Disappointment in Prayer


It seems that disappointment and bad news comes in bunches, doesn’t it?

  • The doctor calls. It’s not the report you were hoping for. It certainly isn’t the report you’ve been praying for.
  • Things don’t look that great at work. Sales are down and you can see the pressure mounting.
  • The school calls and wants to have conference about your child — when is that ever a good thing?

With that in mind, it’s interesting that there is this little phrase in Luke 18:1

“Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up”

I find that line immensely encouraging; it’s encouraging because Jesus obviously understands that we all have reasons to give up.

We all have times that our heart sinks.

“But I prayed!”

Nothing has changed.

I know we all have stories like this—stories of disappointment in prayer. We tried, we put our faith in God, but nothing seemed to change. 

It can be brutal on the heart and on our relationship with God. When prayer doesn’t seem to work, it can really knock the wind out of you.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
     and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)

Which brings me back to not giving up. Jesus urged us not to give up.

When disappointment strikes and my prayers seem to be bouncing off the ceiling, I simply must anchor my heart in these truths or I will go down like a sinking ship.

Have you ever noticed that most of the great biblical prayer stories are about persevering in prayer? 

How many times did it take Elijah to call down the promised rain? 

How long did Daniel pray?

How many years did Moses pray to see the Promised Land?

I understand disappointment in prayer, I really do. I also understand there is nothing my enemy would love more than for me to give up praying. So I return to the Psalms, and let them express my heart: both “How long, O Lord?” and “But I trust in your unfailing love” for you have been good to me. And back to my knees I go.

If you feel your prayers are going unanswered, I would encourage you to do the same.

Don't give up. 

Not now. Not EVER. 




You've got a fight to finish.

No matter how many disappointments we have, we keep going. 

If we don't quit...we WIN. 

God’s got you!