I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I've heard the phrases, "God sure does answer prayer," or "My prayer seems to be unanswered at the moment," or even "Prayer? I've already tried that. Doesn't seem to work." Truly, has there been a single day in all of history in which prayers have gone unheard or unanswered? The answer resounds in my ears: NO!
Just because we may not get our prayers answered in the way we desire them to doesn't mean that the LORD does not listen. If he does not grant us something we desire it does not mean that our prayers have fallen on dead ears. Nay, it is the simple fact that God has exercised his power to say "No."
The book of Proverbs says "The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous." Christ told his followers that "Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." (Matthew 21:22) Whatever we ask for! Can you imagine? But wait, there is a catch. We must have faith to receive. We must truly believe that the LORD is able to give us what we ask of him.
Sometimes the LORD does not answer with a simple yes or no, rather he tests our trust of him by saying, "Wait on it." The Psalmist writes Psalm 130 with the words, "I wait for the LORD, my soul waits and in His word I hope; my would waits for the LORD more than the watchmen for the morning, more than the watchmen for the morning." Do I truly know what this type of anxious waiting is like? Have I ever experienced such a test of faith? Have I waited upon the LORD more than the watchmen waits for the morning? What patience that requires, what utter trust!
But truly, why would I have reason to not trust the LORD? He is my Creator, He knows all things, He sees past, present, and future. Do I even doubt that in all His Goodness He will not do what is best for me?
The LORD knows what is best for me, and better yet, he loves me. If he says no to a selfish prayer from an impure heart, I should be thankful that He knows me. If He tells me to trust in Him and wait, I will do so. And if He grants my request, I will sing his praises to the nations.