What to do When Your Prayers Seem to go Unanswered an article by Tony Ogunlowo
We all pray, irregardless of our various faiths, to a supreme being to intercede in our daily lives and effect change where necessary. It’s an integral part of our religion to talk to our God on a frequent basis – asking for help is of paramount importance.
We might pray for a change in our financial situations, a new relationship or an improvement in our general lifestyles. We do this because we believe that our prayers will be heard and there will be a miraculous change in our circumstances.
And what about when our prayers are not answered?
As the mere humans that we are we become despondent and cart ourselves off to religious organisations or places such as churches and mosques to pray. We believe, being in these places surrounded by other people praying with a man of god at the head of the congregation, our prayers will be answered or we get our pastors to pray for us on our behalf. We might often accompany this with fasting and abstinence, depending on the complexity of our request.
And when our prayers are still not answered we wonder why.
In Mathew 7:7 it says ‘ask , and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you’, so why do our prayers go unanswered? Is God really that busy he’s not listening?
In the 2007 film ‘Evan Almighty’ starring Morgan Freeman there’s a scene, one of the most memorable, that describes how God answers our prayers (- it’s on YouTube under the title ‘pray for the opportunity’)
Without infringing upon the films copyright here’s a transcript of that scene:
JOAN – But my husband says God told him to do it…what do you do with
Al MIGHTY (GOD) -..sounds like an opportunity…let me ask you something if someone
prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience or does he
give them the opportunity to be patient? If you prayed for courage
does God give them courage or the opportunity to be courageous? If
someone prayed for the family to be closer do you think God zaps
them with warm fuzzy feelings or does he give them the opportunity
to love each other ?
This just goes to confirm the saying, ‘Man proposes but God disposes’
Unfortunately all our prayers seem to centre on ‘I want, I want’. Very rarely do we give thanks for the everyday blessings we receive and take for granted. And selfishly, like a pack of kids let loose in a toy or sweet shop, we want, want, want…..
This is where God steps in; like any good parent will decide what’s best for their children and not the other way round he decides what’s best for us at that point in time – you can’t always have what you want!
So when you go down on your knees, clasping your hands together to pray, the Lord God already knows what’s best for you or what you really need.
So when you pray for a new car don’t be surprised when you’re rewarded with good health for that’s what probably what you really need; or you pray to meet a new partner and you’re given a new understanding of yourself. Likewise if you’re going through a bad or tough time in life he might decide it has to continue so you can learn something about yourself or your life. Because you’re boke and need money doesn’t mean God is going to dump a pile of money in your lap because you prayed for it. No, he’ll give you the opportunity to earn the money by sorting out something else in your life it could be promotion at work, an old debt repaid or a general overhaul of your finances.
Always remember that the Big Guy upstairs knows what you really need – for he’s the Supreme Being. You may personally not know what you want because us humans have the tendency to be a selfish, ever-wanting, ever-demanding race.
So next time you go down on your knees to pray, before reeling off your lists of wants, why not start by saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
It’s a very simple prayer which I’m sure we all know.
There are people, out there, who seem to believe there is a specific way to pray that will make God listen to your request promptly.
I don’t think so.
Prayer is our intercession with the Lord God and talking to him requires us to acknowledge his presence with our reverence and sincerity: you don’t have to beat drums and sing at the top of your voices – he’s not deaf and hears all prayers.
Keep your prayers simple and if they are not answered immediately don’t despair, it might mean something else in your your life, which is more pressing, needing more attention than your present request has been taken care of.
Persevere, all prayers, within reason, are answered eventually.
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