OC: Canada: Ask the Religion Experts: What to think when our prayers aren't answered?

Apr 2011
Ottawa Citizen: Canada: Ask the Religion Experts: What are we to think when our prayers aren't answered?
November 14, 1013

The extracts below are from the above article, for full article, read more here: Ask the Religion Experts: What are we to think when our prayers aren

'Today’s question points to personal prayer, particularly the prayer of petition, not to congregational prayer. The premise of the question is that all religious observe private prayer. This is not a foregone conclusion.

The pernicious effect of rampant secularism has not left religious communities untouched. Some spirituals also prefer meditation to prayer, especially those from certain Hindu, Buddhist or New Age persuasions.

Several reasons could account for unanswered prayer. To be effective, prayer must be fervent and frequent. Tepid prayers are not usually effective prayers. We should pray in such a way that we fully anticipate that our prayer will be answered. To the extent possible, we should also work for the realization of our prayer. We should strive to turn our prayers into action...'

'RADHIKA SEKAR has a PhD in religious studies and taught Hinduism at Carleton University. She is a disciple of the Sri Ramakrishna Mission.

Did you hear about the man who prayed night and day for financial help, until finally a voice from above irritably responded: “I’m trying my Son, but at least buy a lottery ticket!”

Everyone has prayed for something at sometime or other. We pray at times of difficulty; when all other avenues appear to be closed. Or when we want something, be it success, material benefit or just happiness.

Some people ask for specific blessings or favours. “Oh God, please help me to pass exams, find a good job, earn enough to buy a Porsche.” These are petitionary prayers that turn God into a cosmic Santa Claus...'

'Rev. KEVIN FLYNN is an Anglican priest and director of the Anglican studies program at Saint Paul University.

I expect you mean by your question, “What are we to think when we don’t get what we want when we pray.” What are children to think when their parents don’t give them all the toys and candy that they ask for?

At a childish level, they may be frustrated, angry, even hurt. As they mature, however, they come to understand that their parents have always had their best interests at heart, and that a denial of one thing, even a good thing, is done for the sake of something still better...'

'KEVIN SMITH is on the board of directors for the Centre for Inquiry, Canada’s premier venue for humanists, skeptics and freethinkers.

A non-believer could fit the question in a tweet. A succinct “Because there is no God,” would be sufficient. If desired, adding the hashtag #nothingfailslikeprayer would still allow adequate space to tag televangelist and diamond mine mogul Pat Robertson.

Those who have faith require more than 140 characters to explain why God always answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is no. Their reasoning is not linear, but circular, with enough spin to make my head do the same...'

'BALPREET SINGH is legal counsel and acting executive director for the World Sikh Organization of Canada.

For a Sikh, God’s will is perfect and should be accepted as sweet. But as humans, there are times when we want something in our current circumstances to change and prayer is the way we can achieve that.

A personal prayer in the Sikh faith is called an “ardas,” which means request or supplication. Ardas has certain fundamental components that must be present, such as complete faith and submission before God and trust that God is listening and has the power to do what we are asking. The ardas should also be done with a pure heart and with noble intentions. For that reason, the Sikh ardas concludes with the words “and in your will, may good come to all and may all be uplifted.”...'

'Rev. RAY INNEN PARCHELO is a novice Tendai priest and founder of Red Maple Sangha, the first lay Buddhist community in Eastern Ontario.

We have discussed the nature of prayer here before and agreed that the divine is not our personal Santa Claus, waiting to deliver our every want and wish.

Prayers or contemplation in any form are not spiritual order forms for our desires. Quite the opposite, in fact, they connect us with that which is beyond us so that we may learn and uncover our own answer...'

'ABDUL RASHID is a member of the Ottawa Muslim community, the Christian-Muslim Dialogue and the Capital Region Interfaith Council.

A prayer is a supplication to our Creator for help in times of difficulties. Our problems encompass a vast array: physical, emotional and spiritual. Above all, we desperately need His forgiveness for our inability to be always true to our religious tenets.

Consequently, Muslims are exhorted to seek God’s grace and blessing on all occasions. So, Muslims begin and end every action with an invocation of the name of God. The act may relate to work or leisure, matter or spirit, starting a car or deliberations at a meeting...'

'Rev. JOHN COUNSELL is lead pastor at Vanier Community Church. He is also host of Late Night Counsell weeknights on AM580/CFRA Ottawa.

First of all, I think to assume that just because God seems silent or you’re not getting what you prayed, it doesn’t mean your prayers have gone unanswered. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve thanked God for not giving me what I asked for. He knew what was best and didn’t give it to me until the right time.

God knows us better than we know ourselves. That is can be tough to accept if you are not in relationship with Him and you don’t know the benefit of his daily (hourly) guidance and direction...'

'Rabbi REUVEN BULKA, head of Congregation Machzekei Hadas in Ottawa, hosts Sunday Night with Rabbi Bulka on 580 CFRA.

The same as we should think when our prayers are answered.

What exactly does it mean when prayers are not answered? If, for example, you pray that the lottery ticket you bought should be the winning ticket and it turns out not to be the winning ticket, does this mean the prayer was not answered? Maybe it was answered, but the answer was “no.”...'

Read full article here: Ask the Religion Experts: What are we to think when our prayers aren
Oct 2014
A muslim friend of mine used to say that God has two ways of punishing us. The first is not to answer our prayers. The second is to answer them. :)