The pain and glory of unanswered prayer

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me…”

alluaudia-procera-spice-plant-branch-38282Few things can be more confusing or frustrating for Christians than unanswered prayer, especially when we’re sure there are good, obvious reasons for God to grant our requests.

Recently I spoke to a good friend, a young man in (what should be) the prime of his life. Sadly, he’s afflicted with mysterious and chronic back pain. He’s tried every kind of medical treatment under the sun, and has persistently and faithfully prayed for relief. Yet his debilitating pain persists—unseen by most people, yet severe enough to prevent any real exercise and make everything in life difficult and uncomfortable.

My friend told me that he recently accepted an invitation to attend a large healing service. As the meeting went on and as many people appeared to be miraculously healed right before his eyes, my friend started to hope for a miracle of his own. “Maybe tonight’s the night,” he thought. “Maybe my suffering comes to an end—right here, right now.” Continue reading

31 Days of Prayer: Day 14 – Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?

Child Father's Hand“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: our Father in heaven…” (Matt 6:8-9)

One of the most confusing – and sometimes the most painful – aspects of prayer can be the reality of our ‘unanswered prayers’.

Put together some of the pieces that we’ve seen already in this series of brief reflections:

  • God is all-powerful – he can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Nothing is too hard for him.
  • God is perfectly loving, and he welcomes the prayers of his children. Through Jesus’ death for us, we have access to God and a relationship with him as Father, so we can approach with boldness and confidence.
  • God is not just like a good earthly father. He is the perfect Father, and he delights to give good things to his children when they ask.

Continue reading