Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
For the past two Sundays we have considered the opening of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father who art in heaven.” In that simple salutation we are presented with such a beautiful picture of God, one that truly encourages us in our prayer life.
First, God is our Father, the One who loves us perfectly and always keeps us in His care. In addition, God is our Heavenly Father. Making reference to heaven points to the uniqueness of God as the eternal Creator. Along with His Fatherly love, God is perfect in wisdom and unlimited in power. Combining these, we are assured that in His wisdom God knows what is truly best for us, in His love God desires what is truly best for us, and by His power He is able to provide what is truly best for us.
While all this is true, I imagine that all of us have offered prayers to God that, at least from our perspective, have gone unanswered. To the best of our knowledge, these have not been selfish prayers but honorable prayers. How do we come to terms with that in light of this picture of God?
I believe that pastor and author, Timothy Keller, provides a helpful and insightful answer. He writes: “We can be sure our prayers are answered precisely in the way we would want them to be answered if we knew everything God knows.”
God’s wisdom is vastly superior to ours. God alone knows what is truly best for us and for those we pray for. God alone knows the impact a particular answer to prayer would have on us as well as on others. God knows if a certain answer would actually help us long-term in our growth as His followers, or would merely satisfy a momentary desire. God is always at work for our good (Rom. 8:28), but only God knows what is truly for our good. So, we can trust God always, knowing that He is faithfully answering our prayers in the way that He knows is truly best, in the way that we would have asked if we knew everything God knows.
Grace and peace,