The following story appeared on a major news website yesterday:“Farrah Fawcett Shockingly Shaves Head, Hollywood Gathers to Pray for a Miracle. As Farrah Fawcett fights for her life, Tinseltown’s elite…gathered at the Beverly Hills Paley Center on Wednesday evening to reflect upon the starlet’s legendary life and hope for a miracle…”

It makes no difference who we are, whether Hollywood elite or small town suburbanite, suffering and the need for healing is universal, and we as Christians honestly believe that God still heals people today. The problem posed for most of us from a faith standpoint, though, is that God doesn’t answer all of our prayers for healing. In fact, he doesn’t seem to answer all of our prayers, period.

In order to understand why some prayers go seemingly unanswered, we have to understand that the purpose of prayer is not to bend God’s will to ours, but rather to align our will to his. The promise that our prayers will be answered is conditional on what we are asking being in accordance with God’s will. Consequently, every prayer we pray should be a variation on the theme, “Your will be done”.

After all, this is how Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane on the night he was handed over to death, saying, Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me (Luke 22:42a). This was Jesus’ desire, his human reaction to the inevitable death that awaited him, but then he added, yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42b).

What Jesus most wanted was not to have to go through the pain and torture and death that he knew the cross would certainly mean, and he asked for this, but he knew in the asking that what he was asking for… what he wanted… was not in accordance with God’s will, and he knew that ultimately God’s will had to be carried out. But God did not turn his back on Jesus in his time of need, for in the next verse, an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him (Luke 22:43).

So, will God answer Hollywood’s prayers? Will he answer our prayers the next time we pray? The answer is always yes if the prayer is “Thy will be done.” Otherwise, the answer is only “perhaps”, because what is asked for may not be in accordance with God’s will. Is God still with us in either case? Absolutely.