Have you ever prayed so hard to God for something and then not get it? There have been many times in my life, where I wanted something so bad, that I prayed and prayed and prayed and waited and waited and waited to no avail. I’ve gone as far as to follow the Catechetical directives for prayer petitions. I would sit before the Lord in adoration and talk with him about it. I would go to confession to cleanse my soul so that he would hear me louder. I would ask the Saints, the angels and the holy souls of purgatory as well as my faith community to intercede on my behalf. I’ve thanked him in advance with prayers of thanksgiving and still didn’t get what I was in desire of. I’m sure many of you have experienced the same, and we ask, “God, are you listening? Do you hear me? Why, are you not answering? After a period of time with no response, I noticed I started to change and adapt my prayer to be more in line with what God might prefer, before long I realize my entire desire has changed. Years later, with my prayer not being answered in the way that I had wanted, I look back and say, “Thank you, for not answering that prayer, for that would NOT have been for my good.”
The truth is, God is listening, and he is answering, he’s just not answering in the way that we want at the time. We tend to forget that unlike ourselves, God can see the bigger picture, and what is coming down the road. I find that it’s during these times, of what seems like unanswered prayers, that I need to “let go and let God” in surrender and trust. Perhaps, the key to unanswered prayer is found in our Catechism 2559, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or “out of the depths” of a humble and contrite heart? He who humbles himself will be exalted; HUMILITY is the foundation of prayer. Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought,” are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer.” Aha!! Let me repeat this “HUMILITY IS THE FOUNDATION OF PRAYER!!!”Could the answer to unanswered prayer lie in this truth? Is the desire behind our prayer laden in pride, self-seeking advancement or selfishness?
If there is one thing that I have learned over the years, it is this, God searches the heart for the truth and he positions us, to sort through our nonsensical pride. There is also something to be said about our faith behind the prayer. Do we believe that God will make it happen? In scripture before Jesus’ answered prayers he activated their faith. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 Corinthians 5:7 We live by faith, not by sight.
The unanswered prayers of those we loved and lost are cherished in our hearts forever and someday God will enlighten us to these mysteries. Our faith assures us that God is always listening and we need to continue to pray, remembering that he turns caterpillars into butterflies and seeds into beautiful gardens and death into everlasting life. For miracles happen every day and believing is seeing.