Written by Candace Maxymowich
“I don’t even know why I’m praying for this anymore,” I thought as I sobbed. “It seems like every time I pray for something, God says, ‘Thank you for your prayers, but that’s not My will, please accept this.’”
I was ready to give up on what had gone from fervent explanations of the reasoning for my request to mumbling a few words for the thing I wanted most. I didn’t really believe my fervour or mumbling even mattered anymore. I thought that if God wanted to answer my prayer, He would – and if He didn’t want to, He wouldn’t, so why waste my time, energy, and emotions on something I had no control over?
I hated the place in which I’d found my apathetic heart. I wanted to believe my prayers were important to God, that He listened intently like a loving Father and considered my desires carefully. I wanted to believe He was working for my good and not just answering prayer requests arbitrarily like I pictured Him doing while He sat on His throne.
I’ve come to learn life is full of battles that would be impossible to conquer without God’s provision. It’s vital we take note of the way we are instructed to approach His throne in those times of need. Hebrews 4 tells us to come boldly – meaning to be confident, courageous, forward, strong, and firm. There’s a big difference between wishing to receive something from God and being determined to receive it.
I began to get specific and did my best to be bold in my asking. The more I prayed, the more I began to have peace, but not peace that made me feel confident my prayers would be answered – rather, peace with any answer. As my heart’s desires began to change, so did my request.
Praying with the expectation of an answer doesn’t mean expecting God is going to do exactly what you want. Rather, praying with expectation means believing God is going to bring goodness and growth out of whatever situation you find yourself in – whether it’s the exact outcome you’re hoping for or not. It doesn’t mean it will be quick or easy or seem like a good thing at first, but the only way to be confident in our prayer lives is to trust that God is good, He loves us, and His will is ultimately going to be accomplished.
We have to remember that just because our prayers aren’t working or God seems a million miles away, it doesn’t mean He is absent. He promises He’ll never leave us. Even when we don’t understand, we can still trust. Even when we have unanswered prayers, we can still have faith.
Yet, even when our prayers are answered, it’s not always easy.
Sometimes grieving happens when God answers a prayer we’ve been praying for a long time. I thought to myself, “God answered your prayer and gave you what you wanted – Why can’t you just be happy about it?” I’ve come to realize it’s ok to grieve the end of a previous season when God answers a prayer.
When God answers a prayer that involves a life change, it’s alright to grieve. Actually I think it’s healthy and necessary to mourn the former things as we transition into the new things. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” I think that at times we’ll experience grief as we leave a season behind, no matter how excited we are about the answer God has given us.
If you’re struggling with conflicting emotions about an unanswered or an answered prayer, take heart. God is faithful to hear your prayers and move on your behalf, and He will be faithful to help you embrace the answer. If you’re stepping into the new thing God has called you to, remember He will be with you in the transition, too.