Church & Culture
Why Doesn’t God Answer All My Prayers? Because Some of Them are Stupid
We need to become better pray-ers. But how? Offer prayers God has already said he’ll answer.

Pastors Pray Stupid Prayers, Too

Pastors are not immune to praying stupid prayers. Starting with me. My story in The Grasshopper Myth is evidence of that.

Instead of praying for a bigger, more celebrated ministry we need to pray…

  • That Jesus would build his church – even if it doesn’t put butts in my church seats (Matthew 16:18)
  • That God would bless every church in our community – not just ours (John 17:22)
  • That the body of Christ would be unified (John 13:35)
  • That we would be better examples by living what we preach (Titus 2:7-8)

The Father Knows Best

We’re not alone in our struggles with stupid prayers.

Even late into his mature life and ministry, the Apostle Paul struggled with this problem. He prayed over and over that God would remove something he called a “thorn in the flesh”, but God said “no”. Why? To keep Paul “from becoming conceited.” (2 Corinthians 12:7)

God knows what we need, even when it isn’t what we want.

Paul had to learn what we all have to learn. God knows what we need, even when it isn’t what we want. Paul came to realize that God’s way of keeping him humble mattered more than his comfort.

Paul also advised the Christians in Rome on this matter. When “we do not know what we ought to pray,” he advised them to lean on the Holy Spirit. Because, in those situations, “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)

But perhaps the best defense against stupid prayers may have come, not surprisingly, from the only person who never had a stupid thought or uttered a stupid word, let alone offered a stupid prayer.

When Jesus was pleading for his life in the Garden of Gethsemane, he ended with words we would all do well to remember.

“Not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Those aren’t just words to tack onto a prayer. They should be our lifestyle.

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March 16, 2017 at 2:44 AM

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