Someone asked me recently why God doesn't answer their prayers. "I pray every single day for.....and it never happens." She said.
I didn't know what to say to her because for a long time I, too, was frusterated by unanswered prayers. I spent years praying for various things- a family member to be healed from cancer, a family member's marriage to be healed, a good grade on a science test, etc. And it felt like every prayer I prayed went unanswered. It felt like God was ignoring me.
But now that I'm a parent and I've had children come to me and ask for things- "Mom, can I have a new car for Christmas?" "Mom, can I jump off the roof into the pool?" "Mom, can we have cookies for dinner?" And I've had to say no to them...a lot. It occured to me that NO is an answer. LATER is an answer. WE'LL SEE is also an answer.
Just because God doesn't answer our prayers the way we want Him to, doesn't mean He's not going to answer it at all. He sees the whole picture. He knows what will happen if He says yes or if He says no or if He says later. He knows what's best for us and He will answer accordingly. If God is saying no, then He's saying no for a reason and we need to trust His good and perfect will for our lives.
Maybe He wants to teach us something through the journey to the answered prayer. For example, when we pray for patience, we're not miraculously patient. God doesn't give us patience, He gives us opportunities to be patient. When we pray for wisdom, He directs us to His word and gives us opportunities to be wise.
Maybe He's waiting for us to learn what to ask for that He can say yes to. "God, please give me an opportunity to show someone your love today." "God, please show me how to better please you."
He'll say yes to those things and in answering those prayers, He'll bless you!
My prayer lately has been, "Please, Father, break my heart with what breaks Yours." And in today's mail was a book called No Longer A Slumdog by K.P. Yohannan. Oh my goodness! I've nearly read the whole thing already and I was sitting at work balling like a big baby. My heart is so broken for the people and the children of Southern Asia. I am moved beyond words and want so badly to do something, anything to help make these people's lives easier. What a tragic, beautiful book.
If you want your own free copy, go here: http://www.gfa.org/book/ and order a completely free copy of the book. I promise you that it's worth the time and the read.
God ALWAYS answers our prayers! We have to remember that sometimes that No is an answer.