A Reflection on Unanswered Prayers

God is still good even if He does not answer our prayers in the way we would like.  

That can be a difficult truth to believe, and it can be just as hard to figure out what it looks like to live in light of this truth.  Today, I’d like to reflect on two examples of people whose prayers were answered differently than they hoped but who still loved, served, and worshiped God for who He is.  People who believed, “And if not, He is still good.”  

1. Paul

Paul wrote about what he called “a thorn in the flesh” that he prayed God would take away.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

2. David

David prayed and fasted that God would spare his first child with Bathsheba.

David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground…On the seventh day the child died…Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
(2 Samuel 12:16-23)

Questions to Consider

1.    How are these examples alike? How are they unlike one another?

2.    What did each one do once they received the answer to their prayer?

3.    Do you relate to either of these examples? How have your experiences been similar?
       How have they been different?

4.    What do you learn from these examples?

5.    Do you know anyone who has lived out, “If not, He is still good”?
       Please share in the comments section!

See y’all in the Round,


“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

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