Prayer and Reflections

When Prayers Seem Unanswered

I ... have poured out my soul before the Lord.
-1 Samuel 1:15

Recently, in reflecting upon the anniversary of my mother’s death, I was reminded of her legacy. At 101 years of age, she left no money (or debt) and few material possessions. But her legacy of being a faithful prayer warrior and lifting each of us up in prayer daily outweighs any earthly inheritance we could have received.

In reflecting on my own thoughts on prayer, I am reminded of how God’s answers to my prayers are so clear sometimes, while at other times, I wonder if He even hears me. Or worse, I fear no longer having His ear because of some failure or unconfessed sin in my life.

I have often heard that God answers our prayers with one of the following responses: 

* “Yes, that is within My will.” 
* “No, that is not My will.” 
* “Wait, the timing is not right.”

Recently I discovered another response involving deeper faith: “Simply trust Me. My way is best.” At times, I have no idea what His plan is or how He could possibly use the trial I'm facing to accomplish His greater purpose. Deeper prayer is required to discern His will, and this motivates me to grow in my knowledge of Him to strengthen our relationship.

I recently listened to an interview with the late Dr. Helen Roseveare, a missionary to the Congo, who struggled with being beaten and sexually assaulted in a foreign country. Her moment of transformation came when she heard God say, “Can you thank Me for trusting You with this without having to know why?” We naturally want to know “why” before we can accept something extremely painful or tragic.

Giving up control and being wholly submissive to God’s greater will is not a onetime decision but a choice we are called to make throughout life. Do we trust Him enough to accept His “silence,” or even more so, persecution when our prayers are unanswered? Doing this is challenging, and it requires faith only He can provide as we trust Him day by day.

As you face life's challenges, ask yourself this question: "Where is my trust right now?"

“How long O’ Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” Psalm 13:1

O’ Lord,
I may not always feel Your presence,
When tempted to anxiety and fear,
But I must claim and trust Your promise,
To never forsake me and always be near.

And while I may not always see evidences
Of Your mercy, love and grace,
I must trust by faith Your unseen hand
In each painful trial I face. 

And I may not always understand
Your silence when in despair,
Nor Your answers or the lack thereof,
When seeking guidance in my prayers.

But these times of waiting prompt me, Lord, 
To by faith, believe as true,
They are opportunities to grow in grace,
And my faith and trust in You.

From Reflections on Prayer, © 2018, Doris Haver Rouse. 

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