What happens when we pray for something and God doesn’t seem to respond? It’s an interesting question. Should we say that God is punishing us or He’s not listening to our heart’s desire? In reading Mark 11:24 (KJV), it says “What things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them”. No convoluted message there. All we have to do is believe it and we’ll have it. If this is true, why are so many of us seemly in a blessing drought? Many of us have prayed and prayed for years and years for a situation to improve but not finding a positive result. How many of us have prayed for unsaved loved ones to repent, rebuked illness from frail bodies or asked God for finances to flourish? Why are we not seeing abundance? Mark 11:24 gave us a clue in saying belief is a component for prayers to be answered. Even though we know we need faith, we’re still flawed humans and this doesn’t take away the fact that all of us have some level of unbelief. Why is the faith we think we have not enough to move God to action? Since all prayers aren’t answered we have to entertain the idea that belief can’t be the only component to consider when we look at why certain prayers in our lives are not soliciting a response from God.
How should we respond to God when our prayers go seemingly or obviously unanswered? Most times we become frustrated, even angry with God. In this scenario, we’ve discerned there is no reason for God to be slow in responding. Our arrogance has the nerve to rear its ugly head at Him. No matter how many people may reason with us that God is perfecting our patience; this is absolutely of no comfort to us when we’re struggling with an issue that is impacting our life. We normally feel our calamity warrants God’s undivided, immediate attention. How dare He not respond to us! Our urgency should be the Lord’s priority. We’re the anointed and appointed generation! We’re the lion of Judah, we’re the peculiar, holy, set apart, end time generation people! In Matthew 21:22 (KJV) it reads “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” So if we ask in belief it should happen, right? After we pray a convincing prayer we should hear thunder then a “poof” there is your new car or “poof” there is your new job/husband/wife or “poof” your loved one is now healed but it doesn’t happen at all that way. Why?
Our initial reaction when our prayer seems to fall to the ground is usually disappointment. No matter how upset we are when a prayer isn’t answered, God isn’t moved by this even though we want Him to be. Many times in our desperation, we attempt to manipulate God by “reminding” Him of what we’ve done for the kingdom as if He suffers from amnesia. Wow, how arrogant is that?! Our pride justifies such thoughts in our mind. We react as if God is totally unaware of our service to Him or that He needs us to accomplish His agenda. Beloved, I have urgent news, He most certainly does not. Our spiritual temper tantrum simply creates a stressful atmosphere for us. It also leaves us to our own ideas born out of self indulgence which causes us to respond to our situation outside of God’s will. This leads to poor decision making while deluding ourselves with the notion that since God didn’t say yes or no, He’s co-signed our disaster.
We never seem to want to consider that maybe; just maybe God IS testing our patience. Maybe it was our own self righteous pride that led us to believe God should be at our beck and call. Oftentimes believers feel like we’re somehow a cut above the un-churched person, so we should expect God to be on speed dial for us. God didn’t change His directives for Jesus when He asked God if there was another way for salvation to come to mankind. In the end, even Jesus said “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). We all want to be “Christ Like” yet want preferential treatment at the same time. Could we need a bit of humbling? Is our patience in us a true virtue? Virtue is more than moral uprightness. Virtue is an active, effective or inherent power or force (Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved May 18, 2013, from Dictionary.com website) according to the definition I found. Virtue is a God given power to those who are His disciples. It is the power Jesus called upon when He told the Father “but as thou wilt”.
Let us not forget the woman with the issue of blood (Luke8:46). Jesus perceived someone touched Him because healing virtue left Him. If virtue is power and power is equivalent to patience it could mean we’ve not yet fully understood the enormity of God’s power that is at work in us. Jesus states in 2 Peter 1:5 that we should add faith to our virtue (or power) and wait for it … knowledge! This is powerful stuff. We should add knowledge to our virtue because faith is just a portion of the equation. In addition to having faith, our God given virtue has to be steeped in the sovereignty of our Lord. God’s divine, independent authority is where we are to place our trust. Do we really believe God is all powerful, all knowing and self-governing when it seems He is silent in answering our prayers? Or is our faith weak and easily shaken?
We rarely consider that maybe God isn’t answering our prayer, or giving us what we want because He’s protecting us. Maybe God is sending a clear signal that we should be cautious in making quick decisions or simply trust Him and stop trying to fix something that isn’t ours to address. Maybe we need to learn that God doesn’t jump when we decide how high no matter how many church conferences we attend. Maybe we should look to the word and cast all of our burdens on Him while remembering He cares for us. Maybe we should look at ourselves to determine if our pride is driving us to make an irrational irreversible move. It could be that whatever we’re believing for isn’t the right solution to an imminent problem. We could be asking amiss as it states in James 4:3. According to the text, this is one reason why we don’t receive in addition to a lack of faith. I once heard an old saint say God has three answers. Yes, No or Wait! I wholeheartedly agree. Yes and no are pretty clear cut, but waiting….oh my; that is a challenge for most.
We spend so much time laboring or holding onto things that God wants us to turn over to Him. We may never know all of the answers as to why God doesn’t answer every prayer. I truly wish at times I had that answer but I do not. I do understand however, that I could never match wits with Him, so His timing is best and must be trusted. He is God of the universe and all things are in harmony in Him.
We can only stay focused in remembering that His love never fails. We can’t always understand why loved ones die even after we’ve hosted a prayer vigil, why we’ve lost a job when we’ve worked hard or why wars are waged but we can have confidence in our God to heal us whenever we’re hurting. We can take comfort in Philippians 4:8 in the things that are lovely, pure, just, honest and of good report. It goes on to say that if there be any God given virtue or praise to focus our attention on think on these things. Let’s do that!
Be encouraged and blessed child of the MOST HIGH GOD!