“Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
The other day, I was instantly brought to tears when the 90’s song Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks interrupted my day. I reflected on the tear-jerking lyrics and what this song used to mean to me before I came to Christ … and a flood of memories and prayers I used to pray came to mind. But in that moment I almost instantly recognized a disconnect. The tears that blurred my vision as I tried to keep my composure weren’t for the memories and prayers I used to pray. These tears were of revelation, gratitude, and awe of what God did with all of my so-called “unanswered prayers” over time.
In Pastor Carter Conlon’s recent 25:00 radio broadcast, A Call to the Nation, he walks us through a story in Luke, where a couple has lost hope in a once lifted prayer. As readers, we consider this couples’ desire for a child to be a “reasonable request.” But over time, they’d let go of this prayer and remained faithful in their walk with God. They too thought their prayers had gone unanswered.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when we wonder … what’s going on upstairs? There are seasons of prayer that bring us to our knees, drain us of every last tear, and test our faith to its very limit. Many people begin to pray less when these types of fervent prayers appear “unanswered.”
Throughout Carter’s message, I asked myself why God hasn’t answered some of my own “reasonable requests” in the past … to restore broken relationships, to breath into a stillborn, or to bring my little brother salvation. But after soaking in Carter’s teaching and reflecting on my personal prayers, I came to these three realizations:
- Prayers are always answered (sorry Garth)! Though they don’t always receive the response we want (or as quickly as we’d like), through continuous prayer we bear witness to what God has done unbeknownst to us over time.
- Praying is an act of faith. Without prayer, we aren’t putting our faith in God to move.
- Prayer is right where God wants us!
Some people might say the past is the future with the lights on. But I’d prefer to say my past prayers are the future promise of God’s faithfulness. So pray about the small things. Pray about the big things. But most of all, pray for the endurance to keep praying … because It’s Always Time To Pray.