Why Prayers Are Not Answered Reason #6: An anemic effort.
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” (Acts 12:5) “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.” (James 5:17)
Why Prayers Are Not Answered Reason #7: The sovereignty of God.
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Romans 9:15-16)
Trust and obey.
These principles are on my mind because of the death of Kristen Sauder, a woman I wrote about recently. Thousands of Christians prayed for Kristen to be healed of cancer. They not only prayed, they fasted and prayed. The elders anointed her with oil and prayed.
While Kristen lived a few months longer than doctors projected, her condition continued to deteriorate. She died at age 45. Seemingly unanswered prayers left many perplexed as to why God doesn’t always answer in the affirmative. Considering the number of righteous people who prayed with intensity and with pure motives for her recovery, I can only conclude this was not God’s will. That may not make sense to us, but God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).
Job challenged God’s fairness and asked why so many horrible things happened to him when he had lived a righteous life. God finally responded by asking Job where he was at the dawn of creation or if Job could explain the formation of a baby in the womb. God didn’t give any clear answers. He just reminded Job that He was God and Job should trust Him to work things out in the end.
The Lord Jesus provided ample evidence of His love by coming to earth and suffering and dying for our sins. He gave us proof of His power by rising from the dead. So we have good reason to believe that “all things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God doesn’t promise that all our prayers will be answered just as we express them. He does promise that He hears our prayers and in the end all will be made right. In the meantime, ours is not to understand or explain, but to trust and to wait. This is a lesson every church leader should be teaching to members of the flock.