When Prayer Seems Unanswered (1550)
The Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But so many times, we pray and seek God, ask according to His will; and yet our prayer seems unanswered.
At the beginning of the Book of Luke, we meet Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, both righteous before God, blameless, yet barren. They were well in their old age, and without any children, they had prayed for their whole lives. Verse 13 says, “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son…” We can learn three things from Zacharias and Elizabeth when prayer seems unanswered.
First, unanswered prayer could mean it has simply been denied. God will not grant prayers that aren’t according to His will. Sometimes, we pray with sin in our heart, outside of the will of God. Remember, God wants to meet every one of our personal needs, but He will not enable our lust, pride, or selfishness.
An unanswered prayer could also mean it’s strategically delayed. Adrian Rogers says, “With God, timing is far more important than time.” Answered prayers could be delayed to display His glory. As we see in Zacharias and Elizabeth’s story, God could wait until the situation is so difficult, there’s no way we, ourselves, get the glory from it.
Or, our prayers could be delayed to dispense God’s grace. As interested as He is in His glory, God’s also interested in our joy. In Luke 1, God was about to bring Jesus into the world. God planned the arrival of Zacharias and Elizabeth’s son, John the Baptist, so he could prepare the way for this long-awaited Messiah. God knew what He was doing; He had a strategic plan to display his glory and to dispense his grace, in the fullness of time.
Finally, the answer to your prayer may be strangely different. For Zacharias and Elizabeth, God gave them something better than they asked for; it was different. He was the forerunner of the Messiah. Their son filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb.
Adrian Rogers tells us, “God gives the best to those who leave the choice with him.”
Apply it to your life
What do you do when your prayer seems unanswered? Check to make sure you are seeking the glory of God. Then pray without ceasing.