Pastor Robert Morris encourages readers to keep praying.
Many people give up praying because they don’t see results and feel discouraged or angry that their prayers haven’t been heard. But Robert Morris reveals why it is so important not to stop—to never give up. This book provides hope and evidence for readers that God does hear their prayers, cares about them personally, and intervenes in their lives in ways beyond their imaginations.
Bestselling author Robert Morris brings encouragement and compelling biblical teaching on the topic of prayer. Reverend Morris is the senior pastor at Gateway Church, which has a congregation of more than 36,000 people.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
ROBERT MORRIS is the founding senior pastor of Gateway Church, a multicampus church in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He is featured on the weekly television program The Blessed Life and is the bestselling author of twelve books, including The Blessed Life, From Dream to Destiny, The God I Never Knew, and The Blessed Church. Robert and his wife, Debbie, have been married thirty-five years and are blessed with one married daughter, two married sons, and six grandchildren. Follow Robert on Twitter @PsRobertMorris.
Read an Excerpt
Why Keep Praying
When You Don't See Results
By Robert Morris
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Robert Morris
All rights reserved.
Why Pray at All?
Once when I was speaking on prayer in another church, God gave me a word of encouragement for an older woman I met during a break in the service. I'd never seen her before in my life, but I felt strongly that God was leading me to speak to her.
"Ma'am," I said, "here is something the Lord has put on my heart to say: You know how to pray. You know how to intercede. And you need to teach other women how to pray." I heard these words coming out of my mouth, and then God's direction became even more specific. I said to her, "You need to teach women who are married to unbelievers how to pray for their unbelieving husbands to come to Christ."
After the service, the pastor of the church said to me, "I want you to meet this woman you spoke to and hear her story." So he took me over to her, and she gave me this unforgettable account of God's answer to her intercession.
She lived in Oklahoma and had been married to an unbeliever for forty-two years. Then one day, while traveling in Florida, her husband was killed in a car crash.
About a month after her husband died, this woman received a phone call. A stranger identified himself and asked for her husband by name. "I met him recently," the man on the phone explained, "and we exchanged contact information."
"I'm sorry to tell you this," she replied, "but he recently passed away. He was in a car accident in Florida."
"In Florida?" the man said.
"Yes," she replied, "he was on a business trip."
The man on the other end of the line became very quiet.
Then he said, "Ma'am, do you mind my asking you on what day it was — when did he pass away?"
She had no idea where this conversation was heading, but she told him the day.
"Did you talk to your husband that day?" he asked her.
"I did," she replied, "We spoke that morning. He would call me every morning and every evening when he was away on business trips. But then he was ... killed, and I didn't talk to him that night."
"Ma'am," the man on the phone said, "I'm thinking I have some very good news for you. I'm a believer in Christ and a businessman. I go to work every morning in a suit and tie. But one day — the day your husband died — God began to speak to me in a way I just couldn't shake. I was all dressed up in my suit and tie and ready to drive to work, when He told me to go out to the freeway and hitchhike. It seemed strange, but I obeyed Him. I put my thumb out, and the first car that pulled over was your husband's. I led him to Jesus that day, and he was going to call you that night and give you the news."
* * *
This was a woman who believed in prayer — even though she hadn't seen any direct results for forty-two years. Like the woman in the Luke 18 story, she kept lining up every morning and every night in front of God's throne, presenting her request, pleading for the salvation of her husband.
The months went by. The years went by. But she never quit. She never stopped believing until her husband's dying day. And then, just to encourage her heart, God gave her the news she would have otherwise had to wait until heaven to receive.
I'll never forget that courageous woman's story. It showed me once again how faithful God is to answer the determined, persistent prayers of ordinary people like you and me. It also reminded me that we can trust His timing-even though it may not be our timing.
* * *
So what is prayer? Prayer is an open door into the presence of our God and Creator, where we can praise Him for who He is, thank Him for His goodness, confess our sins and find forgiveness, and bring our deepest concerns, our silent fears, and our heartfelt desires to place before Him.
Prayer is an invitation for real people to express real needs to a listening, loving Father and experience real, tangible answers. The apostle Paul says it so beautifully in Philippians 4:6–7:
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. (TLB)
Can you imagine the wonder and comfort the Lord's disciples must have felt in the Upper Room when Jesus offered them a way to keep in touch with Him after He left this earth? Jesus assured them that He would be listening and that He would answer their petitions — they simply had to ask in His name.
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13–14)
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:16)
And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:23–24)
Those words are for us just as much as they were for His disciples at the Last Supper. We are invited not only to pray, but also to ask in Jesus' name.
Ask anything in His name.
Ask the Father in His name
Ask, receive, and be joyful.
And why wouldn't we ask? The invitation is in our Bible, the book we call our very own guidebook for life. We claim to believe every word.
So, why don't we pray?
I don't think that most of us consciously make the decision not to pray. We don't fold our arms across our chests and say to ourselves, "Well, I just refuse to do this. I'm not going to pray." Yet we make that very decision subconsciously many, many times a day. So many mornings of our lives, we get swept along in the stream of the day's activities and opt not to spend time with God, not to pray to Him, not to ask Him about anything. So many nights before we pull up the covers and go to sleep, we choose to read a book, check our e-mail, prowl the kitchen for a snack, or think through the next day's schedule instead of seeking the mind and presence of our Creator.
Why is that? Why don't we take great delight in speaking with God?
There may be many reasons, but three occur to me right off the top.
We Imagine We Can Handle Life on Our Own
If we are pleased with ourselves and with our own devices for coping with life, we won't feel the need or inclination to seek the Lord and call out to Him. If we are self-satisfied, we won't feel the need to be God-satisfied. Oh, we might reserve the right to call on Him after we find ourselves in the middle of really big things like death, danger, and disaster. But on most days as life moves along as normal, we think we're doing just fine and don't really need help from the Almighty. So we simply don't bother to call on Him.
For example, the New Testament urges us to pray and intercede "for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives" (1 Timothy 2:2 NIV). But if life is moving along smoothly, we can easily ignore this directive. Besides, we ask ourselves, what good will it really do? What difference will it really make?
But isn't it amazing how concerned we become when a truly big event threatens to touch our lives in a direct way? A number of years ago, for instance, an angry monster of a storm called Hurricane Katrina devastated a large swath of our country. The weather forecasters had seen it take shape in the Gulf of Mexico and warned us about it. They told us it was coming. But many believers, in my opinion, didn't take the threat seriously enough and didn't pray as much as they might have.
By the way, where do such natural disasters come from? From God? No, I believe that natural disasters are natural. We live in a fallen world plagued by many problems, including natural disasters like earthquakes and tornadoes and, yes, hurricanes. Even so, I believe God's people can turn natural disasters through prayer. But that didn't happen with Katrina. Too many of us neglected to pray before the storm came blasting into our nation, and it unleashed almost incomprehensible damage.
And then, seemingly days later, another Category 5 super-storm followed in Katrina's terrible wake. As Hurricane Rita approached our shores, we were told the storm could not only endanger many more people, but also devastate oil refineries in and around Houston, leading to ecological disaster and skyrocketing prices.
This time many across Texas and the nation really did pray. And Rita turned, not causing anywhere near the damage and loss of life that had been predicted.
Could that have been because we finally turned from our complacency just a little?
We Simply Don't Believe
That may sound a little harsh and a bit difficult to swallow. But if we really believed that investing time and energy and thought in prayer would actually change things, wouldn't we spend more time doing just that?
Think about it. If you were truly convinced that spending time in prayer every day for your business would make a significant difference in its success, wouldn't you be inclined to carve out some extra minutes in your day to do it?
If you knew for sure that sacrificing some other priorities to pray and seek God's face concerning your marriage could transform your relationship, wouldn't you be willing to make that sacrifice?
If you accepted beyond all doubt that crying out to God every day for a child in a season of rebellion would change, soften, alter, or transform that child's character, would you set aside other interests to spend more time in prayer?
Do we really believe that God guides our business decisions, turns our relationships around, or rescues our sons and daughters from the traps of the enemy?
As uncomfortable as I am saying this, I think we sometimes feel that ten minutes in prayer won't really accomplish as much as ten minutes on the Internet, and we make that choice instead.
We really don't believe, right down to the core of who we are, that time invested in prayer will change things.
When it comes to prayer, then, we vote with our actions. If we believe in it, we practice it. If deep down we don't believe it makes a difference, we never seem to find time for it. It will always be an afterthought rather than the most urgent priority of our lives.
We won't be like the widow who camped out in front of the judge's chambers, waiting for him to act. Instead, we'll get discouraged after a short period and walk away.
We Allow Ourselves to Become Discouraged
We may have prayed and prayed and even wept before God for something, and we don't feel like He has answered. So we lose heart. We stop praying. We give up. We do exactly what Jesus warned us not to do. In the backwash of our disappointment, we allow the enemy to warp our thinking about prayer.
In the book of Numbers, we read that as the children of Israel were traveling around the land of Edom on the way to the promised land, "the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God" (Numbers 21:4–5). This can happen to any of us if we permit it. We become discouraged on the way and lose our perspective.
When that happened to the Israelites, they turned against God rather than turning to Him. They murmured and complained instead of bringing their disappointment to Him and praying about it.
Billy Graham has a better idea. He once wrote: "The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'"
* * *
So much for the reasons why we don't pray. Why should we pray? What inexpressibly wonderful, life-transforming opportunities are we missing by not seeking God in prayer? The two reasons I'd like you to consider also happen to be attributes of God — characteristics of who He is and what He does. These attributes of our Creator should cause us to want to pray more and more.
We Pray Because God Is Sovereign
To say it in the simplest way, sovereign means "supreme." When we say that God is sovereign, we are saying that He is the supreme Ruler of the universe. We pray to a sovereign God because He is the supreme Ruler of the universe who can move heaven and earth to help us, provide for us, and fill our lives with purpose and joy.
But many people, I think, have misunderstood and misapplied this truth about God. Some will say, "Sovereignty means that God's going to do whatever He wants to do no matter what, so there's no use in asking Him for anything."
Satan, our enemy, loves to take advantage of that misunderstanding. He will come alongside and whisper, Why pray? Why even bother? God will do whatever He wants to do anyway.
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us, "Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" (6:8). Sometimes, however, I think we read those words like this: "The Father knows what you need, so don't bother asking. Don't waste your breath." As a result, we become apathetic. We shrug our shoulders. We begin to think of prayer as a religious formality. We lose our sense of urgency, our hope, and we may even slip into cynicism.
But that is not what the sovereignty of God means.
The supremacy of God doesn't mean He will do whatever He wants to do no matter what. This is a misinterpretation of God's will. People may say (or think) this because they misunderstand the definition of the word will.
Let me give you the best one-word definition:
Will = Desire
When you draw up a last will and testament, what you are actually saying is, "This is my desire for the $83.6? I will leave behind after the bills are paid" That is your will. Your will is your desire.
So what is God's desire? The Bible tells us that quite clearly,
Let's look for a moment at ? Peter 3:9:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Did you get that? God is not willing that anyone should perish. His will, His strong desire — wider than time and more powerful than a supernova — is that all should come to repentance. Looking closer at the original meaning of that word translated "willing" deepens its resonance. It means that He is not disposed, He is not minded, and it is not His intention that anyone should fall short of salvation. It is not His will and not His desire that anyone would ever be lost.
But will people be lost?
Will all people come to repentance?
Sadly, no. Not even if God desires it.
Why not? Because God in His sovereignty, exercising His will as Supreme Ruler, chose to also give free will to the men and women created in His image.
The reason people perish, then, isn't because of God's will, but rather because of their wills. They exercise their wills to refuse God's offer of salvation, and that's why they perish.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11). God's thoughts are for our good. His thoughts are for every person to come to Christ, and He has provided a way for every person to be saved. That's what He wills. What He desires.
And although God in His sovereignty has given us the freedom not to choose His ways, He has also created us in His image, giving us the will to want what He wants. And when we make that desire a part of prayer, amazing things can happen.
When the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray, one of the phrases He gave them was:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
Prayers will be answered in our lives because our will moves God's will from heaven to earth-all in the context of God's sovereignty.
Excerpted from Why Keep Praying by Robert Morris. Copyright © 2015 Robert Morris. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Why Pray at All?, 1,
2. Building Bridges to Heaven, 47,
3. Keeping the Prayer Line Open, 81,
4. Receiving and Releasing His Power, 117,
An Invitation to Pray, 155,
What People are Saying About This
“Have you ever felt that your prayers were not connecting with God? In Why Keep Praying, Pastor Robert shows us why and how it is essential that we persevere in prayer. Prayer is not optional for living in victory. It is the very thing that unleashes the power of God to work in and through our lives.' Christine Caine, Founder, Propel Women
“As I was reading this book, I had the feeling that I was sitting in a pastor’s study, receiving the wise and kind counsel of Robert Morris. He comforted, challenged, and instructed me on the ways of prayer. He reminded me of some principles I know and introduced me to some I didn’t. By the end of the book, I was resolved to pray and never give up. I have a feeling that you will receive a similar blessing. Thank you, Robert, for the good word.” Max Lucado, Pastor and Bestselling Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Loved it! Straightforward teaching on the power and blessing we have been given to see God's heart revealed and His will accomplised through prayer.
Robert Morris always goes straight to the heart of the needs of Christians. His books are always a tremendous help in my quest how to be a better Christian.