Garth Brooks recorded a song many years ago titled Unanswered Prayers. It is a song about things we pray and ask God to do for us that are not answered. The song goes on to say that “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” Looking back on some of the things I prayed for in life, there is no doubt that God was doing me – and the world – a big favor by not responding to what I felt was the thing He should do in this world. If he had answered just a few of my prayers I would have married Jessica Rabbit, run for Congress, and invented a cure for tofu. I am not sure the world deserved any of those things to happen. Thank goodness I never prayed them!
God sometimes answers our prayers. He sometimes lets them go answered. He occasionally rebukes our conscience for the selfish nature of our prayers that seeks to preserve our wealth, comfort, power, and/or fame. And sometimes God gives an answer to prayers we didn’t pray. That is to say that some of God’s greatest gifts are unprayed answers.
I didn’t pray to be born in America (and raised in the South), but He put me in a Christian home and my life has been shaped for the good of God even before I knew it.
I didn’t pray for the great group of friends I have been blessed to know (too many to name), but He gave me people at just the right times and with just the right knowledge to nurture and nudge me.
I didn’t pray for David Crowder to follow me on Twitter, but he did! And that will justify my (lack of) musical talent for the rest of my days. Thank you God!
I didn’t pray for the partner that God gave me, and in many ways I did my best to mess up what God was doing, but she is the best answer to a prayer I never prayed.
I didn’t pray to be called to ministry, but He called me and I am forever grateful.
I haven’t prayed that God would protect me from danger when I have been in unsafe and/or seedy places in my life, but He sure has.
I would never ask God to make me rich, but some days I feel like the richest man I know – not in net worth, but in personal gain from family and friends, encounters and experiences, happiness and wholeness.
That seems to be the way God rolls. He answers prayers we never pray because we don’t know enough about what we need to ask for it. The disciples, in their movement to build the church, never thought to ask for unity and mercy for others, so they asked for power to witness (Acts 4). God gave them the answer to their prayer and the answer to a prayer they didn’t know to pray. They asked for a sensational gift to preach and tell others what God had done in Christ. He gave them that and he made their ministry to and with each other a sensational witness to the world of what God’s love can and should do in the church. He doubly blessed them with an answer to prayer and an unprayed answer. Ain’t He some kind of God?
I bet God is answering some unprayed things in my life right now. I just don’t know it yet. I bet He is doing the same for you. I bet He is doing that kind of thing all over the world.
What unprayed answers can you see in your life?
Have you thanked God for them yet?
Easter 2 / April 12, 2015—————————————————————————
23After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, 25it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant: ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? 26The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ 27For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
32Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. (Acts 4)