Wytana and I met over 26 years ago and came from very different backgrounds. Wytana was from the south; I was from the north. She was more country; I was more city. Wytana was a fan of country music (e.g. Alabama); I was a fan of rock n roll (e.g. The Cars).
One month after we started dating we were passing nearby my alma mater, Lehigh University, and I wanted to show off my school so we took a detour. As we drove around campus we saw signs for a concert that night – Alabama was playing. Being in the early stages of dating I agreed to go to the concert even though I had no idea who Alabama was.
Honestly what came to mind was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Sweet Home Alabama” so I thought it wouldn’t be too bad. Needless to say I was surprised when they started singing “My Home’s in Alabama” instead of “Sweet Home Alabama.” The concert was, let’s say, not great and I figured I would never become a country music fan.
A few years later we were married, living in CT and Wytana bought a Garth Brooks CD. I was skeptical but listened to a few songs and thought this isn’t too bad. I actually enjoyed it so much that we went to 2 of his concerts in the next year. It was during this time I officially became a country music fan.
One of my favorite songs of all time is Unanswered Prayers – his ballad about how thankful he was that God didn’t answer his prayers about marrying his high school sweetheart. I’m sure each of us can think of many prayers we are thankful that God didn’t answer!
So what determines which prayers God answers and which ones he doesn’t?
- The prayers that are answered are the prayers that originate in heaven – our desires that are answered are the desires God that places in our hearts. The apostle John writes this in 1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
- So if God answers prayers that are “according to his will” then how do we know His will? Paul makes this clear in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
God answers the prayers that are in-line with His will. How do we know His will? By being transformed. How are we transformed? By renewing our minds. How do we renew our minds? By reading, memorizing and hiding God’s words in our hearts so we can have His perspective, His peace and ultimately understand His will for our lives.
Jesus summarized this in John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
What prayers are you thankful that God didn’t answer?
In His Service,