It’s the darkest, most faith-dampening time of many Christian’s lives—when you’ve prayed for something for so long you become convinced that God isn’t hearing you, or worse, that He doesn’t care about your needs or situation. Maybe you’ve prayed for a child who’s in danger or has wandered off the path, or maybe you’re praying for an oppressive situation to be finally righted.
Whatever it is, when you storm the Gates of Heaven and don’t get an answer, it can be devastating to your faith. But let’s be clear, when those doubts begin to creep in and you start questioning God and His mercy and love, it’s the enemy luring you away from your faith and relationship with Him.
How do I know that?
Because there are many examples of this exact thing in the Bible.
For instance, when God’s people were being held captive in Egypt under an oppressive and cruel leader, they prayed to God for deliverance. They cried out day and night for Him to rescue them and make things right. They were obviously perplexed and disheartened when He didn’t immediately answer their prayers and in fact, allowed things to get even worse. But what they didn’t know was that He was preparing Moses to be a vessel for His deliverance.
But Moses wasn’t cooperating, which took more time than the people would have liked. You see, God was actively answering the prayers of the people, they just couldn’t see it yet.
Jesus tells us a parable that shows us we should “always pray and not give up.” It’s of a widow who had to continually go in front of a judge to get justice done in her life, and it wasn’t until she wore him out with her coming that he finally relented and gave her what she asked for. After telling this parable, Jesus asks whether He would find this type of faith on the earth when He comes.
So you see, nowhere in the Bible does God promise us He will answer our prayers on our time schedule. He answers prayers using a variety of methods and means, and sometimes His answers take time. Moses had to be prepared to be the vessel for God’s answer, and if the people had only trusted Him, they would have been spared all those doubts and fears.
So, back to your unanswered prayers.
When you complain that God isn’t answering them, are you sure? Or is it that He’s preparing a “Moses” or some other means to grant you your heart’s desire? The thing is, you won’t know until He’s ready to reveal His plan.
And that leaves you with two choices.
You can doubt Him and complain that He isn’t acting like you think He should, all the while not realizing that He’s working on your behalf. Or you can trust Him. You can put a stop to the voices of doubt in your head and begin praising Him for what you cannot see. That’s the definition of faith, right? The NIV puts it this way: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
And finally, let me leave you with one of the most beautiful images in the Bible. It’s from Psalm 18, and was written by David when God rescued him from his enemies. It tells of the moment God swung into action to answer David’s prayers.
“Smoke went up from his nostrils and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. Out of the darkness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
That my friends is what it looks like when the Creator of the Universe set things into motion to answer your prayers.
Did you notice something?
Before He broke through the clouds to take action, he hid himself in the darkness. In other words, until the very second He made himself known, only HE knew of his intentions.
Unanswered prayer? I don’t think so. If you’re praying for something and are beginning to doubt God, remember this: He may be in the canopy of the clouds this very second, just about to break through and answer your prayers. But you won't know it until He decides to reveal himself.
But at that moment when He breaks through, do you want to joyously praise Him and thank Him, or do you want to hang your head in shame and apologize for ever doubting Him?
The answer is simple: let’s trust the one we claim to believe in and overcome the world by our faith!