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When God Doesn't Listen

Prayer is a serious business that should not be taken lightly in connection with individual and communal sin.

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I did something I thought I would never do in my life: I went to a NASCAR race. I know some of you are big NASCAR fans, but I'm just not into it. Several of the racers were reading my book and doing a Bible study, so they invited me out to the race and said I could sit in the pits—right where they change the tires and all that stuff. I thought, If I'm going to experience a race, that's the way to do it. So I went, and I sat in Pit Row, and I watched the guys taking tires off and pouring gas in. It was fun. I have to admit, it was a good time. The sound, the rush, trying to understand it all. It was a good time.

Now, I won't ever go back—unless I get to sit in the pit again. That was pretty cool. In fact, next time I go, I want to help somehow. Maybe I can be the guy that slaps the car. You know? Wouldn't that be fun? Right after the pit stop, the guy always runs up and smacks the car as it's driving away. I can do that. Let me do that. But if one of you invites me and says, "Hey, you want to go to the NASCAR race and sit in the grandstand with everyone else?" The answer will be no. I'm not that into it. So would you call me a NASCAR fan? No. I'll go if everything's just right, the way I like it, but I'm not going to sacrifice or keep up. I don't know who won today or yesterday or if they raced. I don't care.

I say all that because, when I look at church in America, there are so many people that, let's face it, will only participate if everything's just right. You have to have the right speaker, the right music, the right people. You have to have the right programs, the right time of day. It can't be too long. There better be something good going on for the kids over ...

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Francis Chan is an American Protestant author, teacher, and preacher.

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Sermon Outline:


When we see the examples of men and women from Scripture—and from places of suffering around the world today—we begin to question whether we are the "real thing" in terms of following Christ.

I. Prayer is serious business.

II. Answered prayer is a tremendous blessing.

III. Answered prayer is conditional on our obedience.

IV. Answered prayer is influenced by our community.

V. God is still serious about removing evil from his church.


We either have to give up Christ or give up our sin; we can't have both.