Fine print doesn’t exist in the New Testament.
There are a few explanations for unanswered prayer – not making peace (Matthew 5:23-24), asking with wrong motives (James 4:3), and marriage turmoil (1 Peter 3:7). But scripture does not spend a lot of ink on parchment describing why our prayers won’t be answered.
Instead, we have Jesus saying:
And whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:13-14
Below are my favorite “no fine print” passages in the Bible:
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, Lord, have me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple. Psalm 27:4
Bless the Lord, my soul, and do not forget any of His benefits, Who pardons all your guilt, Who heals all your diseases. Psalm 103:2-3
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16:13
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32
Now to Him who is able to far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or thing, according to the power that works within us. Ephesians 3:21
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16-18
No fine print! As a follower of Jesus, we should let scripture define our expectations of what God will do, and not our experiences. We all experience the disappointment of unanswered prayer.
I have as many prayers unanswered as answered.
When a prayer isn’t answered, I stand by faith on the promises of scripture. When I speak faith instead of disappointment, something else happens.
Jesus stands next to me. I know His presence and His peace.
When I received a phone call that my mother was killed in a car wreck, I did not experience an anguish of despair. I felt the presence of Jesus in that moment more deeply than ever. My prayers were not answered. I had no idea why God would allow a godly prayer warrior like my mother to die, but I did not yell at God.
The unexpected happened. I had peace, not answers. Paul writes in Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Scripture defined my experience! Jesus stood next to me.