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Thank God For Answered Prayer

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The God of our prayers is responsible for the effectiveness of our prayers. If prayer changes anything it is because the God you prayed to, heard, and then answered your prayer. Prayer changes things, but we must be clear about how those things change. We do the praying. God does the changing. Because of his benevolent love and his everlasting mercy, God hears the prayers of his people and acts on the behalf of his people. Prayer changes things. However, we must not forget how those things get changed. After we have submitted our prayer, we are at the mercy of the one who has the power to answer our prayer. Thank God for answered prayer, because God is in no way obligated to answer our prayers. God does not have to answer prayers just because we pray them, but thank God for answered prayer. God does not have to answer prayer because we’ve earned an answer, but thank God for answered prayer. An answered prayer is a gift from God that is fulfilled on our behalf, not because of us, but because of him. God answers prayer because God is a prayer answering God.
David’s Psalm is a song of thanksgiving for answered prayer. is David’s response to God’s response to his prayer. David prayed, God answered, and David thanked God for answering his prayer. is sandwiched between , where David talked about the goodness of the Lord, and where David entrusted himself to the goodness of the Lord. In David talked about God’s character. In David trusted in God because of his character. But in David tested the character of God by praying, and God responded by answering his prayer. David had been deathly ill. So sick that he had concluded that he was on his death bed. David didn’t have the strength to do anything else but pray. Beloved, when all you have is prayer, all you need is prayer. David cried out to God for deliverance from his affliction, and God reached down and pulled David out of the mouth of the grave. David learned that it’s never too late to pray. No matter how things may look God is able to reach into the mouth of the grave, into the mouth of trouble, into the mouth of heartache, disappointment, and danger and pull you out. David talked about God, and David eventually trusted God. In between talking about him, and trusting him, David had to try God for himself. It is one thing to talk about what the Lord can do, but it is another thing to experience his favor. If you want to know for yourself what God can do, then you must stop trying to do it yourself and let God do it. We pray because we can trust God, but prayer also builds our trust in God. David teaches us in this Psalm that after we’ve prayed, and God has delivered, we ought to give God praise for hearing our prayer.
David’s Psalm exhorts us to praise God not only for answering prayer, but for being a God who answers prayer. I must give you a Biblical perspective on how God responds to prayer. God does not answer all of our prayers according to our prayers.
Matthew 26:39 ESV
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Jesus made a request to God to allow the cup of suffering and crucifixion pass him by, but because God had divinely designed our salvation to come through the cross God did not deliver a positive response to his prayer. The answer to that prayer was no, I cannot let this cup pass from you. We do not

I. His Name

Even if God does not answer our prayer in the manner we think he should answer our prayer we should praise him simply because his name is Holy. His name is also a reason we can depend on God to answer prayer. David himself says we should praise God and give thanks simply at the remembrance of His name. David, in this particular stanza isn’t telling us to offer up our praise for what God has done. Rather, David is exhorting us to praise God for who God is. The object of praise is the God who answers prayer. David says, “And give thanks at the remembrance of His Holy name”. This would suggest to us that we should not only be thankful when we think about how the Lord has answered our prayer, but we should also be thankful whenever his name comes to our minds. David’s song implies that even if we didn’t have an answered prayer to praise God for we should still praise God because of his name. God’s name is the sum total of who God is. When you think of certain names, certain images and adjectives come to mind. When you think of the name Lebron. You think Lebron Raymone James Sr. not Jr. You think basketball. You think Cavs not Lakers. His name will illicit a response. If you’re a fan, you may sing his praises and say, “he’s the greatest of all time”. If you’re not a fan you may cite your criticisms and say, “he’s overrated, he should have stayed in Cleveland, he’ll never beat Golden state”. Anyone who is familiar with the name will have a response whether you ask them for it or not. David says when you think about the name Jesus, his name alone should bring a praise to your lips. David’s praise was not confined to answered prayer. It was motivated by the mention of a God who answers prayer. God answers prayer for our sake, but more importantly for his name sake. David was thankful to be delivered from the pit of affliction, but David found the name of God all the more sweeter because of his deliverance. Answered prayer should point us back back to God. Any time a prayer is answered we can accredit it to one name, God. Have you ever had anyone tell you a story about something that happened and before they could finish the story you had already figured out who was at the center of it? We do this quite often in the church. Something happens in the church and before all the facts are sorted out you already have a name in your head as the main culprit or the ring leader. David suggest that there is only one name at the root of answered prayer and at the mention of that name it should bring praise to our lips. In this particular portion of the Psalm David has moved from an individual praise to a collective commandment of praise. He says, “Sing praises to the Lord, O you saints”. At the mention of his name, every person who knows God and has been delivered by God should give praise to his name. Your prayer doesn’t have to be my prayer and your answer doesn’t have to be my answer. For each of us the pit has taken on a different name, but if you know that it was nobody but the Lord that reached way down and lifted you out of the pit we ought to have one collective praise aimed at the same target. After all, this is the reason we’ve gathered in this sanctuary isn’t it? We should thank God for answered prayer because all of our answered prayers can be accredited to his name.

a. Holy Is His Name

I want you to notice a very important adjective that David uses to describe God’s name. Great songs or Psalms are never absent colorful descriptions. The beauty of a song is its ability to help you see the beauty of its subject. God doesn’t just have a name. It isn’t any old name. His name is holy. His name is above every name. God’s name is Holy because God is Holy. You can’t take any ordinary adjective and describe an extraordinary God. There is something about tragedy, affliction, and despair that allows us to see God more clearly. It is also in those moments that we not only see him more clearly, but we are able to view him more highly. The truth is that God has separated himself from everything that God created. Sometimes, we cannot see how high God sits until we are flat on our backs. Sometimes it isn’t until we have run out money, friends, attention, or good health that we look up to God. A low view of God quenches our desire to pray to God. Once you’ve hit rock bottom and landed flat on your back, then you’ll look up and see God. I thank God that even when I’ve hit the bottom it’s not too late to pray. David’s health had reached rock bottom. He had one foot in the grave. He had a special reverence for God’s name, because he knew that in his affliction nobody could deliver him the way God had delivered him. David, however, is a very wise man because he knows that he isn’t alone. David knew some other folk that had been down and looked up and seen a Holy God. I believe David reached opened up the phone book and called Isaiah. David asked Isaiah, “Isaiah do you remember that year King Uzziah died?”. Isaiah responded, “Yea I remember, it was that year when I saw the Lord high and lifted up”. David could call some of you and ask you, “do you remember when you lost your greatest possession”. Those low moments showed you just how high and Holy God was. Because if he had not been seated above your troubles he would not have been able to reach down and pull you out. You should praise the God that answers prayer because of his Holy name and because he himself is Holy. If I may borrow the proverb submitted by that great theologian, Forrest Gump, Holy is what Holy does.

II. His Nature

A person’s name is never more or less than that person’s actions. The second reason you should thank God for answered prayer is because of his nature. It is because of God’s nature, or character, that can submit our prayers to God with confidence that he will hear our cries. This is good news because after we’ve prayed we are in the hands of the only one who can answer our prayers. David learned something about God through prayer. Through prayer, David learned the nature and the character of God. It only makes sense, the best way to get to know someone is to have a conversation with them. What David began to understand was just how merciful God was. Verse 5 begins, “His anger is but for a moment, but his favor is for a lifetime”. Because of his sin, David had seen the anger of the Lord. It was through his prayer that David experienced the favor of the Lord. If you want to know God better, then you must pray. Prayer is not just communication with God, prayer is the means by which we trust God and God proves himself to be trustworthy.

a. Anger

I hear the question: “How could God ever be angry with us?” We would love to believe that, “God is never angry”. The bad news is that God does get angry. The good news is that it’s only for a moment. David was a man after God’s own heart, however, David was still a man. Because he was a man of flesh he was subject to sin, and it was David’s sin that displeased God. Not only does sin displease God, it angers God. In the Bible says:
2 Samuel 24:1 ESV
1 Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”
Many historical commentators suggest that when David referred to God’s anger in this Psalm he was referring to the record on when David had required a census of Israel as he prepared to go into battle. David asked the commander of his army, Joab, to go through all the tribes of Israel that he may number the people of Israel. David was preparing for battle and instead of relying on the Lord he was fooled by the devil into relying on his army. This is the same David that had previously taken 5 smooth stones from the brook and slain the giant Goliath. The same little lad who once watched over his father’s sheep, but had now been assigned the watch over the people of Israel. David who had depended on God, to get where he was, instead of trusting in God began to trust in the strength of his army. This angered God, and David recognized that what he had done was displeasing in the Lord’s site. So David went to the Lord to repent and God responded, “Okay David you have three options here and you must choose one: 1.) Three years of famine on the land. 2.) Three months at the hands of your enemies while they pursue you. 3.) Three days of pestilence in the land”. David answered:
2 Samuel 24:14 ESV
14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.”
2 Samuel
David would much rather be at the mercy of God rather than the mercy of men. Does this nullify the fact that God was angry? Not at all. David was still in the hands of an angry God, and the people of Israel were punished. The text says that Israel endured pestilence from that morning until the appointed time, and during that time 70,000 people died. Israel was in the hands of an angry God who was at the same time merciful. Because when the three days were up the Lord relented from his anger and told the death angel, “enough”. Because God is just he requires justice, but his justice does not exceed his mercy. We should thank God for his nature, because while we yet sin and kindle God’s anger, his mercy prevents us from being completely cut off from God. I may be the only sinner I know, but I know just last week I did something that kindled God’s anger. I probably thought something just this morning that kindled God’s anger. Thank God for mercy because when I pray I need his anger to subside and his mercy to increase so that he may answer my prayer. David says, I know there have been times when I angered the Lord, yet when I needed him and cried out to him he still heard my despairing cry, and he answered by and by. Without God’s mercy we would leave our prayers in the hands of an angry God. Thank God for answered prayer. It is because of his mercy that he hears and answers our prayers in the time of trouble, not because of our righteousness.

b. Mercy

I want you to notice how David contrasts his mercy with his anger. God’s anger is momentary, temporary. But his favor is for life. When David says that his favor is for life he doesn’t just mean that his favor is only good for this life. God’s favor extends through eternal life. Because God is eternally good he hears the cries of his people even when we don’t deserve it. I thank God that he answers prayer not according to my deeds but according to his everlasting mercy. Although I don’t deserve it, God answers prayer. David teaches us through song that we should be thankful when God answers prayer because we have not earned his response, yet he responds because of his mercy and his favor.
Hymn: Pass Me Not

III. Our Nights

Lastly, we ought to thank God for answered prayer because he brings an end to the nights. One of the most widely quoted portions of scripture is seated at the the last half of verse 5 of the 30th number of the Psalms. “Weeping may endure for a night but Joy comes in the morning”. I want to help you see the beauty of this poem and how David uses contrast to show us just how good God is. Remember, that verse 5 has two parts. The first part:
“For his anger is but for a moment, but his favor is for life”
Psalm 30:5 ESV
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
The second part is:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning
Momentary anger is paralleled with weeping enduring only for a night. A lifetime of favor is paralleled with the joy that comes in the morning. Our nights of weeping and wondering, and wandering are as temporary as God’s anger. But the joy that we find in the morning is an eternal joy. When David says that weeping endures for a night what he really means is that the pain, the tears, the affliction that we experience are like guests who only visit to spend the night. Their lodging in our lives is only temporary, because when the morning comes, they must make arrangements to move out. I’m so glad, that trouble don’t last always. Trouble is only for a time, but the joy that ensues is eternal. I’m thankful that God is aware of our nights of pain. We can take solace in the fact that God can turn our weeping into joy. David uses all of these contrasts to show that the nature of God is eternally good and the nature of our nights are temporarily burdensome. Weeping and joy are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Would you like to know what is able to turn hour darkest hour into our brightest moments? Prayer.
Prayer makes the difference. In between David’s affliction and David’s deliverance, David prayed. In between his weeping and his joy, David prayed. Between his mourning and his dancing, David prayed. Prayer changes things. Between the night time of sorrow and his morning of relief David got in his midnight rocking chair and prayed that the Lord would heal his body and I’m here to tell you this morning that you should thank God for answered prayers. If you pray, the night does not have to be your final verdict. God uses prayer as a means to act on behalf of his people. Yes God knows all about our troubles, and he knows what we’re going through and what we need. But unless you take it to God in prayer he won’t know that you know that he’s the only one who can fix it. Prayer brings daylight to dark times.
Have you ever had a problem you just couldn’t seem to solve?
You tried and You tried and you just kept getting deeper involved?
Take it to Jesus, because he can work it out
That pain that would not move
I had to take it to the upper room
Those burdens that I bore
I said Lord how much more
I thank God that when I turn it over to Jesus he can work it out! That’s what answered prayer is, God working it out. Because he is able to work it out, night is not the final verdict.
Night is not the final verdict.
2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV
17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,


(Illustrate how Jesus prayer in Gethsemane did not go unanswered. He was forsaken for a moment, but not ultimately.)
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