My son was lamenting a prayer he has been praying for about a year now. He was frustrated that it had seemingly gone unanswered. It is a lament my heart has expressed many times around many aspects of life. In fact, I have had a similar lament going on in my prayer life these past weeks. He was looking for answers and hope as we all are when prayers seem unanswered.
How often do many of us feel like the woman in the parable badgering the judge for what she wanted (Luke 18)? I beg God to change my circumstances, bring loved ones to know Him, and remind me that prayer matters.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. (Psalm 6:9 NIV).
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24 NIV).
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).
Unanswered prayer leaves us questioning, as my son did, “What’s the point?” These are just a few scriptures that remind us that God wants to hear our prayers, wants the best for us. For my son, as he shared his lament, he also shared a change in his circumstance. It was a small change. One, he didn’t notice until I pointed it out to him. God had answered his prayer in a small dose.
I’m reminded that the answers I want are not always the answers I get. It maybe a baby step in the direction of my prayer request, The answer might be no or not now. I don’t get to see the big picture. I may think only positive will come from my request, but I can’t see those consequences. It may be that I need to take a different perspective on the situation. It may be that the free will of others is slowing progress. It all comes back to trusting the one who says, “Ask and it will be yours.” It’s not easy. As I heard Erwin McManus say, “Faith doesn’t make things easier, it makes you stronger.” I think he’s onto something. It’s hard. No doubt. We anguish and wrestle. I believe God is faithful, is listening and cares about what pains my heart.
How have you struggled with unanswered prayer? Have you missed answers from God? Have you been looking in the wrong place? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.