Are your prayers like a long laundry list of things you want God to take care of for you?
For instance, "God, please do this … heal so-and-so, take this problem away from me, let my team win, let me win the lottery."
And how often does God answer your prayers exactly the way you want?
Some prayers are answered beautifully. But some people think that no matter how something is prayed, God is not listening, or at least not understanding what is being petitioned.
When this happens, those people get peeved.
A growing segment of the population cannot accept "no" as an answer to anything, even if it's a petition put before God. If a person hears "no," reactions can range from mere grumbling on one end of the spectrum, to an avowed statement that God must not exist at the other end of the spectrum.
Just because we believe something should happen a certain way, or that we should be granted a particular favor, doesn’t mean it is the most appropriate and beneficial way God should answer.
Even Jesus did not have all his prayers answered as desired. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked God to spare him the agonizing death on the cross he knew was coming. He wanted to be spared so desperately that the Bible says that sweat, like large drops of blood, fell to the ground.
God knew that the cross was a necessary step for people’s sins to be wiped clean. So did Jesus. But that did not make the cross any easier to face. God said "no" to this prayer.
Just because we desire something and pray for it does not mean it is the best for us. God knows what is best. We must trust God’s judgment and wisdom.
Just as Jesus said, "not my will but yours be done," so must we — even if we don’t like it. In love, God knows what is best, and that is how God will respond to our prayers.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.