Did not know how to answer this tough question about God answering prayers

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My good friend use to be a strong Christian but says he not anymore because his brother died in Iraq fighting for our country and his family was constantly praying and they all prayed before he left. Before he told me this he asked me why I was such a strong Christian. I told him I know I don't even think God is real because I can feel His spirt a lot and he has answered prayers like healing me from cancer the day before I had surgery. He then asked well if God did it for you why not my brother who believed? I did not really know how to respond except for that God did not cause it but bad things happen in a sinful world. But still their prayers were not answered so this is tough I hate it because I wish everyone could know God like I do.

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I don't like to say this but I think he missed the point of prayer.

Praying to a God means you believe in a God, otherwise it's nothing but a ritual one does when they are bored or simply have hope. Praying to a God and knowing a God exists means that one must understand why this God exists.


Let's put it simply, if there is a God, and people are dying and there are lots of bad things happening in the world, then what is this God who created all things and lets this happen?


In other words, why should we pray to God? If we ask for the survival of someone, that person will die eventually either due to natural causes or old age later. If we pray for money, eventually our money will be spent if we use it. If we pray for happiness, there are times when things will go bad so long as we live in this world.


So what's the purpose of prayer if we're only praying for things to happen here and now?

I mean, you'll have to answer the question of why we value things and why we pray for them before you can answer why prayer sometimes doesn't work.

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Hi Armytiger ! It has been a long time... :)


Ouch !.... this is really a very hard question indeed... and very difficult to answer...

I really feel the pain of your friend... I do understand him even if I don't agree with him. :mellow:


I was in the same situation as you one day. A colleague at work who believed a little in God asked me :" My young cousin who was christian was illed til death...her whole family who is christian and even the Pastor of her church prayed for her but she died anyway. Why didn't God  heal her ?"

I became mute. I couldn't answer quickly. I felt embarrassed.

What I know is God always answers prayers. Now, that doesn't mean He always says yes. He can answer : yes / no / wait.

He is free to give the answer He wants.

And really sometimes God does things we don't understand...

But that doesn't mean He doesn't exist.

We have two choices : either we put our total trust in God and live our lives truly believing that God is faithful because we walk by faith not by sigth.


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose Roman 8v28


Either we live as if God wasn't fully in control of our lives as christians and we get mad at Him when we don't understand things.


I chose the first option. During my life with Christ, I realised that I endured some situations I really couldn't understand in the moment....but nevertheless, I put my trust in God and years later I can see and understand why I went through those particular moments. But even if God wanted to explain me while I was enduring those hard things during the season I was enduring them He couldn't. Because my mind wasn't mature enough to understand God at this time. God needed my faith.

And I'm very glad I trusted Him.

For example, God explained me that in order to help some people, it's important to understand them. And sometimes to  better understand people you need to go through the same path as them.

Jesus is our model. And He gave up the comfort of Heaven to be a simple human being like us. The Bible tells us that because of that, He could better save those in temptation.


Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. Hebrew 2 v17-18


So, I don't have the pretention to possess the answer to the question. I don't. But I'm persuaded that God has a specific plan for each of His children even if we don't always understand.

I share the pain of your friend and I know that only God can heal his emotions and gives him peace about this.

I think your testimony concerning how you were healed from cancer is really amazing.

I do believe that God is powerful indeed.

Ok, I hope it helps a little.Bye !

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I think the reason this is such a hard question to answer is because your friend might feel that you are implying that his brother was supposed to pass away or something. It's also difficult because you know that if someone close to you passed, you wouldn't want to be to be told certain things. I don't know how long it's been since this happened but if it was recently, he just needs time. He just lost someone he loved dearly and needs to find his peace. However, if this is his new outlook on life and religion, then we have a problem.


I see it this way. His brothers death is in fact a tragedy and wasn't supposed to happen, but now that it has, his faith is being tested and he isn't doing so well keeping it. If we lived in a perfect world and God gave us everything we wanted/ needed, we would only love Him because we're happy. That's not faith. You have to love Him during the good and bad times. Also, we would have no character. Your character shows when you are faced with a difficult situation. You can choose to do right or wrong, persevere or give up, etc.


I would never use someone I love as an example, which is one of the reasons this question is so difficult (because we are not in his situation and would never want to trade places with him) but I'll use myself. If I passed, I wouldn't want my family to spend the rest of their lives mourning my death and asking God why I had to go. They deserve to be sad, angry, and lonely but they still need to live their own lives. I like to say that if I go, maybe it would encourage my brother to pick up wherever I left of in my life and make whatever dreams I had come true, maybe my mom would quit her job and start a business, maybe my grandma would start an organization to prevent others from dying the way I did. 


Most importantly, just be a good friend to him. Don't judge him for feeling the way he does. Let him see you walk in your faith as opposed to talking about his lack of it. Give him time and be supportive.

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It's really hard to explain, especially when you have a good relationship with God and you want others to feel it too. But that's the thing with free will, it can't be pushed. Anything that has to do with two human beings, especially if one doesn't know the good of God (who isn't influenced by his wonder) can damage another human being.

I lost my cousin to an IED a couple of years ago. At the end of every mass, we say a prayer to protect our soldiers overseas at war. The first mass, when we came back from his funeral, my whole family teared up at that prayer. It was really hard but I know it was not God's fault. It's the fault of another human being.

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When I was younger my grandma went to Heaven, and I love her so much, I just want to see her again. I almost cry when I think about her sometimes. I don't just want to see her, I want to watch her crochet things and plant a garden with her and all kind of things like we used to do.

Your friend loves his brother so much and misses him so much, well that's exactly what we have God for, so we can be with our loved ones again in Heaven.

Jesus Himself died and three days later rose and came back to life and was seen alive again by hundreds and hundreds of eyewitnesses. It's historic, all written down not long after it happened. Jesus is alive and PROVED God is real.

After that, the early Christians went to their deaths SINGING as they were fed to the lions by Romans, because they had so much faith that Jesus had conquered death. And then even the Romans started to believe after seeing that kind of faith, hope and love.

All your friend has to do is believe in Jesus, love him with everything he's got and put his faith in him, and he'll assuredly see his brother again some day, and give him a hug and spend good times together again.

Your friend was praying to see his brother alive again? Well, he will see him alive again!

God is your friend's HOPE of seeing him again. And I'm sure his bother wants more than anything for your friend to believe in Christ again. 

He loves his brother, so the thing to do is cowboy up, put faith in Jesus and we'll all be there together some day in Heaven!

That is what I sincerely believe.

Revelation 21:4  “ â€˜He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.â€


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