Have you ever prayed about something and then watched the situation turn out not at all like you hoped? Maybe you prayed for someone’s healing, and the person didn’t get better. Maybe you prayed for a promotion and then wound up fired. Maybe you prayed for rain and instead got a drought. Why? Why would God choose not to reward your prayers with the answer you wanted?
Well, I’m not God so I can’t say. Instead, let me share what I try (emphasize try) to remember when I don’t get the answer I want. I try to remember that life is not about me.
That means when I pray, I should never have my own happiness as my ultimate goal. In fact, I shouldn’t even let another person’s happiness be the primary target. My chief purpose when I pray should be to align my will with God’s will and to ask — and really desire — that “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
One way I apply that principle is to pray that in any given situation, the Christians involved will bring God glory. For example, if I’m sick, I’ll pray that the fact that I’m sick will somehow bring God glory. Maybe that will be through a miraculous healing and my willingness to testify (and I do pray that will be the route) or maybe that will be through the grace He gives me to cope and my willingness to tell others of his faithfulness. Either way, if I remember to keep my prayers God-centered instead of me-centered, I won’t have to wonder why God doesn’t answer a particular prayer to my liking. I will remember “my liking” really doesn’t matter, not even to me. I’ll understand even I am better off when God works the situation to His glory because the more He reigns on this earth, the better this whole earth and my own life will be.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28