Search This Blog

Sunday, December 13, 2009

When My Prayers Don't Seem to Be Answered

I have been praying for something for about six months. I have prayed that the answer would be to God's glory. I have submitted myself to His will. I have confessed my sins, given to the poor, prayed the answer wouldn't be for my benefit alone, worshiped with my whole heart and believed God's word. (I didn't do these things so that my prayers would be answered but the failure to do these things will result in God not listening to my prayers.) Yet, I haven't heard a word from God.

I haven't heard Him tell me "yes" or "no." I haven't had any indication that my prayer is against His will. I haven't heard Him tell me that I am to wait until something else happens. I haven't had Him tell me that I am asking Him to do something outside of His nature and will. I have heard nothing. What should I do?

Without another word from God, I must continue to pray what has been placed on my heart until God gives me an answer.

His answer may be completely outside my little thinking box. He may be doing something to answer my prayer than I would never have been able to pray because I would never have thought of the way He would provide the answer. It may be that He has not told me what He is about to do because I would not be able to fathom His answer. I am sure that the Hebrew people never expected the water to split open for them to cross any more than Mary and Martha thought that Jesus would call for their brother Lazarus to come out of the tomb. I just may not be able to handle God's answer right now with my IBM (itty-bitty-mind).

It may be that God is stretching my faith. God is only silent with those He can trust. I, like others before me, wish He didn't trust me so much. Silence is the only path to real faith. It means I believe something when I can neither hear nor see it. It means I still believe in God's power when I am not experiencing it. It means that I know what I cannot know because I see what I cannot see. I have to remember the things I do know of God to believe that He will answer. This is faith in its purest form. It takes little faith to see the storm calmed. It takes a great deal of faith to know the storm will calm when the winds are tearing your boat apart.

There are two real dangers when I have prayed and do not see His answer. I can claim something is an answer that really isn't. I can look at circumstances and claim this is God's answer when it isn't. This will be detrimental to my faith for I will have claimed something to be an answer when God is really doing something else. It will ruin my witness and work against my continued praying.

I can stop praying, shrug my shoulders and forget about the prayer. This may be the greatest danger. It means I didn't have any faith in God in the first place. It means that I was just saying words that meant nothing for I didn't think they were going to God anyway. If I have had something placed upon my heart, I should pray it through until God gives me an answer.

So, I pray and wait. I believe, yet I do not see. I still give Him glory and long for an answer.

Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)
1  Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.
3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'

4  "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'"

And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"


Cynthia Hampton said...

So many of my own prayers are answered, and I think to myself, "How awesome is that!" I know that God answers prayer and I understand that He is not our "divine bus boy", but sometimes I feel impatient with God for not answering my prayer in what I think is a timely manner. (I'm saying that facetiously) I'm talking about my prayers about other's salvation, or for someone's health problems. Everyday I pray for my 20 year old daughter's heart to be softened toward God again and return to back to Jesus. My prayers seem to go unanswered, but I continue to pray and I'm not giving up. Sometimes it's discouraging, but I must trust God to do answer in His time, not mine.

Anonymous said...

Can I say this is exactly how I feel? Especially about someone? It IS a prayer... Dare to believe DARE... if He is who He says He is, it "will" be done ;-)