Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Blessed Through Unanswered Prayers


Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:8-9


“This thing,” mentioned by Paul, refers to his “thorn-in-the-flesh”. It is not necessary that we know what the thorn-in-the-flesh was. The important thing is that we know the content of Paul’s prayer and the Lord’s response.


The thorn caused great discomfort to Paul—and obviously caused him to think that his ministry would be limited. Three times he asked the Lord to remove it. The Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”


Paul testifies that the words of Jesus caused him to begin praising God for his weaknesses because through them he had become strong.


This prayer is a typical case of unanswered prayer that results in abundant blessings. One blessing was Paul’s as he began praising God for his sufferings. Another blessing was that he received more power for his ministry.


Throughout centuries and around the earth, Paul’s testimony about the blessings of his unanswered prayer has resulted in multitudes of believers praising God for their sufferings, and for the provision of God’s grace, the believer learns to depend on Him.


Many believers can testify that even though God did not answer a prayer for something they desperately wanted, He did bless them richly by granting them an alternative answer to their prayer.


The main message of Paul’s thorn-in-the-flesh is that unanswered prayers can result in God’s grace by putting us in a state of weakness. That’s the message—weakness leads to strength by moving us to total dependence on God.


We must never forget that Paul asked three times for the removal of the thorn. We should never hesitate to ask God to intervene in our thorn-in-the-flesh experiences.  


God often expresses His grace to us by sending miracles just as He brings grace to us by sending weaknesses.