Why Pray If Not All Prayers Get Answered?

Why pray if not all prayers get answered?

Because Jesus did.

Ask a kid, "Why do you ask your mommy for a cookie every day if she doesn't always give one to you?"

Answer:  “Because then I would never get a cookie. Even if she doesn't give it to me every day, there are days when she does say yes.”

Jesus prayed prayers that didn't get answered too. We are in good company.

He was not saved from death, even though he desperately cried out to his father to save him.

Even before the crucifixion, as he knew it was coming; he asked that he would be able to escape it by saying, "Take this cup from me".

Jesus knows the sting of unanswered prayer. His longest prayer ever recorded in John 17, is a plea that all believers would be in unity. That "All of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you." Do you see that happening? Nope. Not yet. Does that mean God said no? Seems like having us all in unity would be his will, right? But it aint happening or if it is it sure is happening slowly!

So if God hasn't denied the request, then the prayer is hung up in "wait" mode. It's just not time yet for that request to be granted fully. This gives us hope. Hope that even when a request is hung up somewhere, it doesn't mean it's not going to be answered; it just may mean it's not time for it to be answered.

What about when Jesus spent the whole stinking night in prayer before he chose his 12 disciples. I'm sure the hours he sacrificed sleep were all about asking God to help him choose the right guys. And when he learned that one of them was a traitor, did he look up to God and say, “Um, did you make a mistake here about this one?” “Or did I make a mistake and not hear you correctly?” Or maybe it wasn't a mistake at all. Obviously it was a part of God's plan. Judas brought Jesus to the cross which was God's plan to begin with. See, even when it seems prayer went the wrong way; it may have been the right way after all. Who knows if the prayers you didn't think got answered, really did… with an answer you didn't recognize.

If prayer doesn't matter and God doesn't answer, then why did Jesus pray? And better yet, why did he tell us to do the same?

Jesus prayed as if it made a difference.

The Bible says we do not have certain things because we do not ask God for them. (James 4:2). Evidently God will withhold things from us if we don't ask. That right there makes me want to pray!

I once heard Myles Monroe say something about a dream he had. The gist of the dream was that God has a storehouse in heaven. God took Myles up to that storehouse to view what was on the shelves. There were all kinds of great stuff piled up in there. Stuff Myles had wanted all his life. He asked God why all of that stuff was on the shelves. God said, "Those are the things that are yours, but you never asked for them."

Not sure about you, but I don't want any of my stuff to stay on a shelf piled up somewhere. The things I want and need are there for the taking. They are there for the asking!

If prayer didn't make a difference or if God doesn't hear our prayers, then why did Jesus model a response like God's to the widow who lost her son, to the outcast woman who's bleeding would not stop, and to a Roman officer whose servant had died? In each of these events Jesus showed them that God, the Father, does hear their prayers. And that their prayers matter. Their prayers were answered.

Jesus knew more about the will of God than any other being on the face of the planet, and in the heavenlies for that matter. Yet, he still peppered God with his requests. Taking our cues from Jesus, I would say, “Yes, pray. Even if it doesn't seem to matter...it does!”

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  1. My husband was dngsioaed with esophageal cancer in April. He has undergone chemo and radiation therapy. Through this, he has found a true relationship with our Lord Jesus and not just a mental knowledge. For that I am thankful. God has had him in the palm of his hand and he has tolerated this treatment with little side effects although this has not been easy. His last PET scan showed no hot spots or active cancer but it is still recommended that he have surgery to remove his esophagus. He is scared to death despite his faith and prayers. Our hope is that God would perform a healing miracle so that the surgery and life style change would not be necessary. If he should allow this surgery to be performed, we are standing in faith that all will be well and he will be cured. My husband is 58.Due to this disease, my husband was forced to retire; thankfully, he has been approved for disability. These payments will not begin until December and we have taken measures to reduce our financial load. So far, God has blessed us and provided but by my eyes and finite mind, this money will not last past another month or two. I feel maybe it would be best to sell our house, horses, and goats and downsize to a more affordable dwelling which requires less upkeep, time and would allow us more financial stability. I have a high pressure job but thankfully, understanding cohorts have been supportive and tolerant of my absences when necessary. The pressure I feel at this time is overwhelming and I feel myself succumbing at times into a place of just let me hide in a corner and let the world leave me alone. I have asked Jesus to guide me, strengthen me and show me the best course of action and to bless that action and give me the strength to do what I need to do. Please God, help us.In Jesus name.