Do you ever feel that God is not listening to your prayers? You keep praying for the same thing day after day. It seems that he will never answer your prayer. You wait as patiently as you can. Eventually what you prayed for does not happen. A matter of fact, the opposite of what you prayed for happened. You become heartbroken and perhaps upset with God. How could he not answer my prayer? Did he not hear you crying out to him every day? The answer is YES! Yes, God heard your prayer and answered your prayer.
God always answers our prayers to him. Sometimes they are not answered the way we want them to be. The way God answers prayer is possibly one of the hardest things to comprehend as a Christian. When our prayers are not answered the way we want, we sometimes start losing our trust in God, which can create a block in our relationship with Christ.
We desperately seek full control of our life. In reality, we don’t have control over everything in life. In our relationship with Christ, we surrender full control of our life to him. Our struggle is giving up control to him.
It is even harder when we have no idea what God is doing in our lives or why he allows things to happen. That is why we lose it when our prayers are not answered the way we want them to be. However, God does promise us that everything will work together for the good of those who love him. What does this mean exactly? Sometimes our circumstances don’t seem to be very good. What good can come of this and why could God allow this to happened when I prayed for the opposite?
When I question why my prayers were not answered the way I wanted them to be, I think back to an event in my life when I was about 6 or 7. My biological father had never been in my life. My mom remarried when I was about 3 years old. Once she was remarried, I started out my childhood having a step dad. He was the first father figure I had ever known. I lived with my mom, dad, and sister. I started out as a normal, happy child. I loved school and learning. My parents were always involved in my school activities. If I had a performance, they were there. If I had a soccer game, they were there. They even came up to the school to eat lunch with me, help with class holiday parties, field trips, and teach our class how to dance with partners at school. After school in the evenings, my mom, dad, sister and I would go walk around the middle school track down the road. We would all walk with our cat until night and talk. We would even have tea parties in my room with my tiny tea set and my dad would put on a British accent for fun. I remember days were my dad would take me in the den of our house and play dominos and other games with me. We would go camping during the summers. I felt we were a complete family.
Suddenly, everything changed. The perfect dad (so I thought) turned out to not be the person I thought he was. He started looking at pornography which led to other things. Once he started looking at pornography he changed completely. What he was doing started to affect my parents’ marriage and the relationships my sister and I had with him. Once, I was sitting on a couch next to my dad because he asked if I wanted to watch tv with him. We would talk when the commercials came on. While we were talking, I realized he wasn’t listening to me. He was looking at trash on tv and never heard anything I said. I kept repeating what I was saying to him in hope that he would talk to me instead, but he chose the trash on tv over our relationship. His addiction became so bad that he could barely function in life. He even almost wrecked the vehicle because he was looking at a sculpture of an indecent person on the side of the road.
Eventually, my mom gave him a choice. He could choose us or choose to continue with the pornography. She said if she caught him looking at pornography one more time she was leaving with us. The next thing I knew, my sister and I were packing our bags in the middle of the night. We had nowhere to go and spent the night in a car all night. We went back the next day to see if he cared and he didn’t. Finally, we stayed at my nana’s until we moved into an apartment of our own. My parents tried to work out their marriage the whole time they were separated. They even went to marriage classes, but they didn’t seem to work. Eventually, my step dad filed for a divorce. I was absolutely crushed. I was scared. The only family I had ever know was being ripped apart without a chance to ever restore it again. I did not want them to divorce. My mom, sister, and I kept praying daily for him as we always had.
I loved my dad and did not want him to go. I kept praying that God would make him change his mind and change him. I prayed that mom and dad would get back together if it was his will. I remember writing the same prayer in my prayer journal over and over again. I prayed the hardest and most I had ever in my life!
The next thing I knew, I was sitting outside the court room with my mom and my mom’s friend. My mom was not able to find anyone to babysit my sister and I. There were two benches placed next to each other. On one side was my mom and us and on the other was my dad and his people. At one point, my sister and I kept giving him notes that we loved him and didn’t want him to leave us. We kept begging him to change his mind. Eventually he told us no more notes. We were heart-broken. It was the hardest thing for us to accept. Once we left the court-house, we would not be a family anymore. We would be a broken family. I was so upset with God.
Why did God not answer my prayer? Did I not pray hard enough? Did I not pray long enough? Did he hear me at all? Why did he allow my only father to be taken from me and break my family into pieces?
Years later, I ran across my prayer journal and reflected on what had happened. I now realize that God did answer my prayer. He didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted. What I wanted was not his will. I found out years later that he hates God and Christians (I didn’t know at the time). He doesn’t have a relationship with God and has had severe mental illnesses that would make him unsafe to live with.
I know now that God was protecting me by not answering my prayer. They were not meant to get back together. He was not spiritually where he needed to be to lead our family the way God wanted.
Instead, God gave me the opportunity to grow up in a Christian home with my mom who is the strongest person in her faith I know. I have grown a lot in my faith since then. God knew what was best for me even though I thought I did. I feel I can trust him more because he worked everything out for my good. I understand now what I did not then. As I have grown more in my faith, I have been able to start surrendering full control to God. I realize I cannot do everything on my own and I don’t always know what is best for me.
God is faithful to keep his promises even though we don’t understand what he is doing in our lives or why he allows bad things to happen to us. We should strive to become closer to God so that we may start to reflect Christ and think the way he does. Wouldn’t it be great to have our will match God’s will for our life ?