God commends us to pray constantly about all our concerns, but he grants only those petitions that align with his will.
Since we cannot fully comprehend God’s will from our earthly viewpoint, we often ask him for things that are outside the scope of his intentions.
These unanswered prayers raise doubts about his trustworthiness.
Why would God set us up for disappointment by telling us to pray constantly, when he knows that many of our petitions will go unanswered—from our perspective, anyway—and thereby diminish our trust in him?
God does not encourage us to pray so he can stay informed of our latest wishes. He already knows our desires before we divulge them.
God commends us to pray because prayer is integral to our communion with him. It positions us to experience true contentment.
Prayer turns our attention from ourselves to God. It give us the opportunity to worship him humbly, to align ourselves with him morally, to express gratitude for his blessings, and to express faith in his goodness.
Using prayer for these purposes, not just for lodging complaints and conveying requests, conditions our heart to commune with God and experience true contentment.
God tells us to pray constantly, because he considers the true contentment we derive through communion with him to be more important than the potential distrust that may arise in the aftermath of unanswered prayer.
Unanswered prayers do not signify that God is aloof, powerless, malevolent, or non-existent. They simply mean that his intentions diverge from our preferences, at least in terms of timing.
Once we get settled in heaven, we will understand the rationale behind God’s responses to our prayers. We will concur with his decisions.
Walk By Faith
Until then, we accept the divergence between God’s intentions and our preferences by faith.
We believe God is truly good and benevolent—even though we may not always feel this way—because we choose to base our judgment on what he was revealed about himself, through nature and in the Bible, rather than what we might infer about him from our adverse circumstances.
We walk in harmony with God through the aftermath of unanswered prayer because we presume he is executing a plan that is superior to ours.
We trust that God will help us endure the ongoing distress, and produce goodness from it, until he brings about his intended conclusion.
God Cherishes Faith
God delights in the warm sentiments we express about his excellence during good times, but he cherishes the faith in him we exhibit in the aftermath of unanswered prayer.