When Prayer Isn't Working

Bestselling author Debbie Macomber's devotion offers insight on unanswered prayer.

By Debbie Macomber, Port Orchard, Washington

Oh, Timothy, my son, be strong with the strength Christ Jesus gives you. For you must teach others those things you and many others have heard me speak about. . . . II Timothy 2:1-2 (TLB)

Because of my heavy travel schedule, routinely attending a Bible study is difficult for me. What I needed, I decided some years ago, was a spiritual mentor, someone who would guide me and be a sounding board for me, someone with a lot of spiritual maturity.

I asked a godly woman in our church if she would be willing to meet and pray with me on a regular basis. That was how my friendship with Barb Dooley started. Even now, all these years later, we get together regularly to pray.

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Recently I told Barb about a problem I’d been experiencing and the frustration I felt. “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong,” I said. “I’ve filled up pages and pages in my prayer journal, pouring out my problem to God. I’ve brought the matter up daily, waiting for Him to move in my life. I don’t think He hears my prayers any longer."

Barb didn’t say anything for a long time. Then she smiled and said, “Maybe you should try a different tactic."

“How do you mean?” I said. I was open to anything. Barb nodded and said softly, “Maybe this isn’t a case of God not hearing your prayers, Debbie. I believe He’s always available to His children. Perhaps He’s just waiting for you to listen.”

Father, open my heart so that I can hear what You have to say to me.

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As I read the story and reply from others,it made me realize that I too need to stop and listen to God.to have total faith that God hears us,but we don't take time to listen.thank all of you for the awesome words written here.

IT'S the trouble we humans got, we put everything in God's hands, then take back. We're to inpatient.

Thank you. After reading this, I went and spent time alone with the Lord. I asked him for help hearing him and to understand why a certain prayer had not been answered. I have been praying and standing on faith about this for a long time. I was feeling worthless and not good enough because of no answer for years. After my prayer, I got up and went about my daily routine. Later God spoke to me, not out loud, but through things I had not even noticed before. Thank you for helping me get on my knees and talk to God about my concerns about this prayer and asking for help listening to Him. Thanks again, and may God bless you for being such a blessing.

I am saddened when I hear or see other 'christians' who offer criticism, rebuke and/or judgement to those who do not feel their prayers are being answered, or they feel God is silent to their petitions. Job, who according to scripture, did not sin when he was going through tough times and God allowed satan to test him, felt the same way - and yet, he had not sinned. Many folks could be tested in the same way today, so to 'assume' that they have 'sinned' in some way, is acting self-righteous, by quickly being dismissive and assuming sin is the reason for the delay . I am always reminded of the saying, "don't judge me unless you've walked in my shoes." Sometimes 'christians' are too quick to judge.

Knowing in your heart, you are doing all the God would want you to do in keeping your relationship with Him, (reading bible, praying, living a Godly life, etc.); improve in areas He leads, and continue to seek Him. One day, He will answer - sometimes soon, other times it will take a long time. It is His timing, something we all struggle with...

I TOO STRUGGLE WITH UNANSWERED PRAYERS. I SPOKE WITH MY PARISH MINISTER. THE MINISTER TALKED WITH ME ABOUT THE SUBJECT THAT GOD DOES HEAR MY REQUESTS AND IS AWARE OF ALL OF MY ISSUES, HOWEVER, THAT GOD WORKS ACCORDING TO HIS OWN TIME. ALSO, THAT THE REQUESTS THAT I AM PRAYING MAY BE OUT OF HIS WILL AT THE PRESENT MOMENT, HOWEVER, GOD IS WAITING FOR THE RIGHT MOMENT TO BLESS ME WITH THOSE REQUESTS. HE CONCLUDED THAT I SHOULD NEVER GIVE UP HOPE AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY OUTLOOK ON MY FAITH. ALSO, TO KEEP PRAYER AN IMPORTANT PART OF MY DAILY LIFE AND NOT TO DESPAIR THAT GOD HASN'T ANSWERED MY PRAYERS ACCORDING TO THE WAY I WANT HIM TO.

Does anyone ever consider the possibility that maybe
God did answer your prayer, but he said "no".

I, too, struggle with listening. I do hear the Holy Spirit, My Lord God and my Savior, Jesus. I have for a long time been swayed by Satan even though I do know right from wrong. Why? Not listening to God when He whispers in my heart and mind. I am giving away a lot of things to people who need. My needs are what God gives me. I face a difficult situation soon. My fear and humiliation is human, my trust, love and belief is in my Father God. Even though a very bad thing happened to me that I caused, God took it far enough away and I pray that He is merciful on me. I want to do for others even more because God has and continues to do for me. Let His will be done, in Jesus' name.

I don't have a hard time telling God all my woes and asking for favors from above. I put my problems on a piece of paper and put it in my bible for God to take care of...it's the waiting for Him to answer that I have difficulty with.
I tend to try and solve it on my own...without success. Patience is the virtue I'm working on this year...and maybe with patience I will also discover peace.

And what about Jesus Himself who "anguished" in prayer, sweating blood, crying "Father, if it be Thy will, let this cup pass from me." (Luke 22:42-44)I am fiercely grateful that the Father was silent, letting His beloved Son go to the cross. Because if He hadn't I would have no Savior, no sacrifice for my sins, no hope for eternity. I am thankful for God's "no." He knows what He is doing. I trust Him.

In II Corinthians 12:7-10, Pauls says . . . And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Sometimes, what we pray for is not in God's will because He knows that it could do more harm than good in our Christian walk. The big mistake so many Christians make is to interpret scripture to say that God has promised us a charmed life. Here is what he actually promised.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world.

He does come through from time to time, based on his knowledge of us, sometimes he blesses us without us even asking. But the ultimate promise he has given us will come when we get to heaven.

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away .

My prayer for you all is that you learn to trust God in sickness and in health.

I agree with another person (S. Payne) who said he or she was expecting more of an answer to this question of why are prayers not answered, not a one line "maybe you should just listen to the lord" comment.

(I've even tried listening to the Lord, and my prayers still go unanswered, so I don't think listening is always a solution.)

To the guy above who said many times God already has answered in Scripture and we just don't like the answer: that isn't true for me.

The two or three things I've been praying earnestly for (some for years!) are not against Scripture or God's will.

It bothers me when a Christian is hurting in some way (especially emotionally or psychologically) and the first thing another Christian does is to suggest that the hurting person must be at fault some way for her own pain or problem (e.g., "you must have sinned," or "you're going against God's will" or "you must not have enough faith" etc). The bible does not teach any of that... the bible says there are different reasons why bad things happen to people or why God may not answer prayer, and it's not always the fault of the hurting person.

I think the bottom line is we won't always know this side of eternity why some prayers go unanswered.

I have to questioned as to why my prayers dont seem to be answered.Here is an example of how prayers are answered in Gods way and not ours. I have friend who I love deeply he is 29 and will be 30 in june of this year. He was diagnosed with cancer and from the time it was caught ( mantel lymphoma) it spread into his bones and now entering his organs. I asked God why.I finally found someone who is a good person,kind, affectiionate, sensitive and loving, only to have this person taken away from me. I am older then this person. I grieved went to therapy and realized my prayer was answered in a different way.First this person has no family, mother and dad had a child late in life. Grandmother died of cancer, mom was diagnosed when this person was 11 and his mother died 9 yrs later.This is hard on a child to be the only support system for the mother.Dad was violent and an alcoholic. Never feeling love outside from mother this person and I fell in love and as far as me I was married divorced at age 26 years went by never feeling really loved by someone till I met this person, this was the firt time I ever felt love like this.But, why why did this happen, well I have come to terms with the fact I was there for this person emotionally, and lovingly. I feel now GOd did answer my prayer but in his way. I was the kind of person who would be good for him and he taught me how to love again and allow love back into my heart. God put us together because we both had needs and were fullfilled in his way because God is the one who really understands our deepest and most wanted needs. So you see I have learned a lesson that God does not always answer prays the way you want.

Thank you! My husband and I have been Christians for our entire marriage (28 years) and have been praying for something, like you said, is not against the will of God. We have been told, by our Christian "friends", pastors, co-workers, relatives, you name it - that we must have committed some sin for God to curse us this way. . . or that we didn't "win enough people to the Lord and couldn't be trusted by Him for Him to answer our prayer" . . . the hurt and heartbreak only increased by being accused of some terrible thing. And being made to feel and believe our God, that we love and pray to and trust for life and breath itself, found such great fault in my husband and I that He would not hear or answer our prayer - this was and is the worst feeling a heart can ever feel.

Never an encouraging word from any of them. Never an offer to pray with us or for us. Only to accuse - even now all these years later the speculations and accusations continue. The hurt is still there, but we believe like you. . . God has "His" reasons and we have to trust in them no matter how painful they are.

Christians need to have hearts of tenderness and compassion - and to forgive.

Thank you for stepping up and saying what we have been trying to express for so many years.

The first fruit of the spirit is love! Some people still prefer Godly judgment but God is love.

Go forth and love :)

I can truly relate to all the comments about waiting on the Lord for His answer and will for our lives. Many times He is silent when we keep praying, asking, thanking and trusting Him for our prayer requests and needs. I have experienced this aridity many times throughout my life. I am 55 years old and 5 years ago was diagnosed with PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis) a rare central nervous system disorder. There is no cure for it, however people can live til an old age with it. It makes my whole body stiff and rigid and I need a walker to get around and I lost the ability to talk. Needless to say this illness has been extremely challenging for me and my loved ones. It effects every aspect of my life, from the smallest task to the largest. I'm homebound and lost the ability to do many of the things I love, and others take for granted. It's been very difficult trying to adjust to this whole new way of life........I went from being very independent, outgoing and social, hard working and very involved with teaching catechism and church functions to being totally dependent and unable to communicate with my own voice.

I've been to several healing services and each time they tell me I will be healed. It's been tough waiting, I pray, believe and keep trusting in His healing power. After all, what man cannot do, Christ can, He is the "Great Physician". However God has blessed me with so much and I believe He is using this illness to help teach me and my loved ones how to trust, and lean on Him during these most difficult times. Prior to this illness we were much different people caught up in the "business" of life and this illness has forced us to stop and listen for His still small voice. It's my prayer that one day I can share my story with my own voice and help others to remain hopeful during the silent times when it appears God isn't speaking or listening to our desperate cry for help. I know God loves us all and is always listening and caring for us. However it's all in His time, not ours and we must continue thanking, praying and believing in His promise that He will never leave or forsake us. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
My thoughts and prayers are with you all during your time of waiting on the Lord. God bless you!!! :)

Dear Mary,
Thanks so much for your kind words that give me strength. It really takes a wonderful person to write those words, to send kindness and inspiration to other people when your having so much difficulty yourself! That tells me how lucky the people around you are to have such a selfless, loving person in their lives! I can see God working through you and what a difference you have made to so many people! Your words remind me of a newspaper clipping I keep in my purse calender. The statement is from a lady turning 100 years old. She is ask what wise advice she would give to others. She says to be patient, pray and thank God everyday for the many blessings he gives you, for the Lord is always there and He's right on time!
With Love,
Lynne

Dear Lynne,
Thank you so much for all your very kind words, you're so sweet. :) I'm so touched that my article helped you in some small way. God bless you and keep you my friend.

Love,
Mary

Sometimes the reason we don't "hear" God's answer to our prayers is because He has already given us a clear direction in scripture and we know it but are ignoring or rejecting it. He has already answered the prayer, but we are unwilling to let go of our own desires to listen to that still small voice. We must ask ourselves when we feel that God is ignoring us, if we have put His will before our own or if we are hanging on to a desire that is contrary to His leading. For instance: "God, should I marry this person?" Will you be unevenly yoked to an unbeliever? Are you asking God to look the other way? or "Father, should I take this job?" Will you be required to labor on Sabbath? Does it require you to do something contrary to Biblical teachings? Sometimes the answers are already there...one just has to accept them.

I can relate to Deon-Henry. I too feel those conflicting, overwhelming, confusing messages. When the Devil does that, I take a deep breath and ask God to remove all of that from my heart and mind. At the first moment of peace, I say the Lord's Prayer. Then I listen again, and say again Your will be done! I get up and leave it in his hands. I as all of us have so much to pray for, its too much for us to handle alone. We have to leave it with him. Leave it at the cross. I often forget what I pray for. I just trust he is working His good works and I thank Him for however He chooses to answer my prayer. Even if I dont get the answer. I will know when Im with him in Heaven. It is patience, hope and faith. I will pray for you. God Bless you.

A spiritual advisor once told me that we worship the God of the eleventh option. He said that if we go to God and say "I love you so much, I'm willing to do any of these ten things. Take your pick." God will always choose the eleventh one.
One day I was telling God how much I missed being in Cub Scouts now that my children are all grown. The next day, the phone rang. A school principal needed an art teacher. I had never considered teaching; it was a challenge, but I took it on anyway, thinking that if this is what God wanted, then this is what God should have. It was a challenge, but I grew because of it. This is what I mean of the eleventh option.

This story ended too abruptly. I was anticipating more insight into this topic. To open our hearts and listen is just too vague an answer. I thought Barb would've given Debbie some tips and/or clarification to that very point.

Perhaps I'm asking for too much, but it's apparent that no one really has the answers when it comes to understanding God and His ways, and His Word, while true, is too often just not tangible enough for human consumption.

I think GOD ALWAYS LISTENS to us, HE has His reasons for not answering immediately, and WE have NO RIGHT to be so DEMANDING if we stop to think, we are being unreasonably bossy and arrogant how will you respond and how SOON will you do it if it was the other way around, notice how VERY PATIENT HE IS with ALL OF us even when we ONLY think about asking for something is usually what WE need and WE WANT I NOW why are we so selfish? HE created THE WORLD in 6 days and HE rested the 7 WE want to ask for the IMPOSSIBLE and WE want it IMMEDIATELY. Please think " We have to give time to the time, so that the time will give us time to think BEFORE WE ACT and become so DEMANDING we are talking to GOD not to your next door neighbor let us USE OUR BRAINS when asking a favor and let us NOT FORGET to THANK HIM. AMEN.

My first husband left me and our daughter when she was 6 weeks old. I went back to fulltime work when she was a year and a half which was in 1952. there were no daycare centers or other help for single parents; in fact, the phase, "single parent," didn't exist. Wanting desperately to be a fulltime mother, I prayed for someone to come along so I could get married and stay at home with her. I met many men during the next 17 years and was close to marrying three times but each time something happened and the relationship collapsed. In 1967, I stopped praying and decided, "Possibly I should volunteer at our local hospital and love a lot of people instead of just one." I found peace in the thought and accepted my situation. The following spring I met Dean. Two weeks after our first date, he asked me to marry him. We had 21 wonderful years together. When I lost him to lung cancer in 1989, I vowed never love again. My daughter moved to California so in 1993, i followed her. Six years after Dean's death, I met George but wouldn't date him because I felt I'd had the love of my life, but he was persistent. He took me on cruises, halfway around the world, and enveloped me in love. We were together for 12 years and married for 2 before I lost him in 2009. I still can't believe the joy he brought into my life. God took care of me in his own time and it was worth the wait. Incidentally, a marriage to any of the three I thought I wanted to marry would have been a dreadful mistake. I had two wonderful men in my life and I'm very grateful.

Thank you so much for all the entries about prayer; God answers my prayers for others but He doesn't seem to hear my prayers for myself. Please pray for me I feel like I am in limbo with no car and no way of helping others except to pray for them; wealthy banks are coming after me for thousands of dollars and I am very poor; don't have enough to eat at the end of the month. I have always given to the poor in spite of my financial condition my church says God hears the cry of the poor; I am in constant severe pain and my family lives very far away. I watch ewtn everyday and I have tried gving more that doesn't work either.
I have no way of getting a job without a car and no way of volunteering either. When I pray for God to take my life, my friends get sick or my family. I am not living in sin and try to be good everyday; everyday I thank God for a place tolive and clothes and food.
Do you have any words of wisdom for me?

To Rita:
Rita, I'm sorry God seems to be ignoring you or not helping.

If you're watching ewtn network, as you mentioned in your post, I believe that is a Roman Catholic channel?

Guideposts, which is overall a fine publication, has a tendency to get into ecumenicalism, which has always bothered me a little bit.

The Bible teaches us that people are saved by grace through faith *alone* in Jesus Christ, and not by faith plus anything else (not faith plus church membership, faith and ritual, faith and being baptized into a particular church, etc).

I hope you know Christ alone as your savior, and are not trusting Jesus *in addition to* church membership/ religious tradition/ religious- or- church- based ritual / good behavior.

Anyway, I hope things work out for you.

Dearest Rita,

God has not forsaken you. Please trust in Him and Him alone. Remove yourself from the television set and spend time with the Father. Speak to Him. Pour out your heart and confess your sins, and repent. Read His Word and you shall be delivered from your troubles. Trust Him only. Don't be mislead with false doctrine and prosperity teachings. Here are a few scriptures to get encourage you.

For God's favor: Exodus 12:36
For your enemies: Exodus 14:13-14
For God is merciful, true and justice: Psalm 13
For your faith: Hebrews 11
For you: Hebrews 10:37-39

We will lift your prayer request to our Savior for He is faithful. Don't give in to the lies of the devil! God is able.

In Christ we stand

I've had a dream that started about 29 years ago. It involves a business in the efficient and ecologically sound production of fish for feeding the world, so it's not small or inexpensive. As a matter of fact, it's so big and has enough twists and turns that I told God long ago that, 'if You let me do this, You have to help me because I certainly can't do it on my own!'

I was (and am) so convinced that this is His calling for me that I have made it a practise to pray the prayer of Jabez (1 Chron. 4:10) frequently. "Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request." (NIV).

Has He answered my prayer the way I wanted Him to? No, but it's obvious to me that He's listening closely and that He is answering in ways that I can only take as guidance or perhaps 'training'. Is He likely to give me what I asked of Him? It doesn't look like that's His intention. It appears that if He lets me do what I asked He will turn it into something so far beyond anything that I would ever have dared to imagine that I can only say, 'Be careful with the prayer of Jabez. God might take it as permission to use you for things you can't even imagine yet! He might even use you as an instrument to show His power!'

Yes, He is answering my prayer, but in His way, not mine, as it should be.

I have a difficult time with my daughter, she's grown up
and for some reason she has'nt appreciated the way she was raised we did'nt give our children everything they wanted
just the things they needed and she was just the opposite with her own children and they really don't appreciate anything and you think she would realize you have to teach your children values and they have to earn and work for what they want she says she does'nt believe in correcting her chjldren and she does'nt want to have anything to do with her Dad and me and that is something Ijust do not understand our other children are older than she is they are sons and they do not have the same attitude that she does Iask that you pray for our whole family
Thank you , Sarah Pilgrim

I am sorry that your relationship with your daughter is creating sadness in your life. I too share the same concerns about my 32 year old son and his wife and my 5 & 6 year old Grandsons. They live a two day drive from us. Their actions are very self centered, they seldom respond to phone call messages, seldom return my calls, seldom say "Thank You".

My daughter-in-law has a very non-forgiving spirit and tends to hold a grudge. My son has little to do with his side of the family and his wife does not like to be involved with me, my son's father, my son's only full brother with whom he was very close, his grandparents and extended family members. It hurts everyone in our family.

I continue to pray that my son and his wife will respond to God's calling and turn to Him. I am always here for them when they want to talk. I do my part by leaving messages, texts, emails and sending my grandson's their "Bana" and "Papou" packages by mail every month. (grandma and grandpa) I know if we do what God would have us to do that God will do the rest. Do i get sad, angry, jealous and many other emotions? A Big yes!! But when these emotions creep up I quickly turn to God and a faithful God fearing friend who helps me stay on track. The Serenity prayer helps much. I am more available to serve God if I am not drowning myself in my own self-pity because my son and his wife are not doing what I expect them to do. God has a plan.
God Bless You and keep you peaceful through this time and may God Bless Your daughter and her family.

Your readers may be interested to know that in my case, God answered my prayer after 32 years. The last 10 years of the 32 I relaxed and left it to God, no more asking or coercing him. Shortly after I received from God, I had the audacity to ask him why he waited so long to answer me affirmatively. I received the answer at the following Sunday service in the scripture reading.The reason was so wise and good and I realised the long wait was for a necessary purpose. God did not allow my request to happen earlier as this could have resulted in something disastrous happening. Thank you Lord, you are the greatest!We need to trust God always.

Tricia

Dear Debbie
How a issue to have touched, I am going through in this situation and exactly thinking like you, why God is too busy to answer me. I am living in the counter where women have very limited freedom, in religious life and in ordinary life. Why God like in pain, why God teach us beautiful things through pain and sufferings. I am religious and few years back I was in state happily living as soon I came back, challenges are chasing me difficulties has covered me all over. What I have wished only is to serve my God and only I said God I just need you nothing else and form that day my God is keep testing me. I don’t know what I have down wrong to pay through pain and suffering. If you have understand why God take too long to come to help please help me to understand this mystery.
peace to all

Dear Iffat,
First, I want to say that you are an extraordinarily BRAVE, COURAGEOUS woman. Your fortitude to live as a Christian in a primarily Muslim country is ENORMOUS. I praise God that He has called you to Him, to be a follower of Him through Christ Jesus, Our Lord. Because you are a Christian in a Muslim country you will always be tested in pain, testing you through suffering. You will lose family, friends, community support. However, may you be an inspiration to others. I admire you, because you are already STRONG! Always CLAIM the PROMISES of God that has been set in the Bible, which is the Living, Breathing Word of God. The book of Psalms talks about pain and suffering a lot. CLAIM the promises of Psalm 91! I have claimed the promises of Psalm 91 and have seen miracles in my life. Also, read the book of Job and see the pain and suffering that Job endured and at the end of it all, he still Loved and Praised God.

I will leave you the following scripture for you to CLAIM as PROMISES from God:

"HOPE AND TRIUMPH"

"In the world, you shall have tribulation (trouble)" (John 16:33)

However,

"Let NOT your heart be troubled" (John 14:1)

Instead,

"Be anxious (worried, scared) for nothing; but in EVERYTHING by PRAYER and SUPPLICATION (humbleness), with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known unto God. And the Peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4: 6-7)

Wow! This is so powerful: And the Peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus"

May you find your peace, Iffat.

Strength & Love through Christ Jesus,
Jennifer

Dear Iffat,
Your heart is beautiful and you are a Beloved Daughter of the Most High God. Your question is one we all ask...why suffering? Why pain? We all have our opinions as you have read and this is simply one more. First, recognize that we have an enemy, satan, who is called the father of lies. His tactic is to get us to believe lies that will drive us away from God. The truth is God is Good and God is Love. Also, we are saved by grace and Jesus' death on the cross, not be earning or working harder. Ephesians 2:8-9. Satan wants us to look at our circumstances to determine if God is Good and loves us instead of looking at our circumstances through the absolute truth that He loves us and is intimately involved in our lives. In every area of suffering, For me my relationship with the Lord is the most important thing. And the trials are just the stage for an opportunity to go deeper in my dependance and seeking of His Presence. While I seek to be obedient, I don't seek God just to follow the instructions...I want to know Him and advance His kingdom as a co-laborer like David did. Instead of "God take this away" try praying "God, I thank you that you love me and are with me right now. Show me where you are in my situation and what is your heart to do in this? You are my Good Shepherd and I look to you to lead me. I What is it you want to be to me in this situation? My Provider? My Abba Father? My Comforter? My Deliverer? I'm expectant that this can bring me into a deeper knowledge of who you are for me. I Praise You." Finally, realize that not all that happens is "God's Will." A great book on this is "When Heaven Invades Earth" by Bill Johnson. We are here to advance His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. Some is battle and standing for righteousness in a broken and sinful world. God doesn't orchestrate evil and sometimes we accept what we need to be standing against in Spirit-led prayer and responses. Read the book of Esther to see how God took a woman's difficult circumstances and used her to stand against evil and save her people from destruction. Might there be ways He wants you to bring Light into the darkness around you? I pray Jesus shines His light in your heart today in reassurance of His love and presence.
blessings to you.

Well yes, but, what's the ending to the story on the specific prayer?

I noticed there are not a lot of men commenting this morning.
I have to admit, we as men, tend to get that cowboy, I can do it myself attitude. In our pride and stubborn ways, we tend to want to handle it "without" God.
What a blessing to think from the perspective of listening for that "still, small voice," that small breeze from the Holy Spirit giving us His answer instead of a loud, boisterous HERE IT IS!
God bless you, Debbie, and thanks.

Waiting is hard, but I learned a lot in that time. My identity and career was turned upside down and I was devastated. But I literally clung to Him. I had to make some major changes to move forward, but as I look back I see God's hand in preparing me for a simpler life focused on my family. I also was humbled during the experience which was needed for my spiritual growth.

God's perception of time, is not our earthly perception of time. Everything God does is ALWAYS in his time.

Praying is so very personal and intimate. For me, peace came when I reached the point in my prayers of saying, "You know better than I do what is right and good for me. I know Your Holy Perspective is not something I can even comprehend. I trust you to take this problem and answer it in Your Perfect Way. And I ask that Your Spirit would help me to hear and understand Your response. Help me to remember to 'Be still...'"

When I lost my job last fall, I "heard Him say 'I've got something for you'. So I waited, patiently, looking for work and enjoying my time at home. 5 weeks later I got a call about a job as a church Secretary. It turned out to be the perfect job. I am so glad I waited patiently - the peace that surrounded me during that time was so much better than fretting and telling God to hurry up. If he had hurried, I would have missed that job. I truely believe God always hears our prayers, and starts to work it out for us immediately...just that we have to wait for the correct timing, which with God doing it, will be perfect.

Cheryl- you are the exceptionally fortunate few who managed to find the right job within 5 weeks of losing your last one. Not everyone is as fortunate as you. Some have been out of work for over a year or years and still have not gotten the opportunity they so deserve. It's easy to say be patient and be in the present when you have only waited a mere 5 weeks... Still waiting to hear God's answer.

While you're alive, the answer is never no. It all comes down to faith in action -- praying (or wishing, or wanting) alone isn't enough, and God answers through results. No answer means -- change your actions. It's Gods way of guiding you to your goal.

What I have found is that God does hear our prayers but we must stop trying to control when God should respond to our prayers. The wait may seem long but not for Him. God has perfect timing. When we stop talking at God and begin listening for His still, quiet voice; then we will find His peace. Just remember an anxious wait says you doubt Him but a listening heart, says that you trust Him.

Does anyone ever think that perhaps God is saying "NO" or "WAIT AWHILE"?

Do people think that God is to only answer prayers by saying "YES"?

When I pray for things, I always end by saying "thy will be done". There are times when we want things desperately but God knows what is best for us and sees the future on how our wants will effect our lives. We need to pray for his guidance throughout the day and trust him to do just that.

What a great story that truly hits home for me. Lately, I've been struggling with some spiritual issues and, at times, I've also felt that God wasn't listening to me.

When I spoke to my pastor about this he literally gave me the same advice, "are you listening to what God is saying?" Since then I've been including "Lord, give me an open ear to what you are saying to me" in my prayers.

God has heard your prayers. I would start thanking Him for the answers to those prayers. Worship Him with a thankful heart. Thank Him that the situations you prayed about are working out. Thank Him that you know what to do. Thank Him because He is good and He is faithful. I believe your answers will come while you worship Him.

This is so profound but true, as very often we do treat God like a celestial bellhop thinking we know what we want when
He really wants to give us all we need, if we'd just get into His presence and worship.

I pray hourly for God's guidance in accordance with His will and way. I get an overflow of conflicting information, and still cannot make decisions because it is so confusing. How do I know what I do is right and when to do it and whether it is in fact what God wants me to do? I am desperate for answers! Is it a matter of be patient and wait for a unique answer?

You are not alone in your wondering is it God I have the same problem I wish I had an answer for you. Keep at it because I do believe the answers will come. God Bless You

I am praying as I type this that my computer will upload these comments.

I have been in God's waiting room on many occasions. 100% of the time, after my prayer was answered (anywhere from almost immediately to almost 30 years later) I saw the big picture of why the Lord wanted me to wait.

I have also been without work for over a year; however, I became seriously ill in my last job - the stress, etc. exacerbated my health issues. I "went down on my face" before the Lord and said whatever it took to get me well, I gave Him permission to do so. He wants to hear from us, he wants us to give everything up to him, He wants us to submit everything to Him in a complete and trusting way.

During this past year, I have seen the big picture. I required major reconstructive foot surgery 4 months after leaving my job. I was blessed to have some of my job benefits (which I paid for) - I required PT for five months and still am recovering. If I had gone to a new employer or stayed in my old job (my MD was firm that I needed to leave", the foot surgery and recovery would have been close to impossible.

I also have learned to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me when I read Scripture and other devotional material. He is the teacher and can clarify so much. I further ask the Holy Spirit that I hear only God's answer when I pray - now that answer is not immediate most of the time - but it helps. The Holy Spirit "utters our prayers to the Father" when we don't know how to pray.

Fear and confusion are not from The Lord.

I recommend, if you can find it, the book, "The Teacher" by Catherine Marshall. It is a wonderful book that shows specific areas in which she or others prayed and how the Lord responded. Catherine was a writer/contributor to Guideposts for many years - all of her books are marvelous!

Prayers for all who have responded on this site.

I wish you success with your sales...I just posted the Facebook link...next to the description....so hopefully someone from my large FB list, will respond !

Carol Natoli

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