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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Answered Prayer

Garth Brooks made famous a song written by Pat Alger, “Unanswered Prayers.”  The refrain of the song you may remember is:
Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.
I like the song.  I like the way Garth interprets it.  However, there is a dangerous underlying message embedded in the lyrics.  It is a self centeredness that views God as one who is supposed to grant us all that for which we ask and that if He does not, that is not an answer to prayer.  Last time I checked, “no” is an answer, so is “wait.”  Demanding or expecting that God give us all that we ask for, or viewing “no” as not answering our prayer places our wisdom above God’s and badly misunderstands our relationship with Him.  It is a short step from there to believing that He does not care, or that He does not have our best in heart.

Paul experienced and documented God’s “no” answer.  In Acts 16:6 – 7, and 2 Corinthians 12:7 – 9 are two places where Paul was given a “no” answer.  In the 2 Corinthians passage, the reason was that God’s grace might be perfected in Paul.  “No” is an answer, it is as much a manifestation of the Love of God as a “yes.”

What are some ways we can teach our kids this important truth?  What have you done?  More on this tomorrow.


  1. Amen. God is not a Genie in a bottle to grant us our every wish (demand). Most often God answers prayers through my friends. I have watched his hand work in many directions at the response to a prayer. What I know is that it is my job to petition heaven. It is his grace and mercy that response however and whenever He determines best for me, or those I am praying for.

  2. If we as parents are supposed to emulate the love of God, then when we say "no" to our children, we are supposed to do it while explaining to our child that it is because we love them and because we can see more than they can about why having or doing what they want might not be best for them. As they grow, we can identify these moments (when we as parents say no) as being the same moments that we have with God (i.e. he says no to us out of love). By showing them how God's love was greater than our own wisdom, they can better trust their parents and God. In this way, we are revealing God's love to them through our own actions as a parent.