Last Sunday I preached through John 15. It's an amazing chapter loaded with final instructions for the disciples. It is a chapter addressing three relationships. In Jesus' teaching in chapter 15 he said,
John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
This verse, and others like it, are hard to understand. We do try to abide, get into his word, and we pray....but often our prayers are unanswered. So then we ask, how do we reconcile this verse and others like it with our life?
My daughter had to deal with this recently while talking to her children about prayer. Her second daughter, Alice, said, "but Mommy, it doesn't work. God didn't answer my prayer." (She's only 5.) My daughter asked why she thought that and she said, "because I asked God to make me a mermaid and he didn't do it."
How often have we prayed like that? Prayers that we think are perfectly good and right for us, and yet we didn't see God answer those prayers. If we could just see it from what God wants to do in our lives it would often look like Alice's prayer- a mermaid prayer. God won't answer our prayer, it wouldn't be in his will or even good for us. I wonder how many of our prayers are like Alice's. We are disappointed and confused because God didn't answer, but what God heard was a mermaid prayer.
When your prayer isn't answered realize there may be a good reason- it's not time yet, God's working on it, it isn't in his will, or maybe you were praying a mermaid prayer. When you aren't sure how to pray, pray anyway. God is good, and he will sort it all out for you. He loves us too much to answer mermaid prayers.