Do you ever feel that your prayers are ineffective? Do you wonder if our Father in Heaven is listening? Does He even care? I suppose we’ve all had such thoughts from time to time, but when I stop and consider my experiences from the perspective of God’s fatherhood, my supposed unanswered prayers look completely different.
Most parents strive to give their children the best gifts; we revel in the delight we see on our beloved child’s face when we give them that perfect gift. I must confess that over the years while raising my three sons I’ve seen my share of disappointment at the gifts I’ve given them. Sometimes the coveted toy or game was unavailable or beyond my budget at the time, but occasionally, I didn’t give them what they wanted because I felt it wasn’t good for them, or because I wanted to give them something I knew would be better in the long run.
Now, nothing is beyond God’s ability or means to give us, but many of our desires are not what is good for us, at least not then.
Giving a four-year-old a motorcycle might make him happy for the moment, but it would be irresponsible and dangerous, both to himself and others. Throughout my childhood, I begged my parents for a horse at every Christmas and birthday. However, we lived in a town, not on a farm, and I was woefully unprepared to take care of livestock. Similarly, God knows what gifts are best for us and when we are ready to receive them.
My sons were never exactly thrilled when I gave them exercise equipment to keep them healthy or educational games to help them learn and prepare for life, and I am not usually too happy when God answers my pray (including helpful detailed instructions, of course) with something else. However, almost inevitably, His “something else” turns out to be the greater blessing.
7 Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 9 Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? 10 Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 11 As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.Matthew 7:7-11 (CEV)
We are certain that God will hear our prayers when we ask for what pleases him. And if we know that God listens when we pray, we are sure that our prayers have already been answered.1 John 5:14-15 CEV
Next time you feel frustrated by seemingly unanswered prayer, try to look at your situation from a parent’s viewpoint and trust that your good gift is probably already on the way.