May 13, 2009

Why Aren't My Prayers Answered?

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you." --Jesus Christ, in John 15:7

This is one of those troublesome scriptures naysayers enjoying highlighting as untrue and saints silently scrimp away from without answers or explanations.

How many times have I prayed for something and it didn't happen? I have prayed for people to live and they died. I have prayed for a job, or job interview, and it didn't happen. I have prayed to stay healthy and I got sick anyway. I have prayed for financial prosperity and my car required (suddenly, and right away, it seemed) a major repair.

On the other hand, there have been times when I have prayed for insight, direction, or wisdom, and these things came to me clearly. I have prayed for someone's welfare and well-being and they overcame a huge challenge. I have prayed for safety and was kept safe in a dangerous place.

When I had enough time to reflect on it all, I realized death was timely for someone I just didn't want to live without. I missed one job, but got another (and a better) one. I got sick and found out God still heals in the 21st century. My major car repair was taken care of, and in the process, I experienced the goodness and generosity of a kind-hearted soul for whom I still say a prayer of thanks and blessing.

I realized as I remain in Jesus Christ, He will guide my prayers. I can pray on my own if I want, but I can't expect Him to answer a prayer apart from His will. When I ask for something that's not for me, He won't give it to me. I constantly work on trusting how His purposes are expressed in answers that sound like "no."

When I am asking for what I should have, I will receive it. When I am asking for what I shouldn't have, I won't get it. In the process of accepting this, I am working on moving myself to the place where I say to Jesus "Do you want me to have this?" before I ask for "it."

So, yes, this scripture is as true as John 3:16. Have I remained in Him? Have I made my best effort to look out and listen for His will and purpose in any given situation? Do I understand that my will is not the driver for my prayers? If yes, then I can relax. If He says yes, I'm OK. If He says no, I'm OK because I know He won't give me anything apart from His perfect will for me.

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you."

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