Country singer, Garth Brooks twangfully mourned that his earnest plea to make a beautiful girl his own went ignored by God. Later in life, as he appreciated the gift of his wife, he understood the bigger plan that was accomplished to protect him from second best and how everything worked out just as it should. He ended by thanking the Lord for unanswered prayers. If only we could see all of our seemingly disregarded requests from tomorrow's rooftop. But since we don't get to know the future, we must trust that God has our best interests in mind. That all those desires don't go without a reply, but sometimes a "not yet" or even a "no" for our own good.
It's important to look at some reasons the Bible gives for God being silent at certain times in our lives. Because we can't calculate the reason perfectly for every instance, we need to whittle down the possibilities so we can be sure we're living according to God's Word. First and foremost, God is Lord and we've been given finite minds that cannot fully comprehend His breadth. However, we can do our best to align ourselves with His will. How do we know His will? By reading His Word. It's impossible to be reading daily and not come across Scriptures that demonstrate what God yearns for of us and what he abhors.
The Bible clearly states, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." (James 4:3) Do you have poor intentions? Can you be honest with yourself?Another reason for unanswered prayer is the verse in Psalm 66:18 that challenges us to play a game of introspection: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." Is there someone you haven't forgiven? Is there some constant sin you keep returning to? We all sin every day but if we live in sin, we block God's response to our prayers! How sad! And we blame Him for not caring! It's like a brash teenager who smashes up the car more than once, is unremorseful and then doesn't understand why we don't just hand over the keys the next time they beg to go out.
Yet, if the Holy Spirit is not revealing anything in particular to you that needs change, consider the possibility that there's an intricate design being painted on the canvas of your life. God sees the end product in all its glory. You must trust that the Master Artist will complete what He began in you. Job and the blind man (John 9:1-3) testify the trials that happened in their lives were not a result of sin, but to glorify God. Honestly, I'd really like for the Lord to share the exact colours, textures and shapes on my canvas, but if He doesn't, I'll do my best to be thankful that He takes joy in working on the masterpiece of my life. And any unanswered prayers? I pray patience and trust will lead my doubts, my emotions, and my prayers.