Sometimes I feel like God isn’t answering my prayers. I’m hoping you’re not going to find this statement to be a shock. If you feel like God isn’t answering your prayers, sometimes you feel like you’re the only one that this happens to.
I realized something the other day though. I’ve been reading this book called Praying Upside Down: A Creative Prayer Experience to Transform Your Time with God, and at first I didn’t think I’d find it helpful. But several times she relayed stories where she didn’t feel like God was answering her prayers, only for her to find that the problem was that God wasn’t answering her prayers the way she wanted him to.
Do you ever do that? As you’re praying for something, you find yourself suggesting to God the perfect way for him to answer your prayer to your best advantage. Or at least to your perceived best answer. Then, you find yourself disappointed by a seeming lack of an answer to your prayer.
Here are a few solutions that I’ve found to that feeling in my life. Maybe you’ll find them helpful in yours.
1. Stop Thinking Just of Yourself
Your life affects everyone else, and the answer that would make you the “happiest” may not be the right answer for those in your own life. Until the last year or so, my idea of God was so small that I realized that all my prayers were clothed in myself, and my needs. I only thanked him for the things that he’d done for me.
Then, I studied Revelation, and saw the incredible images of continual worship around God’s Throne, and I realized that so many times I only saw God as someone who met my needs and someone who deserved glory in His own right.
Like any good father, he loves me and wants me to be happy, but life is not just all about me.
2. Look Around for God’s Answers to Prayer
You may find that the answer isn’t the one that you expect. However, if you’re willing to look around, I can guarantee that you’ll see the hand of God in the situation that you’re in. The same God that allowed you to be in a situation is the same God that will bring you out again. He may not be answering your prayers the way you would like, but when you look for his answers, you’ll probably find that he is answering your prayers in different ways than you wanted.
3. Remember His Answers to Past Prayers
When you’re waiting on God to move in a situation or when he answers your prayer in a way you didn’t expect, you may find yourself doubting God’s goodness, God’s ability to answer prayer or even God’s very existence. That’s why it’s so important to find “stones of remembrance” in your life. These answers to past prayers and the times that God has proved himself to you in the past will become very meaningful when you’re waiting on an answer to prayer.
4. Know that There’s a Reason for the Situation You’re In
Sometimes these situations are real Romans 8:28 situations. You may not be able to see the good in them, but you know and can cling to God’s promise that all things work out for good, and that we will continue to be conformed to Christ’s image. Let these promises carry you through when there’s nothing you can do but wait on God.
Above all, remember that God loves you and has a plan for your life. You may find as you go through this list, that God has already answered the prayer that you prayed to him. It just wasn’t the answer you expected. That’s okay. It’s okay to be disappointed with God’s answer for a moment, and accepting and trusting that what he has for you is better than what you dreamed for yourself.