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When I pray, everything gets worse!

April 11, 2019

Have you ever heard this sentiment (or expressed it yourself)?
A good follow-up question might be, “Why pray at all?”
That’s a good follow-up question, because the answer to that question helps us to deal a little bit better with the issue of “unwanted outcomes” or “undesirable answers to prayer.” Or seemingly unanswered prayer.
Of course, when someone is truly suffering, it’s almost impossible to really reassure them about God’s love and His “better plan” for His children. We can offer empathy. And prayer.
But some reflection on who God is, and why God asks us to pray, may also be in order.
It all starts with expectations. We pray, we expect answers. But the answers we expect are our answers, not necessarily God’s. There could be any number of reasons why God doesn’t provide the specific answers we seek. Or, why God waits to answer our prayers.  In many cases, we couldn’t begin to understand and expect God’s eventual answers to our prayers, and we are surprised by unexpected answers.
But prayer is not just about answers.
Prayer is also about, well, prayer.
Prayer re-calibrates our relationshipto God, and our relationship with God.  We pray because God commands us to pray, and to let our requests be made known to Him... even though He is sovereign and knows our needs and wants!
Prayer is not a mechanism for preventing disappointment. It’s often in the midst of disappointment that we discover or develop strength of character. And hope. And a clearer sense of who God is, and who we are as a follower of Christ.
Disappointment, in fact, is very much a part of life in this fallen world. It’s sometimes said that “life is a disappointment.” God understands this… and so He asks us to continually turn to Him and allow Him to lead us through our disappointments in life.
“When I pray, everything gets worse.”
Hey, let’s pray about that!

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