In Chapter 6 (“You Can’t Never Always Sometimes Tell”) of The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson discusses valuable lessons about unanswered prayers that he has learned. The learning began when Pastor Batterson almost said no to a miracle.
A married couple, new members of National Community Church, wanted to talk to Mark about church government. Pastor Batterson was reluctant because he had little margin in his schedule. After ninety minutes of questions, Mark finally was able to passionately share his vision for NCC. The couple said they wanted to invest, but gave no dollar amount.
During a phone call appointment a few weeks later, they pledged $3 million dollars because Mark had vision beyond his resources. Several years earlier, however, when Mark had tried to manufacture a miracle, that human effort resulted in personal financial loss. As Mark states, “When God doesn’t answer our prayer right away, we try to answer it for Him.”
Pastor Batterson then shares three valuable lessons about unanswered prayer:
1. Our prayers are often misguided simply because we’re not omniscient. If we were absolutely honest with ourselves, we’d have to admit the main objective of most of our prayers is personal comfort, not God’s glory. Such prayers actually would short-circuit God’s purposes in our lives.
2. No doesn’t always mean no; sometimes it means not yet. Our deadline may not fit God’s timeline. Maybe “no” simply is a divine delay.
3. We shouldn’t seek answers a much as we should seek God. Once we’ve prayed through, we need to let go and let God. God will answer when we’re ready for it.
Today’s question: Which of Mark’s three valuable lessons about unanswered prayers resonate most with you? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Predictably unpredictable”