In my journey with Jesus, I’ve had some frustrations about praying. When I read John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it”, Jesus’ words make me think that God will do what I ask, when I ask in Jesus’ name. However, this hasn’t always been my experience. I’ve asked God for many things in Jesus’ name and it seems like nothing has happened. Ever had a similar experience?
So here are a few thoughts that might be helpful with unanswered prayer. Perhaps our prayers don’t get the answers we want for some of these “reasons”:
motives: we ask with selfish motives – James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
methods: greater glory for God – in John 11:4, we read that Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus’ sickness would end with great glory for God; Lazarus’ sisters (Martha & Mary) wanted Lazarus to be healed rather than die, but Jesus had resurrection rather than healing for Lazarus. We must always remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Is 55:8)
unbelief: in Matt 13:58, it says that Jesus didn’t do many miracles in His hometown because of their unbelief; faith is an important ingredient for praying
schedule: God has a different schedule and timeline than what we think. In John 7:6, Jesus told His brothers, ““My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.'” There are lots of occassions in the Bible where our timing is out of synch with God
maturity: getting our way on our schedule isn’t always the optimum path God has for our development and intimacy with God. In James 1:2-4 it says, ‘Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces cendurance. And let aendurance have its perfect result, so that you may be bperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
It seems to me that God always answers prayer but maybe not always in the ways or timing that we want 🙂
I’m doing some work in 2 Bible verses on which I’d like to get your feedback. Here are the verses where Jesus says:
John 16:23-24, “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24″Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
So here are some questions that I have & I’d be keen to hear your thoughts or feedback:
have you ever asked God for something & didn’t like the outcome of your request?
what do you think Jesus means when He says, “ask & you will receive so that your joy may be full.”?
what do you do with any disappointment you may experience from various requests to God that may not get answered in the way you wanted?
I know that I usually try to write encouraging things in my blog, but if you’d be inclined, I’d be super interested to hear your thoughts on these questions 🙂
Sometimes I think that God doesn’t answer some of our prayers because are prayers are misdirected. I think that sometimes we settle for “good” when God has something more “magnificent” for us than what we are requesting. Unfortunately, I tend to be selfish & short sighted when I don’t get my way, like an immature child who doesn’t trust their parent to make choices for them in their best interest. So rather than packing up our toys & going home to play by ourselves, lets keep living with & loving God, trusting that God is fundamentally good & is Genuine Love 🙂
In my opinion, a relationship that has any degree of depth needs to be able to work through conflict, tension, disappointment, misunderstandings, challenges, etc. I sincerely believe that the deeper the relationship, the more we must be willing to work through such struggles & I don’t think that our relationship with God is any different. I think that our relationship with God is as deep as we are willing to wrestle: no wrestling, shallow depth; much wrestling, much depth. My examples for this thinking are in Job & Jacob who strenuously wrestled with God, not without some impairment.
So with this in mind, when (not if) we get mad, disappointed, frustrated, misunderstand God, let’s not sweep these feelings & thoughts under the carpet. Let’s maintain an open & honest dialogue with God because the depth with God is worth way more than the dialogue, conflict, etc 😀
I know that the title to this blog is kind of a silly question because I think that we have all been disappointed with God at some point in our lives – maybe disappointed with an event, a prayer, a situation, a desired outcome that didn’t happen, etc. I was thinking about what it means to be disappointed with God and I remembered Martha and Mary’s statement to Jesus about how if Jesus had been present that their brother, Lazarus would not have died. Martha & Mary were pretty ripped up from their brother’s death and when Jesus showed up on the scene 4 days late, maybe it was like rubbing salt in their wounds, maybe.
But when we read this story, Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead before He did anything – and what He did far exceeded the expectations of Martha and Mary. From a human viewpoint, resurrection from the dead trumps a physical healing. But Lazarus’ sisters were disappointed with Jesus and Him being too late until He obliterated their disappointment with His resurrection power.
I have a couple of thoughts that we can carry into our daily living from this story about being disappointed with God:
God isn’t finished – life is a journey and process, so whatever seems permanent and finished could merely be a comma
Don’t hold onto grief and disappointment more than you hold onto God
God is good and loves us even when we don’t get what we want or seem to need
If you haven’t read the post below this one, i’d encourage you to read that one 1st – its short & sweet & will help you understand this post. Here’s my counter-point from what i said below – Jesus gives us what we need, when we need it; nothing less or late. There was a season in my life when i would’ve argued this point & there are times when i still find myself not so happy w His choices for me. Nevertheless, i still believe this is true: Jesus gives us what we need, when we need it.
Now here’s some of my thinking: there are times when we’ve asked Jesus to do something & He hasn’t done what we asked. In some ways, this relieves me because it gives me confidence in Him that He’s going to make decisions for me outside of my preferences. This is comforting to me because i think this is what all good parents do. If i gave my kids everything they wanted, they would have some serious struggles. Furthermore, i have confidence in God that He makes better decisions for my life, than i do (He’s got more wisdom, insight, understanding, etc). Now i’m not advocating that we dismiss prayer as futile. But i’d encourage you to view prayer from a conversation perspective moreso than a request perspective. While i think that the Bible encourages us to make our requests to be made known to God (Philip 4), be careful not to get pouty if you don’t get your way – i’m speaking mostly to myself here. 😉