In our session on perseverance and dealing with disappointment we explored the topic of unanswered prayer. The challenging reality is that all of us have experienced times when God has not answered prayers in the way we would have liked or hoped for. Some of us have disappointment from the past buried within us. The Prayer Course offered us the chance to examine our hearts and consider how disappointment from the past might be hindering our relationship with God today. For example, there was a story about a man who had struggled with unanswered prayer when his daughter was a baby, so much so that although he prays regularly for others, 20 years later he still struggles to pray for his own life due to the disappointment of the past. Is there a disappointment from the past or present today that is holding us back from offering ourselves to the LORD?
As much as it is encouraging to share our answered prayers with others there is also a need for sensitivity to their own experience of unanswered prayer. For example, what about the person who experiences instant answered prayer for a headache and celebrates this loudly around someone else whose younger brother died from cancer despite persistent prayers. It is imperative that we are able to communicate our feelings of disappointment, hurt and frustration and that these are not buried deeply. We need to invite the Holy Spirit to minister to our wounds and bring healing – it’s there we find God. We need to hear about unanswered prayer and suffering in our churches too, after all this is a reality for many and something that Jesus experienced too.
Can you identify any areas of disappointment in your life? Is this something you have talked to God and close friends about? If you do have any unresolved issues it’s a good idea to ask a friend to pray for you. Seek freedom today.
We also looked at perseverance and those situations and people for whom we need to commit to praying for, for the long haul. As with the story of the widow and the judge in Luke 18, there is a need to keep on asking God, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” As we also read in the story of Abraham in Genesis, God listens to His people and prayer has power to change nations as we intercede with God in line with His will.
Ask God to reveal to you any past disappointments or unanswered prayers that may still be affecting your faith and relationship with God. Be real with God about how you feel and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your heart.