Throughout our lives, we will encounter times of misery, hopelessness, and grief. Since we have many negative things to happen over the course of our lives, it is not surprising that many of us are in search of happiness.
With the deep desire for happiness in our hearts, we often want to make our happiness become a reality. As we walk into each day in prayer, we may question if it is okay to pray for happiness.
Happiness and Joy
Happiness is a beautiful thing and something many of us strive for in our daily lives. After all, we see others experiencing happiness, and we want the same positive feeling. It is important to remember that happiness and joy are not the same thing.
We all have joy by knowing Jesus as our Savior and Lord; however, happiness is based on feelings or situations. In other words, we can have the joy of knowing Jesus yet not have the emotion of happiness.
As an example, you may be in your bed crying after a relationship ends or a loved one passes away. You are deeply heartbroken and crestfallen, but you still have the joy of knowing Jesus. Happiness and joy are not synonymous with each other.
As stated, happiness is based on feelings or circumstances. Joy is based on the solid, unchanging nature of knowing Jesus Christ. When we think of things in this way, it can often change our perspective as to what we need to be praying for.
While there is nothing wrong with praying for happiness, what we really need to be praying for is for God to enrich our joy in Him. God desires our greatest growth and for us to conform to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Nowhere in the Bible are we told that God promises us happiness. Rather, we are promised persecution, trials, and returning to dust when we pass on.
It is important that we don’t place all of our focus, wants, and desires on obtaining happiness because sometimes happiness will not bring about our greatest good.
God uses all things for our good, whether perceived as good or bad (Romans 8:28). This means even if something bad happens to us that God can use it for His glory. Therefore, even if something doesn’t bring us happiness, we can trust that God still has a purpose for the pain.
Many individuals believe Christianity to be a faith of only happiness, sunshine, and positivity, while it is actually a faith of self-sacrifice, loving those who hate us, and going through each day knowing there are people who don’t know Jesus as their Lord.
God doesn’t promise us a happy life, nor does He promise us an easy life, but He does give us a life full of His love, goodness, and hope.
Reflections on Happiness
As established, there is nothing wrong with praying for happiness. It is only human to want to experience happiness and to be happy instead of being sad. It is more comfortable to be smiling and seeing everything go well than it is to be a mess of tears in your car.
Maybe you’re similar to me and you have had more days of sadness and pain than you have had days of happiness. Happiness is fleeting, and it never promises to stay with us.
What we can count on is the joy found in Jesus and to rest in the knowledge that He is always with us (Psalm 23).
We might not obtain the happiness we desire in our present earthly lives, yet we can trust that eternity will be full of peace, joy, and happiness (Revelation 21:4).
Throughout our earthly lives, we will have many things that cause us to be unhappy. Naturally, we want this pain to go away. It is perfectly okay to ask God for happiness; however, He might answer in an unexpected way.
Ensure your prayers are asked with the correct motives, as God won’t answer prayers if they are done with selfish or sinful motives.
Maybe you are desiring happiness because you are going through a tough time. It is perfectly okay to go to God in prayer and ask Him to help you experience happiness again.
As someone who struggles with depression, I rarely feel happiness. Rather than happiness, I normally feel sad, hopeless, and distressed. If you feel the same, know you’re not alone. You may have these feelings and not be diagnosed with depression.
Remember that either way, God is there for you, and you are never alone. God may choose to answer your prayer with a yes and bring happiness into your life. This happiness might be realized in the form of a sunny day, a surprise call from your best friend, or an encouraging word from your pastor.
However, even if you have a moment or moments of happiness, notice how quickly they fade away. It is great to be happy, yet as we pay more careful attention, we can see how fast happiness is slipping out of our reach.
On the other hand, God may choose to answer no or not right now to your prayer for happiness. If this is the case, don’t think God is picking on you. God never picks on anyone. He loves you, and His love has no limits.
If God doesn’t answer your prayer with a yes, try to notice how your struggle or sadness brings Him glory. If our pain or struggle is helping us better relate to others and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world, then it is a true blessing.
Our temporary pain and struggles will pass, yet the blessings of knowing we have helped others for Christ will stay with us forever.
What Does This Mean?
Thus, there is absolutely nothing wrong with praying for happiness. Make sure to keep in mind your motive and the reason you are asking for happiness. It is also important to be prepared if God doesn’t answer your prayer with a “no” or a “not right now.”
If He doesn’t answer right away, it doesn’t mean He will never answer your prayer. Instead, try to look for all the ways He has answered your prayer for happiness. It might be in unexpected ways, such as the smile from a friend, a new flower that bloomed in your garden, or a beautiful sunset.
In addition to praying for happiness, aim to also pray for joy. The Lord has given us so much joy in knowing Him as our Savior, and we can always ask Him to fill out hearts with more joy. Unlike happiness, joy doesn’t go away.
Joy stays with us always and reminds us of Christ. We don’t have to have happiness in order to have joy. Even on our darkest and most depressing days, the joy of the Lord is still in our hearts and gives us the spark to keep going.
Happiness cannot provide us with everything we need in this life, as it is impossible to believe that we will always be happy. The more we reflect on the lives of the apostles and followers of Christ, we can see that their lives weren’t always full of happiness.
Rather, their lives were filled with the joy of the Lord. In the same way, our lives might not always be filled with happiness, yet they can be full of joy.
For further reading:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Esther Pueyo
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.