Have you ever made a request to God but your prayers seemed to go unanswered?
Maybe you asked God to do something for you. Or maybe you prayed that He would spare you from enduring a hard situation. Or maybe you asked for a particular job, or house, or relationship. Or maybe you prayed for healing for yourself or a loved one. But regardless of the nature of the request, the response was NOT what you had asked for.
The times when we experience what appears to be unanswered or denied prayer requests can prove to be some of the most difficult seasons in our faith journey.
If you have ever struggled with the question of, “Why isn’t God saying YES to my specific prayer request,” I want to encourage you with something that stood out to me in my Scripture reading the other day.
I was reading in the gospel of Mark about the events leading up to Jesus’s arrest and crucifixion on the cross. It was the night before Jesus would face unimaginable suffering and quite understandably, the humanity of Christ did not want to endure the impending torture of the cross. Jesus led his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Look at the direct request Jesus prayed to his Father:
Mark 14:35-36 “He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Have you ever realized that even JESUS had a direct prayer request denied? Wow!
The same God who sometimes says, “No” or, “Not like that” or, “Not now” to you and me essentially gave the same response to His only begotten Son!
And while I can’t give you a good answer as to why God is currently giving you a “No” response to a prayer request, I can encourage you with the truth that He has heard your request and He has a purpose and an understanding of your situation that FAR exceeds your ability to comprehend the bigger picture. He knows the beginning from the end. He loves you. He has your very best interest in mind. He can be trusted. He is safe. And ultimately His will is what we should long to see accomplished in our lives.
I think it’s noteworthy that Jesus submitted his specific and understandable prayer request to be spared from the suffering of the cross to the will of his Father in Heaven. And I am eternally thankful that Jesus was willing to surrender his personal human desire to avoid suffering to the greater will of the Father in Heaven that resulted in my sins being forgiven and the salvation of my soul!
If you’re struggling with an “unanswered prayer” today, I want to encourage you to submit your requests to the Father’s will and trust that He will accomplish His greater purpose in your life…for His glory…and for your ultimate good.
While we are on the subject of prayer, is there anything specific I can be in prayer about for you today?