There’s an old country song with the lyric “sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers”. If you haven’t heard it, the writer is being clever with words and the guy in the song is essentially thanking God that He didn’t let him date his old high school crush because he loves the woman he ended up marrying. We can assume from the lyrics that he prayed often for God to get the two of them together and God never let it happen. So the guy writes off this prayer as “unanswered”.
It makes sense, right?
We use the term “answered prayer” all the time when God allows something we have been praying for to happen. So if it doesn’t, shouldn’t we say it’s “unanswered”?
Nope. Not even close.
God is sovereign. This means that nothing is out of the careful control of God. There has never been a time and never will be that God has been left scratching His head wondering what went wrong. With that in mind, God has a plan for each of our lives. Our prayers are never in vain, but we cannot expect for everything we pray for to happen.
I don’t know.
Doesn’t God love us? Doesn’t He want good things for us?
Yes, and yes! And I’m sure that those are actually the very reasons that God chooses to answer our prayers in the ways that He does. He answers every prayer we pray. It’s just that sometimes the answer is no.