When we’ve prayed to God over and over, yet He still seems silent, we often ask, why doesn’t God answer my prayers?
Why doesn’t God answer my prayers when I’m asking for something good?
Why doesn’t God answer my prayers when my need is getting greater?
Why doesn’t God answer my prayers when time is slipping away?
When we’re longing for something good–something godly even–waiting on God when He is silent is a place of pain. There are times when we pray with everything in us and we so need God to intervene and yet…nothing changes.
At first, it’s easy to pray and wait with great expectancy for God to answer big and bold. But as the days and weeks and months – and years — roll on with no answer, we can begin to wonder whether God is even listening.
Have you been in a place where circumstances are hard and though you have prayed over and over, it just seems like God does not hear?
When the weeks and months go on without a clear answer, we can become weary in our prayers. I begin to pray less fervently and less consistently. It gets harder to expect God to answer big and bold. And my faith in whether God will answer can get a little shaky.
I have been there: waiting on God to intervene, to show Himself, to fix it.
“How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear?”
This was the cry of Habakkuk. As I studied Habakkuk, God reaffirmed several deep truths on prayer. I knew generally about Habakkuk, because one of my all-time favorite books is based on the last verse of this book, but I knew little about Habakkuk’s struggles and how he waited for God to answer his prayers.
Habakkuk was in a hard place and he came to God with some hard questions. In the dialogue between Habakkuk and God, we learn 6 truths when it seems God isn’t answering our prayer.
1.When waiting on God, I need to bring the hard questions to God rather than letting the hard questions drive me from God.
Habakkuk may have been a prophet, but he didn’t have all the answers. He couldn’t understand why God was allowing injustice to prevail and tolerating evil. Instead of letting his questions drive him away from God, Habakkuk took his questions to God. (Hab 1:2; 13)
While God doesn’t owe us an explanation for what He allows, I’ve found when I lay my hard questions before God in trust, He often slowly peels back the layers of my understanding. Some questions won’t be answered until we get to heaven. In the meantime, when we don’t see God answering the way we think He should, we can give him our questions and trust His timing.
2. When waiting on God, I need to realize God’s answer to my situation may be part of a much larger plan.
When Habakkuk questioned God’s silence, God reassured Habakkuk He saw and He was doing something. “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told.” (Hab 1:5) God would use Babylon’s rise to world power to judge Judah.
If our eyes could only pan out to see all that God is orchestrating, we might understand our own long wait. Sometimes we have to wait for God to answer our prayers because our situation is only a small part of the larger whole God is doing.
3. When waiting on God, I need to realize God is working when I cannot see it.
Even as Habakkuk wondered whether God was listening, God was moving on a worldwide level to address the problems in Judah. (Hab 1:5) God’s goodness and kindness is always at work. It doesn’t start and stop. Though we cannot see it, we can trust God is working all things to His good.
4. When waiting on God, I need to anchor in Who God is to strengthen my faith.
When our prayers are not answered right away, we can begin to wonder whether God’s promises are really true. Habakkuk strengthened his faith by reaffirming God’s character. “LORD, are you not from everlasting?” My God, my Holy One, you will never die.” (Hab 1:12)
If our faith is flagging, we need only open God’s word and remind ourselves of God’s character and his promises. From one book of the Bible to the other, God’s promises are clear.
5. When waiting on God, I need to make sure I haven’t rejected his answer.
This one hits close to home. How often do we pray, begging God to answer, and ignore His answer when it comes? We all want God to answer our prayer, but often we’ve already mapped out the kind of answer we want. We may be committed to prayer, but are we as committed to surrender? Thy will be done means accepting the way God answers our prayers.
Habakkuk not only prayed but actively watched for God to give whatever answer He determined. “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” (Hab 2:1)
6. When waiting on God, I need to trust God‘s answer and his timing.
The long wait for an answer to our heart’s longing is painful. It can leave us feeling sidelined and overlooked. Especially if it’s a good thing, why wouldn’t God give it to us now? God promised Habakkuk, that the justice he prayed for would come. It had already been determined and would come at the “appointed time…Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” (Hab 2:3)
I’m convinced that if we knew what God knows, we would agree with God’s timing. God’s ways are not only good, they are perfect. As you wait for God to answer your deepest prayer, take heart. God knows your needs. He has not forgotten you and He will never forsake you. We can trust Him in the wait.