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in Grief

Many Questions About Unanswered Prayers

Prayer... such a mystery. What is it? Is there a way to do it "right?" What prompts God to answer YES to some prayers, NO to others, and NOT YET to others? 


If God didn't answer my impassioned prayers to heal Matthew's mind here on earth, was it my fault somehow? Was my faith not good enough? Not strong enough? Why does He heal this person, but not that one? How many times should I pray for the same thing? Does God get tired of me beating on Heaven's door over and over and over? What does it mean to pray in Jesus' name? What does it mean to "bind" and "loose" things in prayer? Is is possible to mess up when you pray?


So many questions!! So much that I still don't understand about prayer although I've been a Christian since I was 7 years old. So much that doesn't make sense after praying passionately, with tears, with supplication, with fervent belief, with faith, with hope, with expectancy, with thanksgiving. My prayers for my son's physical and mental healing to happen on earth did not happen the way that I expected. Now I'm left with a choice: can God be trusted or not? Should I pray as passionately and fervently the next time I'm faced with a massive life situation?


The answer to both is a resounding YES. God is God; I am not. I don't pretend to understand His ways or His dealings or His answers to prayer - that's why I'm the creation and He's the Creator. That doesn't mean that I don't seek to understand - it's ok to ask questions - but whether I get the answer I want or not, I still have to decide if I will honor Him as Sovereign Creator or not.


Two quotes give me direction - one from C.S. Lewis and one from God's Word. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:9 (KJV) that we "see through a glass darkly." So true - I can barely make out the shapes and colors and dimensions when I try to stare into eternity and see God's plan - the glass is murky and dim. But one day, verse 12 says, we will see face to face... ALL questions about prayer - and how and why and when and who - will make sense. C.S. Lewis says, "I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away."


So, my friends - my hurting, questioning, aching friends - let's be comforted by the certainty that one day all of our questions about unanswered prayers will be met with seeing God Himself face to face... and until then - keep praying. Keep believing. Keep trusting. Keep crying out with passionate, fervent, tenacious, audacious prayer to the God who listens and responds.

Posted by Kay Warren with
in Grief, Hope


As you might imagine, many hurting people have connected with me via Facebook over the past two months, sharing their stories of loss, grief, mental illness, and suicide – as well as painful divorces, estrangement from family members, financial stress, and physical illnesses. What a broken place earth is!


No wonder the Bible says (Romans 8:22-27) that all creation is “groaning.” And we ourselves – with our broken bodies, broken minds, and broken relationships – “GROAN as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” The passage goes on to say that’s why we hope – not for something we already have but for what is to come. Paul reminds us that the Spirit, too, groans for us – articulating in ways our words are too inadequate to express – the longings of our souls.


So today if you notice that the weather doesn’t cooperate, your car breaks down, gas prices go up, your sink won’t drain, your children don’t get along, your body is sagging in places too embarrassing to mention, the doctor tells you that there is nothing else he/she can do, you read a report about people starving, you see a photo of the wreckage in Oklahoma, the depression threatens to swallow you whole, the ache of grief stuns you... know that this is life on a scarred, damaged, messed up, and tumultuous planet. It groans... we groan… but take heart: the Spirit of God groans for us as He conveys to the Father our pain, our suffering, our hurt, our confusion, and our misery. Rather than be discouraged by all this groaning, let’s just acknowledge it – sometimes life sucks, friends – and then build our HOPE on what is to come, what has been promised to us by the author of HOPE.


And by the way, remember that every person you encounter today is groaning in some way; it may be obvious to you, but more likely, the groaning is happening on the inside. Deeply hidden groaning, but very real. So let’s really be the Body of Christ to each other – you hurt, so I hurt. Can we stop the incessant push to get more done long enough to listen, to see, to receive the groanings of another person? In this way, hope grows. Hope for what is to come. Hope to hang on another day. Hope to trust ourselves to the Spirit who doesn’t shame us for groaning, but values our groanings enough to bring them to God. I’m groaning today – not just because I desperately miss Matthew – but for your groanings too... and for all who carry it tucked away inside of them. I’m groaning… but I’m also waiting patiently in hope for all that has been promised.

Posted by Kay Warren with