Did Jesus Really Have ‘Unanswered’ Prayers?

Question. “Did Any Prayer of Jesus Go Unanswered?”

Answer. Hebrews 5:7 teaches that when Jesus prayed, “He was heard.” Jesus said of His own prayer life, “And I know that You hear me always” (John 11:42).

On December 21, 2016, William Edgar posted an articled, “The Most Dramatic Case of Unanswered Prayer”, in reference to Jesus Christ, our Lord. His article reflected the thinking of Philip Yancy, an editor at large of Christianity Today. On February 9, 1998, Mr. Yancey wrote about “Jesus’ Unanswered Prayers.”

Question. “Is it possible that Jesus prayed a prayer outside the will of the Father?”

Question. “Did the Father ever deny Jesus a positive response to the petitions in His prayer?”

There are some who do believe that Jesus prayed, and His prayer went unanswered.

Argument. Attention is drawn to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed, “And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:35-36).

Response. Jesus prayed for the Father’s will to be done. That was His ultimate petition, and He was heard. The Father’s will was done and the prayer of Jesus was answered.

Argument. Attention is drawn to the Lord’s prayer that the Kingdom of God would come, and His will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. It is argued that this is an unanswered prayer.

Response. Jesus said, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). When Jesus entered into the world, Jesus prayed. “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Matt. 10:7). The petitions of Jesus were heard. His prayers were answered. 

Argument. Jesus asked for His people to “be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:19). It is argued that this is an unanswered prayer.

Response. Rather than diminish the petitions of Jesus, or imply that He asked for something so far outside the will of the Father that His petitions were denied, confirmation should be looked for that the Lord was always heard, and honored. Following the resurrection of Jesus, we read the followers of Jesus “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14). On the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were “all with one accord” (Acts 2:1). Many souls were converted, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46). The petition of Jesus was heard. His prayer was answered.

There is no reason to believe, or teach, that Jesus ever prayed, and His prayer went unanswered. He who taught all others to pray, knew how to pray Himself.

Leave a Reply