When Faith Doesn't Work: Day 1 of 3

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Unanswered Prayer

-Rick Hocker

If you’re like me, you want a magic formula to guarantee that God will answer your prayers every time. When God doesn't come through, you think that maybe you did something wrong. I didn't have enough faith. My intention wasn't pure enough. My heart wasn't right. I should've prayed more or prayed differently.

No magic formula exists. God isn't manipulated, no matter how hard we try to coerce him to give us what we want. We beg. We plead. We make bargains. God doesn't play those games. God responds to our heart, but His response is according to His will, not ours. If God is going to do His own thing, then why even pray at all? What good is faith? Because God does respond to us mere humans. He sees our heart and responds to our heart. God is compassionate and merciful, and it’s our faith in those attributes that causes us to pray in the first place.

Let’s say you prayed and believed, but God let you down. You feel disappointed, hurt or betrayed. Why? Because you didn't get the outcome you expected from God. And that, my friend, is the problem. Faith is about targets, not outcomes. As long as we focus on outcomes, we set ourselves up for disappointment, because outcomes are never guaranteed.

Faith requires a target, something to believe in. Our ultimate target is God. We place our trust in Him, not in outcomes. We trust in a person, not in what He can do for us. Our faith in God is based on our relationship with Him, a heart-to-heart relationship in which our confidence derives from our belief in His goodness toward us. When your prayer failed to have any effect, ask yourself, "Did I trust God?" That's better than asking, "What did I do wrong?" It's possible you did nothing wrong at all. I believe God cares more about your trust in Him than how effective your prayers are.


About the Author

Rick Hocker is a game programmer, artist, and author. In 2004, he sustained a back injury that left him bedridden in excruciating pain for six months, followed by a long recovery. He faced the challenges of disability, loss of income, and mounting debt. After emerging from this dark time, he discovered that profound growth had occurred. Three years later, he had a dream that inspired him to write his award-winning book Four in the Garden. His intent was to illustrate one's growth toward deep communion with God, and to share the insights he gained from the personal transformation that resulted from his back injury. Rick lives in Martinez, California, with his husband, Mark. Find out more at rickhocker.com and at  amazon.com/dp/0991557700.