Hello friends, I pray you all had an opportunity to attend your house of worship on Sunday. I've noticed that people have become less concerned with going to church over the last 15 to 20 years. I do not think it's a coincidence that, as church attendance has dropped, our churches have become more watered down, in an attempt to draw new people. Of course, not all churches have compromised, so that is encouraging.
Today, I want to discuss a recent posting that I saw from a very well known pastor. I will not say who it is, nor will I quote it directly, but it bothered me to the point where I want to address it ( at least to my small audience).
The basic idea centered around unanswered prayers in our lives. Why does God (seemingly) not answer our prayers? As with all posts on social media, it was short and to the point. All of the reasons centered around "keeping bad company" and anger. Perhaps it is possible that our prayers can go unanswered due to the company that we keep or our personal anger issues, but the subject of unanswered prayers tends to be much more nuanced than that.
2 Cor. 12: 7b-9
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
The apostle Paul prayed repeatedly for the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh-but God said "no." Should we consider this an unanswered prayer? I should hope not! God answered Paul's prayer with a resounding NO! I understand what the pastor was trying to say. Sometimes when we are living outside of God's perfect plan for our lives, our prayers can be hindered and can seem to go unanswered...but our motive for praying should never be results driven. Prayer is intended to strengthen our faith and communication with our Heavenly Father. We are instructed to ask, seek, and knock; to ask in faith, according to God's will. As finite human beings, it is impossible for us to know why God seems to answer some prayers and neglects to answer others. Also, our human nature tends to take a "NO" as an unanswered prayer, when (in fact) God has answered our prayer.
I think we must be very careful when addressing a subject that we are unable to fully understand. When sharing something on social media, especially something as complicated as unanswered prayer, we run the risk of someone reading it, then becoming discouraged, convinced that they are at fault for an unanswered prayer.
When we pray for something, there are generally 3 "answers" that we can expect:
We generally consider 2/3 of these unanswered prayer, when in fact, they have been answered-just not to our liking. Let us always be aware that our words have meaning and can affect the way others view God.