When Your Prayers Seem Unanswered

I absolutely love seeing God move! Fewer things bring me joy than this. That miraculous moment, beyond coincidence, that reveals the goodness of God. What does that look like? It is those moments where people pray and the healing comes. It is the  ‘ah ha’ moment when a person has the revelation of who Christ is and accepts Him in his or her life. It is when a person held in bondage, either by their own devices or by demonic influences, is restored and set free. I’ve had the privilege of participating in partnership with God to see the Holy Spirit work in these ways. Yet there is always the other side to the extraordinary and the miraculous; the part that many try to block out and don’t want to talk about. That is when we ask God for something and there is no answer. We’ve prayed and prayed and still… nothing. As a result, we feel like God doesn’t hear, let alone, doesn’t care.

If you have a relationship with God, you have prayers that are currently unanswered. I can guarantee it.

Part of the purpose of prayer is to request something from the One who is greater than us – the Father God – and He will answer.  Prayer is about changing the status quo. While God can cause things to change without prayer, it is actually His method of inviting us to join Him in what He wants to do for us. It’s relational (I’m inviting you to participate) rather than transactional (do or don’t do what I want). In this way, prayer brings us closer to God by understanding His heart in the matter we are seeking the answer to. It demonstrates a level of dependency and trust when we pray since we are not taking the measures in our own hand. At times, when things seem out of and beyond our control, we recognize and relinquish our own power, thoughts, and attitude to God, who sees all, knows all, and is ultimately, in control.

All this to say, we have unanswered prayers since our requests now are in between the reality of what we currently need and the future of it being revealed with the answer. Even if we know that mentally, it takes much more than that to live it out daily.

I for one, have several unanswered prayers I am waiting on the Lord to answer. One of those, in particular, is the prayer for Valerie and I to have children. For some folks, this is not a concern for prayer and it happens quite naturally. For us, it has been more time than we have anticipated, but alas, no children yet. We’ve done our due diligence in getting check out at the doctors and, thankfully, everything is fine. But that still doesn’t make it easy, especially for when the waiting seems long and the answer hasn’t yet come. So now the question is… what do we do?

I am grateful to find some clues to this difficult and painful process in the life of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. She, too, wanted to have children and it says that ‘the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb’ (v. 5). On top of that, each year that she went up to the town to offer sacrifices and prayer, her rival would provoke her to the point where she would weep and not eat (v. 7-8). This would happen year after year and it seemed her situation would remain the same.

Yet Hannah persevered. Even within her deep anguish, she made a vow to the Lord saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head” (1 Samuel 1:11).

It was through her pain, the tearful nights, and the uncertainty, that her prayers were answered. She became pregnant and named her son Samuel. She fulfilled her vow by dedicating Samuel to the Lord at a young age. Who would have thought that Hannah’s misery would be turned to joy and that this was all part of the Lord’s plan – Samuel would be raised up to be one of the most influential prophets – leading the people to God and the one who anointed the first two Kings of Israel: Saul and David. What a legacy!

Thankfully these days, we don’t have to take vows and by fulfilling it, never cutting our hair! And while you may not be waiting for a child, I believe you are currently waiting for something. What can you do while you wait in your unanswered prayers?


I admire Hannah because she did not give up! It was extremely difficult to be barren in biblical days since she would not only be looked down upon but would even be considered cursed by some. She did not let her seemingly unanswered prayer sway her from pursuing God. In fact, Hannah went further. She went deeper into her dedication and her pursuit of God.

It is so sad to say, but I have seen many people turn away from God because their prayers were not ‘answered.’ They feel that if God really loved them, then He would answer them. Unfortunately, these people that think this way do not understand the heart of God. Because things didn’t go their way, they are the ones that cut the ties. It sounds like the ‘relationship’ is based on the person’s terms, not on God’s. What if this trial, difficulty, and pain is currently ‘unanswered’ to dive you deeper into a relationship with the One who created you? It really gets to the heart of the matter and exposes our true motives… what’s more important – the gift or appreciating the Giver? The healing or knowing the Healer?

That is why you press in. Go all out for God. Live life extraordinary. Fast something that gets in the way of your relationship with Jesus to draw closer to Him. Spend those quiet moments petitioning your requests before Him. Don’t forget: you can approach the throne of God’s grace with confidence! (Hebrews 4:16).


“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1)

Faith is a complete trust or confidence in something. That ‘something’ is Christ. You have faith that He not only died for you but conquered sin and death, in which you will rise as He did on the last day. Hope is slightly different – it is the earnest anticipation that comes with believing something good. It is a peaceful assertion that hasn’t happened yet will indeed happen.

While we cannot know the exact timing of when our requests will be answered, we can have the hope that His timing is the best timing. Just because it hasn’t happened now, doesn’t mean it cannot… or will not! Imagine if Hannah stopped seeking God a year earlier and she gave up… biblical history would be much different!

Hope is looking to the reality of the future; it is bridging the gap of your unanswered prayers to a future of walking out the promises. Therefore, don’t lose heart! Perhaps it will come sooner or you might have a peace about what to do while you wait. Either way, hang on and have hope!

Just as I’m in a season of waiting, I’m sure you have a few requests that have been on your heart. If you felt like you gave up and walked away with frustration, fear, or disappointment, it’s never too late to seek God according to your needs and desires. Ask, seek, and knock! (Matthew 7:7). I’d ask that you commit yourself to praying that request (or requests) in a consistent manner and find Scripture supporting that in what you need. Even if it’s difficult to proceed, it’s not solely about the destination, but the journey along the way. The Lord Jesus wants you to know Him in deeper ways as you seek Him for what you desire.

Press in and have hope in His timing, for His will is good, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2). Have a blessed week!


  1. Thank you, I was refreshed and recharged my faith again to wait upon HIS PERFECT TIMING and a reminding us about PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.

    May the Lord continue to use you as His mouthpiece through this platform and bless you in so many ways.


  2. When I pray and am asking for a result, I always remind myself when Daniel was asking for help from God. (Daniel 10:13) He had to wait until Michael, one of the chief angels, had to fight for 21 days to get to Daniel. So, I’ve learned that help is on the way, but there is strong resistance in the world and perseverance and patience is required of me.
    Thank you Nathan for your words of encouragement.

    • Linda,
      What a great reminder of the spiritual battle that takes place behind the scenes, yet all around us. We should press into prayer and remain faithful to what we know so that we get the breakthrough that we need. The world and the enemy have power, but nothing is greater than our great God!

  3. Thank you for the word of the Lord… It is more encouraging to do better in life and to love God more and more… It says never give up but in hope to see the light of the Lord, the creator we rejoice for ever more… Peace and love be unto you (brother Nathan) Amen

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