When it comes to prayer, it seems nothing breathes life into our prayer life like answered prayer. It may be the prayer for a miraculous healing, a change of circumstance, a favourable job interview, a parking spot or lost golf ball. From the sublime request to the ridiculous, we are inspired by answered prayer.
Conversely, when prayer is not answered, at least not in the way we thought it ought to be answered, it can be discouraging. At worst it can leave us wondering if there is any point to prayer at all. After all, Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Ruth Graham, the late wife of Billy Graham told an audience once, “God has not always answered my prayers. If He had, I would have married the wrong man several times.” Have you had that experience? In hindsight you are grateful for a prayer request not being answered the way you had initially hoped.
When you come to God in prayer do you realise if He gives us whatever we ask for… we will understands His answer, if we knew what He knew. If Ruth had known the life she would have with Billy, would she still have prayed for the wrong man several times? If you knew the way, an experience in life would shape you for the better, would you have prayed for it not to happen? If you knew the job that awaited you, would you have prayed for the first one available?
Could it be, that if we knew all that God knew, our requests might look different. When God doesn’t answer prayer the way we think He should, could it be He has answered, but with the advantage of knowing what He knows.