When God doesn't answer prayers...

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LittleMermaid

Senior Member
Dec 25, 2017
386
180
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#1
As some of you may already know...my grandma has stage 3 pancreatic cancer. She was given 6-12 months to live. :( It's hard on all of us. I know she's already 84 but it's just so sudden and so little time. We are shaken as a family. She is the last grandparent alive.

We had about 300 people praying for her. We prayed day and night and we also fasted. I don't understand. Faith is supposed to move mountains. If faith can move mountains, why can't it get rid of a little 2 cm tumor? My grandma is a strong woman. She raised three daughters on her own and never went to school. It's hard to see her so weak and to go over this. But we can't do anything else.

She is fine. She is on morphine and so she doesn't feel anything...which is good I guess.

I'm not upset with God. But I am left with questions. I know everyone eventually dies. I know that. But what I don't get is why bother praying if it doesn't work? I know that's a terrible thing to say but I feel like I need to be open with y'all. I want to know what you guys think. I still have faith that He knows best, but it's hard to accept too.

So what about you? Have there been prayers that were left unanswered? How did you recover, spiritually, from that?
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
22,498
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#2
Yes, eventually everyone dies and it's probably your grandma's time. I don't believe that the prayers said for your grandma were a waste of time as most of us will receive complete healing in our next life and not this one. God does this for a reason that we may not understand at the time but it is always for our benefit and the ultimate glory of God. At least she is on morphine and does not seem to be in pain. God hears and answers all prayer that is aligned with His will and desire. I'm also sure that it is God's will and desire to heal your grandma. Eventually, God will heal all of us.
 

Tommy379

Senior Member
Jan 12, 2016
6,192
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#3
I often wonder why I bother praying myself. I find myself praying for others.
So many hard things have happened, so many unanswered prayers. I doubt God would intercede on my behalf.
I know this probably doesn't help you, but you aren't alone in these thoughts.
 

Deade

Senior Member
Dec 17, 2017
2,603
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#4
Well LittleMermaid, I have lost a close family member to cancer (brother). We do not know why God does the things that touch us. We know He does and can heal. We also know He knows about our futures and He wants what is best for us. Sometimes healing is not within His will for an individual. It is OK to pray for healing, but ultimately we must accept God's answer: which is sometimes no.

I will give you some words to a song chorus that says it best:

Farther along, we'll know all about it;
farther along, we'll understand why;
cheer up my brother;
live in the sunshine;
We'll know about it all by and by.

 
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Tommy379

Senior Member
Jan 12, 2016
6,192
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#5
I guess no is still an answer.
 

Tinkerbell725

Senior Member
Jul 19, 2014
3,229
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#10
The answer is probably not yet.
There are times when I thought God's answer to my prayers was no but it was actually not yet because He always surprises me with a yes when I don't expect it.
 

Ugly

Senior Member
Apr 19, 2011
20,509
513
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#11
Well I have to say that your frustration is understandable, no one wants to lose someone at any age. But your grandmother is older. She's lived a long life. At what point do you see yourself Not being upset by her death? What if she were 94? Would you be ok with it then? 104? No. You'll never be ok with it. So to suggest that prayer is pointless because someone who is facing what we all will face one day isn't being granted a longer life doesn't mean. I imagine that much of this is just an emotional reaction, the kind of thing we all face at some time or another. I had a similar one just the other day.

As a teen i was friends with a guy a few years older than me. He was a solid Christian who spent years and years praying for his mother to get saved. I think it was over 10 years of praying. But it finally paid off and his mother got saved.
As I teen I myself had made friends with a girl in another state. We were basically pen pals for years, all through high school. At one point i began praying for her. I mean seriously praying. She suddenly began asking me about God, rather than just tolerating my mentioning things. The whole time I kept in prayer she expressed interest, asked questions. Something happened and it disrupted my praying. The next time I heard from her she had done a 180 and said she didn't want to hear anymore. She was closed off to the subject from that point on.

My point being I've seen prayer work. But if you think prayer is nothing more than sitting on Santa's lap you're going to find prayer is not going to be what you hoped. That's not what God intended it to be.
And praying our will is usually ineffective if it doesn't match God's will. Your grandmother has lived a long life. She's at that age where probably many people she once knew have already passed. My father is 84 and most of the people he's known over the years are gone. Some for over 10 years. Your grandmother has had a long life. Longer than most. And it sounds like she's touched a lot of people. Why not be thankful for the time she's had and the time you got with her rather than be angry you aren't getting what you want?
I know it won't be easy. I have had years now to anticipate my father's death. I dread the day it will happen. Every day I wonder and worry. And when it happens maybe I'll feel the same way you do now.
You have a choice. Be thankful for what you've had, enjoy what time you can, or be mad that she is doing what makes the most sense.
 

MissCris

Senior Member
Aug 24, 2011
6,599
255
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#12
I’m so sorry about your grandma...cancer is a sneaky, nasty thing.

I wish I had answers for you. I wish I knew why God, loving as we are taught that he is, so often seems so far away. Sometimes I think that our prayers for others are more for ourselves than the person we pray for- especially in cases of illness. Because sometimes, there is nothing in the world we can do for the person and our feelings of helplessness have to go somewhere; and so we pray. We fall to our knees and pour out our hearts to the Lord, which is what he wants- for us to come to him in all our brokenness and pain and sorrow. Whether he grants healing or not, we’re being faithful and obedient to ask anyway. To keep praying anyway.

I also think, that because we can’t see the big picture of God’s perfect plan, that we tend to ask for the wrong things sometimes. Three weeks ago, I asked God to heal my grandfather. A week ago, He took my grandpa home to heaven. Should I instead have prayed that my grandpa would be spared any suffering? Or that he would have someone there when he passed? I don’t know. I just know that healing was not God’s will, and I have to accept that.

We aren’t meant to understand everything yet. Faith would be a moot point if we did. Obedience would be simple. We’d have little need or desire for Christ. So, in our limited understanding, we do what we can- and pray. Because whether the answer is yes, no, or wait...that’s our biggest connection with God. And He loves us, through our confusion, through our frustration, through our pain and disappointment. He loves us.

Again, I’m sorry for what you and your family are going through with this.
 

Tinkerbell725

Senior Member
Jul 19, 2014
3,229
241
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#13
When my mother died from lung cancer, I thought I was prepared for it. But the reality still overwhelmed me. Nothing really prepares you for that. The emptiness was so overwhelming. I thought life will never be the same again. But life goes on, and God really does help you through it all. Just cherish the time left with your grandma and show her your love to help her prepare for her journey. I guess acceptance will help you a little. What you should pray for is that God will give you strength to face the inevitable.
 

Lighthearted

Senior Member
Oct 17, 2016
1,013
68
48
#14
As some of you may already know...my grandma has stage 3 pancreatic cancer. She was given 6-12 months to live. :( It's hard on all of us. I know she's already 84 but it's just so sudden and so little time. We are shaken as a family. She is the last grandparent alive.

We had about 300 people praying for her. We prayed day and night and we also fasted. I don't understand. Faith is supposed to move mountains. If faith can move mountains, why can't it get rid of a little 2 cm tumor? My grandma is a strong woman. She raised three daughters on her own and never went to school. It's hard to see her so weak and to go over this. But we can't do anything else.

She is fine. She is on morphine and so she doesn't feel anything...which is good I guess.

I'm not upset with God. But I am left with questions. I know everyone eventually dies. I know that. But what I don't get is why bother praying if it doesn't work? I know that's a terrible thing to say but I feel like I need to be open with y'all. I want to know what you guys think. I still have faith that He knows best, but it's hard to accept too.

So what about you? Have there been prayers that were left unanswered? How did you recover, spiritually, from that?
Of course, we all have prayers that we THINK He doesn't answer. In truth, He answers, but often WE choose not to hear or accept His will in our lives and are blinded to His reasons.

I'm sure what you are going through is very personal and very confusing...but perhaps God chooses to call her home to be with Him at this time...perhaps He is giving you a chance at a longer goodbye in answer to your prayer. Not everyone gets to say goodbye...see you again one day.
Suppose God uses this circumstance to share this question with others that are afraid to ask...perhaps He will use this to teach you, grow fruit in you or others in your family. Perhaps He uses this so you lean on Him and He can draw you deeper into Him! Amen sister...your grandma will be fine in His hands! I pray for you and your family to receive an even deeper understanding of His love for each of you and His blessings as he draws you near.
 

Lighthearted

Senior Member
Oct 17, 2016
1,013
68
48
#15
I often wonder why I bother praying myself. I find myself praying for others.
So many hard things have happened, so many unanswered prayers. I doubt God would intercede on my behalf.
I know this probably doesn't help you, but you aren't alone in these thoughts.
It's important to remember He always answers. He also works all to the good of those that love Him! He knows and wants what is best for us...and that includes your situation. He wants you to put your faith and trust in His ways...
 

JonahLynx

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2014
1,016
25
0
#16
I think the purpose of prayer is often misunderstood and leads to discouragement when certain things don't happen. Hopefully I can offer some help even though I am a nobody on the internet:

Prayer is first a submission to God and His will (think, the Lord's Prayer opens with "Your will be done"). Personally I don't read this as meaning we are praying for God to do His will (He is God and doesn't need our permission). Instead it's more of an acknowledgment, or a surrender to Him. "Your will be done regardless of how I feel." This does not mean we can't or shouldn't ask for things!

Paul says in Philip. 4... "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"

It's not necessarily the case that God grants the request, but what He does give us is peace which surpasses all understanding. I know on paper that seems underwhelming.. but I can't emphasize enough how much of a gift it is. And of course sometimes He does grant our requests, in which case don't forget to praise and thank Him continually.

I will pray for your joy, and that Christ's love overshadows the trouble.
 
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17Bees

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2016
289
26
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#17
Mermaid, I think sometimes God answers things in ways you wouldn't expect. I was wee little when my grand dad died. I think I was 5. He died of pneumonia and I remember my mother was quite upset with him in the hospital. I prayed that night before I went to sleep that if God saw fit, he'd let him get well. The next morning my mother woke me up real early and told me to get dressed, that he'd died and we had to go to McMinnville.

I thought I killed him. I know that sounds funny but that's really what I thought. I thought I'd killed him with my prayers.

At his funeral my granddad's body was actually placed in his house. The casket was open right there in his living room and there was a veil draped over the casket door kind of obscuring his face. My mother told me he just looked like he was sleeping, but I didn't think so. He looked dead. Period. Like a bag of hammers dead and it freaked me out a little. My sister and I spent most of the service out in the back yard.

So my mother comes out and says they're closing the casket and wanted us to come kiss our granddad and say goodbye. My sister and I looked at each other and I'm not saying I believe in ESP but I read her mind like a headline and we ran away. Both of us. I was ashamed afterwards but we ran like the wind. I sat out in the woods out of breath near the nearby river knowing I'd killed the guy and then further hurt my mother by running off and I cried in my guilt and in my fear and asked God why.

My dad found me. I was walking back to the house anyway. He told me "hell son, I wouldn't have kissed him either".

Thus, the first block of the foundation of the wonderment of prayer was laid for me, Mermaid, upon which my personal house of faith was built. An eclectic house. Filled with prayer answered but misunderstood, prayer not responded to but acknowledged and returned in a thousand ways, prayer invalidated yet left me in awe.

God's sacrosanct wisdom is often just not in my purview.
 
Feb 7, 2018
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#18
My prayers always get answered, but not always in my timing but in God's time. We are all on God's time and eventually we have to go back to him. It is good that you are not mad a God, that would only hurt you in the end. It does hurt but hurt is apart of being human.
 

JB2018

Senior Member
Jan 17, 2018
195
5
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#19
Hi LittleMermaid,

God always answers prayer. I believe no prayer is ever unanswered. Sometimes God delays healing and deliverance for many different reasons. He may say no, yes, or not yet. At first, I use to be so upset with God for not answering quickly. Then I realized that his timing is not my timing. I had to learn to trust him during the wait. I recovered by allowing God's will to be done. It's not easy to say "God, let your will be done". Sometimes he will do things that we don't understand. However, God always has our best interest at heart. So, I encourage you to stay strong in the lord. He has your back, LittleMermaid. :)
 

Ruthwashere

Junior Member
Jan 26, 2018
16
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#20
I love your heartfelt questions that we've all struggled with. I love that you included that you still have faith. I love that we can be completely honest with GOD! He can handle our emotions, disappointments and inability to understand. I made a vow to GOD in 2014, "Lord I don't understand, BUT I will still trust you!" There is absolutely nothing is this world I can trust but God's Presence to return for HIS church or to bring us home when we depart from here. No one can truly comfort us when we lose loved ones, but GOD can console us with His Promises. His will is predestined and that is a sigh or relief. He planned every single day of our lives according to Psalm 139 and He is with your grandmother, past-present-future. I hope the praying for her has led those who wouldn't normally pray to search for our Savior, to have conversations with Him that they would not have had and to seek intimacy with Him; to know Him and be known by Him. I love prayer because it takes the focus off of me and helps to still me in this busy and dark world. I feel like when I'm praying, I have God's undivided attention. I love that our faith keeps us connected to HIM and keeps us going to Him again and again and we begin to see changes in ourselves as He reveals more of His character. He's changing us in the process and in the end, we shall all eventually be like His Son and we shall all see God Almighty. What a joyous occasion to come! I'll see my grandmother and I'll be so excited to gaze at her again. That's our HOPE! I hope you stay close to the Lord and keep asking and keep praying. The Living Word is our "Life Line" to assist in getting through these difficult times and comfort us in the difficult and unanswered questions. One sweet day, we'll find ourselves saying, "It is well with my soul." My dad has not come to faith and I have not stopped praying for him, but "it is well with my soul." God has His reasons and I will continue to TRUST in Him.