Children having unanswered prayers

iStock_000001758636SmallRecently I have had a number of people say to me that I need to be careful not to let my children become disappointed with God because they haven’t seen their prayers for sick people answered. I have an issue with comments like that.

Firstly, God is far bigger than my children’s unanswered prayer. If I am going to limit their prayers so that they only pray prayers that I know are most likely to be answered, then that really doesn’t require faith. It also says a lot of negative stuff about God, His ability and also my children’s ability to trust God no matter what.

I want my children to be praying big prayers. I want my children to take huge risks and ask God for things that are of His Kingdom and that He would love to answer. The prayers may not be answered in the way they thought, or how they liked. That surely though is part of the process of learning that they need to go through. I don’t want to reduce their view of God to only being able to answer little requests. To trust and believe in a small God.

When our daughter was younger, she had multiple allergies that were anaphylactic (requiring adrenaline if she was exposed to certain foods – egg, nuts, diary, soy, fish, cottonseed oil. When she was 5 years old, she desperately wanted to be healed. I can remember a number of times when she went forward for prayer at church when there was a healing service. Each time, there was no change. After a number of times of this occurring, she gave up. She no longer believed God could heal her and she no longer wanted anyone to pray for her. Her plea was just that ‘I want to know what chocolate tastes like’. We chased her healing for her. She was healed about 12 months after she had given up hope.

To be honest, during that time when she had lost hope in being healed, I was hurt. I hated seeing her despondent and no longer responding to calls for healing. I kept the hope for her. I chased her healing. I knew that God saw everything, knew everything, understood everything. I also knew that God was bigger, far bigger than her hurt and disappointment. I also knew that it wasn’t my role to protect her from God ‘disappointing’ her by not answering her prayers in the way she wanted.

An incident comes to mind when we were leaving the city morgue after praying for a lady who had died to be risen back to life. She was not risen back to earthly life. That ‘sat’ alright for my kids and I. We never doubted God one bit. In fact, we realised that she was in heaven and had an attitude of why would you want to come back here when you can be there and how great that would be. There were a few people with us though, who were distraught at their prayers for this lady being risen back to earthly life not being answered. As I reflect back on that, I am glad that my kids have seen some prayers go unanswered and people not being healed. Their theology reflects that God is in control and that God knows best and that suffering is part of this world.

My children are on the Healing Rooms Team at church. They regularly pray for people with cancer. They have seen some healed and some not. An elderly neighbour who became a very close friend died a few years ago of cancer. He wasn’t healed here on earth. Yet they have prayed for others with cancer who have been healed. How do I help them reconcile that? I actually don’t try and justify anything. I leave it to God. We certainly chat about it and the various outcomes but I don’t try to help God out by explaining away and minimising the issue. I believe that this has not affected my children negatively. It has not changed the way they take big risks and ask God for miracles.

They know that my mum died from cancer when my daughter was 3 weeks old and that we had prayed desperately for her to be healed. They have been to at least 10 funerals of old people, babies, children, dads with young children etc. We don’t shield our children from death and disappointment. It is a part of life. We read all the Bible, the good, the bad and the ugly. That is life.

The Bible says that we are to come to Jesus with an attitude like little children. Little children believe that God can do and will do anything. In Matthew 17: 20, Jesus says, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

What are you teaching your children and modelling to them? Are you trying to protect ‘God’?

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy!

Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)

1. Children / Families Activation: Ask God to show each of you what picture He would have of themself on His fridge then draw it. Ask everyone to share what God showed or told them.

2. Group Activation: Have everyone get into 2 circles, one circle inside the other circle but equal numbers in each circle. Play some music briefly and have the outer circle walk to the right whilst the inner circle walk to the left. When the music stops, face the person nearest to you from the other circle. Have 30 seconds quiet to ask God how He sees their partner dressed. Then take 1 minute each sharing this with your partner. Play the music again, walk again and when the music stops everyone will be in front of a new partner. Ask God another question for their new partner eg “If their partner was a lolly, what sort of lolly would they be and why?” Then take 1 minute each to share with their partner. Play the music again. Walk again. New partner again. Ask a new question eg “If God was to take their partner anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?” Take 1 minute each to share with their partner.

3. Beginner Activation: Ask God to show you a scene of a park with lots of trees. Ask God to reveal to you where He sees you in that scene. Ask Him to reveal to you why He sees you in that position. Spend some time chatting with God and asking Him further questions about what you have discovered.

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to bring someone to your mind at the moment. Grab hold of the first name or person you think of. Then ask God to show you how you could most encourage that person at the moment. Then do it.

5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to show you a current major societal issue and what role He would have you play in the outcome He would have for this issue. With God’s help, craft a decree and declaration around that issue and your role and the outcome that God showed you. Decree and declare out aloud what you have written.