This is something I have been curious about as well. A family member of mine who has began to question that Christianity is true, told me they did some research and found that the same percentage of prayers are ‘answered’ from every religion. They also told me they have began to question because he has prayed and prayed and God has not answered or revealed Himself to them in a certain situation. This is something that does confuse me because I don’t understand how the same percentage of prayers could be answered from all religions. Anyone have any insight on this?
@Ngarcia, I have wondered that myself about how devotees of other gods seem pretty successful and happy. As previous posts have mentioned, other gods can also answer some prayers. It is tempting to get discouraged when we feel that God of the Bible is not answering our prayers. Many a times we expect God to answer in a certain way, but He me not choose to answer as we expect. Our hope in God extends beyond our physical needs. In 1 Cor 5:19, we read, if only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. In Christ we have a greater hope than what answered prayers can give us. Some of the other gods perhaps may be able to answer our prayers but do these gods give the confident hope we have as in Christ’s resurrection? Shall Christians like Esau (Genesis 25) give up their inheritance for a bowl of soup?
God cares so much about us and sees the end from the beginning and knows what is best for our spiritual growth and what may not appear good will turn out to be good as we live in repentance and trust in Him. Matt 7: 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! It is to our blessing that we do not waver in faith, when God seems to delay or seems silent.
If the Bible is true then our prayers as Christians actually have more hindrances than prayers to other gods. In this world, we are surrounded by forces of darkness who will do everything in their strength to blind us from the truth. Our shield is faith in God as in Eph 6. A display of power in the form of answered prayers should not become the measure of goodness of God. It is even dangerous! We always train our children not to trust strangers who may give them good gifts. We must be careful to do the same in our faith journey. If truth by definition is one, we need to make sure whom we are trusting.
While God understands our heart, He also wants us to come to a place of fulfillment in Him alone that nothing in this world can satisfy. When our prayers are not answered, it could also be a time for self-examination.
Are we harboring sin or are we repentant?
Ps 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Are we abiding in His will?
John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you
Are we persevering in prayer?
Luke 11:5-8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
Are we living in doubt?
James 1:6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Are we living in unforgiveness?
Matt 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins
Are we seeking God more than our answers?
Matt 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
I know in my own life, many a times God has answered prayers in the most unexpected ways and almost always when I feel I am hanging on with the last thread of hope. There are some prayers that haven’t been answered yet even after decades of prayer and when discouragement sets in, I have to ask God to help me believe that He is with us and neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:38).
I hope some of this will help you in reaching out to your family members who are beginning to doubt Christianity. May the Lord reveal His truth in a greater measure to them.