1st John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
That verse in the bible is one that is referenced a lot. I’ve heard former believers who have apostatized use this verse as to why they stopped believing. Before we dive into that verse let’s talk about prayers and why God may or may not answer them.
Many of us have prayed for something that we thought we desperately needed. We’ve prayed fervently and trusted that The Lord would hear our prayer and bring the prayer to fruition, only to be saddened or surprised when he didn’t. Does that mean he doesn’t hear our prayers or that he does, and just chooses to ignore them?
We first need to remember that God does not always give us what we want. He gives us what we need. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” What are your intentions behind your prayers? What are your motives?
When our prayers aren’t answered in the way we would prefer them to be, it can be easy for our flesh to feel dejected and upset. Sometimes we’ve prayed so fervently for something and when it doesn’t happen we can spiral into depression and anxiety.
I am guilty of allowing that to happen in the past. However, now I have hope. When I pray I always pray for The Lord’s will in the particular situation. That is not something that comes easy or naturally at first. We may be praying for healing for ourselves or a loved one, so why on earth would we need to pray for The Lord's will to be done in that situation? Doesn’t he want the person to be healed? Situations like that happen too many times to name. Think of the whole Bethel Church event with #wakeupOlive. She didn’t wake up and it appears her family will finally be able to grieve. That is the opposite of what her parents wanted and what others prayed for. It wasn’t in His will for Olive to be healed. That can be tough to hear, especially when you don’t have a clear understanding of God. When you know that he is sovereign and your life is in His hands you will find peace even when the answer to your prayers is "no."
I encourage you to change your mindset when praying. Instead of saying, “Lord please spare me from this” replace it with “Lord, help me to see clearly what it is you want me to see from this trial. This hurts, and it’s scary but help me to glorify your name through this.”
So often we believe that as Christians we shouldn’t have to struggle much. Leave the financial crises, health scares, anxiety and depression to the unregenerate. But we will struggle and sometimes our prayers aren’t answered as we would like. I’ve seen some dear brothers and sisters go through trials, and have their families question how could God allow them to endure that? Do you know what their response has been? They responded to their families with, “Why not me? Am I never to go through a trial and cling to my Lord?” Our motive in each prayer should be “God's will be done." When we finally understand that we are not here to live a life without trouble we won’t ask the question “Why didn’t God answer my prayer?” We will know that he has heard our prayers and “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.