The “Problem” of Unanswered Prayer – H.Hanko

When-You-Pray -HHankoOur church (Faith PRC) discussion groups will be meeting tonight to discuss chapters 14 and 15 of Prof. Herman Hanko’s book on prayer, When You Pray (for the previous posts on this book, visit the Sunday posts beginning in January of this year).

Once again, this has made for good reading on the subject of prayer, specifically “a problem connected with petitionary prayer” (chap.14) and “perseverance in prayer” (chap.15), the two subjects of these chapters. We look forward to our treatment of these matters tonight in our group.

Today I lift a quote from chap.14 where Hanko begins to give the “solution to the problem” of apparent unanswered prayer in the life of the Christian.

I believe you will find his thoughts helpful and encouraging as you too face this “problem” (on our end) in your own prayer life.

We must first of all remind ourselves that prayer is always answered. Not one prayer that has ever been made in all the history of the world has gone unanswered by our heavenly Father. We may not speak of unanswered prayer, for it simply never happens.

But this does not mean that we are always given that for which we ask. We have no promise in Scripture that this will happen, and life is full of experiences that show us how true this is. Not to receive that for which we ask is also God’s answer. The answer is No.

Even when God cannot, according to his own eternal purpose, grant us what we seek, he still cares for us. He may not remove the burden, but he gives us strength to bear it. He may not take the problem away, but he gives wisdom that we may know what to do. He may not alleviate the suffering, but his grace is sufficient for every need. He may not heal, but when we die, he takes us to heaven. Above all, he gives us himself to be our companion and friend so that we need never walk alone (120-21).

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  1. […] As I pointed out last Sunday, in chapter 14 (“a problem connected with petitionary prayer”) Hanko treats something every believer has wrestled with – the problem of “unanswered” prayer, or perhaps better, “unfulfilled” prayer, since as Hanko points out, no prayer of the Christian is unanswered; God answers every single one. […]

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