I've heard it said that God always answers our prayers, but we sometimes miss His answers because they are not what we are looking for. Or, God always answers our prayers, but sometimes He says, "No." I think such statements are an attempt to give comfort in a situation we've all experienced - praying and praying and praying, yet receiving no clear answer from God.
I have a friend, a young mother, who is suffering from an unexplained, debilitating medical condition. For many months now, she and her doctors have searched tirelessly for answers. For months, God has graciously brought my friend to mind multiple times each day, so that I can lift her up in prayer. For months, an army of brothers and sisters have prayed faithfully for this dear woman. And for months, as my young friend has physically wasted away, God has provided no answers.
Since Steve's heart episode last fall, I have battled against anxiety over his health. ...be anxious in nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God...(Phil. 4:6) Be anxious in nothing. Pray. A dry cough in the night and I'm awake, motionless, straining to hear Steve breathe. Pray. Pray. Pray. And still there is the breathlessness, the ringing in the ears, the fatigue, the concern about medications.
An intimate relationship violated, shattered...how many years has it been now? I've grieved the loss of trust, prayed for renewed intimacy, day after month after year. Healing has been painfully slow, the fading of scars almost imperceptible. Pray. Maybe today will be the day that God's grace works a miraculous restoration.
Have you ever prayed, maybe for months or even years, and received no answer? I have. And I've found that when God doesn't answer my prayers, there is only one thing to do - PRAY...
1 Thessalonians 5:17