Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. (NIV)
So many of us struggle with the notion of unanswered prayer. We pray for what we figure is a reasonable thing and nothing seems to happen as a result. Has God not heard? Has he given up on us? Have we not used the correct formula?
The fact is that there is no such thing as a prayer that has not been heard. And God is not one to just shrug his shoulders at our prayers and get back to sorting out the myriad problems of his world. Our prayers are not ignored or dismissed.
It is often the case that God has answered our prayers but we haven’t recognised the answer. We expected one thing, God has provided another. We may have prayed to get out of a tight spot when God has us stay there so we can learn a thing or two. Or we may have prayed for quick healing of an ailment when God has the symptoms continue so we seek medical help because another deeper ailment has to be treated.
Looking in only one direction for an answer may mean missing out on the real answer. Which is pretty much what the religious leaders in Jesus’ time did. They cried out to God for a Messiah and God answered their prayer. But they were so fixated on getting one sort of response that they missed the true response.
We can rightly wonder about answers to prayer. But be sure to search what is happening in us and around us to see if an answer lurks where we least expect it.