All of us have had experiences when our prayers seemed to go unanswered. Sometimes days, weeks, or even years will go by at a time and we still find ourselves wondering, when is God going to answer this prayer? The important thing to remember is that God hasn’t forgotten about you or abandoned you. The Bible tells us “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
God has also promised to answer every prayer according to His marvelous grace, His infinite powerful, and in keeping with His infinite love and faithfulness. Our attitude should be one of implicit confidence that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Here are six things to remember when your prayers seem unanswered.
Pray to the Glory of God
Seasons Come, But Seasons Also Pass
Have you ever heard the phrase, “this too shall pass”? This phrase is usually spoken in the context of a painful or otherwise unpleasant situation that is happening at the time. The phrase means that the situation is only temporary. It is a great phrase to remember when it comes to any circumstance you’re facing. While seasons come, they will also pass and things are bound to get better eventually. In our times of joy and in the darkest hours of pain, God’s love not only sustains but also remains. No matter what trial we face in life, God is still the same.
We Don’t Know God’s Will
John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” So that means if we tell God what we want, He will give it to us, right? Well, not exactly. If you’re wondering why things aren’t going according to your plans, here’s the short of it. We aren’t aware of God’s will. It’s important that we pay attention to the word “abiding” in this verse which means “to live in, dwell in and remain in.” When you have an intimate relationship with God, you begin to know His heart and have a clearer sense of the things you should pray for and what His will truly is for you.
Maybe God is Answering a Bigger Prayer
Our God is a merciful God. Sometimes we forget this when we get so caught up in the pain we’re experiencing, the people we’ve lost and the things we don’t have. We start focusing on all the ways that God hasn’t measured up to our standards and find ourselves disappointed time and time again. Instead of focusing on the blessings we’ve been given, we focus on what God hasn’t done for us. This is human, but it doesn’t mean it’s right. It also doesn’t mean that God has abandoned us. It means that what He wants for us is in His time.
Not ours. And sometimes God’s plans are bigger than our own. You might pray for love to come into your life at a certain time, but if it had, God wouldn’t have been able to make you more strong and independent. If things had fallen into place at the college you prayed for, you may not have attended the school that shaped so many of your future friendships and dreams. Just because God isn’t granting the prayers in the way we want Him to doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us.
Your Happiness isn’t God’s Highest Priority
We often say, “I’m so blessed” when we’re sharing pictures from our most recent vacation, updating everyone on a recent promotion or sharing our new relationship status. Without even thinking, we’ll equate these happy moments or personal successes to God showering blessings on us. But these pleasures and successes are not God’s highest priority. God wants us to be happy but the truth is, our happiness and success aren’t God’s end goals. While it’s right and good to be thankful for the tangible blessings in your life, you shouldn’t fail to see that blessings from God don’t always make you want to shout “I’m so blessed.” When you pray, acknowledge God for your blessings and not just those that make you feel good.
Waiting Can Be a Good Thing
As difficult as waiting can be, it builds spiritual muscles in a unique way. Isaiah makes this truth clear: “But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). This is a glorious promise but our discontented hearts find it difficult to wait. One great thing about waiting is that it allows us to pray without ceasing. When our thoughts turn to worry, fear, discouragement and anger, we are to consciously and quickly turn every thought to prayer and every prayer to thanksgiving. Another great thing about waiting is that it increases our faith. We wait and God works!
Don’t worry if you feel like your prayers are going unanswered. If we pray in the will of God, we can be sure that God will answer. As we praise Him for His faithfulness, seek His will and glory, pray faithfully and wait patiently until God’s time, He will come.