What Do You Do When Prayers Aren’t Answered?

So what do you do when what you’re praying for, what you’re desperately believing for…doesn’t come to pass?

Does it mean you didn’t pray hard enough? Fast long enough? Maybe you weren’t good enough in general? Did you miss something? Maybe there was a sign you didn’t see, maybe somehow God is upset and quiet, maybe He’s trying to teach you something. The circles are endless and dizzying.

There are a lot of unknowns, but what is known is that we serve a loving God, but even more than that we are the children of a loving Father. It is this we must cling to, remembering that a child well brought up will not receive all they ask for. I think of Garth Brooks’ Unanswered Prayers and I recall things I had prayed for, relationships I wanted so badly to work, that in hindsight see how short I would have fallen had I got what I asked for. That logic is only somewhat comforting. I wish I had something profound for you, like most times all I have is a story.

Since we returned to the Emerald Coast we have been searching for a place. Even from the very beginning there was a strong resistance in me towards returning to the former restaurant I worked at. It felt like moving backwards, not forwards, but I wondered how I would pay for things? Why did I stop believing God would continue providing as he had done the last 4 months? The balance between faith and wisdom is a skill developed over an entire lifetime, only attainable by the Spirit. I kept banging on the doors to open to a home, I prayed, I had dreams and visions, but no doors opened.

Then, again, from out of the blue a call…about money…several thousand dollars were headed our way. God…Father…forgive me for doubting you. Even in my forgetful way, leaning on my own understanding, seeking provision instead of the Provider…still you come through. Unconditional love. The money got held up, we stressed. Oh ye of little faith. Had the money arrived when originally planned we would have used it to lock down an apartment. Not many days later it became apparent how regretful that decision would have been. Doors stayed closed. Then, I paused long enough to wonder if the reason the doors weren’t opening is because I was in the wrong hallway.

“Father, what would you like us to do?”

Quiet ponderings all the while, the questions in your mind you prefer not to recognize because it’s not your first choice, or your second for that matter, at the time, you finally give the attention they’ve beckoned of you. It was like turning the boat 90 degrees and suddenly the sails fill and you feel the movement forward. Doors opened, many doors and suddenly we were returning to the road to continue The Hope Tour, heading west towards California.

It happened quickly and abruptly, it felt like ripping a band-aid off.

There is a difference between efficiency and productivity. Efficiency is doing as many things as possible in as little time as possible. Productivity is doing the right thing at the right time. Prayer is very important, but knowing what to pray for maybe even more so. You can use a shotgun and hope to hit all the targets you had in mind, or you could get intel from your Superior, focus your aim, and let one round fire from a snipers rifle to achieve success.

Hopefully, this time it will stick. Godspeed all.

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