Can Your Prayers and Affirmations Fail?
The Dalai Lama says that sometimes unanswered prayers or unmet desires are great gifts. Country singer Garth Brooks wrote a song about that statement, and some network or another made a TV movie about it. So the idea that we may not always know what’s best for us has made its way into pop culture. Look at it this way, though: your God, or your Universe, always answers your prayers—it’s just that sometimes the answer is “No.”
Why might that be? If you’re devout and in close communication with your higher power, if your motives are pure and you’re a deserving person, why would your heart’s desires laid before your God be turned down? Think about it in terms of a loving parent.
If a very young child, seeking to make his homework easier, asked his parent for a laptop computer, the parent is likely to say, “No, once you have learned to manage your time and have mastered the elementary skills you need, we’ll talk again. Let’s be prudent in how we use our money.”
Over time, this child learns the value of a dollar. He learns to manage time. He figures out how to build skill upon skill to master complicated processes. Had his impulsive wish been granted at the wrong time, he would learn conspicuous consumption and not much else.
Suppose a young woman who has never taken time to know herself or to contemplate what she truly wants in life sees a gorgeous young man. She prays for him to notice her. She posts affirmations and uses them with great concentration. She meditates and does every spiritual thing she can think of, believing she needs this guy. She doesn’t get him.
Time passes. He becomes known as a womanizer and underachiever. He’s pretty shallow, and our heroine is relieved she didn’t hook up with him. She meets another guy—not a stunner, but a prince among boyfriends. She learns looks can deceive, and a man of substance may be a thing of beauty, even if he isn’t Adonis.
A single parent, I couldn’t afford much financial support when my son was in college. He worked long nights and weekends at a busy restaurant, earning money to pay his expenses for four years, and graduated with honors. He was never bitter. He valued each credit hour knowing he worked hard for the privilege.
If every prayer is answered the moment we conceive it, we miss golden opportunities to grow in spirit and to mature as humans. Earning our blessings makes us value them. Prayer has power. Believers know they don’t have to walk every difficult path alone. But the wisest realize that the power of unanswered prayer or prayer answered in the negative may truly provide the greatest help and strength.