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.