“Why is God not answering my prayer?” questioned by 9 year old the other day. “Mommy, I prayed to God for healing of my sickness and I am still sick. Why is He not answering me?” Katie was frustrated, confused and angered that God was not answering her prayer for help. Suffering from seizures since she was one year old, Katie has always been very in tune with asking God for healing. She gets it like no other. So you can imagine her frustration when she felt like God either wasn’t listening or He was mad at her.
Prayer is a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God. Answered prayer will only be recognized when we truly believe what we are asking for is possible AND if we are open to seeing God answer our prayers in different ways than we expect. Try explaining that to a 9 year old. I gave it a whirl.
“God is listening, Katie. Why do you think He isn’t answering your prayer?”
“Because I asked Him to make me better and I am still sick.”
“You certainly slept well last night. That is the first time in several days that you have slept through the night without any coughing.”
“Yes. I know.”
“Do you think God answered you by allowing your body to get some rest so that it could heal on its own?”
“Maybe, but I wanted to be all better when I woke up and I am not!”
That was true. She wasn’t quite better. Her little nose was still running. Her cough started up again as soon as she started walking around. Her little eyes were droopy because she was still fighting off this terrible cold. She was not better. God didn’t answer her the way she had wanted, but He did answer.
When we pray for God’s help and guidance, we need to be open for the beauty of His answer. It may not be exactly what we were hoping for, but that is all part of prayer. God gives us what we need not necessarily what we want. When we pray persistently, our hearts become open to God’s plan. We don’t change His mind; we change our own minds.
I remember in my teens praying that my boyfriend would come back to me. He had left me for another girlfriend, and I was sure he would see the error of his ways. I prayed that God would help guide my boyfriend back. It didn’t work that way. Years down the road (and I mean years) God introduced me to a fabulous man who would become my husband and the father of my three precious children. You see, God knew what I needed. When I was open to God’s plan, then I recognized He was answering my prayer by not sending that boyfriend back to me.
Trusting in God and His plan is essential to our prayer life. We have to place our complete faith that God will answer our prayers in the way that we need (not the way that we want). Katie feared in her prayer life that God was not listening because He wasn’t answering right away or the way she wanted, but that was so far from the truth. God was listening. He is guiding us all the time. In order to receive the gift of answered prayer, we must keep our eyes open and focused on God; or we just might miss His answer.