One of the great challenges with prayer is when it is not answered. A specific request may come to mind. We ask God why He hasn’t answered us. But part of the problem with that is that we don’t figure out what our response should be to the fact that He hasn’t answered. Looking at some Bible stories may help and encourage you.
- Mary and Martha: They asked Jesus to come, but He waited till after Lazarus died. Jesus’ reason: Not yet, a bigger miracle is still coming. Abraham had a similar response when asking about a child. God did not answer till it was a really big miracle. What should we learn from those stories? The challenge to us: Keep asking!
- Jacob: I have been thinking about Jacob and his journey while Joseph was in Egypt. Jacob had to wonder about the dreams Joseph had in the years Joseph was gone. We know that because when the stories of Joseph being alive come to Jacob, the dreams were part of what helped him believe they were true. So what could have God told Jacob during those many years? You don’t have the whole story. What should we learn from that story? Keep asking!
- Job: When we see the struggle of Job, he is seeking God for an answer. Why is he struggling so much? Now although we see behind the scenes at what is happening in heaven, we are never told that Job figures it out. Basically, God says, “I am God and you are not, so it is really none of your business.” But even during that situation the lesson for us is: Trust God knows what He is doing, and you keep asking.
- Daniel: When we read the story of Daniel, he prays a prayer that doesn’t get answered right away. When he finally gets the answer, we learn that there has been a spiritual battle that has held up the answer. The lesson for Daniel and the lesson for us: There may be a spiritual battle, so keep asking.
Looking at the lives of those who have gone before us, the lesson seems to be: Keep asking. As we wait for an answer: Keep asking! Unless He comes back with an answer of no: Keep asking! Like Job, you may never understand why, but keep asking anyway! What prayer request do you need to keep asking for God to make a difference?