When your prayers seem to fall on deaf ears

Have you ever felt disappointed?

Have you ever felt the disappointment of waiting for something for a long time? A partner, a child, a promotion, a move, or perhaps some other unfulfilled dream in your heart?

Me too.

And waiting can be so hard on our fragile human hearts.

When we go through a long period of waiting, how easy is it to let doubts creep in and to believe that God either doesn’t hear our prayers or care about you enough to answer?

But I wonder how often we let those creeping doubts persuade us to give up just before our breakthrough comes, at exactly the point when we need to persist in prayer the most?

Reflections on Daniel’s experience

I love the book of Daniel because it reminds me not to lose sight of hope, and it reassures me that sometimes there is more to our periods of waiting than meets the eye. You never know how God is working behind the scenes. And sometimes there is also a spiritual dimension that we don’t always see or fully understand.

Just look at this extract from the Book of Daniel:

“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained.

This passage reassures me of what I hope and believe on all my best days; that God actually hears and responds to our prayers – even when the answer seems to take a while to appear or to be outworks. Even when we’re left waiting and wondering for a really long time…

Because just look what’s going on here for a second. An angel appears to Daniel and tells him that he was sent almost instantly, in answer to his prayers, but also that he was held up and the answer delayed because of spiritual resistance.

I often think it would have been so easy for Daniel to feel deflated, defeated, and to begin to doubt that his prayers were heard by God, or that God even cared at all.

It would have been so easy for him to say, as I so often do, ‘I’ve been praying about this for 20 days already, God clearly isn’t answering… and to just give up.

But just imagine how different the story could have ended, if that had been the case.

And I wonder could it also be the same with our prayers sometimes too?

What are you hoping & praying for right now?

What are those things that you are waiting or hoping or praying for right now?

What are those longings in your heart that you might have been pursuing for quite a while?

And what are those prayers that you have been bringing before God for months or even years, and feel tempted to give up on altogether?

Right now I am praying for a second healthy pregnancy. I still haven’t yet seen that hope fulfilled and it has been an 18 month journey so far…

But could it possibly be that God has already heard, and responded, and that even right now it is battling its way into being?

Perhaps just like Daniel’s prayers, my unanswered prayers and your unanswered prayers are sometime delayed by spiritual resistance or other external forces too?

And if so, maybe what’s required from us now is simply persistence and not giving up.

Because who knows what God might yet do. Todayomorrow could be the very day when breakthrough comes…

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