Have you ever wanted something and you prayed on it and it felt like things were going to happen and then, they didn’t? Maybe not for a long time. Maybe not forever?
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about prosperity Gospels and unrequited prayer.
Let’s set the record straight: God is not a genie. He does not grant wishes. He does not give us what we want simply because we believe and are “good people.”
And God doesn’t leave prayers unanswered. “No,” is often God’s answer to a prayer.
This past spring my husband was heavily courted by a school district for a job there. They even paid for us to come visit the area and stay in a hotel and arranged for me to meet with the elementary school principal. He didn’t get the job. It turned out the district people who wanted him bad…never consulted the principal, who wanted a local. Although my heart opened to the place during our visit, the lack of housing period caused a serious concern. (Zero rentals…exactly zero.) For a long time, my husband had really wanted that job, but in the end, God’s answer was no and was correct.
I recently posted on facebook about a job offering I was interested in and applied for. Sort of a dream job, if you will. The odds are against me and I’m praying novenas to Sts Jude and Joseph, but I have to be okay with the fact that God may say “no.” And that’s okay.
Someone posted for me to banish all negativity and to pray the prayer of Jabez. Is there anything wrong with that prayer? No, not in and of itself. What is wrong is praying it with the clear expectation that it guarantees what the pray-er wants. Yes, God granted Jabez’s prayer, but me praying the same thing does not mean I get what I want be it a dream job, a baby, or anything else. God’s wisdom and will are perfect. Mine are not. I would much rather pray the Lord’s prayer as Jesus taught us, “thy will be done,” than hand God a laundry list of my selfish desires that most often do not link up with His plan and follow a rubric that seems designed to guarantee success. Because it doesn’t. If it did, everyone would have the man or woman he or she desired, the house of their dreams and successful careers (to say nothing of bodies, cars and children).
I can still be disappointed and confused when God says no to my prayers even though I asked for the Blessed Mother or any saint’s intercession, but ultimately, I cannot hang my faith on talismans of good luck or I will experience the worst kind of pain. No, instead I have to look at Christ crucified and realize that was God’s will for His only begotten Son who even prayed for this cup to be taken from Him. If that could be used for good, how much more could my disappointment be used for.
God does not say no to punish us. He says it because He loves us and has mercy upon us.