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 🙂