October 10, 2007

When You Think Your Prayers Aren't Heard

2007 1528 page6 cap learned how to pray in much the same manner as I’m teaching my kids right now, and perhaps as many of you may have. As a child, it was part of my bedtime routine and I learned that for everything good (like food, a birthday, Sabbath school) it was important to offer up a word or two to thank Jesus for it.
Growing up, I began to understand that prayer is about so much more than an expression of thankfulness or an integral part of a bedtime routine. I learned that it was also a way to ask God for things. In the face of calamity and despair, illness and hardship, broken hearts and bitter tears, prayer is the way to find a road through your personal wilderness.
I learned to pray for help on biology exams I felt destined to fail (which is why I am a writer). In academy I prayed for a banquet date (as did all the girls during that feverish time of year), and I prayed for my hurting heart to feel better again (different time period, not related to banquet season).
I also learned that prayer wasn’t limited to asking for things or thanking the Lord for His goodness when those things were granted. I learned that prayer was the way I could talk to God as my best friend. Through prayer I could tell Him that I was annoyed and I didn’t know how to snap out of it. I could tell Him that it was pretty outside and the sunshine lifted my mood. Sometimes I told Him that I didn’t really have anything to say at that moment. And I knew He understood.
2007 1528 page6In cycles like seasons, I’d also go through periods when I didn’t pray much or even want to. These moments usually followed episodes when everything went wrong and my only solution was to pray to get through it. And as always, God would come through.
Sometimes situations would improve and I’d feel better again, but I’d forget to thank God for that or at least make an attempt to connect with Him. And then there were the times when my prayers would seem to go unanswered or they were not answered in the way I wanted them to be. Then I would feel like my prayers didn’t matter, or that they weren’t heard, so I wouldn’t feel very motivated to keep praying. And there were even times when everything was going great, and things were busy and I had everything I needed. But because there was nothing to ask the Lord for, I didn’t take the time to just chat with Him. And so the cycle would go.
Perhaps you too have found yourself in similar high points and low points in your walk with Christ and your prayer life. Take heart. Recent reports say that even the late Mother Teresa did.*
Here’s something to remember. It was in the low points when I wondered if my prayers were really heard—never in the high points. We need to remember that rain or shine, God hears all and sees all. Period. And you must have that faith.
You must know that though God already knows everything, we can’t afford to lose our connection to Him, that connection from the regular exercise of talking to Him, from praying.
There have been and will continue to be many times when you will pour out your heart to God for help and He will swiftly grant it. And there will be times when it doesn’t seem that His help is coming quick enough or even coming at all.
Pray on through it. Pray on through whatever it is that is happening in your life—good and bad.
Prayer brings you in touch with God’s own heart. I really believe it does. Because there is something in that close connection of spoken or unspoken words that makes you feel exactly that—close. And when you feel close to God, you feel loved, cared for, and watched over.
And it is in those moments when you feel covered by the wings of your Savior that you can pass or fail your biology tests, get engaged or break off a relationship, climb whatever mountain you face, and know that you are just fine. You are better than fine.
Your lifeline to the Creator—your prayers—are always heard. Want further proof other than my opinion on the subject? Read 1 Peter 3:12 to start.
*“Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith,” accessed August 28, 2007, www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1655415,00.html.
Wilona Karimabadi is marketing and editorial director for KidsView, Adventist Review’s magazine for children.