To the One With Unanswered Prayers

I once befriended someone who had lost their faith in God. They were looking for answers in other places and probing areas of thought I had yet to wrestle through myself.

I was in over my head but stayed to be a testimony by action. That part worked, to their gratitude but my discontentment. I wanted to have sound, intellectual conversations, but I could hardly do more than flail on foreign beaches of thought.

My eyes left each conversation downcast as I longed for someone who saw eye-to-eye with my beliefs and could come alongside my efforts. I was at the end of my rope facing an endless supply of complex questions alone.

Over two years later, I was (again) presented with questions and I (again) felt a lack of communication and knowledge in my answers. I asked a new friend to help answer the questions and the three of us crowded around the corner of a table to discuss.

It was two hours after my friend suggested the three of us start a little study group that I realized I had met the answer to that long-forgotten prayer of mine.

Prayers don’t have expiration dates

You never know when or where or how God will answer. Life is so subtle sometimes that you barely notice yourself walking through the doors you once prayed would open.

“The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you.”

-Deuteronomy 7:22

This is what the Israelites missed in Judges 1. They had seen so much victory, been freed from slavery in Egypt, but they forgot God’s promise that the acquisition of Canaan would come little by little.

God is a God of the little by little, slowing down so lessons may be learned to their fullest. You can’t eat an elephant all at once. It must be consumed one bite at a time.

If you’re praying or have prayed about it, rest assured that God is working on it. He may answer your prayer immediately or He may delay to exercise your patience. If He “doesn’t” answer, He has something better for you.

Going from here

Talk to God. Let Him know what you want, how you feel. The good, the bad, the really ugly. He wants your heart, so what matters is that you’re talking to Him.

Even when you don’t even think to ask for change, you’ll find that our good, good Father often grants desires regardless.

Trust Him. Know He heard your prayer and walk in faith to live according to His schedule, not yours. Instead of expecting, hope. Instead of waiting, look forward.

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

-Corrie Ten Boom

Write your prayers down. Time gives perspective on just how God answers. Some may be an exact-match answer, others may give the results you prayed for in a completely unexpected (and sometimes even unwanted) means.

Bear in mind, even a “no” from God has goodness written all over it. Often a deterrent from what may seem good is actually a redirection from a future disaster to something better.

God often gives us what we need instead of what we thought we wanted.

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