Some of you who have followed my goings-on this past week on social media know that last Monday a friend’s husband died, and that since then we have steadfastly pursued his resurrection from the dead.  I wrote an article about it last week here, titled Staying The Course To Raise The Dead.  Well, the funeral was yesterday, and unfortunately he wasn’t raised.  I’ll be honest, I’m rather upset about that fact, and I’m really not okay with it either.  With that said, when things don’t go our way, and our prayers aren’t answered, how do we respond?  What can we do?  There are a variety of responses people have, but I think there are a few things we need to keep in mind in any situation when situations go wrong and our prayers go unanswered.

God Is Never Wrong

The first thing we have to remember is that God is perfect.  Getting angry at God never solves anything, because the fact is that He is never wrong.  Get angry at the devil, get angry at the situation, get angry at whatever, but getting angry with God is just silly.  He’s the only one who can fix things anyway, and getting upset with Him only puts up another roadblock between you and the Ultimate Solution.

Unanswered Prayer Isn’t Necessarily a “No”

God and I discussed this failed-resurrection on the drive in to work last evening, and He said this to me:  “There are far more things going on in the spirit realm that influence your prayers than you have any concept of.”   Usually when prayers go unanswered people assume God actually *did* answer—but the answer was “No”.  I am pretty sure that is rarely the case.  Certainly it does occur, as it did with Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, but more often than not, what we assume is a No is actually God sending an answer that got waylaid along the way.  Remember back to Daniel 9 where Daniel prays, and then in Chapter 10 where he fasts for three weeks, and after doing so an angel visits him.  This angel explains that he had been held up by the Prince of Persia, a demonic ruling spirit in the heavens, and this angel had to get help from Michael the Archangel to break through the demonic resistance to get to Daniel.  This entire process of spiritual warfare took 21 days to occur, during which Daniel remained in fasting and prayer.  Consider what might have occurred if Daniel hadn’t fasted and prayed until the angel got breakthrough and showed up.  Presumably, he never would have gotten his answer.  I really like something that Apostle John Mulinde wrote titled “How Satan Stops Our Prayers: Combat In The Heavenly Realms“.  Similar to what happened in Daniel 10, it outlines just a few of the things that occur in the spiritual realms that influence whether our prayers are answered or not.

God Doesn’t Cause Bad Things To “Teach Us”

One of the more irritating things I hear people teach others is that God either directly causes or passively and indirectly “allows” bad things to happen to us so that we can learn.  Right alongside that is that He doesn’t answer our prayers because He wants us to walk through the problems and experience the pain, difficulty, and suffering so that we can grow.  Often cited is Paul’s thorn in the flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, where it is presumed God gave Paul an affliction of some kind in order to help him remain humble—which is basically the same as saying “to teach him a life lesson.”  The Bible is full of references to God’s overarching goodness.  No truly good God would engage in what is essentially abusive behavior to “teach” his kids to grow into maturity.  This means that either God isn’t good, which is untrue, or that God isn’t abusive, and thus doesn’t cause or “allow” calamity to teach us lessons.  I can think of a number of more constructive ways to teach my grandkids not to touch fire than holding their hands to a flame to burn them, thereby teaching them its dangers.  Humans go to jail for that sort of thing.

I find it frustrating and difficult when prayers aren’t answered—I think we all do.  But we have to choose the correct response to the situation.  Sometimes all we can do is say “We’ll just have to get the next one.”  It’s a highly unsatisfying answer, but sometimes that’s the only choice we can make (because I don’t consider giving up to be an option).  Sometimes we have to continue to persevere in prayer, recognizing that if we continue long enough, we should eventually get the breakthrough.  Sometimes we need to spend some time talking to God to learn what we should do differently in the future.  While unanswered prayer doesn’t occur as a purposeful lesson, we can still learn from our experiences, and grow for the future.

At the end of the day, we must be rooted and grounded in the goodness of God, His love for us, and an understanding that even when our prayers aren’t answered how we want, we are sowing into a higher reality that we are pressing toward, and that our prayers never go to waste.  As we continue forward, we will step into higher realms of power and authority, and eventually we will see things come to pass in a timely, and even easy manner.

9 Comments

  1. Anny

    Yeah, I am learning that too, that not getting mad at God. It bugs me to the point where I hardly ever pray for people’s healing or resurrection… Not because of how I would look, or how God would look, but really out of compassion. I don’t want to sell false hope! How do we approach resurrection prayer with families, even if they are “in”?

    I walked someone through bladder cancer and just last week she had surgery, out of fear it would metastasize. It grieves me a bit to think she now has a soma bag, and I feel I was of little help. And yes, a little mad at God.

    There was so much faith…

    The medical system pushes into multiple surgeries to make billings higher in our government controlled healthcare system. It also lets Drs. continue sending their kids to private school or maintain their (less than in the US, but still wealthy) lifestyle. I feel that the believer hanging on to promises and faith is doomed if not stubbornly resolved to trust God. She also got a hysterectomy in the process (without her consent!) although there was no metastasized cells, the cancer was contained in the bladder, without passing its walls). I suggested a justice approach. Ask for medical reports. Consider suing (without animosity, just to keep the system accountable).

    I know it’s a hard question, but “how much do we trust?”… I read Smith Wiggleworth’s miracle healings and resurrections just the past week too and feel so… little, when God is so big. So good.

    God is still good. I truly believe that. What keys do we still need to open these mysteries? I keep hearing “there is no formula”, but I wonder if we don’t miss something.

    Sorry if I am venting. Let’s encourage each other. There ARE accounts of resurrections. God IS able. It is his children’s bread to DO GREATER THINGS than JESUS DID.

    • Samuel

      Don’t be afraid of praying because of failure. I am pretty successful at seeing some healings complete such as torn muscles and tendons, bone scarring leave, and blindness heal but i have yet to see deaf ears opened or lame people walk. I don’t give up and just tell the person i’m praying for that God wants them healed but that i need too grow still but also to not give up. My first major blindness healing took place gradually. My father in law no longer needs glasses. We prayed for him for 30 minutes for 4 days in a row. We left and thought well that didn’t work but we aren’t going to surrender. 3 months later my father in law calls and said since we prayed every day his sight got better until he no longer needed reading glasses. He is 79 years old with cataracts. So never give up.

      • Lori Skipper

        Praise the Lord. I too have been a part of many miracles, healings and deliverance of others. I have been one to pray for the lame to walk and witness it happen. It was truly amazing. It is frustrating to hear or even to say that God allows the negative stuff to happen to us and to allow us to grow or learn something through the trial. This was a really good post, gave me food for thought and for that I am thankful. I guess the frustrating part is not knowing what to say.

  2. Donna

    So sorry for your loss, and of your friend’s loss. May the Lord comfort you both.
    Like you, I wonder why some prayers seem effortless and answers fall into your lap. Yet other prayers do not get answers. Especially when you believe what the Bible says, and contains God’s many promises that are ‘ yes’. I fully agree that God is never at fault. What comes to mind is the disciples asking Jesus, “Why couldn’t we do it?” I see they wanted to do it. They had seen Jesus daily do healings, wonders, all kinds of unheard of things. Jesus gave an insightful answer. Until we learn as the disciples did, then we are subject to same kind of experiences as theirs were, or so it seems to me. And those same disciples went on, and they learned. They did do what Jesus did. Which may be were we need to look at in the Scriptures. All the answers are there. God bless.

  3. Ron Trammell

    Hey Michael. Wanted to make sure you got my email…Ron Trammell

    • Michael King

      Hey Ron—I private-messaged you on FB.

  4. Samuel

    Hi Michael. I was one of the FB people who were praying and I was in the middle of a long fast so participated in your fast. I so wanted to be a part of a successful resurrection. This is my 3rd serious attempt at resurrection my other two were my grandmothers’ funeral. I have learned a lot in every failure. I know God is on our side let’s stay determined and we will have victory. I believe each resurrection will be easier after the first.

    • Michael King

      Thanks for joining in! I agree that as we continue to pursue that things will get easier as we go. I looking for the day when someone opens their eyes, and we can return them to their family alive—and you are right—we will have the victory!

  5. paulwilcox2015

    I especially enjoyed that you discussed your failed prayer aim with God. The word tells us that if anyone lacks knowledge we should ask and it will be given freely. We should expect to get not just knowledge of what is happening up to now but also wisdom as to how to proceed both generally and specifically in the future. It is also said in the word that we have not because we ask not, so we should ask. Sometimes I like to ask, “God, what question should I be asking now?” That question has often led to things way outside my normal field of expectation in assumptions. We need to continue to seek God’s face and to speak with Him as a man speaks to his friend expecting God to answer.
    Thanks for your posting Michael.

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