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Unanswered Prayer (3rd of 4)

In my last post, I ended noting that even Jesus made repeated, unanswered requests before saying, “Nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done.”

So here’s what I’m thinking. See if you agree. If our best examples of faith have lived with the pain of unanswered prayer, would our worst case scenario be to live awhile longer without getting what we have been begging for? Or would the worst case be that we grow increasingly cool, bitter, and prayerless?

And who do we really want to pray for us? Someone who scorns the devil and claims to have heaven on a leash? Or someone like the Apostle Paul, who has been broken to the point of believing that when God says “no” or “wait” we can trust him?

How many of our questions can even be answered by Paul’s admission when he writes, “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Rom 8:26)

Maybe our faith in the Spirit who is interceding for us is even more important than knowing what to pray for in the Spirit.

If I’m reading the Scripture rightly, what is most important is that our faith not fail, that our hope not die, and that our endurance not cave in before God has a chance to surprise us with his goodness.

In our yet unanswered pleadings, can we hear in the distance echoes of our Lord’s own prayers for us? Can we hear the Spirit groaning in our behalf? Can we find strength in what Jesus said to Peter just before the darkness that would follow, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Now, what are you thinking?

Don’t feel limited by the following. But I’d like to know where you are in coming to terms with unanswered prayer:

Would you now be any more inclined to ask prayer from someone who is experiencing their own unanswered prayers?

Are you any more inclined now to see the honor of those who continue to wait upon God even when He withholds the answer they are longing for?

Could the unanswered requests of Job, or Hannah, or Jesus help to change the way you look at yourself– or others who don’t seem to getting answers from God?

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11 Responses to “Unanswered Prayer (3rd of 4)”

  1. Acerzx says:

    Somehow I feel it is a matter of life perspective which results in how I face unanswered prayer.

    Firstly I am sure God is not ignoring me.

    If I am supposed to be called to live a life according to His purpose then why should I be so concerned about whether He should answer my prayer? If I am so concerned, then would there be a tendency that I want the answered prayer to lean according to my (and not His) purpose instead?

    And if I am sincerely devoted to making sure I am going the way He wants me to go (which I trust that He is just as, if not, more interested than I)then I am sure that in His providence, He will not let me go astray or make a grievous decision, especially with respect to amoral issues.

    Don’t you think?

  2. martdehaan says:

    Acerzx, I think you make a good point, but aren’t there many concerns in life that break our heart while we wait on God?

  3. Soldout says:

    New to this post. Seems God ‘accidentally’ brought me here today. (grin)

    Timely topic for me.

    I have been struggling with unemployment for quite some time (2+yrs)and have prayed everyway that I know how for deliverance. Seems that nothing is working. God is NOT anwering my prayers and the prayers of so many family and friends. Today I am perplexed!

  4. ZxAcer says:

    Hi Mart, I would not be so arrogant about professing a surrendered life to God, but I don’t know, it seems that I am pretty geared to resign myself to His will.

    It is very much like telling yourself that you are His servant and when unfortunate things happens to your life, you ‘report’ to Him on the situation and if your ‘Boss’ listen but does not seem to do anything about it, you can either be frustrated or choose to tell yourself that you have done your part via your petition and moreover there is nothing within your means to do anyway.

    It seems passive, but FAITH in its purest sense can be really trying. Take for example, a loved one who is terminally ill (I believe that nothing is really heartfelt other than life and death), someone you really really love, and most perplexed of all, a non-christian. We are dealing with a double-death situation here. To make matters worse, he or she is in a coma, not being able to salvage his or her soul by making a decision to accept Christ’s salvation even at the eleventh hour.

    It is a hands-tied situation here where you cannot do anything about it and your are reduced to your knees and tears, begging, imploring His divine intervention.

    If it is His will for him or her to die, then, at the least, could He could wake him or her up so that you can witness to your loved one in the effort for him or her to receive salvation?

    But there was no response.

    Neither from Him or the patient.

    Like David reaction to the death of his first born with Bathsheba, the definition of God’s Sovereignty is redefined and re-imprinted forcibly upon our minds as we get up, remove our sackcloth and return to our lives after the verdict has been cast in stone…

  5. Niivam says:

    I think as Christians if our prayers are not answered yet, what we should do is keep on waiting as long as it takes and we should bear in mind to be consitent on our trust in our God during this waiting period. I say during this waiting peroid because it will one day come to pass. Jesus said Heaven and earth will pass away but none of His words will pass without it been fulfilled. And that raises the question if what we have prayed and believing for is according to his will(word). Remmeber all his words are yes and amen and also profitable according 2Tim.3:16-17 and so if the prayer was made according to his word then bet on it, it will come to pass.
    Now then if you have position yourself in waiting for your answered prayer, there wont be a need to go out to somebody to pray for you. That is doubtful and will cancell all that you have been believing and doing. what you are left to do is rather encourage and help somebody who may be experiencing their own unanswered prayer. And by doing that increases your faith which help to make the waiting period easier for you.

    And to add this, the question as to if it was according to His will why then has it not been answered? That I will say according to Hab. 2:4 and 2Peter 3:8-9 it may not be the appointed time on God’s calender whatever it is we are to be good and faithful children during this peroid and wait. and mind you consistent in faith during our waiting period.

  6. bondservant2 says:

    I am honored by the grace of GOD to use us as a testimony for HIS glory. Even though HE does not answer our longings we are still blessed and HE supplies all our needs. Praise HIS Holy Name.

  7. crpwme says:

    I know how it feels to have unanswered prayers. I also know without a shadow of a doubt that God loves us; Jesus’ death proves this in ways I am still unable to comprehend. I tend to think that God needs us to understand that this life won’t be perfect, sometimes prayers won’t be answered, not because He can’t or doesn’t want to answer them but because His grace is surely sufficient to see us through. Let us not forget that this earth is our temporary residence. I think He wants us to look beyond this life to the wondrous one we will have with Him in eternity; set our eyes on that so to speak.

    So much easier said than done. I struggle everday but I have to believe it otherwise what is the use…Of course it is made all the more difficult when we see people who seem ‘less deserving’ making it while we struggle.

    I once read (in Daily word of course!)”We too must learn to view each delay as if it were “ perfectly fine.” Postponements are reasons to pray rather than grow anxious, impatient, and annoyed. They’re opportunities for God to build those imperishable but hard-to-acquire qualities of humility, patience, serenity, and strength. God never says, “Wait awhile,” unless He is planning to do something in our situation- or in us. He waits to be gracious.

    So take heart! If God’s answer tarries, “Wait for it; because it will surely come.”
    I’m still waiting…

  8. leepje says:

    I am a Christian psychotherapist specializing in helping adults abused as children. There are those who were believers as children, and who prayed for deliverance from their abuse and abusers and God did not answer their prayers and get them out of their abusive situations. They felt abandoned by God as children and still feel abandoned as adults. They do not understand why God did not keep them from being hurt. Those who have questioned their church leaders have often been met with platitudes which only cause them to feel that they are “second class” Christians for not being able to understand why God appears to have let them down.
    Some of the Psalms are helpful, but nothing has answered their heartfelt cry. I would appreciate any assistance. Thank you.

  9. poohpity says:

    leepje, I am also a survivor of parental abuse and a substance abuse counselor as well as a Christian. We may never have the answers to the whys of things although we can ask the Lord for wisdom in such matters and He will indeed answer.

    It sounds as if your faith may be what is looking for answers. Before Jesus went to the Cross or suffered the horrible beating from the Roman guard He knew what was coming and asked that this cup be taken from Him but not His will but the God’s be done. Jesus went on to have His body ripped apart to where it was unrecognizable as human flesh and did God stop it, no.

    What people suffer at the hands of others is horrible. God did not promise that this life would be problem free but that we could overcome through Him. He gave freewill to us and we abuse each other horribly and it is not right but He can help us heal. We can not change what has happened but we can use it to help others who experience abuse.

    God will be the only one who is able to give you the answers you seek if you are open to hearing. Please ask Him and He will give the assistance you need to understand.

  10. Lively says:

    Amen, Pooh.

    I’d also like to add, that I can’t believe anyone who has suffered abuse (at any point in his or her life) could be considered a “second class” Christian. Anyone who goes through horrific times and still hangs tight to his faith is TOPS in my book, though it is truly His Book that counts – I suspect He feels the same way.

  11. Lively says:

    ahh! i hit post a moment too soon – i think it would be more accurate to say that i suspect i echo how He feels in this matter.

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