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How Do You Pray for a Request God Doesn’t Want to Answer?

Lottery Prayer image
image courtesy of Facebook statuses

Is It OK to Pray for That Request?

As a member of the body of Christ, it is inevitable that someone will ask you to pray for something you don’t think God wants to answer. It can be requests to get rich on the lottery, for it to rain, or for a team to win. The requests may be for someone to get a promotion, someone to get approval on a loan, or for someone to fall in love. Not that these requests are sinful, but you may feel God has other plans. What do you do?

A couple years ago the son of some friends had life-threatening cancer. Many people came alongside them praying for their son’s healing. My family loved this couple and their son played with our girls. They also asked us to pray for their son’s healing.

When we prayed about it, whether right or wrong, we felt that their son would not be healed. This really demoralized our prayers. If God wasn’t going to heal their son, what were we to pray?

God Would Not Heal David’s Son

David had a similar situation where God told him his son was going to die (2 Samuel 12:13-23). David sinned with Bathsheba, killed Urriah, and showed utter contempt for the Lord (not at all what my friends did). As a consequence, the boy he had with Bathsheba was going to die. Immediately David fasted and prayed for seven days, but ultimately his son did die.

Why did David fast and pray? God told him the boy would die… David hoped that God would change His mind. David thought, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live'” (2 Samuel 12:22). 

We see this again later with David after he takes a census of his fighting men, which God told him not to do. God sends the prophet Gad to David for him to pick his consequence. He choses a plague because God in His mercy may relent (2 Samuel 24). This time God does stop short of His full punishment.

There are things that are going to happen and things that God would be willing to do if we would only ask. Prayer is knowing the heart of God and engaging Him on that level.

Unfortunately, my friends’ son did eventually die young. What we needed to wrestle with is that God’s heart for our friends and their son was always life. He sent Jesus to die for us to give us life (John 10:10). No matter the reason for any situation, we can always pray towards life.

We Can Always Pray for Life

We may not agree with the lottery, but we can pray with confidence that God wants to show people His supernatural provision. While we might not think a certain couple would be good for each other, we can pray that both would experientially know perfect love. Someone could have smoked their entire life, yet the cross is still sufficient to forgive their sins enough for God to want to heal their lung cancer.

How do you pray for a request God doesn’t want to answer? First we need to realize that He may just want to answer that request. Let’s dive into His heart and pray accordingly. We can never go wrong in praying for live in every situation. May our prayers be full of blessings for everyone we lift up.

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