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,
ps.  Don't forget the $10. challenge for Redeemer Christian School.  For only $10 you can make a big difference in the life of a child who desperately needs to know the love of Jesus Christ.  Send cash or check to : Bev Rihtarchik, 103 Silver Lining Lane, Cary, NC  27513. 
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