Remaining strong and faithful in prayer can be tough for all of all of us let alone those surrounded by a young-adult or college community. What makes prayer even harder, is feeling like you're able to be consistent but your prayers are going unanswered. It can be really easy to lose sight of a greater plan when you feel as though you're not being heard.
Here are some truths (and corresponding verses) to remember if you've been feeling this way.
1. Sometimes a season of waiting is exactly what God intended.Giphy
"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him." -Lamentations 3:25
Waiting is hard. No matter where you look in the bible, God's people are waiting. As hard as it can be to wait, it is most common that we learn the most about ourselves while we wait. For those who like control, much like myself, a season of waiting is where I learn the most about the places I need to grow. If you feel like your prayers are going unanswered, give it time. Maybe you're learning more than you think you are.
2. You may be praying for your wishes rather than God's wishes for you.Giphy
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11
It can be really easy to get lost in our own desires and forget that God has a greater plan for us. Maybe we're praying for something that doesn't fit into what God knows to be our path. Relinquishing control can be extremely challenging but sometimes we have to check our motivations and realize that our own wishes may not always be God's wishes.
3. Your motivations are rooted in the wrong place.Giphy
"A bad motive can't achieve a good end; double-talk brings you double trouble." -Proverbs 17:20
Much like the last one, sometimes we are praying for things motivated in the wrong places. It can be very easy to pray and pray and pray but not think about why you are praying for the things you are. If your prayer is stemming from a place of sin or struggle, God may be choosing not to answer for your own benefit.
4. God may be waiting for you to ask for more.Giphy
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." -1 John 5:14
This may sound a little backward but many times we pray on a very small scale. God asks us to put 100 percent of our faith in him. I know I have been guilty of praying for the small things and then stressing about the big things. Placing full faith in the Lord means coming to him with ALL things.
5. He is answering, and you're choosing not to listen to the answer.Giphy
"But they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline." -Jeremiah 17:23
Yup. This is another one I am not the best at. More time than one, God has answered prayers in my life but I have chosen to ignore him. If the answers are not what we wanted or even just different from what we expected, we, as imperfect humans have a bad habit to look straight past those responses. Warning, brutal truth coming, you do NOT get to pray for something and then decide God's answer, too. Sometimes an unexpected answer is exactly the answer that we needed.
A time of waiting or period of feeling your prayers have been unanswered can be extremely discouraging. As you work through a season of confusion or frustration keep in mind how important it is to maintain perspective.
Sometimes it takes a little nudge to realize that the things we've been praying for are not part of the greater plan at all. Sometimes God has answered and we are choosing not to listen. Regardless of how you are feeling in this season, remain faithful in prayer.