He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. – Lamentations 3:6-8
Scripture Reading: Hosea 3:1-5
The only thing worse than desperate circumstances to believers is to feel that God no longer hears our prayers. We know the power and ability of God to bless us and keep us through fire and flood, through sickness and despair, but what happens when the Master of all Ages stops hearing us? What happens when the heavens have become brass, and it seems our cries for mercy are only bouncing back at us?
How do we get to a place where our prayers are not heard? Oh, how we’d like to blame God-many do, in fact. We question His love, His faithfulness, even His power. Doesn’t He know how badly we need help? Where is He? Some have even made the assumption that there is no God!
All the while, God is just waiting until we become so desperate for deliverance that we surrender under His mighty sovereignty and accept the fact that if He isn’t hearing us, we must be in the wrong. We must examine ourselves. If we discover sins, we must be repentant, and one thing God will always hear is a broken and contrite heart! (Psalm 51:17; 34:18).
The main prophet for this study is Hosea, although it isn’t Hosea’s prayer we’re studying, but the lessons in prayer given in this book. Interestingly, Hosea is a monument to God’s love and care for Israel. God tells them through Hosea why He isn’t hearing their prayers. Unable to hear and answer their prayers, Yahweh nevertheless reaches out to his rebellious people in love and mercy, hoping they will change.
- Will prayers and sacrifices to idols have any real success? Hosea 4:6,12-13; Jer. 2:26-28; Isaiah 46:5-7.
- What is God’s judgment against those who pray to idols? Jer. 2:29-32; Isaiah 45:18-25; Exodus 20:4-6.
- How long will some people wait to seek God? Hos. 5:14-15; Heb. 12:11. Note: Unfortunately, even by many Christians, prayer is considered “a last resort.” When all else fails, we try prayer. Why are we so rebellious that God must force us into impossible situations to get us to pray and believe Him? Saints, God is powerful-talk to Him first!
- How effective is prayer without repentance from sin? Hos. 6:1-3; Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2.
- How effective is prayer that is insincere? Hos. 7:14; 10:12-13; Jeremiah 7:8-10.
- Does God hear the prayers of the unmerciful? Hos. 6:4-6; Prov. 21:13; Psalms 18:25.
- How effective are the prayers of the unstable? Hos. 5:4-6; 10:3; James 1:6-7; Mark 11:24.
- Does God answer self-indulgent prayers? Hos. 4:7-9; 10:1-2; James 4:3. Psalm 66:18.
Do you feel that your prayers are going unheard? Examine your life in relation to questions 4-8 above. Does any of these stand out to you as a deficiency in your approach to God?
The best thing to do is kneel and confess your sins and improper motives to God. Ask Him to forgive you and help you to change so that nothing comes between God and you. God will help you restore your life, and help you fix that broken “prayer-line.”