The last couple of Blogs discussed the roadblocks to prayer. But what happens when our lives are in order, we are walking in obedience and we have an earnest desire to please God, but yet and still, He doesn't answer our prayers? Many times what we want is not God's best for us and sometimes His will is the hardest thing to accept. He may be working on our blessing but His time is never our time. We want what we want and when we want it. When God denies that, prayer can become a hard thing to do. How should we respond when this happens?
"Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" (Psalm 10:1)
Have you ever felt frustrated...with God? Have you experienced unanswered prayer? Did he not heal your loved one or save your friend? Does it seem like your husband is no where to be found and that your wife is nowhere in sight? I have been there. I know what it feels like to ask God to do something for you and then His will turns out to the very thing that you hoped that He would not do! These are the times when it's hard to pray! You feel like the one that you can always count on is the one that let you down. When it seems that your prayers have gone unanswered, these are the critical times when you should continue to pray.
In Matthew 15:21-28, there was a Canaanite woman with a need. This is one of the unnamed women in the Bible that has always stuck out to me. The part of her story that touches me is in verse 21-22.
"A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
Notice, the part that says Jesus did not answer a word! The woman was crying out to Him but yet He did not give her what she wanted. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever begged God to work in a specific way on your behalf and He didn't? This is when God is working to deepen our faith and trust in Him. He wants us to know that even when He doesn't give us what we have asked for, that we still trust Him, love Him and depend on Him. He wants us to continue to come boldly to His throne in prayer! As our faith in Him deepens as does our love for Him and our gratitude for who He is not just what He does. Jesus never wants us to stop praying and petitioning for what we need and want.
I want you to read what happens next with the Canaanite woman.
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Jesus was not there to heal the Canaanite's woman demon-possessed daughter. But she was persistent. She continued to cry out (pray) to Jesus Christ even when He did not answer her prayer upon her first request. Jesus tested her faith and through her continued prayers she passed His test. She trusted that He could give her everything that she needed. She trusted in His healing power. She continue to show her love for Him through her persistent and consistent prayers! He didn't turn around and give up when Jesus did not answer a Word. Although her answer may have seemed far from her at first, she was confident that it would come and it did! Jesus doesn't always respond immediately to our requests; He wants to see the depth of our faith! He wants to see if we will continue to seek him in prayer when His delay or denial has made it hard for us to pray.
In difficult and frustrating times, it can seem as if God is far from us. We can begin to doubt the way that God is moving in our life or feel like He isn't moving at all! It is in these times when we really have to pray! Unanswered prayers can make us want to give up. Quitting weakens our faith and shows God we don't trust Him like we should. Prayer is a precious action that keeps us in close communion with God. It is not something that we stop doing when we don't get our way. So what do we do when God does not answer our prayers? How do we react when it is hard to pray?
We keep praying. When it gets hard, focus on what your life would be like without God. You will keep praying. When it gets harder, focus on His promise to never leave you nor forsake you. Keep praying. When it gets hard to pray, focus on the blessings that God has already bestowed into your life and keep praying. When it gets hard to pray, put your flesh in check, begin to work in the spirit and keep praying. When it gets hard to pray, put your faith in action, remind yourself that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or think and keep praying! God will never let you down and nothing can trump His best for our lives! Get on your knees and pray when it is easy and stay down there longer when it's hard! Never Stop Praying!!!!!!!
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Until Next Time,