How to Make Sure Your Prayers aren’t Answered

I watch Christians head down dead end roads in prayer. I’ve driven there myself.

We’re told early on, “God will answer your prayers.” No disclaimers. So we try it out. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not so much. We think, “Maybe I just need to figure out the right formula.”

So we keep throwing out prayers hoping some stick. And you know some do. Just enough to give us a little encouragement and keep us mostly confused.

Then we’re told, “You just need more faith. You need to pray with boldness. Dream big. God gave you those dreams so ask God for them and expect he’s going to give them to you.”

Yet, through many years of hanging around people on this path and having walked it myself I don’t find it works any better than the random method. Some prayers get answered. Some don’t. And there doesn’t seem to be any formula.

But what I see is a lot of people who get discouraged or angry at God and way to often drop out completely. They feel God let them down.

Finally, after this discouragement they may drift into another group that I call the “Hedgers.” They never take large bets. They hedge everything they pray for.

They end every prayer with, “If it is your will God.”

They think this gives God an escape clause. Really it gives them an out. They don’t pray boldly and they never need to be disappointed.

They pray for everything but never really expect anything. And mostly get just what they’re expecting.

Yet, I read this passage and am arrested with the bold promise.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3: 20 NIV)

That seems to contradict everything we just talked about.

What gives? We’ll talk further next time.

But for now, think about what this passage says. Then leave me a comment or email me about your thoughts.