Unanswered Prayers

Am I the only one who thinks it is self-serving when sports teams or athletes pray for victory before their game or event?  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just wondering what happens to their faith if they have prayed and then God doesn’t answer their prayer for victory?  Does God have a favourite sports team that He blesses with victories over another?  Does God decide the outcome of a game based on the fervent prayers of players?  Does one team praise God when they win, or curse God when they lose?  Just asking…?

It’s been one week since the election of a new president-elect in the U.S.  As a Canadian watching the events this past week, I can’t help but compare the goings-on south of the border to a sporting event with winners and losers.  There is no doubt there was MUCH prayer leading up to the outcome of that election.  Franklin Graham made an interesting comment on Facebook:

“Did God show up? In watching the news after the election, the secular media keep asking “How did this happen?” “What went wrong?” “How did we miss this?” Some are in shock. Political pundits are stunned. Many thought the Trump/Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. None of them understand the God-factor.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians from across the United States have been praying. This year they came out to every state capitol to pray for this election and for the future of America. Prayer groups were started. Families prayed. Churches prayed. Then Christians went to the polls, and God showed up.

While the media scratches their heads and tries to understand how this happened, I believe that God’s hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic progressive agenda from taking control of our country.

President-elect Donald J. Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are going to need a lot of help and they will continue to need a lot of prayer. I pray that President-elect Trump will surround himself with godly men and women to help advise and counsel him as he leads the nation. My prayer is that God will bless America again!”

I firmly believe that God listened to the prayers of the faithful but – just playing devil’s advocate here – didn’t the other “side” pray just as fervently for victory?  Why didn’t God answer their prayers?  There were Christians in both camps.  Many wonderful, Godly people could not support Trump because of his character flaws and divisive statements.    Don’t for a second think that these people did not agonize and prayerfully beseech God for direction.  Voting for the other candidate did not rank these people amongst what Graham calls the “godless” having “atheistic progressive agendas”.  It was a no-win situation for them.  Did they just hear God wrong?  I wonder if their faith is shaken?  I hope not!

I remember a year ago when we had our Provincial Election here in Alberta and the NDP (New Democratic Party) won an overwhelming majority in our province.  The NDP could be likened to the Democratic Party in the States, perhaps even MORE liberal-minded!  That same year, Canada elected a Liberal Prime Minister to govern our country.  My husband and I had prayed fervently for a different outcome in both elections.  Yet, God did not answer our prayers the way we wanted Him to.  Was our faith shaken?  Not at all!

I REALLY like what my friend, Dr. Richard Blackaby wrote the day after the U.S. election last week.  It applies to all Christians on BOTH “sides” and BOTH sides of the border too:

“The question now is: what do we as Christians do the day after? Can I offer a few suggestions?

First, accept the result as the hand of God. Scripture indicates: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). God is sovereign over nations and we can trust His wisdom and love in what He ultimately allows. Americans have become notorious for refusing to accept results that seem unacceptable. If people’s favored candidate doesn’t win, they resist the decision, or set themselves up as fierce opponents, or threaten to leave the country! As a Christian, you may not have liked the result, but you need to accept it.

Second, don’t be afraid! Christians ought not to be gullible to conspiracy theories and doomsday predictors. The foremost reason is that our God is “High above all nations” (Ps. 113:4). The key is not who occupies the Oval Office but who sits on the throne of the heavens. That has not changed. Likewise, if you study the history of American elections since George Washington was first elected in 1789, there have been many times when dire warnings of apocalyptic catastrophe hovered over the newly elected president. Rarely, if ever, have the dire predictions been fulfilled. Eventually the new leaders embraced the challenge and the worst fears proved groundless. Don’t become someone driven more by fear-mongers than by the Holy Spirit!

Third, be gracious. Scripture exhorts: “Let your speech always be with grace” (Col. 4:6). In defeat, be gracious to the victors. In victory, be kind and gentle to those who lost. America is deeply divided. The last thing it needs is for Christians to add to that polarization by firing Social Media missiles to taunt and antagonize those who disagreed with you. There is no need to belittle those who voted differently than you did. Many sincere Christians agonized over which candidate to vote for. We can respect their effort without agreeing with their choice.

Fourth, pray for the new president. Scripture does not command us to pray for those we vote for. It commands us to pray for whoever is in government (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Regardless of who was elected president, they were going face enormous challenges. Every American has a vested interest in the next president doing an outstanding job. So we must pray fervently.”  (http://www.blackaby.net/blog/2016/11/09/the-day-after/)

Can I get an “Amen”?

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3 Responses to Unanswered Prayers

  1. Anne Payne says:

    Excellent post, Lynn. With all due respect to Franklin Graham and others who use the phrase “God showed up”, God is ALWAYS present. He doesn’t have to show up; we do. 🙂

  2. Linda says:

    I too have felt the same about “which side is God on”. Obviously, there are Christians on both sides but, I have to ask, which side was more fervent in their prayers and which of the party platforms line up more with Christian values. There were no protesting (to this degree), burning, vandalizing in the last two elections or really in any of the past elections. Many young people, so upset over this election, need to see what people have done in the past. “Don’t protest, organize” if you don’t agree with the results. Also, there is a vast area in U.S. that have another point of view than the two coasts.

  3. Connie says:

    Amen Lynn! We can only pray for the new President (not my choice). God is orchestrating his plan from above and we can only live our lives as good Christians. We don’t have control over everything and the best thing we can do is pray, be thankful for what we have and be positive. In four years we have another choice again and maybe will get it right then.

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