced, he experienced disappointment, frustration and even unanswered prayer!
Bible: Mark 14: 35-36, Mark 15:33-35
Explain: There we read 2 unanswered prayers of Jesus, his prayer asking God to take his cup of suffering away and the prayer he cries on the cross before he dies…the words he states on the cross come from Psalm 22
Bible: Psalm 22
Explain: Looking back now we can see that Jesus’ prayers were answered when on Easter Sunday he is raised to life but he didn’t get immediate answers. There was Holy Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Ask: On Holy Saturday, knowing Jesus was dead how do you think the disciples felt?
Explain: A lot of the time our prayer lives seem to be in a Holy Saturday situation, we’ve prayed for something…sometimes over and over again but we have no answer, when we eventually reach Easter Sunday we understand everything that led up to that point, we understand why God has waited until that point to reveal his plan.
We shouldn’t not pray because some of our prayers go unanswered because by the purpose of our praying to get answers God becomes a shopping list, we just want him because of his power and not who he is, in difficult times God isn’t there to provide us a quick fix but he is there to weep with us when we’re weeping & to mourn with us when we’re mourning because he knows how we feel…he has experienced it.
God wants to know everything about us, he wants us to have the kind of relationship where we share everything with him, where he is such a big part of our lives we cannot bear to spend time without him.
Closing Prayer – St Ignatius of Loyola
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things