A while back, Garth Brooks – what the heck happened to that guy? – had a song called, “Unanswered Prayers.”
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers
This was a song about how when he was a young man he prayed that his high school sweetheart would be his wife. And now decades later, as he's sitting with his wife, he thanks God for unanswered prayers.
Terrible theology. Totally wrong. There is no such thing as unanswered prayers. God answers every single one of them. It’s just that we may not like God’s answers to our prayers.
God always answers our prayers in the following four ways:
• No – when our request is wrong, God says “No”. No is an answer. We just may not like hearing no. But if our request is wrong, God will not answer "No." Like, "No, James. You cannot dominate the world."
• Slow – when the timing is wrong, God says “Slow”. My son is 3 years old. Let's say he tires of playing with his toy cars and he says, "Daddy, I want a real car just like yours'." While my immediate answer may be "No," it is not a forever "No." It is only a temporary "No" because I fully expect him to have his own car and drive when he's old enough.
• Grow – when our motives are wrong, God says “Grow”. Even when the request is right, and the timing is right, if our motives are wrong, God will say, "Grow." I may ask God to use me as a leader for the church and the denomination to help grow the church. But if my motives are selfish and pride oriented, God will tell me, "Grow up James. Take some more time to grow deeper into the word."
• Go – when our request is right, and the timing is right, and we are right, God says “Go!” Now that's what I'm talking about! When our request is right, the timing is right, and our motives are right, God says, "GO FOR IT!"
God always answers prayers.
Thank God for that!