From the Pastor’s Study – July 2013

In worship some time ago I asked people to write down
questions they have about faith or God and that I would do my
best to respond to those questions. Here is one of those
questions. If you have additional questions that are raised as a
result of my response, please write in and I will do my best to
respond to those as well. – Pastor Dan
Question: Why does it feel like prayer doesn’t work?
What a great question and a difficult one. First, I want you to
know that I believe God hears and answers all prayer. John
15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask
whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Second, as
God’s child, I am not sure I always want to hear what God (the
parent) has to say to me. In fact, I have a small picture hanging
on the wall in my office that reminds me to be careful how I
interpret God’s answers to my prayers. It reads, “God Answers
All Prayers: Sometimes God says yes; sometimes God says
no; and sometimes God says, you’ve got to be kidding.”
This is a kind of fun way of remembering that God’s ways are
not our ways. It’s a good reminder that we as humans cannot
fully understand the ways of God. And, we should be careful to
ask God for things that are not foolish. For example… if I ask
God to help me win my softball game, how can I expect God to
answer the same prayer from someone on the other team?
God probably wants us to do our best, but I am not sure God
could choose a winner! How can we as humans know what is
best in any given situation? We often ask God for what “WE”
want. But the questions remain. What should I be asking God
for and what is best and how can I know?
Now I don’t want to dodge your question and I don’t know what
kinds of requests you are making of God; but there are two
things I try to remember when I go to God in prayer. The most
important thing is what Jesus teaches us in the Lord’s Prayer;
“Our father in heaven…, your kingdom come, Your will be
done…” I always need to remember that I want GOD’s will to
be done – and that may not be the same as mine. As
Christians we often think that all our requests are reasonable
and should be answered with a yes. We think this because
scripture tells us God is a loving and caring God and that God
wants the best for each of us. So therefore God ‘should’ do
what we ask because from our perspective these requests
often seem to be good ones.
The hard part then, is remembering that what God knows is
best, may or may not seem like the best thing to me at a
particular moment. There are many times then when we don’t
get what we ask for in prayer and then years later are glad that
we didn’t get what we first wanted. Has that ever happened to
you? As a parent, I’ve had the experience of having to say ‘no’
(or remain silent) to a request made by one of my children,
even when I so desperately wanted to make my child happy in
the short-term by simply saying ‘yes’. But I knew there was
something more valuable in store if I could just help my son or
daughter understand the value of waiting, or the danger of
actually getting what they were asking for. In those situations,
my kids needed to trust my wisdom even if they couldn’t
understand my response at the time. I was confident that they
would someday understand why I said ‘no’. In a similar way,
we need to patiently accept whatever answer we get from God,
knowing that we will someday understand why God responded
the way God did.
Now, this may or may not have helped with your particular
situation. So, if you have a particular question that you feel
God has not answered and it is becoming a barrier to your faith
with God, I encourage you to come and discuss it with me! Let
me close simply with this: Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are
not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the
LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are
My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your

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