When prayer is not answered
...even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
What does it mean when Jesus told His disciples in Mark 11:23-24, that by faith they can have exactly what they are asking for? “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” From the text, was it lack of faith that the Apostle Paul’s prayer for his thorn in the flesh be removed was not answered? He longed for his thorn in the flesh removed and God’s answer was “No.” It is not his lack of faith that his prayer was not answered because God is giving him something better. He knows what’s best for Paul. God promised in Psalm 84:11, “He will withhold NO GOOD THING to those who walk uprightly!” What matters to Paul is his humility before God. He was well aware that self-sufficiency would make him proud. The presence of affliction in his life, though it caused him pain and his prayer was to have God remove it, makes him to trust God more. You may have prayed for something and did not get the preferred answer from God. Do not lose heart but be encouraged and trust that God is sovereign. Unanswered prayer does not always mean the need is not met. Sometimes you get a greater blessing when God does not answer you desired in your prayers! God always answers the need even though it seems He is not providing you the answer you prefer. Praying with faith does not always mean He will give the specific thing you ask from Him because He could give you something better. Paul’s declaration, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” is very true when you know that Christ is with you. He is there to provide you grace to meet every need. Paul knew that even in his affliction, he could glorify God and that is what all mattered to him. “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7). “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). If you’ve been praying for something and haven’t received the answer you’re hoping for, don’t lose hope and never give up for God loves you more than you will ever know. He wants to bless you in extraordinary ways so don’t stop praying!