Messianic Learning Feature Articles
"I pray and pray to God (Elohim), but my prayers aren't answered. Why doesn't He respond?" In this article we will study a reply to that question from the Son of our Living Elohim, Yahushuah. (Matthew 7:7-11) "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to them who ask Him?"
It might seem apparent to Bet Yeshurun Assembly (BYA) that asking our Heavenly Father for something in prayer is the only way to receive it. However, is it possible that in expressing our needs to Yah, we ask of Him improperly? Or, perhaps we pray well, but neglect those other action steps, seeking and knocking. Let's look deeper in Scripture to study Yahushuah's teaching on answered prayer.
The Bible's King James Version (KJV) translates "aiteo" (G154) as "ask." In Strong's Concordance, the Greek word also means "beg, call for, crave, desire and require." (Mark 11:22-24) Yahushuah answering said, "Have faith in Elohim. For, verily I say to you, that whosoever shall say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea!' and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says. Therefore I say to you, What things so ever you desire ("aiteo"), when you pray, believe that you receive [them], and you shall have [them]."
A primitive Hebrew root word for "ask" is "sha'al" (H7592). Strong's says it also means "beg, borrow, lay to charge, consult, demand, desire, earnestly, enquire, greet, obtain leave, lend, pray, request, require, salute, straitly, surely, and wish." (Genesis 32:29) Jacob ("Ya'aqov") sha'al [Him] and said, "Tell [me] your name, I pray you." And He said, "Wherefore [is] it [that] you do sha'al after my name?" And He blessed him there.
So, along with asking our Father to respond, a persistent request ("sha'al") is an important step toward answered prayer: (Luke 18:1-8) He spoke a parable to them [to this end], that men ought always to pray and not to faint; saying, "There was in a city a judge, who feared not Elohim, neither regarded man. And there was a widow in that city and she came to him saying, 'Avenge me of my adversary.' And he would not for a while, but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I fear not Elohim, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.' And Adonai said, "Hear what the unjust judge says!" And shall not Elohim avenge His own elect, who cry day and night to Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?
In other words, to receive we must petition (ask), make our wishes, desires, requests and needs known to YAH. Some may question, "Since Elohim already knows what I need, why should I ask Him for it?" To answer that, let's examine the Greek word for "receive." "Lambano" (G2983) appears in scripture 133 times and means: "accept, be amazed, assay, attain, bring, when I call, catch, come unto, forget, have, hold, obtain, receive after and take away." (Strong's)
I've noticed that when I give a gift to Eliana, my 7-year old daughter, I can see immediately on her face whether it was something she wanted or not. While she might politely say thank you, her eyes won't sparkle with the excitement that I see when she "really, really wanted" something I gave her. I imagine that's how I look to my Heavenly Father, when He answers a prayer that I beg of Him.
I paused on that "be amazed" in "lambano's" definition. YAH's surprising answers to prayer often fill me with wonder and amazement. I'm sure His face beams as mine does when I give Eliana a thoughtful gift. For her, and for me, it can begin by asking. (1 John 5:9) "If we lambano' ('are amazed by') the witness of men, the witness of Elohim is greater. For this is the witness of Elohim which He has testified of His Son." (1 John 5:13-15) "These things I have written to you who believe on the name of the Son of Elohim ('Yahushuah') that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may believe on the name of Yahushuah. This is the confidence that we have in Him that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us. And if we know that He hear us, what so ever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him."
If the asking is important to answered prayer, so is believing ("faith") that YAH will provide. "Faith" ("pistis;" G4102) means being sure of what I hope for and being so certain of what I am yet to see that I'm persuaded to act accordingly. Scripture defines "faith" as "persuasion." (Hebrews 11:1) "Now faith ("pistis") is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Also important is praying in Yahushuah's name and authority: (John 14:12-14) "Verily, verily, I say to you, he who believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it]."
Are you uncertain about the way to ask YAH? Consider following David's prayerful confidence in approaching YAH: (Psalm 6) "O' YAHUAH, rebuke me not in your anger, nor chasten me in your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O' YAHUAH! For, I [am] weak. O' YAHUAH, heal me for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed. But you, O' YAHUAH, how long? Return, O' YAHUAH! Deliver my soul! Oh save me for your mercies' sake. For in death [there is] no remembrance of you. In the grave, who shall give you thanks? I am weary with my groaning. All the night I make my bed to swim. I water my couch with my tears. My eye is consumed because of grief. It waxes old because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity for YAHUAH has heard the voice of my weeping. YAHUAH has heard my supplication! YAHUAH will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and sore vexed. Let them return [and] be ashamed suddenly."
Yahushuah also gives us a model prayer that acknowledges YAHUAH's sovereignty and confirms that it is His Will and Way that we are to seek while expressing our needs: (Luke 11:1-4) And it came to pass that as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord (Adonai), teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." And He said to them (BYA), When you pray, say, 'Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed (holy, set-apart) is Your name. Your Kingdom come. You Will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.'"
Luke's Gospel mirrors Matthew's account of the teaching on answered prayer. To it, Yahushuah adds a scenario with a question and His answer: (Luke 11:5-13) He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend and shall go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves. For, a friend of mine in his journey is come to me and I have nothing to set before him?' And he from within shall answer and say, 'Trouble me not. The door is now shut and my children are with me in bed. I cannot rise and give you.' I say to you, although he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity (persistence in requesting) he will rise and give him as many as he needs. And I say to you, ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one who asks, receives. And he who seeks, finds. And to him who knocks, it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or, if [he ask] a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or, if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha'Qodesh) to them that ask Him?"
Once again, we read that being persistent in prayer is very important as it demonstrates to YAH that we really, really want something from Him. We also read again that there's more to the getting, than just the asking. So, let's study the meanings of the seeking and the finding in Scripture. The KJV translates "seek" from a Greek word "zeteo" (G2212). It means "be (go) about, desire, endeavor, inquire (for), require, (will) seek (after, for, means)." (Strong's) In the Hebrew language, "seeking" pictures worship of Elohim.
This important biblical concept appears in 116 verses of the New Testament (Apostolic Scriptures). That's plenty of examples to "zeteo." In short, the act of seeking is an endeavor that involves much blood, sweat and tears. Here's one for BYA to search out (think about and meditate upon). (Matthew 13:45-46) "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."
For your needs, do you turn to other mighty ones ("elohim"), like government leaders, or medical professionals? Or, do you turn in prayer to our Living Elohim (The Mighty One) to receive His Blessings. (Psalm 24:3-6) "Who shall ascend to the hill of YAHUAH? Or, who shall stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity (or, to idols in place of YAH), nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from YAHUAH and righteousness from the Elohim of his salvation (Yahushuah). This [is] the generation of them who seek Him, who seek Your face, O Ya'aqov. Selah."
Keep in mind, if we turn to other mighty ones for our needs, Elohim may very well step back to let us see how well our needs can be met. (John 5:44) How can you believe, who receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that [comes] from Elohim only?" (Hebrews 11:6) "But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him]. For, he who comes to Elohim must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewards them who diligently seek him."
The Greek word for "find" is "heurisko" (G2147). It also means "get, obtain and see." (Strong's) Indeed, how awesome is it when BYA finds blessings through earnest prayer? (Matthew 5:3-10) "Blessed [are] the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed [are] they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed [are] the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed [are] they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed [are] the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed [are] the pure in heart, for they shall see Elohim. Blessed [are] the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of Elohim. Blessed [are] they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."
The word "knock" appears in 9 verses of the KJV from "krouo" (G2925) and "open" is found in 75 verses from "anoigo" (G455). The following passages speak of knocking at and the opening of doors. Surprisingly, Yahushuah knocks at my door, even as I'm trying to knock at His. (Revelation 3:20-22) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (including BYA)." (Revelation 4:1-2) "After this I looked and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven. And the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, 'Come up hither and I will show you things which must be hereafter.' And immediately I was in the spirit. And, behold, a throne was set in heaven and [one] sat on the throne."
I thought about YAH patiently waiting for me to knock at His Door and began to realize that's why I don't receive a "stone" when I ask Him for "bread." Yah's spiritual Bread is His instructions on Life. His Word is the direct opposite of the dusty (stony) traditions and teachings of men. Responding to my cry for fish (a picture of Yahushuah's Disciples), YAH won't send a serpent (a picture of my adversary, Satan). As His child, my Heavenly Father provides far better than any earthly dad I can ever know. (Matthew 7:11) "How much more shall your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to them who ask Him?"
In your quest for answered prayer, ask yourself, do you diligently seek Him and knock loudly at His Kingdom Door to open? (John 16:23-26) "Verily, verily, I say to you, whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, He will give [it] you. Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you shall receive so that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you in proverbs. But the time comes, when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father. At that day, you shall ask in my name (Yahushuah): and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you. For, the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from Elohim."
Our Heavenly Father loves to answer the prayers of those who love Him. And, we show our love by obeying His commands and by bringing forth good fruits. (John 15:5-7) "I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit. For, without me you can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a withered branch that men gather and cast into the fire to be burned. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:16-17) "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that you love one another." (John 14:15) "If you love me, keep my commandments." (1 John 3:22-24) "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Yahushuah ha'Mashiach, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. He who keeps His commandments dwells in Him, and He in him. Hereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit ("Ruach") which He has given us." Those who commit to YAH's Way of Life are assured of knowing Elohim will attend to their prayer. (Psalm 37:3-5) "Trust in YAHUAH and do good; [so] you shall dwell in the land and verily you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in YAHUAH and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to YAHUAH. Trust also in Him and He shall bring [it] to pass."
Yet we know that Yah doesn't grant everything. Perhaps what we are asking for is unworthy in Elohim's eyes: (James 4:3) "You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume [it] upon your lusts."
May we rely upon the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha'Qodesh) to guide our prayer requests: (James 1:5-7) "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of Elohim, who gives to all [men] liberally, and upbraids (rebukes severely) not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he who wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord (Adonai)." During BYA services, we post our petitions, intercessions and confessions on a prayer board. We do so, faithfully trusting that Elohim will grant our requests according to His time and His Will: (James 5:16) "Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Yahushuah also speaks of praying with others. Unified prayer, especially among our spouse and family, is a sure way to make the desires of our heart loudly heard at our Father's Door: (Matthew 18:19-20) "Again, I say to you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven. For where two or three gather together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."
Besides joining others in presenting our needs, please consider praying and fasting together as a way to seek the attention of our Heavenly Father: (Mark 9:28-29) When He came into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not we cast him (a deaf and dumb spirit) out?" And He said to them, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
After an answered prayer, also remember to thank YAH by sharing your prayer testimony with others. This simple act will encourage faith and trust in our Heavenly Father and bring Him much glory, honor and praise. Outspoken thanksgiving expresses honor, respect, homage, devotion and reverence to Elohim. Public testimonies, and a spontaneous "Thanks YAH!" in our prayer closet is a sign of sincere and humble gratitude. (Luke 17:15-19) One of them (a healed leper), when he saw that he was healed, turned back and with a loud voice glorified Elohim, fell down on [his] face at His feet, giving Him thanks. He was a Samaritan and Yahushuah answering said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where [are] the nine? There are not found who returned to give glory to Elohim, save this stranger?" He said to him, "Arise! Go your way. Your faith has made you whole."
In summary, Scripture has several tips for BYA on receiving answered prayer from our Heavenly Father. Besides asking persistently and trusting wholeheartedly that He will answer our prayer, we can diligently seek YAH's Way via study of His Word. Furthermore, in demonstrating our love of YAH and others by obeying His commandments and by knocking loudly at His Kingdom Door in praise and worship of Elohim, we can rest assured that our Father hears our humble desires and is pleased to give His children whatsoever they need.
"Heavenly Father, please hear the prayers of BYA and never mind what we ask for, but grant us what we really need, constant faith and trust in your beloved Son, Yahushuah. And, may your mercy and grace be upon us all." Shalom, Elder Curt