“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” Mark 11:24
As a teacher at a Catholic school, I have the blessing to have a weekly Mass built into my work week. Every Wednesday, our student body gets together for the Mass. A few weeks ago, our school chaplain was preaching about unanswered prayers. I was pleasantly surprised to hear his words, as they were just what my heart needed in that moment. I know I have talked about this in the past, but it is something that has been on my heart the last few weeks. I have experienced many different revelations throughout this journey, many of them are usually traced back to my prayer life. In the beginning of this journey, I used to continually ask God for different blessings to come into my life. Yes, I would spend time thanking him for the things I already have and praising His name, but I always asked for the things that I wanted. While I know that we should ask God for the desires of our heart, I found that I would become resentful when I didn’t get what I wanted, especially when it came to starting a family. I will be honest when I say, that I spent many months being angry at God when my prayers were not answered. I know this may sound selfish, but it was truly how I felt. What I realized through my prayer journey was that I needed to shift my focus to something else. In time, I began to ask God for patience and understanding in His will for my life. I was able to differentiate between what I wanted and what His will is for me. I was praying these words every night through the Our Father “Thy will be done,” but I wasn’t living them out in true form. Instead of really reflecting on what those words really meant, I was acting like a selfish child when I didn’t “get what I wanted.” As time went on and my focused shifted, I found that my anger towards God began to subside and I was really able to become patient and understanding. If I am being honest, this wasn’t something that came easy and it is still something I need to work on every single day. I still find myself beginning to ask God for just what I want, instead of asking God what His will is for my life.
God shows us that our “unanswered prayers” are merely an invitation.
Throughout this journey, I found that God does not want us to respond in a negative way to unanswered prayers. Through these words: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours, God shows us that our “unanswered prayers” are merely an invitation. This invitation is meant to foster a deeper relationship with Him and within our faith. Jesus knows that our unanswered prayers are a difficulty we have to endure. In this, He is asking us to move beyond our limits and draw closer to Him. A deeper relationship with the Lord, demands of us to have confidence in His word and His promised for our life. 1 John 5-14, tells us “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” Notice the words “his will” in this verse. His, not ours! This is a relationship that takes time, hard work, and open, honest communication. Just think about the closest relationships in your life. How hard do you have to work to keep that relationship strong? What do you do to foster a love for that relationship? I can bet that it isn’t a one way street, it takes time, patience, and understanding. I believe that this is what God is asking from us in our relationship with him. It isn’t something that we ask for, receive, and forget about. We need to foster our love for God, the same way we foster a love in our closest relationships. Jesus asks us to “not lose heart” Luke 18:1. He understands that we are tempted to lose trust in what we think is an unanswered prayer; however we are surrounded by a God who performs countless miracles every single day. Remember that, the next time you are tempted to lose heart in His plan for you. If you are ever in a situation in your life where you begin to question his faithfulness, I only ask that you keep praying. Don’t give up. Use His promise for a future answered prayer as an invitation to foster an even deeper relationship with Him. And someday, you just might find that a deeper relationship with God, an understanding of his Word, and the beauty of an unanswered prayer was what you were asking for all along.
We are surrounded by a God who performs countless miracles every single day.
Lord, help me to foster a deeper relationship with you. Help me to recognize that an unanswered prayer is your way of asking me to trust in you. Help me to hold on to the hope of your promises and trust that your will for my life is much stronger than any request I ask of you. Amen.