Do you ever struggle with unanswered prayers?
Although, every believer has unanswered prayer, it can sometimes, lead a person to conclude that he or she is not worthy enough or deserving of God’s favor.
I have had such a deep longing within my heart that I’ve desperately wanted to see come to pass. For the last several years I have waited for the Lord to answer my prayer. I wait patiently on my good days and tell myself “It’s just not God’s timing yet” But, on my bad days I feel afraid and hurt and unworthy.
I began to wonder why I struggled with unanswered prayer so much and why I always felt defeated. You see, I never realized the correlation between how I view God and my prayer life before; Let me explain.
I was raised in an angry, abusive home where I was sexually abused. The only role models I had were quick tempered mean alcoholics. Needless to say, I grew up scared of men. My life was filled with so much fear, pain, hurt, betrayal, and lies. Manipulation and deceit were at the core of our home. I found myself thinking I was not lovable. In my mind if my own parents could not love me, there had to be something wrong with me.
So years later, after I became a believer, the concept of a kind, loving heavenly Father was a completely foreign concept to me. The words my pastor spoke sounded wonderful, like a fairy tale, but deep down I couldn’t escape the sense of God’s judgement and anger. Even when I read my Bible, I seemed to focus on the legalism aspect of scripture. And every time I failed, messed up or fell short, I felt myself the target of God’s anger. I came to almost expect unanswered prayer, because I believed I did not deserve to be blessed.
This began a cycle of falling short all the time and making unwise choices. Never realizing the connection between my childhood and my skewed perception of God. The years of an unloving atmosphere filled with anger and fear had warped my brain, therefore, unconsciously blocking the truth of who God really was.
It wasn’t until after my second abusive marriage, I began to recognize that I had become comfortable with accepting less than what the Lord desired for me. This was bolstered by the declaration from my ex-husband that the Lord had told him to divorce me and had in fact, taken me out of our marriage for his ministry. That are marriage was never ordained by God.? I guess in some way, this belief somehow absolved him of all the hurt he had caused me. Since I had been long ago programmed to believe that everything was my fault, I bought into his lie. This had devastating effects on my heart and feelings of worth. I felt so much shame for my divorce and thought, “here I go again disappointing God, once again falling short, I had failed as a wife.” I did not even sign my divorce papers when I was served, because I feared God’s wrath.
I remember sharing with my counselor that I desperately wanted to please God. I shared how I knew God was mad at me, because I had failed again. That I knew I did not deserve a happily ever after, like most Christians. My counselor took my hand and said “Cheryl, God is not angry with you, He loves you, He cares for you and He understands your past and wants desperately to heal you. Slowly thru my brokenness and pain, and on my knees seeking God, that the truth started soaking in. I think this was the first time I realized that maybe, it was true, God was not angry with me and in fact loved me.
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. Psalm 145:8
This verse which says God is slow to anger, that He offers forgiveness when I confess my failures and that He does not hold my shortcomings against me, began transforming not only my brain, but my heart. And if that were not awesome enough, the fact that God is abounding in mercy and loving-kindness toward us..” As I meditated on this verse I began to believe God’s truth, the massive wall that had protected my heart as a child and continued into adulthood, slowly began to come down.
The unanswered prayer that was weighing on my heart for so long, was lifted. I began to see that the Lord is my Daddy, the Dad I never had. I realized as I love my children unconditionally and want what is best for them, so does my Heavenly Father. My prayers began to change, I started trusting that I could trust Him with my deepest hurts and needs. He knows my heart and the heart of the person I was praying for. He and only He knows how this prayer should be answered. I began to truly have a peace that passes all understanding. Knowing if this door closes, He has something better for me.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight Psalm 3:5-6
He is our gracious heavenly Father who loves and accepts us as we are, patiently bearing with us, teaching and guiding us as we grow and mature in Christ. He is not mad at me, and He is not mad at you. God is for us, not against us (Romans 8:31). He has good plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), and He loves us with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Sometimes our past experiences shape us in ways we don’t fully understand. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, God reshapes us, transforming our hearts and minds as only He can. Though it often takes time, God’s truth can work its way deeply into our hearts and completely break down walls built of lies. And oh, how He loves to bring those walls down! I learned I am worthy, worthy of love and am a beloved child of God. Amen
So, the sentence at the beginning; Although, every believer has unanswered prayer, it can sometimes, lead a person to conclude that he or she is not worthy enough or deserving of God’s favor. Is far from the truth, The Lord either answers are prayers with a yes, or a no and No is because we have a good Father in God, who, just like a good earthly father, desires to give His children what’s best for them even if He has to say no to something they want right now. Or He is teaching you to trust in His timing, to wait on Him, If you’ve asked God for answers but find yourself waiting longer than you planned, take a moment now to thank Him in advance for His answer. Trust that He is working behind the scenes on your behalf. Don’t give up. Look forward in hope and expectancy for Him to respond and remember that the Lord is good to those who seek Him. The question is: Do we really believe that He is good? If we did, wouldn’t that be cause to celebrate, whether He says yes or no?
Father God, today I choose joy because I believe You are always saying yes. Sure, there are places of disappointment in my life and there are things I would like to be different, but I choose to give thanks. Starting today, I choose to respond to You as if You are always good — a Father who has my best in mind. Because You are good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.” Max Lucado