Weather Alert:

Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.

Programming Note:

Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11. 

Close this search box.

Jesus' prayers weren’t always “answered”

February 1, 2022

Daily Scripture

Luke 22:31-34; Matthew 26:36-39; Matthew 26:45-47

Luke 22:31-34

31 “Simon, Simon, look! Satan has asserted the right to sift you all like wheat. 32 However, I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail. When you have returned, strengthen your brothers and sisters.”

33 Peter responded, “Lord, I’m ready to go with you, both to prison and to death!”

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster won’t crow today before you have denied three times that you know me.”

Matthew 26:36-39

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” 37 When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious. 38 Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” 39 Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.”

Matthew 26:45-47

45 Then he came to his disciples and said to them, “Will you sleep and rest all night? Look, the time has come for the Human One [or Son of Man] to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up. Let’s go. Look, here comes my betrayer.”

47 While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came. With him was a large crowd carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests and elders of the people.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus said Peter would fail despite Jesus’ prayers for him. Did Jesus lack faith? Jesus also asked, strongly, to be able to avoid the cross. But he accepted that God might not stop the crucifixion. One web site listed these “common reasons” for unanswered prayer: “You are not seeking to please the Lord, you have unconfessed sin in your life, you pray with improper motives, you lack faith.” Pastor Hamilton called this list “obscene.” * To explain Jesus’ unanswered prayers, the list is also absurd.

  • When someone is ill, Pastor Hamilton boldly asks God to give that person full physical healing. He asks even though he knows that, by definition, miracles are rare. Jesus, too, directly asked God for what he wished for. Does fear of disappointment keep you from asking God for what you most want? Practice: pray a prayer about a concern (big or small) that’s on your heart. But, like Jesus, avoid praying in a way that tries to tell God that he has to do what you ask.
  • Luke recorded that Jesus had also encouraged his disciples to “Pray that you won’t give in to temptation” (Luke 22:40). What temptations did the disciples face (and, in most cases, fail to resist) in the hours ahead? Was it a waste of time for them to pray? At what times has prayer strengthened you for the temptations and other spiritual struggles you face?

Lord Jesus, you know first-hand how disappointing it is to ask for something I deeply want, and not receive it. You know the pain I sometimes feel. I thank you for promising to walk through it with me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim serves as one of the pastors of Connection and Care at Resurrection Leawood. An avid believer that growing in faith pairs well with fellowship and food, she is always ready for recommendations on local restaurants and coffee shops.

I have wanted to be a doctor since I was thirteen. Every decision that followed, every activity, and every prayer was focused on getting into medical school. It was a lot of hard work and discipline, but I was determined. So when I didn’t get into medical school, I was devastated.

Why didn’t God answer my prayer? Had I not prayed enough, studied enough? How could I get rejected when I wanted to become a doctor to serve God?

I was disappointed and heartbroken. We know from Scripture that Jesus was too. He knows what it is like for prayers to go unanswered. Not only does Jesus know what it’s like to be disappointed, but he can handle our feelings of disappointment, grief, and even anger.

Looking back, I am so grateful that God didn’t answer this prayer. While I love people and hold our medical professionals in high regard, I realized how miserable I was trying to force myself to become something I was not. Although it took time, I found something I love to do. For me, God was there answering my prayers in a way I didn’t understand at that time. We can’t always see what is up ahead. But what this journey has taught me so far is that even when prayers are unanswered, God promises to be there. Whatever your prayer is, I hope you hold on to this promise that God is with you every step of the way.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Hamilton, Adam. Why?: Making Sense of God’s Will. Abingdon Press. Chapter 2, Kindle Edition