The difficult question of unanswered prayer

I didn’t ever pray until I was in my early twenties and first believed that God was real. When I came to church I met a group of Christians who seemed to pray all the time, when people were unwell, when they didn’t know what to do, when they heard about wars or disasters. The thing that really amazed me was that quite often their prayers appeared to be answered. Regularly at church I would see sick people being prayed for and then they would tell stories afterwards of their experiences of being healed.

I also remember a regular member of the church who used to come every week to the evening service. He was not an old man but he was almost completely unable to move, yet he seemed to enjoy the times of worship and preaching and regularly people in the church would pray for him for respite and/or healing. I loved being part of a church where people were healed by God and where we prayed for anyone who was sick and I wondered what would happen to this man. As time went on I noticed that he seemed to become more and more unwell and then I moved away from the church and didn’t hear anything about him for a couple of years. One day, I learned that this man had sadly died and his vicar was now organising the funeral. Thinking about this situation I knew that this man’s suffering and death could not have been because he didn’t have enough faith (which I hear people sometimes use as an explanation as to why God hasn’t healed someone) and it could not have been because people hadn’t been praying for him (because many people had been praying for him).

Since then I have seen hundreds of prayers answered and many times when prayers have seemed to make no difference. All of those who pray will have faced similar situations. On the unanswered prayer course we will have a chance to wrestle with just these difficult situations and hopefully understand what is happening better – please read on in the newsletter for full details and information about how to book to join the course.

Oli Douglas-Pennant