August 17, 2016

Why Aren't all Prayers Answered Immediately?

Hold on!  I don’t have an inflated ego. I’m not claiming to have the only answer to this important question. This article will not be a detailed theological analysis; that’s beyond the scope of my humble blog. Instead, we’re going to gently explore the topic based on proven life experience.

This is always a tender subject. I’m sure it’s even more close to our hearts right now. The absolutely out-of-control violence and anger relevant to politics and other current events has some of us scratching our heads and wondering where faith fits into a world gone mad.

I think the main point here is that every human being has a God-given right to exercise their free will, even if it’s selfish and malevolent. That’s not to say that God never stops evil, or that he completely stays on the sidelines of life. On the other hand, He is not a divine puppet master, and we are not mindless puppets.

Dr. James Merrit is a Bible teacher on TV. He identified four different types of answers to prayer (although I thought of most of the details.):

Direct (Immediate)
Example 1: Guidance in finding lost valuables (This can be keys, lost electronic items, and so forth)
Example2: Clarification of confusing issues (You get the answer to a puzzling homework question.)
Example 1: Need more preparation (Abraham and King David both waited 20 years for their promised blessings.)
Example 2: Avoid immediate danger (Someone may be in a hurry, but that traffic jam could save him from a serious accident further down the road.)

Example 1: Unhealthy/toxic (We may want to get married NOW, but our current dating partner has a hidden dark side.)
Example 2: Unsafe (That building looks like a perfect place to open a business, but the neighborhood has underlying dangerous elements.)
Example 1: New career path (I know people who have been let go from unsatisfying positions. They had expected to retire from those jobs. These individuals are often led to a new, more satisfying career.)
Example 2: New course of study at college (Many people plan from childhood to follow one course of study, and they pray for success in that area. In the end, God may push them in a new direction.)

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.—Jeremiah 29:12 (NIV)

God knows everything; we don’t. If our prayers aren’t answered immediately, there’s often a good reason. Some individuals may be praying for what actually would hold them back. Maybe we should stop asking ourselves why we aren’t getting what we want in order to explore more crucial questions:
  • What am I supposed to learn?
  • Why do I need protection? From what? From whom?
  • How am I supposed to change?

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Do you accept that prayers cannot always be answered according to our desires?

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