Unanswered Prayer (29-03-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 119:1-2
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.
Bible Reading: Matthew 26:36-39
Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them,
"Sit here while I go over there and pray."
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him,
and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
Stay here and keep watch with me."
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,
"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will."
I’m sure we’ve all struggled with unanswered prayer at different times. Sometimes we simply adjust and get on with it, but at other times it can be really difficult; when people haven’t been healed, when relationships have broken down, when job interviews have been unsuccessful.
I wonder whether you can remember times when your prayers have been unanswered. If you can, you’re in good company, Jesus’ prayer to his Father, ‘If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me,’ went unanswered.
There are many reasons why our prayers might not be answered. It may simply be a question of timing and we just need to wait patiently. It may be that we can’t see God’s bigger picture, it may be that God has got something better for us that we are yet to discover. Sometimes it is because we live in a fallen world where we pray ‘Thy Kingdom come’, knowing that God’s Kingdom will not come in its fullness until Jesus returns. Sometimes it may be that it is just not God's will.
Instead of persuading God to fit into my plans and desires, often the very act of praying brings my will into line with God’s will and purposes.
In his first letter to the Church, St John tells us that if we pray according to God’s will, our prayers will be answered (1 John 5:14-15). Sometimes we don’t know God's will and we need to take time to discover it. Sometimes though we do know his will, as I think Jesus must have done in the garden of Gethsemane, but we would really rather not follow it; the cost seems too great. Prayer can help to bring us to the place where we trust God to bring us safely through, to face our calvary and to experience the resurrection that will follow.
Lord Jesus, give me the grace to discern to your will
and then the faith to obey, even when the way ahead seems difficult.
The servant King