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Bubbles - Part 5, Answer Bubbles
Miles McPherson - July 26, 2009

Message Recap

For the last month, Pastor Miles has covered various aspects of prayer, but today we are covering the different types of answers we can receive from God.

1. No.

Sometimes when we pray, God can simply say "no" for various reasons.

One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9

Why would God bless us when we aren't doing what He wants us to do?

Why would God bless us when we aren't doing what He wants us to do?

Here's an example: a new couple wants to buy a house. They've found the perfect home and a loan that can get them in. They really can't afford it, but the loan gets them in on low interest only payments for three years and they can refinance it then when they are sure they are making more money. Three years later, the housing market is in a downward spiral, the couple's income is in jeopardy, and the repo man is knocking. God's answer to their prayer would have been negative, and three years later, we see why.

God knows best, and we have to trust Him even when the answer discourages us in the present.

2. Wait.

This is another answer that is difficult to hear because we are like spoiled children who want everything now.

I like French fries, but the first time I tried to make them, they definitely weren't up to fast food standards. I had thrown the potatoes into the grease right away instead of waiting for the grease to get hot first. The result of my impatient experiment was lousy fries.

Impatience can be costly in many areas of our lives. Sure, we want it now, but often, waiting for things to mature yields much better results. And sometimes He is simply trying to teach us patience!

3. Yes, it is on its way.

Oh, the answer we love! Prayer isn't always turned down or answered with gloom and doom; sometimes we are told yes. Just remember to give thanks to God when your prayers are answered as requested!

4. Wrong prayer.

Remember that couple who bought the house they shouldn't have bought? Maybe in praying, they only considered two options: rent or buy; after all, they had to live somewhere, right? In this case, other options may exist, such as moving out of the city or moving in with other family members temporarily, thus avoiding financial disaster.

We have to remember that God is looking out for us. He not only sees all the options we see, He also sees way beyond our limited perspective - even into future events. When God says our prayers are wrong, it is because we are placing the wrong limits on Him when He has something else in mind.

5. Keep praying.

Miles warned us against "drive by" prayer. The ultimate goal of praying is to have meaningful conversation with God. We need to open up to Him and tell Him everything (not that He doesn't know it already), but if our prayers consist of, "Hey, just calling to say 'hi.' Talk to you later!" There isn't anything of substance there for God to use. He hears those prayers, but He wants to establish relationship with us.

In Matthew 26:36-46, Jesus and His disciples are praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, but the disciples keep falling asleep. Jesus tells them, "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

God wants us to be in communication with Him all the time.

God wants us to be in communication with Him all the time. He not only knows how much we need Him, He knows that building a lifestyle of prayer will be positively life-changing.

6. Done.

Does God really tell us our prayers are already handled?

In 2 Kings 6:1-15, Elisha the prophet is with the distressed King of Israel who is facing off with the vastly larger army of Syria. But in verse 17, Elisha asks God to open the eyes of the king and now the king sees God's army supporting Israel. Not only do they outnumber the Syrians, but what an army! Flaming soldiers and chariots!

Sometime in our lives we pray for something and God will say, "Done." But that doesn't mean we will recognize that our prayer has been answered. Maybe you are praying for a wife and God is saying, "It's that girl next to you." "Her?" We don't always understand what God is doing, but we need to trust Him!

7. Why are you asking me that?

Miles told a story about being outside his cabin at the marriage retreat and spotting some ducks. He crumbled up some (rather hard) crackers and threw them on the ground for the ducks. What Miles didn't know was that ducks don't chew like we do and tend to just gulp down what they get. One of the ducks got a piece of these crackers stuck in its throat (don't worry - it was eventually fine).

Make sure that when you pray, you're not asking for more than you can swallow. Remember the couple buying the house? Had they been listening for broader answers, God could have responded by telling them that they didn't have sufficient income or that they didn't know enough about the housing market or home values. God is looking out for us even though we aren't always looking out for ourselves.

8. Get your life straight.

This is always a tough answer to hear, but sometimes it is extremely necessary. God wants to tell us yes; He wants to bless us! But in order to have communication with God, it has to be honest. Miles told another story about a couple whose marriage was in trouble. He asked the husband what was wrong, and the husband told him, "I'm working too much and am something of a workaholic." Miles asked if his wife would give the same answer. The man said she would, but when asked, the wife's response was that her husband had a girlfriend.

Are you being dishonest with God? God knows our vices and wants to help us, but He can't do it if we are trying to keep sin away from Him. So for us to pray for more income or a better living situation while we are in adultery or cheating on our taxes is probably not going to yield the answers we desire. When we are doing something that we know is wrong, we can expect that God wants to make cleaning up our lives a top priority.


This 9-part series takes us on a journey of prayer and discovering its importance in our lives. Today we look at the different answer bubbles we can receive from God.

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