Pat Robertson’s Too-Vague Response About Unanswered Prayer and Non-Helpful Advice About Anxiety
The episode in question:
(Link): The 700 Club – January 8, 2019
(There is a video of the program embedded on that page hosted on CBN’s / 700 Club’s site. Also, thanks to commentator Stevo below, check (Link): this page on 700 Club’s site for the video)
The portions of that video I am addressing come during the part of the show where the lady co-host reads viewer questions to Pat Robertson, and Robertson replies to them.
I do not remember at what point the question segment airs, whether it’s at the 30 minute mark or later. Unfortunately, they’ve not uploaded the same episode to their You Tube channel (not yet, perhaps they will tomorrow).
I have to rely on memory here because I’ve not re-watched the episode.
Questions were posed to Robertson about unanswered prayer and about anxiety.
And I don’t believe that Robertson did an adequate job of replying to any of the questions.
One guy wrote in, quoted a Bible verse where Jesus discussed on praying to him and having your prayers answered.
Off the top of my head, I cannot remember the EXACT Bible verse the guy quoted, but it was one like one of these…
Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.…
(—end Bible quote—)
Either that same guy or another had a question about anxiety.
When Robertson responded to the anxiety question, he just quoted a Bible verse or two about how “perfect love casts out all fear,” or “cast all your anxiety on to him for he cares for you.”
I’m not going to spend a lot of time here on this issue, but suffice it to say, as someone who has been afflicted with anxiety from childhood, I can testify that reading, quoting, or memorizing Bible verses about fear and anxiety never, ever helped me with anxiety. (Neither did prayer, going to church, doing good deeds for others and so on.)
Bible verses did not bring me a sense of calm. They didn’t help. To this day, I still have anxiety.
Robertson then addressed the inquiry from another viewer about why the Bible says that God will answer your prayers to meet your needs, and, the viewer asked Robertson, how does Robertson reconcile that promise in the Bible with the reality that some people get an answer of “No,” or their prayer goes unanswered?
All I can recall is that Robertson gave a long, rambling response that was so vague it didn’t answer the question.
Robertson said something about how if a person is in Christ, and Christ is in a person, that a person’s prayers will be answered.
Well, that still does not answer the question.
If a person is a true believer and has placed saving faith in Christ, then she is in fact “in Christ” and Christ is “in her.”
So, what Robertson is not addressing is, what if a person is indeed “in Christ” and Christ is “in her,” but…
God is still ignoring that person’s prayers, or not answering them, or saying “No,” in spite of the fact the Bible does have passages that say if you ask and believe, God will grant you what you are asking?
God does sometimes ignore the prayers of Christians.
Even “good” Christians who are very pious, who attend church regularly, and so on, will sometimes have their prayers unanswered.
Why are their prayers not being answered? Why is God not helping them with their problems that they are asking him to help with? Robertson’s response did not address that.
Most Christians don’t want to answer this problem, or they do not know how to respond to it, or, they engage in victim-blaming, and they wrongly assume if your prayers are going unanswered, it must be because you are not “in Christ” (as Robertson was doing), or they assume you must be living in sin, that you have unforgiveness in your heart, etc., even though that stuff may not be true in your case.
I do personally find it offensive and bewildering that the Bible has all these promises telling you that if you just trust God and/or pray to God and ask, that God will grant you whatever you ask – but in real life, when you follow that biblical advice, your prayers are not usually answered.
Assuming that a God exists and that He did inspire the biblical accounts, why did God bother to include promises in the Bible about helping people and responding to their petitions, when he had no intention of fulfilling them (because my prayers and yours sure as heck are not being answered)?
It makes no sense to bother making promises if you’re not going to keep them.
Robertson’s response to the guy who asked about unanswered prayer was so vague as to be unhelpful.
(Link): View the Video Here (CBN’s site)