I LOVE this blog from Mark Batterson. You can read all of his blogs at www.markbatterson.com. Enjoy!
Blessed is he who is not offended at me.
At this point in the 21-Day prayer challenge, you might be experiencing a little faith fatigue. You aren’t alone. All of us go through prayer slumps! Sometimes it’s the slow erosion of faith. But more often than not, the loss of a prayer life is traced to unanswered prayer. Death by disappointment. What do you do when God doesn’t answer how you want or when you want? Let me tell you what you don’t do: you don’t stop praying! It’s always too soon to quit. It’s always too soon to give up. You need to resolve that you’ll keep circling until the day you die.
John and Heidi are part of the prayer circle that prays for me. In fact, they are some of the most prayerful people I know. God has given them some amazing answers to their prayers for others, but many of their own prayers for their own challenges have seemingly gone unanswered. But there is no quit in them. They just keep on praying like it depends on God because they know it does. They haven’t thrown in the prayer towel despite the disappointments. Their secret? One promise has sustained them through the toughest times and deepest disappointments. They circled Luke 7:23: blessed is he who is not offended at me.
Here’s the context.
Jesus is doing miracles right and left. He is healing diseases, casting out demons, and restoring sight to the blind, but John the Baptist misses the miracle train. It seems like Jesus is rescuing everybody except his most faithful follower who is in prison. And John is his cousin, nonetheless. It seems like Jesus could have, and maybe should have, organized a rescue operation and busted him out before he was beheaded. Instead he sends a message via his disciples. He tells them to tell John about all the miracles he is doing and then he asks them to relay this simple promise: blessed is he who is not offended at me.
Have you ever felt like God was doing miracles for everyone and their brother, but you seem to be the odd man out? It seems like God is keeping His promises to everyone but you? I wonder if that’s how John the Baptist felt. What do you do when you feel like God is answering everyone’s prayers but yours?
In the words of my friends who have experienced their fair share of unanswered prayers: “We try to live our lives unoffended by God. Jesus promises that we will be blessed if we aren’t offended. Obviously we aren’t in prison about to be beheaded, but we have seen many answers to our prayers for other people when we have prayed for their finances, their health and their kids. Yet in our own lives, well…”
When God doesn’t answer how or when you want, you have a choice to make. You can give up or hang on. You can let go or pray through. You can get frustrated with God or choose to live unoffended.
My friends have chosen to live unoffended: “Jesus promises blessing if we are not offended when He does things for others. And if He does it for them, He might do it for us. I don’t know why God does what He does. I do know that 100% of the prayers I don’t pray won’t get answered.” I love that approach to prayer, that approach to life. It’s the circle maker’s mantra: 100% of the prayers you don’t pray won’t get answered.