Thursday, May 01, 2008

Unanswered Prayer

Sometimes I think we think that prayer is something we throw in the air, and then catch what God throws back. Only sometimes, it seems as if God doesn't throw anything back. Of course we know this as "unanswered prayer." Have you ever felt this way? That you are praying to God, but it doesn't seem that God is listening? If God loves me, and cares for me, and wants the best for me, why is there times when He doesn't listen?
These are valid and important questions, because they lead us to seek the answer of what prayer is really for. The truth is, while we are told in the Bible that we are to make our requests known to God, we are also told that God answers our prayers according to His will, not ours. The reason why we feel that God is not answering our prayers, is because we are looking for a certain answer, and when that particular answer does not come, we do not see the answer God gave to us.
From the book "Prayer Power Unlimited," J. Oswald Sanders challenges us with some questions we might ask (p. 107): Am I sure my request was in harmony with God's will?
Did I really pray making use of Jesus' name?
Did I pray the prayer of faith and really expect the answer?
Was I praying from selfish motives?
Did I depend on the Holy Spirit in my praying?
While prayer is as simple as talking with God (as we might talk to someone we love and trust), the answer to our prayers always aren't so simple. And even more, more than a tool to get things from God, prayer is supposed to be a means to draw close to God and be in relationship with God and surrender to God.
When will God answer me? How come God isn't helping me? Where has God gone? If you are struggling with any of these questions, I encourage you to flip through the book of Psalms, and see how the writers of these Psalms struggled with much of these same questions. And then see how they gave themselves over to God, and how God came and was present to them!