God doesn’t do stupid things.
No matter how many times we say “please”. No matter how much faith we have. No matter how hard we pray.
He does strange things. Hard-to-understand things. Even things that can seem totally messed up and cruel from our limited vantage point.
But he never does stupid things.
I’ve come to believe that the main reason for my unanswered prayers is that I keep praying stupid prayers, asking God to do stupid things.
I can hear some objections already. “There are no stupid prayers!” But there are. I know. I’ve prayed some.
In fact, Jesus introduced the Lord’s Prayer by telling the disciples not to pray stupid prayers like the hypocrites and pagans do. (Matthew 5:6-7)
People regularly ask God for stupid things.
- “Help me win the lottery”
- “Bring my cheating boyfriend back to me”
- “Help me lose weight while I eat whatever I want and never exercise”
- “Bless me now, even though I’ve been ignoring you for years”
- “Make me smart enough to pass the test I didn’t study for”
- “Give me a bigger ministry than the church down the street”
Then we get mad when God says “no” to our stupid prayers. Sincere, but stupid.
(This post only answers one side of the unanswered prayer issue. I address the other, more painful side in my next post, ‘Why Doesn’t God Answer My Non-Stupid Prayers?')
Start With Pre-Approved Prayers
Prayer may be the most overlooked aspect of Christian life and pastoral ministry. Even though we know it’s the most important.
We need to become better pray-ers. But how?
Start with prayers God has already said he’ll answer.
Take a look at the Lord’s Prayer, for example. What if we practiced being better pray-ers by praying…
- That his kingdom would take greater hold in our hearts
- That his will would be done in me, like it is in heaven
- That he would supply our needs for today
- That he would forgive us as much as we’ve forgiven others
- That he would lead us away from the things that tempt us the most
- That he would keep evil away from our heart’s door
- That he would be honored and glorified above all
Those are prayers God will never say “no” to.
Plus, when those prayers are answered, they help us become better pray-ers about other things, too.
Better prayers have nothing to do with smooth words. They’re the ones that change our hearts to become more like Jesus.