Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 14 Logos since 31 July 2017 . The answer to prayer conundrum

. The answer to prayer conundrum



This study is in response to the many who have asked me, why it seems that God is basically ignoring the prayers of the masses in Bloemfontein on 21 April, as all the things the masses declared they were tired of, which brought the day about persists. Crime is high, violence is plentiful, farm murders continue even up to 3 on one single day, the corruption in government persists, the economy has faced downgrade after downgrade, riots are a plenty and then we saw the acts of God as seen with the storms in the Cape and the fires in Knysna. Many of the people who gathered on 21 April are quick to take credit for the few positive things, but refuse to take blame for the many negative things. This leaves us with a conundrum. Atheists will tell you that our God is either not willing, or not able, which is proof that He does not exist.

Oh, how my heart breaks when I consider the matter. The last thing I want to do is to pretend to answer on God’s behalf as far as 21 April is concerned. We need to keep in mind that there are always believers interceding and pleading before God, including myself. So, if positive things happen, who gets the credit, the individuals who have been calling on the Lord day after day, or the masses on one day, or the organisers of the event or God?


This sermon is definitely not an indictment on the prayer day or Angus Buchan who called the day of prayer. It is good for people to pray, as long we realise there is much more at stake than the believers in a nation coming together. We must also at the outset remember that we are not Israel, but New Covenant people where we are part of His Kingdom and He works in and through us, but that does not imply that the nation will benefit greatly in times of calling on the Lord. But there is a lesson in it for us.


The key verse for the “It’s Time” Movement that has now been created is Isaiah 43:19 (ESV) 19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” This has now been accepted as God’s answer for South Africa in response to ‘It’s Time’ and is paraded on the header of the 'It's time Facebook Page'.


It is easy to take a text and make it our motto. Remember the prayer of Jabez a few years ago. 1 Chronicles 4:10 (ESV) 10 Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.” This was big stuff, and everybody had to pray it. This was promoted through books, the Jabez Bible, bumper stickers, Jabez Calendars, diaries, stationery, T-Shirts, prayer journals and the like.  Why was the prayer of Jabez so important and not the prayer of Proverbs 30:7-9 (ESV) 7 Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: 8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9 lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”

So, my question is why do we accept the Word of the Lord for us coming from Isaiah 43:19 and not Isaiah 58 below? Is it because it suits us, or is it because  God’s Word to Israel then is a prophetic word for us today based on our will and favour?

Isaiah 58 (ESV) speaks volumes on this subject.

1 “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, AS IF THEY WERE A NATION that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. 4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is such the fast that I choose, A DAY for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?

6 Is not this the fast THAT I CHOOSE: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then (Maybe Isaiah 43:19) shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

11 And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. (Again, reminds us of Isaiah 43:19) 12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

13 “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honourable; if you honour it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; 14 then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

God’s view of an Isaiah 43:19 experience is slightly different to man’s view. It will not come simply by humbling ourselves in mass on a day. Also, we must be careful to think that we are Israel and that all promises are literal for us.

What we must understand is that God is sovereign and can choose to answer any prayer He sees fit. He does not need the permission of Nicki Coertze or Angus Buchan or anybody else.  But Scripture clearly indicates that God does not listen to or answer every prayer. In fact, Scripture gives at least fifteen reasons for unanswered prayer. And maybe, this is the place for us to start. Maybe, we must forget about the day, and whether God is answering or not, but to look at our own hearts and to keep it in tune with God’s sovereign will for our lives. Here are some prayers God does not answer. Those:

1) Who have personal and selfish motives. James 4:3 (ESV) “3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

2) Who regard iniquity in their hearts. Psalm 66:18 (ESV) “18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”

3) Who remain in sin. Isaiah 59:2 (ESV) “2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” And then look at the antidote. John 9:31 (ESV) “31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”

4) Who offer the second best to God. Malachi 1:8-10 (ESV) “8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favour? says the Lord of hosts. 9 And now entreat the favour of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favour to any of you? says the Lord of hosts.”

5) Who forsake God when they feel like it, and call when they feel like it. Jeremiah 14:10-12 (ESV) “10 Thus says the Lord concerning this people: “They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore the Lord does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.” 11 The Lord said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”

6) Who expect God to answer when they call but reject God's call when it suits them. Proverbs 1:24-25 (ESV) “24 Because I (God’s Wisdom) have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, 25 because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof,” Proverbs 1:28 (ESV) “28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.”

7) Who will not heed God's law. Proverbs 28:9 (ESV) “9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Zechariah 7:11-13 (ESV) “11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore, great anger came from the Lord of hosts. 13 “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts,”

8) Who turn a deaf ear to the cry of the poor. Like Isaiah 58. Proverbs 21:13 (ESV) “13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.”

9) Who are violent. Isaiah 1:15 (ESV) “15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.” Isaiah 59:2-3 (ESV) “2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.”

10) Who are caught up in idolatry. Jeremiah 11:11-14 (ESV) 11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal. 14 Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.

11) Who has no faith. James 1:6-7 (ESV) “6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;”

12) Who are living in hypocrisy. The crowds gather, but Christ knows their hypocrisy. Luke 12:1 (ESV) “1 In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

13) Who are proud of heart. James 4:6 (ESV) “6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

14) Who are self-righteous. Luke 18:11-14 (ESV) “11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” MAYBE THIS IS THE STARTING POINT FOR ALL OF US.

15) Who with evil deeds. Psalm 18:40-41 (ESV) “40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. 41 They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.”

Micah 3:2-4 (ESV) “2 you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones, 3 who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot, like flesh in a cauldron. 4 Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at THAT TIME (It’s Time??), because they have made their deeds evil.


So, friends, it is clear that God does not answer all prayers, whether they are the prayers of an individual or a nation. I am not the judge of why things are still out of control after It’s Time, all I can do is to humble myself and to search my own heart based on the verses above, and to ask God to create in me a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within me, so that me and my prayers are not cast away from His presence.