Prayers sometimes seem to go unanswered. We may cry out to the Lord like like King David in his ancient song: “Will you forget me forever?” (Psalm 13).
When the distress of unfulfilled hope is acute, we are vulnerable to Satan’s machinations (Psalms 13:3). This may be by direct assault (1 Peter 5:8) or by a covert stratagem of half-truths (John 8:44; Genesis 3:1).
Arguably, we can identify three of the enemy’s most insidious half-truths. Forewarned, we can counter them with the “light” of God’s full truth (Psalm 13:3-4; Matthew 4:4,7,10).
You sinned, and God is punishing you.
There is some truth to this accusation. Wrongdoing may stand in the way of answered prayer. But that is only half the truth. The other half is that God forgives sin. We can set this assault aside by taking care of any unconfessed wrongdoing.
It’s his/her fault. They are to blame.
We may have been hurt or wronged. Someone may have been incompetent or inconsiderate. Satan feeds thoughts of mistreatment, inciting us to become bitter and resentful. The way to mend is to forgive. It may take time and strength from the Spirit, but we can forgive. So we ask: have I forgiven anyone who has wronged me?
You don’t have enough faith.
Satan may throw this dart: “If your faith were stronger, if you really believed, God would answer your prayer.” Yes, the Bible does call for faith. But faith is not psychological certainty; it is asking and trusting Jesus for an outcome he knows is good. If we trust God enough to ask, even small faith is enough (Matthew 17:20; Mark 9:21-24).
In times of disappointment and confusion a clear perspective of God’s whole truth is the best antidote to Satan’s lies. Whether our dreams are realized or give way to a new hope, we can be sure that God is always working for the good of those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:26-28).