Message 7: When Prayers And Faith Don't Work

Checkmate: What's Your Move? 1, 2, 3 John

By Pastor Chris Brown, February 17, 2024

When Prayers And Faith Don’t Work

Our problem with prayer?

1 John 3:19-24

If the Holy Spirit’s main role is to to be more like Christ and to be a witness for Him…

  • Then prayer is much more about us conforming to than getting .

  • Then prayer is more about God than God changing .

  • Then prayer is more about to the one we are to than getting what .

Our towards others is key to both our and that we are a child of God.

Our problem with faith:

1 John 3:19-24

There is the truth about who and what we have , and the truth about how God , what He has us, and who we are .

Which truth we choose to determines our:

  • Doubts

  • Guilt

  • Shame


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Life Group Study Questions

For the week of February 18, 2024


What was your favorite part of the message this weekend? Was there anything that challenged or confused you?


  1. Chris talked about prayer as connecting to the one we’re talking to. Who is your favorite person to talk to and hang out with? Why do you like talking to them?

  2. In the verses we read this weekend, John wants believers to be sure and confident in Christ. Baseball players have a walk-up song that gives them confidence when they go up to bat. If you could pick a song that gives you confidence, what would it be?


John gives us the answers for how we know we are in Christ. Read 1 John 3:19-24 and write down any observations or questions you have.

1 John 3:19-24 New International Version (NIV)
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

  1. Verses 21-22 can bring up questions for those of us who love God and still have prayers He hasn’t answered or things we’ve asked for and haven’t received. Chris gave us three points about prayer. What was your response to hearing those? Did any of them resonate with you? Were any of them hard to hear? Explain.

    • Take a moment to think about your prayer life and the things you ask God for most. What does it look like to trust or desire God’s will in those things even if it doesn’t match your will?

    • Have you experienced God changing you through prayer even when He didn’t change your life or circumstances? If so, what was that like?

    • How do you or can you remember to think of prayer as connecting with God even as you bring Him your wants and requests?

  2. Sometimes we can still struggle with feeling condemned or feeling guilt and shame, even though God does not find us guilty in Christ. Read God’s view of condemnation (or a guilty verdict) for the Christian in Romans 8:1-4, note any observations, and answer the following questions.

    • Romans 8:1-4 New International Version (NIV)
      Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    • Guilt is the feeling that I’ve done something wrong, and shame is the feeling that I am wrong. What are some common “yeah, but…” reasons we come up with when we are struggling with guilt and shame or just not feeling sure about how God views us? (Example: Yeah, but you don’t know what I’ve done.)

    • How would you respond to those “yeah, but…” statements if it were someone you love and you wanted to encourage them with what you know about God or these verses?

    • Is there a “yeah, but…” you have struggled with or are still struggling with? Write it down on a piece of paper and find a way to physically and permanently get rid of it (i.e., burn it, shred it, dig a hole and bury it, etc.), then share your experience with your group.


Is there one thing you would like to focus on from this week's teaching or need prayer for?