God has answered our prayers. Whenever I hear this said, it is usually when someone has prayed for something specifically and God has graciously answered according to how the prayer was voiced. However, if God doesn’t answer according to our prayers, He has still answered our prayers. No, it may not be how we want it to be answered, but God’s sovereign plan reigns over our desires. Sometimes it may be that what we pray for isn’t exactly in line with God’s will. Remember, “No,” and “Not now” are answers to prayer too. What should we say? We should rather say, “God has been gracious to give us the desires of our hearts.”
It was God’s will. I’ve heard this said multiple times in the house of mourning (funeral home). What’s astonishing is that I’ve heard it said when someone has lost a loved one in a tragic fashion (i.e., murder, car wreck). Well, friend, you don’t know that it was God’s will. Evil as well as nature (e.g., laws of physics) happens, and it speaks to the depravity (not the Calvinistic sort) of the earth and humanity. God doesn’t will evil, but evil exists because man has free will. If anything, it was man’s will and not God’s that caused whatever to happen. Stop using this phrase as a “crutch” because you don’t have the answers. We’re not meant to understand some things (cf. Deut. 29.29).
We’re all just sinners. Maybe you are, but most of us try not to make a practice of sin. Lawyers practice law, and doctors practice medicine. Ergo, a sinner would be one who practices sin. The Bible doesn’t view Christians as sinners. This isn’t to say that we don’t sin, but it is to say that we’re not the equivalent of those who are without Christ. The Bible calls Christians “saints” on several occasions (Rom. 1.7; 1 Cor. 1.2; 1 Peter 2.9, 10; et. al.): “And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’” (1 Peter 4.18). In that passage, Christians are regarded as “righteous” while those unsaved are the ones who are “ungodly” and “sinners.”
Thank God for unanswered prayers. There’s no such thing. ”No,” is an answer. Refer to the first phrase.
I’ll be praying for you. When have we ever read this? No one ever said it in the Bible, they just did it!
God won’t give you more than you can handle. This is a distortion of 1 Corinthians 10.13 which reads, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” He’s speaking of “temptations” and not “trials.” God does give us more than we can handle, and in those moments we are to turn to Him for strength. Ever read Job?
Amended 8/23/12 at 6:00 p.m.
Some have misunderstood my intentions on the “I’ll be praying for you” statement. Let me clarify that I am not seeking to discourage good intentions and expressions of love towards others. I’m not discouraging, but encouraging action rather than mere words. Furthermore, the final statement is within the context of sin and not trying times or personal struggling.