Five Things To Do About Unanswered Prayers
Prayer is a tricky thing. Lots of books have been written on the topic, (my favorite is With Christ in the School of Prayer) yet many people remain confused. Especially when their prayers are not answered.
Here are 5 thoughts to help you make sense of unanswered prayers:
1. Don’t mistake the absence of the answer you want to be an unanswered prayer. If God hasn’t delivered on your request, it means the answer is either “No” or “Not Yet.”
2. Most of your prayers are probably noble and God-honoring, but that doesn’t guarantee God will grant your request. God may want to accomplish what you want to accomplish, but do so with a different plan.
3. Speaking of plans: Many people I coach want to know what their life purpose is, but oftentimes their requests are not granted because their paradigms are wrong: They want to know their life purpose on their own terms when the real question to be in dialogue with God about is “What, Lord, is my role in your larger purpose?” Any request that doesn’t advance God’s agenda will not be granted.
4. God has ordered the world to work by certain principles and dynamics. What you’re praying for may be noble and loving and God-glorifying, but your attitude and actions (knowingly or unknowingly) are holding you back from experiencing what you want to experience. In other words, God’s not denying you or punishing you: You’re shooting yourself in your own foot.
5. Searching the real condition of your heart can help you discern what’s going on in your prayer life. Here’s a 2-minute exercise that may help: Close your eyes. Settle down your mind. Move your heart to neutral (as best you can) on the issue you are praying for. Now, pretend Jesus himself is sitting across from you. Picture him really there. Flesh and bones. See Him vividly in your mind. Next, say: “Jesus, you know the desires of my heart. You know what I have been petitioning you for. Why have you not responded in the way I want?” Then imagine him replying: “I’ll tell you why. It’s because________....” Now fill in the blank with his response. Now go adjust your mind, behavior, or prayers accordingly.
I hope this gives you a fresh frame of reference for your prayer life.