Have you ever asked the question, why doesn’t prayer work? Why at times does it appear that God ignores us when we pray to Him. Many have prayed for God to intervene and solve a problem that they are struggling with, but sometimes God‘s apparent answer is silence. If God answers your prayers He is increasing your Faith, if He doesn’t He is training your patience.
When you hit a certain level of prayers over the same situation and not seeing a change, it will eventually make you step back and ask yourself if it’s going to happen. There are other people who apply for a particular job in their field but don’t receive an update on their application. Sometimes, these unanswered questions are a blessing in disguise. Imagine asking for something that you thought would benefit you, but behind closed doors, it was not the right thing for you.
“Even sweet things can kill” (African Proverb).
When you take sweets off a child that has eaten 5 packets, they cry, but the child does not know that the mother is protecting their teeth and health. Sometimes, we want all the nice things, but behind it, we don’t know the depth of consequence it will provide. Look back over your life today, and ask yourself what sort of expectations you planned to achieve, and write the ones you received and the ones you didn’t. Compare them and see which expectations were met the most. 2016 has been such a blessing; there are things I did not even put effort in that I received, and this is not to say I am perfect, because I am not. It’s just that my Faith at the time was being tested and had to show God that I really trusted Him to see me through, and He really did show up.
What are you asking for today? A new job? A business opportunity? A new level of Peace? A long-term relationship? To maintain family unity? To be a missionary? These are great blessings, but what do you do when you do not see it come to fruition? Do you give up? Do you throw in the towel? Yes, I know how it feels, do not misunderstand me, but have you come to realise that God could be testing your motives behind it all What about your patience? How do you handle rejection when you have failed continuously? In other words, why not make rejection teach you a lesson to aim higher and divert your original plans to something more effective? The rejection you receive today should not be repeated tomorrow if you really want to see a change in your life. You would make an intentional decision to renew your mind, reflect and ponder on what you want to do.
So this is the structure that I usually take and would like to share it with you:
- PLAN – What decisions have you made today in planning a better tomorrow?
- PACE – How quick are you determined to meet your plans to make it come to reality?
- POSITION – Your mindset and character should be positioned in a positive mode where you are able to see yourself at where you desire to be.
When you plan your goals whether personal or professional, you are more likely to run with the vision and set yourself in a high league where you can attain them. But, if the goals do not come to pass, you plan something else, and see if that works, (maybe trial and error). I would rather work hard and fail to know that I tried to attempt something than to think about the vision and not do anything about it, because at least I can say I’ve learnt from my mistakes. It is not enough to say you are you’re striving to achieve anything because you remember the times you’ve failed. That is not breaking out of your comfort zone, and at times this could be one of the reasons why our goals are not being met. We are far too comfortable with what we have, that we build our bed there and stay because we are afraid to branch out of our comfort.
Apply this in your workplace today; some employees do not feel motivated enough to go to work, some go to make money and pay bills, others go to develop their career and others for promotion. Regardless of your motive, how do you handle the workload in your position? If you want that promotion in your job, how do you handle people also? Are you not aware that people are watching you knowingly and unknowingly? It would feel unfair for someone who started off as an Entry Level Marketing Analyst and promoted to a Senior Marketing Analyst in 6 months, whilst someone who has been in the company for 3 years+ is still in the same position of an Entry Level Marketing Analyst. What do you think the person who was promoted to a senior role did with their time? I would assume self-encouragement and motivation, persistence and hard work that initiated the promotion.
We want the promotion, the title, the name, but are not willing to put in the effort. The way I see it, what you put in is what you will get out. It is a waste of time envying someone else’s progress. All the energy you used to do this could have been used to invest in yourself and become better, but instead, you chose to allow your feelings to control you and make you bitter. So when you see your goals not being met, know that it is God working on your patience, your heart, and your attitude towards rejection. How you handle someone else’s success will determine how your own success will look like. If you are not happy for people when they are going up, don’t expect others to be happy for you.
In other words, if you are not willing to put in the effort now to work towards your goals, don’t assume that God will just drop everything your way and allow Him to pick up the pieces. He wants to see your input and effort to use that as proof that you are trusting Him. God’s Word tell us that working hard, but with faith in mind, can lead to great things he has planned for us. So imagine all the blessings He has lined up for us if we work hard. But please be reminded that in as much effort that you put into something, the result won’t always be what you expected. I am speaking from experience because I know of a time where I studied, researched, and spent hours on one application just to receive an email after 4 weeks saying ‘Unfortunately, we cannot take you on’. You wouldn’t believe the effort I put in, relative to an application I made a while back and received good feedback within 5 weeks.
Regardless of how the process takes, work at it with all your heart knowing and believing that something good will come your way. If you really think about it, when our prayers are met, we are very ecstatic, but how about being more determined when our prayers aren’t met. How do you handle that? When I was in a season of not working, I honestly did not see anything exciting in that, but instead of me wallowing in self-pity, I chose to make the most with my time and write a book: ‘It’s Time to Heal’ on Amazon and create a YouTube channel: ‘Esther N J’.
In our times of silence and uncertainty, that is the opportunity for us to use our free time wisely. This is not to sulk or become hard-hearted. It is a time where we must understand that what we already have, we can manage it and turn it around for our good. I used the money I saved to buy a car to invest in my book and my Canon camera whilst I was not working. I chose to do something useful with my time because as the saying goes ‘nobody knows tomorrow’.
I’ll give you four reasons as to why our prayers aren’t always answered:
- Gods time is not our time.
- Unrepentant sin is hardening our relationship with the Lord (Psalm 19:12).
- We are not asking in Faith (James 1:6-8).
- Our prayers may not be according to the Lords Will.
God has a plan for us because we are so special in His eyes. What we are asking the Lord to do may not be in accordance with His plan or purpose. If that is the case, He is not going to do what we ask; scriptures related to this can be found in 1 John 5:14-15, Matthew 6:10 and John 15:7. When your goals aren’t being met, see it as a blessing because God won’t give you anything you cannot handle. What you could be asking for could be heavier than what you expect. Don’t take what you ask for lightly. Understand why you want what you desire, not just for publicity and status.
He will always give your needs, not your want. God’s timetable is not the same as ours. He knows better than we do and when is the best time for our prayers to be answered. (Hebrews 6 :13-15). God is eternal and does not measure time as we do. 2 Peter 3:8: “Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Ultimately, if we have faith and sincerely trust God, we will not be concerned as to whether the answer is “YES”, “NO” or “WAIT.” We must trust, wait to see if God in His timing will see fit to answer as we have requested, or perhaps He has something better in mind for us, I guarantee it! 🙂 There is beauty in unanswered prayers.
“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding (6) in all your ways know and acknowledge and recognise Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]”.
Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP).