Tag Archives: prayer

When Your Prayer is Not Answered Your Way

starbucks-ed01Growing up in today’s world we (And by “we” I mean me… but of course in that sentence that would be “I”. lol) are accustomed to having things our way.

We order specific drinks at Starbucks, right down to the temperature. Or maybe that’s just me 😉

To find the perfect dress (or tool, or vehicle, or toy, or….) we’ll shop at countless stores until we get the exact one we want… or we go home empty-handed and frustrated. Restaurants cater to our need to control everything by allowing us to order anything, anyway we’d like. The commercials entice us in by telling us we can “Have it Your Way”. Honestly, who doesn’t want it their way? Sounds great, right?

So naturally, when we go to God and ask for something and He answers in a way that’s different than what we had hoped (or what we had made up in our minds), emotions surface. OK, so that’s putting it gently. Basically we whine. We pout. We pour out our questions as we try to make sense of what is happening. We act like a spoiled 2 year old fighting to be heard.

Maybe a few of these sound familiar:

  • Um God, did you not hear what I said?
  • Apparently you missed some of my details along the way.
  • I think I was pretty specific, God. Hello?
  • If I had known it was going to turn out like this, I would have asked differently.
  • I thought you wanted what was best for me?
  • Why me?

Sure, we may not actually say those things (or maybe we do) but we may think them or they are reflected in our attitudes.

It is extremely difficult to trust while you’re waiting or trust when the answer comes and it’s not AT ALL what you expected. Not.At.All. Trust that your plan was not God’s all along. Trust that he is absolutely capable and actually the ONLY one that can answer in a way that will benefit you in the LONG run. He’s not interested in the immediate. The shortcut. The easy way. Trust that no matter what happens, God is in control. Trust that he will always do a better job than you when it comes to answering a prayer. Always.

The best way to stand strong when you’re waiting or when your prayers are not answered the way you want, is to look back at what God has done for you. But not just you. Look at others who have had answered prayers. Talk to people and ask them their stories. Hear and see how God helped them along the way even when they didn’t realize it at the time. Read about the disciples and how God answered prayer after prayer.

And… as you’re looking back, share your story. Share it with your kids, your family, and your friends. Telling others what God has done will renew your own faith and help you stand strong in the waiting. Because you’ll need the strength.

Trust me, I know. Oh wait… I mean, trust God.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deut. 4:9)

Six Words

In Luke 23 Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

My pastor read this verse as part of a message on forgiveness last Sunday. The end of that statement is still sinking in. Actually, it’s been sinking in all week. Maybe because for the first time I “get” that Jesus prayed for those that were killing him. But not just any prayer. A prayer of compassion without a hint of revenge. No underlying motive, secretly hoping they would suffer because they made him suffer. Completely selfless.

Forgiveness. That word in itself holds strong emotions for almost everyone. God commands us to forgive. Commands. Us. I’m not sure about you, but that command seems terribly difficult at times.

Then I read the prayer of Jesus as he hung on the cross and I realized that he was fully human and forgave completely. He was completely innocent and knew it. If there has ever been anyone that could claim they were completely innocent, it would be Jesus. He was bullied, beat up, spit upon, made to carry a cross in front of a city that hated him, had thorns stuck in his head, had a sword stuck in his side and had nails pounded in his hands and feet.

Um, hello? Did he complain? Did he say he had a right to do so and so or talk bad about any of his accusers? Was he bitter? Did he try to manipulate others to be on his side?  Did he stand up for himself, defending his actions? No.

He could have and CHOSE not to. He chose. He chose forgiveness. He chose compassion. He chose to be quiet, although I’m sure he had plenty he could have said and honestly, had every right to say. But he didn’t. He chose silence. He chose to be different. He chose not to demand his way based on how he felt. He chose.

They know not what they do…

Amazing how six words can change your heart and mind. That’s what is so great about the Bible. I have heard and read those six words since I was little, and yet, this week they are changing the world as I’ve known it.