When God Doesn’t Answer Our Prayers In Our Timing

folded hands praying
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Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And He prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

James 5:17-18

I walked in the back door with grocery bags lined up and down my arms because who has time for two trips to the car.

My heart felt heavy all morning but I wanted to ignore it. Distracting myself again, I noticed more tasks in the room I could do after putting up the groceries.

I knew better though. With the tugging of my heart, I knew the Lord was pulling me to talk with him.

Honestly, I didn’t want to talk or pray. I would rather stay distracted. It had been a hard season. It wasn’t gonna magically disappear though unless I went in to deal with my raw emotions, head first.

Who signs up to do that? None of us do, we don’t want to so we resist.

Words came blasting through my mouth like a machine gun. I began pouring out words, of which there seemed to be no end. I ached. I needed to “pray.” But was I praying?

It seemed more like launching of emotional grenades except they were words. Words that expressed to God the hurt that I thought I had neatly tucked away.

When We Tuck Things Away

Tucking things away has a way of leaking out. Rub me the wrong way and the trickling of my hurt shows up. Ultimately, hindering my prayers if I don’t deal with it.

Sometimes, God is more interested in the pray-er more than the prayer. Here’s what I think happens to all of us. Life happens. Pain happens. We get squeezed and whatever is in us comes out.

Underneath the disappointment and hurt, we wrestle with God. I’ve been the queen of, “But God why?”

“Why did you allow this.” Or, “Why didn’t you stop that?”

Hurt on top of hurt I thought about the 2,436 prayers and petitions prayed over a specific relationship with the same answer. Nothing. Absolutely no change. At least not from my view.

I realized in our talk/wrestling match I was hurt with God. Being fully aware He is sinless and I am not, the struggle was on. Since He’s God He wasn’t shocked about my struggle.

Our prayer time can turn into us vomiting spiritually. This isn’t bad. He waits for us there, knowing where we will end up.

The Holy Spirit helps us to move from unloading our issues to downloading God’s heart in the midst of our struggles.

A Waiting God

The Lord waits for us to pour our hearts out to him. He cares. He hears the splash of our tears hitting the floor. Unaware we have spiritual clutter until we enter in prayer. We don’t realize it until we get still enough and unravel.

Our focus verse today from James 5:17-18 tells us Elijah was no different than us.

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah had just defeated the false prophets of Baal and experienced the power of God and saw a great victory. He had even raised someone from the dead.

He had numerous victories until Jezebel showed up. One woman seized the opportunity. Knowing Elijah was tired she capitalized on it and sent him running for His life. Terrified. Elijah crawled under a tree and said He wanted to die.

He was spiritually, emotionally, and physically drained.

The enemy waits for an opportunity like discouragement to set in, then pounces.

This is the same man who had just defeated all of the false prophets. Victorious one minute, running from someone intimidating him the next. Elijah unraveled just like we do.

Aren’t we like this?

The strongest prayer warriors I know have experienced hard trials. Endured suffering. They learned to use their trials as a launching pad for their arrows to be shot directly at the enemy. They not only gained the victory for themselves but also for people they prayed for.

It didn’t happen until they unloaded brokenness, disappointment, and weight that they were carrying around.

Spiritual Weights

Sometimes while we are waiting on God, we start adding spiritual weights. These bog us down, occupy our minds, and can steal our joy.

Holding disappointments can be an invitation for the enemy of our souls. He preys upon these places. Accusing us and God. Tempting us with bait to be offended at God over our hurt.

The snare to compare our lives to our neighbors or friends. Comparing battle scars and who lost more.

The road of defeat and despair is filled with once strong warriors until they believed a lie about God.

[Tweet “The road of defeat and despair is filled with once strong warriors until they believed a lie about God.]

It’s a trap. None of the enemy’s tricks are new. He still is the father of lies. God doesn’t take from us. He gives to us. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. God came to give us life abundantly.

God Acts

When all hell is unleashed we can still wave the white flag of surrender in declaring, I’m still believing God. The moment we cry out in surrender we are about to see victory. All heaven moves on our behalf.

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

Hebrews 1:14( NKJ)

Angels are dispatched on our behalf. When we feel overtaken spiritually God releases angelic beings to assist us.

Daniel experienced this. For twenty-one days He prayed. For twenty-one days He heard and saw nothing. It seemed like nothing was happening but something was, a spiritual war was happening. All hell was breaking loose to stop Daniel from hearing and receiving from God.

Then He said to me, Do not fear Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

Daniel 10:12-( NKJ)

Maybe you have gone through one of the hardest seasons of your life. It may seem like the heavens are brass, like God isn’t even listening. I promise you, friend, He is. Every trial, every tear shed He has captured it.

He will reveal himself to you. Not knowing when and how but one thing I know is He will. He will bear you up and give you the strength to continue.

When your heart is heavy and conflicted, get still, crawl into the arms of God who is waiting for you.

God Pursues

He pursues you to comfort you and He waits just like He did when Elijah crawled under a tree wanting to die. He isn’t surprised when we succumb to self-pity. He isn’t surprised when we get weary in well-doing. He gives us more grace.

For we do not have a High priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find help in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16

Prayer

Lord, We know your word says, His power is made perfect in our weakness. Help us to remember that when we get tired. We trust that you hear our prayers and you are working on our behalf. Steady our hearts when we get weary and help us to lift up our eyes to you, in your name we pray. Amen.

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