Answers to prayer

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:

"Scripture: “Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us, to Him be glory” (Eph: 3, 20- 21)


"One often hears that it can be difficult to pray. And with all of us, unfortunately, our faith weakens when we are in difficult circumstances or do not receive an answer to our prayers for a long time. We become despondent and sometimes stop praying altogether. But if we saw our Lord as a loving Father, if we firmly believed His word, we would never cease praying. The Lord often delays His answer for reasons which are unknown to us, but this does not mean that He did not hear us.

"When the Savior was being summoned to the dying Lazarus, whom He loved and called His friend, He waited for another two days before going to Bethany. Such an attitude could have surprised us, but we now know why He waited. He came after Lazarus had died, when his sisters and all his relatives could no longer expect anything from Jesus. And what happened? When everything seemed to be over, the Lord returned him to life, turned tears into joy, and showed everyone the glory and power of God.

"And the Lord often does the same with us. We pray fervently, we often turn to Him with tears, but everything that grieves us remains the same. But the Lord knows why He does not immediately answer our prayers. Let us not despair, let us believe that He hears us, and perhaps when it seems to us that all is lost, we obtain release from our concerns!

“Let us remember that He Who is All-Merciful and All-Powerful can do ‘immeasurably more than we can imagine;’ let us not aggrieve Him with our lack of faith, but let us hope that a sincere prayer will always be heard and fulfilled for the benefit of all, but perhaps not in the way that we expected.”

A Lewis connection that comes to mind is from Appendix B of “Miracles”:

“The Christian is not to ask whether this or that event happened because of a prayer. He is rather to believe that all events without exception are answers to prayer in the sense that whether they are grantings or refusals the prayers of all concerned and their needs have all been taken into account. All prayers are heard, though not all prayers are granted. We must not picture destiny as a film unrolling for the most part on its own, but in which our prayers are sometimes allowed to insert additional items. On the contrary; what the film displays to us as it unrolls already contains the results of our prayers and of all our other acts. There is no question whether an event has happened because of our prayer. When the event you prayed for occurs your prayer has always contributed to it. When the opposite event occurs your prayer has never been ignored; it has been considered and refused, for your ultimate good and the good of the whole universe. (For example, because it is better for you and for everyone else in the long run that other people, including wicked ones, should exercise free will than that you should be protected from cruelty or treachery by turning the human race into automata). But this is, and must remain, a matter of faith.”


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)

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Indeed. God is good and does good, and works all things to good for those who love him. I remember a similar discussion in one of the essays in God in the Dock, discussing whether a particular event was an answer to prayer or simply the outworking of the laws of nature–the answer, of course, was “both.”

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