Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart. (1 Kings 8:39)

I HAD PRAYED FOR GOD to heal my father. Disease had ravaged his body and was taking his life. I wanted my father to be whole. Despite the prayers, my father died.

I was hurting. I was angry. God felt distant. It felt like He had turned His back on me.

Then, I learned the rest of the story. A neighbor—a Christian—had ministered to my father. He had visited with my dad and prayed with him. My father had not been a religious person. However, I came to believe that, because of this neighbor, my father had found a relationship with Christ that he had not known. Certainly not in the manner I had imagined, my dad had been healed.

An honest prayer from the heart is a prayer that begins to make a difference. The presence of my father’s neighbor taught me that lesson.

With that insight, I came to a new understanding: God’s ways are not our ways. When we worry that God has abandoned us, we are tempted to stop praying. But if we do, we lose the support of our faith.

An honest prayer tells God that you love and trust Him, even though in that prayer you may tell God you are disappointed or you don’t understand what’s going on.

Tell God the truth. He already knows what you’re thinking.

Tell God what’s on your heart. He can handle it.

Drexel Rankin is a retired ordained minister who served full-time pastorates in Indiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. He and wife, Patty, live in Louisville, Kentucky.