What to do when God hasn't answered your prayers yet

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

 "But I cry to you for help, LORD;

in the morning my prayer comes before you." 

Psalm 88:13 (NIV)

Some prayer requests do not get answered immediately. Even the Bible proves this very fact. While some were immediately healed by Jesus, others were healed as they went (see Luke 17:14). The variety of ways God answers prayers in the Bible gives me this first encouragement: God hears prayers. 

Discouragement often comes to those who think God does not hear our cry for help. He does hear. He cares for us. Things may not change immediately yet we can be encouraged that our prayers reached God's ears. 

Most of our discomfort when it comes to this part of life comes from our feelings. After all we are human and it would be nice to have a sense of completion. When I am waiting on God to answer my prayers, I can be assured that God understands our humanity. He is not scared of our feelings. He is also not unaware of them. 

Take the multiple writers of Psalms for example. Today's Bible verse comes from a body of work where the writers start with "Can you hear me? I'm overwhelmed with troubles." 

I'm a fan of speaking to God because He can actually do something about my prayer request. The trouble we often run into is we misdirect our feelings towards the world wide web, our friends, and even strangers. 

While we have the right to speak our feelings to others, we miss a great opportunity to cast our cares on the Lord because He cares for us (see 1 Peter 5:7). The Psalmists are great examples of that. They basically let God have it. They lay all their raw feelings and anxiety on the Lord. God cares, the internet ignores. 

Even when you get Likes for your rant, there isn't a person or algorithm who can fix your problem. I invite you to exercise wisdom and discernment. Ask yourself: do I tell the internet or do I cast my cares on the Lord? Which action will bring eternal reward? Which action will build my character?

While we wait for our prayers to get answered, God is building our character. I invite you to consider a God who knows the end from the beginning of your situation. Consider a God who crafted your very soul according to His brilliance and goodness. Consider Him who didn't hold back anything to do you good as He did when He sent Jesus to die and live again for you. This same God is in the business of building your character.

Trials do not come to make you weak and defeated. They come to glorify God and to build our character. 

Friend, you and I have a clear choice in front of us. We can be ungrateful while we wait or we can be grateful that God is building something better for us. As we wait, He builds character. As we wait, He builds love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in us (Galatians 5:22-23). 

As we wait, we can be strong. We can have courage (Psalm 27:14) because God has good things stored for us. 

Prayer: God is not easy to wait for you to answer my prayers. My heart is overwhelmed and filled with anxiety. Yet you are good, you are enthroned in our praises. I trust you as I wait. I understand you are good all the time, even today. I ask for patience, courage and supernatural strength as You finish the marvelous work you started in me. I cast my cares upon You for You care for me. Thank you. In Jesus' name, Amen.