A few months ago, God didn’t answer my prayers.
Or rather, He didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted Him to. The truth is that He allowed the exact opposite of what I prayed for to happen, and while it wasn’t a life or death situation, it rattled me. I found myself asking the same question many people have asked before me…
Does prayer really matter?
The answer, of course, is that it does, but for an evening or two, I was mad at God, doubtful, and freshly challenged with the knowledge that “yes,” “no,” and “wait,” are all legitimate answers to prayer.
My answer, for this particular request, was no, and as it involved one of my kids, it hurt even worse. It wasn’t even that God said no…it was that He appeared to answer my fervent prayers for my son by saying, “actually, I’m not going to give you any part of what you asked for. I’m going to allow what you prayed against to happen…”
I talked to God a lot about this over the weekend, mostly just saying, “God, help me get there.” I do that a lot…ask God to get me where I need to go emotionally and spiritually, so that I can keep following Him physically… I often need help allowing what I know to be true about God’s character and ways to trump what I can see and feel, and so I found myself praying Mark 9:24, “Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief.”
I don’t have all the answers.
So many good questions have been asked about prayer—its effectiveness, and usefulness—and people who are way more educated than I am have struggled to answer them. There’s a mystery to prayer that can’t be denied, and I have to admit that I don’t have all the answers. I still struggle with prayer myself, even though I passionately advocate for it. But don’t our struggles always come to this: we either believe God’s Word is true, or we don’t.
We do, or we don’t.
If you’re like me, you do. I made up my mind long ago that I believed God’s Word to be true…the truest truth in our world…and while I don’t understand it all, I believe every word.
I do believe…I just need God to help me in my unbelief.
If you find yourself struggling with the same thing, try praying Mark 9:24 with me. I can’t promise that God will answer every prayer you pray the way you want Him to. But I can promise that God will be faithful to His Word, both in your children’s hearts, and in yours.
“Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief.”