When It Seems God Ignores Prayer

When my brother was a missionary in Papua New Guinea, he sent our mother a list of cities in which he hoped a church would be planted and suggested that she choose one for which she would pray. Mother chose Goroka and began to pray regularly for that city. Today Goroka has a large church with over 700 members.

God also answers precisely. In Exodus 33:13, Moses pled, "Teach me your ways." Psalm 103:7 states, "He made his ways known to Moses."

Later Moses prayed he would be permitted to enter into the Promised Land. God did not give him his heart's desire to go over into Canaan before he left this world. Still, God remembered his request. Fifteen centuries rolled by and Moses' desire was granted when he stepped into the Promised Land for the transfiguration of Jesus. (Matthew 17:1-3).

Sometimes it seems that God is ignoring our prayers. Could it be He has not noticed, or even worse, does not care that we are desperate for His help? When His help does arrive, though, we often realize that an earlier answer would have brought a smaller blessing.

Perhaps Mary was desperate for her Son to come to her rescue when it was evident the wine was about to be depleted and the wedding party was still going strong. He heard her request but did not respond in a way that assured her He would take care of her concern.

Not until the wine was completely gone, would the miracle be above suspicion. In Augustine's words, He might seem to have mingled elements rather than to have changed them.

Only after all other help fails, does our faithful Helper arrive. "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). The Greek phrase translated as "in our time of need" often means "at the last minute."

Thank You, Lord, for giving grace to trust You despite delayed answers to our prayers.

"For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations" (Psalm 100:5).

Aletha