When God’s Answers Don’t Make Sense, How Do I Persist in Prayer?

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There have often been seasons in my life when the answers to my prayers didn’t make sense. To make matters worse, God hasn’t offered an explanation. He’s just invited me to trust. However, trusting God isn’t always easy. 

I remember a time when our entire church was praying for a little boy to be healed of cancer. However, he passed away. We were all devastated.

Another time, I prayed for a friend to conceive. She did, but then she had a miscarriage. 

Yet another time, I felt confident that God was going to move a certain way to bring healing in a church situation. Instead, the whole thing blew up. 

Looking back on my journey with Christ, I could give countless examples of when I didn’t receive the answer to my prayers that I was hoping for. However, I know His presence and I keep on praying. 

When God’s answers don’t make sense, how do we keep going? 

Many people have said to me through the years, “Becky, prayer doesn’t work for me.” I think what they mean is that perhaps God has not answered the way they hoped. 

This past week, I read the story where Elijah promised Ahab it was going to rain. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but at the time Israel was in a major drought. When the skies were still blue, Elijah told Ahab to go home because the rain was coming. Elijah bowed with his face to the ground and asked God to send rain. Scripture tells us he did this seven times. Finally, there was a torrential downpour (1 Kings 18:41-46). James, the brother of Jesus, used Elijah as an example of a man of great faith and prayer (James 5:17).

What does it take to have the faith to pray like that? Did Elijah ever feel disappointed with God’s answers? 

In 1 Kings 19, we see a completely different picture of Elijah. Jezebel (Ahab’s wife) threatened his life and Elijah ran to Beersheba – which coincidently means, “The place of swearing.” He hid in a cave and told the LORD he was so discouraged, that he wanted to die. Elijah felt a bit disappointed in God because Jezebel was threatening him. Thankfully for Elijah, God didn’t answer that prayer favorably. Instead, God fed Elijah and laid him down for a nap, and then reminded him of His presence. 

In your life and mine, there will be highs where we will experience glorious answers to prayer that feel miraculous. However, we will also experience answers that don’t make sense from a human perspective. God doesn’t always heal. He doesn’t always give us the thing our hearts long for and He doesn’t always answer us in a way that makes sense to our human minds. However, when God doesn’t answer the way we hoped, we have an opportunity to seek Him above the answer.

Paul wrote, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). In other words, we walk by faith, not explanations. We may never understand why God makes certain decisions until we get to heaven. But if we understood everything about God, He wouldn’t be God. And He wouldn’t be worthy of our trust. 

Friend, I don’t know what answer has felt disappointing to you lately. I do know this: God loves you and He desires what’s best for you. He weeps with you when you’re disappointed and He celebrates with you when you are victorious. He honors those who persist in prayer. Ultimately, the time you spend in prayer is more valuable than the answer because, as you pray and press in, He gives Himself. In the end, it is Him that our hearts most long for.  

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This Week on The Connected Mom Podcast we’re talking about all the drama for middle school girls with Heather Holleman. If you know a girl in middle school, you will want to listen to this one!

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