I get a little antsy when an answer I am expecting takes longer than expected to arrive. OK, maybe antsy isn’t quite the right adjective. Anxious, irritable, practically beside myself with frustration—that’s more like it.
Recently, I found myself in the unfortunate situation where I was waiting for two responses—one pertaining to a health insurance issue I was trying to untangle for my parents and the other related to a freelance editing project I was working on.
The longer the delay, the more frustrated I became, until I wanted to bang my head against a brick wall in frustration. It wasn’t pretty, let me tell you.
These two issues were resolved eventually (as I knew they would be), and my stress level went down considerably as a result. But my reaction got me thinking about how this relates to prayer, and—more specifically—to heartfelt, pressing prayers that seem to go unanswered.
You know what I’m talking about, right?—those requests that you faithfully take to God day after day and month after month, with no apparent result or even any indication that He is actually listening.
It’s not like you’re asking Him to do something beyond the realm of His control. He’s omnipotent, after all. He simply has to speak the word and whatever it is that you’re asking Him to do will happen.
But when He doesn’t—for reasons known only to Him—it gets to be a bit much after awhile, doesn’t it? Maybe even to the point where giving up—on praying and even on God Himself—might seem like the most logical course of action.
The best plan isn’t always the most logical one, of course. I can’t tell you how or why God does what He does, but when answers to pressing prayer needs are not forthcoming, the following four steps might help you move forward.
• Focus on God’s character.
Who God is does not change with our feelings or our circumstances. So try to turn your attention away from the notion that your prayer isn’t being answered and center it directly on what you know to be true about God—His character, His sovereignty, His love for you.
You wouldn’t let a child you love experience something painful—something that was within your power to change—if you didn’t have a good reason for it, would you? Nor does our perfect and wise heavenly Father allow hard things to happen our lives if He doesn’t have a reason for them. There is always purpose, even if we can’t see it.
• Look for answers in other areas.
Just recently, while devoting a lot of energy to praying for the trial that was most current and urgent, I started noticing some obvious answers about a few issues that I have quietly prayed about for years. It was almost a relief to see evidence of the fact that, while my heart was consumed with one situation, God had been working in others all along.
• Count your blessings.
I know. There’s nothing new about this one. But when you intentionally look for something—anything—that you are thankful for, you’re sure to find it. Finding one blessing makes you notice another, until you gradually start seeing God’s touches everywhere. (And if you record them in a journal or on your phone, you’ll have examples of His faithfulness at your fingertips when your faith starts to waver.)
• Keep praying.
Resist the temptation to give God the silent treatment, even if it feels like He’s giving it to you. Keep the lines of communication open and the words flowing. And, as hard as it might be, don’t limit your conversation with him to that One Big Request.
Maybe the delay will make sense to you someday; maybe it never will. In either case, you can rest in the confidence that the One who holds the answer hears every prayer and loves you with an everlasting love.
♥ LoisWho God is does not change with our feelings or our circumstances. Click To Tweet