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Unanswered Prayers

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There’s a country song from the ‘90s I love about disappointments and surprises of God’s unanswered prayers. Our prayers are filled with the desires of our heart, but what happens when you feel your prayers are unanswered?

After Jesus radically changed my life, I felt a persistent tug from the Holy Spirit to end the long-term romantic relationship I was in. I pleaded with God to change His mind. I didn’t want to lose my boyfriend, but I wanted to be obedient to God and knew I needed to be with someone who loved the Lord. 

When I finally submitted to the Holy Spirit, I prayed God would provide that godly man I desired. But for the next decade, I walked in a season of singleness. I felt confused, abandoned, and lonely—why was God leaving my prayers answered?

Reading about Lazarus’ death in John 11 reminds me of my story. Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus to alert Him of Lazarus’ illness. He was dying, and they wanted Jesus to heal him. They were friends, after all; of course, Jesus would show up in their time of need and answer their prayers! But He didn’t, and Lazarus died. 

When Jesus arrived two days later, Martha and Mary wanted to know why He hadn’t come sooner. When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32). 

For years, I prayed for God to give me what I desired—a husband. Like Mary, I knew what Jesus was capable of. I trusted He could heal and restore my heart, so why was my prayer unanswered? 

Jesus went to see where Lazarus had been laid. People started to murmur, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying” (v. 37)? As they arrived at the tomb, Jesus told them to “roll the stone aside” (v. 39). Still, Martha contested that he had been dead for four days and the smell of his body would be terrible. What on earth was Jesus doing?

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” (John 11:40)

The stone was rolled away, Jesus called for Lazarus to come out, and the dead man walked out—hands and feet still bound by grave clothes. Before their eyes—the glory of God on full display!

Have you ever felt like Martha and Mary—or me? Pleading with the Lord, only to have your prayers seemingly unanswered? 

Mary and Martha’s prayer was answered, albeit in a very different way than they thought, but God’s glory was revealed as they never could have imagined!

Likewise, 10 years later, my prayers were answered in a way I could never have imagined. I married a godly man, became a stepmom to a wonderful young man, and we’re welcoming a new baby this fall. God’s glory is on full display in our lives every day. 

Now, I thank God for His timing and praise Him as His glory is revealed when His works are on display! That old country song I love was right—there are plenty of disappointments along the way, but in the end, we can thank God for unanswered prayers!  

If you’re waiting on God, pray this prayer with me.

Heavenly Father, You are God Almighty. I am Yours, but God, sometimes I forget. I want You to meet my needs on my terms. I’m eager to hurry your process along. Please give my heart rest and peace as I trust in Your timing. Remind me of the glorious things You’ve already done! Let me bask in Your goodness while waiting for You to reveal Your glory! Amen.  

~

Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About The Author

Maria Stockman
Maria
Schleicher

Maria is a Digital Copywriter at CBN who is passionate about using her writing to present the gospel and encourage someone to take the next step in their relationship with Jesus! In addition, she's an avid sports, fitness, and holistic health fan who lives outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and son.

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