A Prayer for Disappointment
By Glynnis Whitwer
“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered.” John 21:4-5 (NIV)
Scripture doesn’t record the disciples’ thoughts, but I can imagine they were a bit annoyed at this piece of advice. After all, they were professional fishermen, doing everything they knew to do. The fish obviously weren’t there!
The disciples were about to learn an important lesson about success and failure. They obeyed Jesus’ directive, shifted the nets to the other side of the boat, and Scripture records: “When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” (John 21:6b, NIV)
At that moment they recognized the Lord, and the disciples headed to shore, towing the fish behind. The disciples didn’t just have success, they had great success.
Jesus needed the disciples to see the difference between self-directed effort and Jesus-directed effort. And in order to show them, He let them fail on their own first.
Oh, how I need to learn this lesson myself. I wonder if Jesus has watched me try on my own and held back success while I do. Is He just waiting for me to listen for His voice? To watch for His plan?
Yes, we can do many things on our own, but that doesn’t mean we should. Why would we choose to ignore the greatest source of wisdom and power ever known, in exchange for our paltry efforts in comparison?
When we operate in our power, we see what we can do. When we operate under Jesus’ direction and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we see what God can do.
As I look back on my life, the times I’ve seen God work in the greatest ways are when I admit my natural strength isn’t enough. That’s when His supernatural strength is evident. Viewed from this perspective, it reminds me sometimes failure is an opportunity to see God work miracles.
God is always up to something for my good. And that’s a much better way to look at disappointment.
Lord, thank You for working in my life, even in ways that look like failure. Help me keep my eyes on You and not on my situation. Help me trust You more, especially when I face what looks like a disappointment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Editor’s Note: Content taken from the Encouragement for Today devotional, “A Better Way to Look at Disappointment,” written by Glynnis Whitwer. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.
Prayer For Disappointment
Elder J.L. Groce
1. God is the only all-knowing entity.
2. He knows the end from the beginning.
3. Eyes are as a flame of fire—nothing is hidden from Him.
4. Man, at best, can only make educated guesses. (Except what we know is plainly declared in the Bible).
5. May come as a surprise to many that the devil does not know all things.
6. Several things people think they know about the devil—that the Bible says are false:
a) Satan is in charge of hell, that hell is his headquarters and his throne is there—walking about in the fire. Incorrect! Devil is god of this world. His kingdoms are of this world. Perganum: “Where Satan’s seat (throne) is.” The devil and his angels will be cast into hell.
Next b) Devil is not everywhere at once. Only God is omnipresent.
And c) Devil is not all knowing. Only God is omniscient. Devil does not know the outcome of events until they unfold. He plans, devises and has expectations. “expecting after Easter to…..”
7. Psalms 17: Lion is greedy of his prey. Lurking in secret. Psalmist prays, “Disappoint him, O Lord!”
8. Disappoint: to fail to fulfill the expectation, hope or desire of an individual.
9. Psalms 17: Lion is stalking, expecting to kill and devour. “Disappoint him, O Lord,” is the prayer that is prayed.
10. “Upset his plans, God”
11. Disappointment is usually used in a negative sense. But when used in reference of the devil it is always a positive sense!
12. Divinely disappoint him O Lord!
13. When the lion closes in on his prey—ready to devour—expecting to kill—disappoint him O Lord!
14. Peter: James killed—intending after Easter.
15. “BUT prayer was made of the church without ceasing.”
16. Elab: 3 wards back. Firmly locked away from all help (so they thought).
17. Should have seen the look on the devil’s face when the next morning the cell was empty!
18. Need to learn to pray for DIVINE DISAPPOINTMENTS to the plans of the devil.
19. Lost husbands, children, loved ones, co-workers, etc. Divinely disappoint the devil’s plans to take them to hell.
20. Revival: hell plans to stop it!
21. The work of God: hell plans to stymie it!
22. Your walk with God: the devil is expecting to detour you!
23. BUT God can Divinely Disappoint the devil!
24. Calvary: What the devil believed was a great victory.
25. Resurrection: satan’s greatest disappointment!
26. Salvation: satan must face Calvary with ever conversion. Acts 2:38!
Oh Merciful and Bountiful Father, I come before you with a heavy heart, weighed down by so many disappointments. You alone know what the future holds and You are the author and finisher of my faith.
Lord, there are many times in life where I face disappointments which sometimes causes me to lose my joy. Help me, Oh Heavenly Father, to learn how to dance in the rain, even as the storm rages.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Lord, there are many times where opportunities are missed. Help me to remember You will open new doors.
Many times, the people in my life make promises. I depend on them and get my hopes up but they fail me on numerous occasions. Help me to remember You will never leave me nor forsake me when I need You, Lord.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
My comforter and supplier
Many times I lose loved ones and dear friends. Help me to remember that You will be my Comforter in these heart-breaking situations.
Many times I may not have food to eat or finances may be low. But you remind me that you are the God that supplies ALL my needs.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Father, there are some days where I just feel weary, down and out because of these disappointing endeavors. I humbly ask that You reach out to Your people.
Help me to experience the joy of the Lord because I know for sure this too shall pass and I will call on the name of the Lord and be saved. In Jesus’ Holy Name, AMEN!!!
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy comes in the morning.
|How do you handle it when you are disappointed in the results of prayer? Hasn’t everyone had some puzzling or disappointing outcomes even with the most fervent or faith-filled prayer?|
Sometimes we think we have to slide those little disappointments under the rug and not talk about them. We don’t want to give prayer a bad name. We don’t want to suggest that God isn’t faithful or that he failed us or that his Word isn’t one hundred percent true. We don’t want to admit we don’t have answers.
The truth is that God is always faithful and his Word is one hundred percent accurate every single time. Psalm 33:4 reminds us;
“For the word of the Lord is upright; and all His work is done in faithfulness.” We therefore are all the more dumbfounded in those times where our experience does not seem to match that truth.
Perhaps I can offer a small personal case study of a disappointment I had recently with a very simple straightforward prayer. Perhaps my “end results” will provide some fresh food for thought on the disappointments hanging gloomily in the back of your own prayer closet.
I approached the Thanksgiving holiday with much eager anticipation but also a little dread. I was looking forward to my destination (my daughter’s house) but was dreading the nine-hour drive. The dread was mostly rooted in the iffy weather in November and the possibility that I would have—yikes!–wet or slippery roads going or coming. I like to drive only on DRY pavement.
I decided to be very proactive about the possibility of bad weather. Prayer was my chosen option. Not only did I pray in a very intentional and specific way requesting 100% dry roads both going and coming but I also decided to add the prayer of agreement for extra insurance.
At the end of the Sunday service before the trip I approached my pastor and another associate pastor for prayer over my trip. I asked them to be very specific and as they prayed I felt the request sail on into heaven with a green light.
And so it was for the “going” part of the trip. Though rain threatened more than once and fog was present often, the roads were always dry as a bone. I breathed a sigh of relief. My prayers were already 50% answered. The night before I left to return home the sky was so beautiful and clear I thought the second half was pretty much a done deal. That was not to be.
During the night I was awakened to steady rain—where had that come from? Oh well, I thought, this will have passed through by morning. My prayer will be answered just like the first half of the trip. As I left my daughter’s house it was only sprinkling; I fully expected it to stop shortly. It didn’t.
I drove for nine hours in mostly pounding relentless rain with dense fog added to the mix several times through the mountains. I felt grateful for the times when my windshield wipers didn’t have to be on max setting but that wasn’t very often.
So what happened to my prayer? That’s what I was mulling over for several hours on the long ride home. I had plenty of time to think about it and plenty of time to work through a series of emotions. I felt disappointed.
“You know how I hate to drive in rain Lord”. I felt somewhat confused. “Did I do something wrong? How could I have prayed more effectively?”
I felt angry too.
“God, you could have answered this simple little prayer without breaking a sweat. Why didn’t you?” It was that question which drew me into deeper introspection. Eventually I asked a different question. Why did I have such an aversion to driving on wet pavement anyhow? Why was I so focused on that prayer to begin with?
Of course it is quite normal to pray for traveling mercies and to ask for good weather for a long drive. But in all honesty my motivation was actually rooted in anxiety initiated with an expressway accident that shook my confidence some years before. Though I never let it stop me from going anywhere I was much more wary thereafter. I really needed pristine conditions on highways so I wasn’t driving with a knot in my stomach and hesitation in my gas pedal.
Admitting that caused me to take stock. How was this trip going? Did I have anxiety; was there a knot in my stomach? Surprising the answer was NO. The weather was making not one iota of difference on this trip. Rain and all, I felt confident to drive at full speed. The semi-trucks were not bothering me at all; I wasn’t afraid to pass even in the mountains. Traffic was very light which was a bonus blessing. Also, considering the time of year, I might have encountered sleet or snow – potentially more dangerous than rain.
The closer I got to home the more confidence I felt. The effects of that previous accident were over and I couldn’t recall ever having prayed for that. God gave me something better than dry pavement—he healed me of needing it. Remarkable! At the end of the trip I had a new appreciation for God’s wisdom.
If God did exceedingly abundantly beyond what I could think or ask (see Ephesians 3:20) regarding such a small matter, what is the real truth about disappointments in prayer on much weightier matters? Is it worth taking another look beyond the focus of what DIDN’T happen, how a prayer WASN’T answered?
When all is made known plainly what is the end result?
“For the word of the Lord is upright; and all His work is done in faithfulness.” Believe me, you can count on it!
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