Friday, June 3, 2011

Prayer Doesn't Always Work

Yesterday morning I asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter if they had any topic requests for my blog. One friend said they would like to hear me write about Psalm 34:4.

When I read that I couldn't help but smile. Psalm 34 is special to me.

We all were a bit crazy on that trip at times.
Six years ago (really that long ago????) I went on my first trip to the Appalachian mountains during the spring break (that was in February...) of my freshman year of college. Two of my friends at the time, let's call them Cowgirl and Crazygirl, said that they were using Psalm 34 as their prayer for that trip. I decided to join them. I think I read that Psalm about five times a day that week. For a little while even after the trip my Bible opened up to that Psalm automatically because I had turned to it so often.

So... needless to say, I like this Psalm.

Psalm 34:4 (NLT)
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears.

In regards to this verse, my friend who requested the topic asked:

 "If you are delighting yourself in Him...why are God-fearing desires left unfulfilled? This verse is my stumbling block recently."

So basically.... what happens when you ask God for something, and it's not something bad, and he doesn't give it to you?

We see one person say a prayer about healing the person they love, and it miraculously happens. Then we see another person pray about the same thing - and it just gets worse. We have a desire for our life that would be pleasing to God - and we pray and pray and pray about it - but it never comes.
God, why am I so unhappy?
God, why can't I have this for my life?
God, why do I feel so alone?


I have a lot of friends who aren't Christian, and they ask me questions like this at times. If your God is so loving, then why do bad things happen to his believers? Why does he let this person suffer and this person prosper? Why do people pray while they could be actually DOING something? I always feel at a loss for how to answer these questions. Because no matter how I answer, someone isn't going to like it. The answer is never satisfactory. 

We feel like we need to know the answers to everything. We need to know why things don't go the way we want them to - or the way we think they should go. The Bible says we would pray and He will answer us. Then when He doesn't answer the way we want - we get upset. And understandably.
The way our minds work and how we view things is HOW WE VIEW THINGS. We're not supposed to understand all of the time. Our perspective is OUR perspective - not anyone else's or even God's. So when we don't understand . . . it makes sense. 

There are a lot of times in my life when I've asked God "why" or "when". I tell him how I don't understand, or how I wish life was different. Actually, when that happens, I tend to give him the cold shoulder. (Cause you know... I'm mature like that, and you can just "ignore" God. Ha ha.) 

I wish I had the answers for why God doesn't give us what we desire all of the time. I wish I knew why some prayers he answers "yes" to, and others he says "no." 

What I do know is that he cares. He listens to prayer. We connect with him through prayer, and he gives us the courage to go through whatever happens to us through life. We aren't guaranteed to get everything we want simply because we become Christians, or because we're "good people" (whatever that means). But we are promised that God will be with us no matter what. We are promised his love, courage, and strength. That's what I think Psalm 34:4 is saying. It's not saying that we're going to get our every wish, hope, dream, and desire when we prayer. It's saying that God gives us courage to face whatever is coming.

Rob Bell has a really good video called "Open" that talks about prayer. Check it out if you have the time.


  1. Gods timing is best. And Gods blessings are sufficient. I've learned that asking FOR HIS WILL above all else to be carried out helps calm me when the things I'm desiring are not arriving or seem to be coming at all. Just as Jesus cried out in the garden before He was to sacrifice himself upon the cross so we are to make sure that our will is aligned with the LORDS. Then there is no room for disappointment... I don't know if I'm talking about the exact same thing as you but this is what I got out of it. I love your in depth study of the word. That is an attribute to be praised girly.


  2. God always answers prayer- either yes, no, nor not yet.

    He answers prayers in His time. Not ours.

    He answers prayers in His time and in our best interest.
    (though we may not understand it here on earth).

    "My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts" (That's from Isaiah 55 somewhere)

  3. Stopping by from 20sb. Really good post :)


Share with me your thoughts! They make me smile.