Thursday, September 11, 2014

When Prayers Seem To Go Unanswered

Hey Friend,
It was just about this time, 13 years ago, that I was going for a walk.  The day was sunny and bright - just like it is today.  I remember rounding the curve in the cul-de-sac and my friend flagged me down to ask me if I had seen the awful news of an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center tower?  In disbelief, I hurried home, turned on the news and watched the horrendous story unfold.
Since then, God has managed in a way that only He can, to bring beauty from those ashes.  Even in this evil world that we live in, glimmers of hope can be seen if we look hard enough.  But, I pause today, to remember the lives of those lost.  May we never ever forget.  But, may we take hope in the face of fear...knowing that in the final chapter God's great love WILL triumph over evil.  The Light of the world will snuff out the dark.  Till then we wait and we pray...
Speaking of prayers...I have prayed a certain prayer since before my children were born.  My oldest child is 26.  Part of that prayer has been realized, gratefully.  The other part has yet to be fulfilled.  I have prayed earnestly morning, noon and night sometimes.  Often I have been on my knees in prayer.  Still God is silent.  I have struggled and wrestled with God as to why He doesn't answer this prayer.  Might there be a reason that my prayer has gone unanswered?
Dr. Dale Robbins, in his article entitled, "Unanswered Prayers: Common Reasons Why", offers eleven reasons why some prayers do not get results. 
1.  Lack of Fellowship with God and His word
2.  Not seeking to Please the Lord
3.  Unconfessed Sin in One's Life
4.  Improper Motives
5.  Not asking in God's will
6.  Don't know how to pray
7.  Lack of Faith
8.  Misunderstanding of Faith
9.  Wavering Faith
10.Failure to apply spiritual Authority
11.Lack of Perseverance
Believe me, I have held my prayer request up to the litmus test of these 11 potential reasons why my prayer has gone unanswered.  I've questioned the genuineness of my relationship with God.  I have scrutinized my degree of faith and my motives.  I have tried praying my prayer different ways and always with thanksgiving.  I've even tried commanding it to be so.  And still, I wait...
I believe, perhaps, that we have overlooked "reason # 12" which is:
God has answered and the answer is "No" or "Not right now...wait"
Proverbs tells us to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding, but yet we get this notion that we can wrap our itty bitty finite minds around the mind and will of God.  It just ain't so.  This is where I really have to squirm in order to be able to trust that God's answer for my good, just may be "No" and He is not obligated to give me a reason why.  I still have to trust Love's heart and believe that He is good...all the time.
The other possibility is that God has heard and answered our prayer and the answer is "Not right now...wait".  I think this answer is sometimes even harder than a flat out "No".  God may want to use this waiting time as an opportunity to stretch our trust muscles.  I don't know about you, but my trust muscles get a little flabby at times. 
This waiting for an answer ties in with #11 Perseverance. 
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9)
Dr. Robbins goes on to say, " Probably the greatest reason that some prayers go unanswered is because many give up praying and believing before they receive their answer.  As long as we have the promise of God's Word, be patient and persistent - keep believing, and don't quit, no matter how long it takes!  God has a "due season" when He will bring the answer to pass.
One fact I've had to realize too, is that sometimes the "due season" is a time set in eternity.  I am often so world based that I lose my eternal perspective.  This is particularly true of loved ones for whom I've prayed for healing. 
I'm sure you can tell that the whole time I've been writing this, I've been talking to and coaching myself.  I vow to persevere in my prayer life and with this one particular prayer for as long as it takes.  In the meantime, I must trust that my loving Heavenly Father has, indeed, heard and has answered my prayer.  Right now I must have patience to wait and to trust. 
Is there a prayer that you've been praying that has seemingly gone unanswered?  Would you share with me or with us that we might lift you up in prayer?  Be assured that God is good and He is loving-kindness.  He hears the prayers of your heart and he DOES answer.  He knows the tears you have wept and the sleepless nights spent and He wants you to draw near to Him in your waiting.  You are His child and He loves you!!
In His love,
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  1. Hi Bev,

    Very good devotion. Gives me things to think about and look at with my walk.
    I'd like to add the positives to waiting for answers.

    God growing us up into maturity.
    Seeing God's faithfulness in all areas of our life.
    God growing our faith in Him
    God revealing Himself to us and learning and experiencing God character
    God teaching how to let go of our expectations and seek His heart
    Showing a watching world our convictions through Christ such as with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace knowing God could save them, but if He chose not to they still would not bow.
    God changing us as we stay praying
    We then because of the change, change what we pray
    Becoming perfected because of our suffering through circumstances
    God teaching us to keep our eyes on ourselves instead of the speck in another's eye
    God growing compassion for those we are praying for
    God allowing the prayer bowls as mentioned in the tabernacle in Revelation to be filled and eventually emptied
    Our ongoing prayers are a sweet fragrance to God as we pray
    Our weakness shows God's strength, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness
    God giving the burden to continue in prayer is His will
    God growing our relationship with Him.

    Praying for my daughter. There has been no contact for quite a while. This is not unusual, when I need to know something, God lets me know. He's been sweet that way.

    ((Hugs and love)),


    1. Oh Joanne,
      This is beautiful!!! I hope that readers will take the time to read your list of positives found while waiting for answers to prayers. What you wrote was just what I needed today! Do you know what a blessing you are?? I've read through the list several times and each time a different "positive" jumps out at me. We CAN truly be blessed in our waiting. You know there's always a spot open here for a guest post...:). Praying for your daughter and lifting you in prayer as well.
      Love you much my friend...((hugs)),

  2. Joanne, your post made me think of a good book I read recently by Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers.
    Often answers to our prayers are delayed because God is working the all things together for the good. He refines us, turns us into prayer warriors while we wait. I meet with several women on Friday nights to pray for adult children. We are seeing prayers answered yet there are still so many prayers left to be answered. One thing God has taught me through some intense and long times of praying is He will work even if I don't pray. He loves those we are praying for as more then we do and He wants us to love Him more then even the act of prayer. Yes, yes, yes we should pray for it changes our perspective on what we pray for. The more we pray the easier it gets to pray, your will be done Lord, in your timing , in your way, I take my hands off of it and come to you because I love you. I am going to copy your list for I am speaking at a ladies retreat soon and think I will use several things you said about prayer. Blessings.

    1. Sorry, I mean Bev instead of Joanne

    2. Betty,
      That's dad used to say, "You can call me anything you like, just don't call me late for supper." Thank you for your wisdom in your words, Betty. I am really gleaning some helpful insights from the replies. I especially needed to hear your point that you made that God will work even if I don't pray. Yes, He wants to hear our prayer, but our prayers do not control Him and His power from working. Often I have felt that I need to keep praying in order for Him to work. I would love to join your group that prays each Friday - what a great group of prayer warriors to have!! So glad you replied!!
      Blessings to you,

  3. Thank you for the encouragement to keep praying! My time and God's time are almost always different.

    1. I seem to have that problem time and God's time rarely coincide! That's when it's back to basics and trying to trust that He is Sovereign and He is Good! Easier said than done though...we'll keep praying together :)

  4. Oh Bev, I know what you mean. I have said the same unanswered prayers and asked myself these questions. I think you are so right to say that there is a twelfth reason, or possibly even more. As you said, our finite minds cannot understand an infinite God. Thank you for this lovely reminder that God always hears us, even when it feels as though He is silent.

    1. Abby,
      Thanks for stopping are always welcome here :) ! I really appreciate your input and encouragement. I am often writing to myself and wonder if others have the same thoughts and questions that I do?? Nice to know I'm not alone...
      Hugs and blessings,


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