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When Prayers Aren’t Answered

”The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results” James 5:16b

We pray for our students, faculty and neighbors daily. Last week one of the families in our community lost their father in a car accident. Where was God? Did I not pray hard enough or long enough?

I read Facebook posts all the time praising God for answered prayers of healing, financial gain and other circumstances that have worked out well. What happens when prayers aren’t answered? Was God not just as much there in death and disease as he was in life and healing? What should are response be when things don’t turn out like we prayed? As an American it troubles me when my neighbors across the street here in Rwanda are suffering to survive and my friends in Arizona are praising God for providing a parking spot for them. Is something wrong with our picture of life? Is God blessing Americans and cursing my dying neighbors?

I have more questions than answers most days. I wrestle with how different life is for children who have little, if anything, to do with where they are born. If they are born in 80% of the developing world they will struggle for EVERY opportunity. If they are born in the privilege 20% of the world they have opportunities all around them.

So I continue to pray. Answers (or understanding) or not I am called to pray without ceasing and I will. Life isn’t fair- that really chaps my hide! I want a fair world that gives people the opportunity to become all who God wants them to be. Pray. Pray. Then pray some more. I’m not expecting to have more answers in the second half of my life. But I am expecting to be molded more closely to God’s Kingdom and understanding so that maybe I will be less concerned about fairness and more about being the hands and feet of Jesus.

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