When God Doesn't Answer Our Prayers

One of my favorite things to do is read through my journal entries from the past and see the ways the Lord has worked in my life and answered my prayers. It is humbling to look back at my desperate pleas and words of frustration scrawled in smeared black ink and realize God was actually listening. That He was there with me as I clutched my journal in frustration, often with tears pouring from my eyes. Big or small conflicts, I’ve found that the Lord is faithful, and He is constantly watching over me.

But then there are the prayers that remain unanswered. The prayers that seem to remain unheard. Desperate words I’ve cried out to the Lord over and over again. Worries and pains and sufferings that have been heavy on my heart for weeks, for months, for years.

In my weak human state, I’ve become fraught with anxiety, hyper-focusing on those areas of my life, forgetting the countless prayers the Lord has already answered, and growing frustrated with the Lord, wondering why he was “ignoring” me.

But I’ve come to learn that God gives abundant graces and answers to my prayers as GIFT. Not because I deserve them but because He wants to give them to help me grow closer to Him. I’m not entitled to anything He gives me, and I can’t be angry when He does not answer my prayers.

That being said, our Lord is a good and gracious God who wants to answer our prayers, who wants to give us the graces we need to bring us to heaven. But he also lets us suffer; he lets us wait in anticipation and sometimes does not answer our specific prayers if they will not bring us closer to our end goal: Heaven.

Sometimes He asks us to wait; he withholds answers. It is in the time of waiting, in the time of suffering, that we are called to offer up and unite our sufferings to Christ’s suffering on the cross. That we are called to continually run to the foot of the cross and seek comfort in the bleeding wound on Christ’s side. In this time of waiting, we can grow in virtue--in humility, patience, and charity.

It is this growth that will ultimately bring us closer to Him and closer to eternal salvation, where there will be no waiting, no suffering, no tears, but only joy.

Amid the trials, let me still radiate Your joy. Help me to remember that I’m not entitled to the gifts You so graciously give me. In the anxiety and sorrow in anticipation of an unanswered prayer, help me to remember that, in Your infinite Goodness and Providence, You give exactly what we need at the perfect time, and only let us suffer when we it will aid our eternal salvation. The sufferings, the trials, it is all well with my soul. Jesus, I trust in you.

Jacque Anderson