Tuesday, December 20, 2011

unanswered prayer

It's hard in our finite, limited knowledge to know what to do when we don't see our prayers answered the way we expect God to. Why doesn't God just give us what He says He will... healing, deliverance, financial freedom, etc.?

I don't know. I know enough Scripture to be dangerous and give you a bunch of rules and regulations - essentially a checklist for your prayers. Make sure you ask in faith, without doubt, with the right heart motive, etc. But God is not a checklist to be followed. You'll see variety throughout the Bible - even variety in the way He answers prayers. I think back to all the people Jesus healed and how every healing looked different. I think the same remains true today. Every healing and every answered prayer will look different. Sometimes it will look exactly as you had planned; other times it will be completely unexpected. I think it's important to seek God for yourself and find out what God wants you to do in each situation that arises.

I googled "unanswered prayer" and Garth Brooks' song came up (dear heaven, am I really using a country song again in my blog? What's happening!!). It's called Unanswered Prayers. The verse basically says that he and his wife were visiting his hometown and ran into his high school flame - the lady he had prayed God would let him marry. He quickly came to the conclusion he was glad he hadn't married her! The chorus goes:

Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayers 
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs 
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care 
Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.

It reminds me that we have an idea in our heads of how our lives should turn out. In this case, that high school beauty queen was exactly who Garth wanted to marry - when he was 18. God knows, though, the whole story. He knows what we'll need at 18, 30, 50, and 76. He knows what other people will need from us. He also knows how the whole world works together and how our lives fit into the bigger picture.

And somehow if my little world crumbles because my prayers go unanswered once again, I should do my best to remember:

a) Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (a.k.a. God is smarter than me)

b) Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (a.k.a. Don't quit!)

When I don't give up - I keep living for God as best as I can while trusting Him to perform His Word - God will respond. It may not look exactly like I had planned (see point a) and I can almost guarantee it won't happen when I planned (see point a) but it doesn't give me a reason to quit (see point b).

It reminds me of one other song - a worship one by Rita Springer - that calms me when I hear it.


I don't understand Your ways
Oh but I will give You my song
Give You all of my praise
You hold on to all my pain
With it You are pulling me closer
And pulling me into Your ways

Now around every corner
And up every mountain
I'm not looking for crowns
Or the water from fountains
I'm desperate in seeking, frantic believing
That the sight of Your face
Is all that I need
I will say to You

It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it all
I believe this
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it all
I believe this

You're gonna be worth it
You're gonna be worth it
You're gonna be worth it all
I believe this
You're gonna be worth it
You're gonna be worth it
You're gonna be worth it all
I believe this 

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