Rejoicing for Unanswered Prayers

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7


A few weeks ago we took a family trip to the National Aquarium-one of the trips we had promised our shark lover for some time. As all museums, aquariums, and tourists attractions often do, a strategically placed gift shop waited for us as we began to exit. A strategically placed shop we had used to bribe our shark lover with just to get him to navigate the crowds without melting into the floor. Ten bucks and ten minutes later, emerges a happy little boy with a new toy frog. A frog he then left in the restaurant on the ride home.

A toy frog I prayed would still be in that restaurant as we turned to make our way back, and as I watched my little guy pout in the seat behind me.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

Some prayers are answered. Just like that. Prayers for toy frogs to magically appear in restaurants. The prayers of a faithful boy as he wishes for no more monsters. Prayers for a successful school year. Prayers for that dinner out to be one of joy.

Some, however, go unanswered.

It’s those that often haunt me. It’s those that allow the devil to creep in and test my faith in Him. It’s those that make me wonder if God really hears me at all.

See, for a while now, I have prayed consistently about one particular area of my life. One situation that has plagued this heart of mine.

And, for a while now, I have not gotten an answer. I have doubted Him. Questioned my worth to Him. Even had a scream at Him in the bathroom, crying, “Are you even there,” and cursing out loud moment with Him. Yet, I can’t help but think that just as every other test and struggle has been a part of His plan and purpose, maybe the unanswered prayers have a purpose as well.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, he will hear us. 1 John 5:14

He hears us. He hears all our prayers. Even the crying, screaming, and cursing ones.

And, He answers them…according to HIS will.

Which means…maybe He doesn’t answer them because that’s exactly part of the plan.

Maybe we are meant to go through these moments. Endure pain. Experience heartache. Have screaming matches with God so we can grow. Embrace life. Become more dependent on Him, and less on our own agenda and will.

Or, maybe it’s not about us at all. What if those unanswered prayers are really meant to help someone else endure pain. Embrace heartache.

All so someone else can go through those times when they are screaming and cursing at God. Through the times it seems He isn’t listening. To teach about the strength promised in Philippians 4:13-the strength that only comes from Him.

The strength to endure pain. Embrace heartache. To pick ourselves up off that bathroom floor, wipe our tears, and thank Him for unanswered prayers.

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