Unanswered prayers

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by Mervyn Morelock, Lt. Colonel –

Have you ever had an unanswered prayer? I suppose all of us have. What to do about it is the question. Sometimes we pray and pray and God is silent. How does this affect your faith?

We’ve all heard the explanation about prayer: God answers prayer in three ways. Sometimes he says “Yes,” and sometimes “No,” and sometimes “Wait.” I heard a wag once say that God answers prayer in four ways. Sometimes he says, “You’ve got to be kidding!” (I guess most of us would have to admit that is the answer we received to the thoughtless and selfish prayers we’ve offered).

But what about the serious prayers we have offered that didn’t get answered? The “No” answer is a most difficult one, but the “Wait” answer is almost as difficult. It’s a test of our faith.

We once received a note from a man who said he wanted to be removed from the Prayer Partners list. When asked why, he said he didn’t think any of his prayers were being answered! So now we include a page in the saprayusw.com list titled, Praise Reports.”

Two recent stories have made me think a bit more about answers to prayer, especially the ones that seem to say, “Wait.”

One was an experience my wife had in counseling with an ARC beneficiary who prayed to receive Jesus into his heart. He said with a sense of awe in his voice, “My mother prayed for me for 20 years before she died two years ago. And today her prayers have been answered. I’ve found Jesus as my Savior!”

The other was told in an e-mail forwarded to me on the Internet titled, “Are you praying for your family?” written by Aletha Hinthorn of CometotheFire.org.

She mentions the testimony of an evangelist, Sammy Tippit, who grew up in a secular home with no apparent spiritual heritage. He recently discovered in a written description of his grandmother, who died five years before he was born, that she was referred to as a “woman of prayer” and it was said “the doors of the church shook when she prayed.”

Sammy realized “why” when he heard the gospel for the first time and repented and received Christ. Two nights later he was called to preach. Later, Sammy’s father came to Christ before he died. One of Sammy’s uncles felt so miserable he went to the doctor, but the doctor found nothing wrong. One Sunday morning he called Grandma’s pastor saying, “I think I need to pray.” He walked into the church during the service, and, without stopping to sit down, walked to the front and fell at the altar. Not only was his life transformed, but also that of future generations. Sammy’s grandmother was one who believed for her children, but did not receive the answers except by faith. Two of her sons did not receive Christ until after her death. But her prayers were answered!

God answers prayer! And he will answer yours.

Someday, at just the right time, your prayers will be answered. In evangelist Sammy Tippit’s story the prayers of his grandmother were answered in ways she could not have imagined, for in his ministry in over 80 countries, he has impacted millions of lives throughout the world.

She was one of those who “were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance” (Hebrews 11:13).

So don’t despair when there seems to be no answer to your prayers. God often is waiting for the right time and place to answer with a “Yes!” that may be far beyond your imagination or faith!

So don’t grow weary of praying. There is power in prayer!


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