Unanswered yet? The prayer your lips have pleaded
In agony of heart these many years?
Does faith begin to fail, is hope departing,
And think you all in vain those falling tears?
Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer;
You shall have your desire, sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Though when you first presented
This one petition at the Father’s throne,
It seemed you could not wait the time of asking,
So urgent was your heart to make it known.
Tho years have passed since then, do not despair;
The Lord will answer you, sometime, somewhere.
Hymn “Unanswered Yet?” Ophelia G. Adam

In quiet, dark hours, there may have been prayers uttered that seemed to go unanswered for us. Discouragement, loneliness, and the heaviness of burden may have, at times, caused the very courage and strength needed for such times to slip away temporarily.

As we seemingly sit and wait, do our hopes diminish?

As a young girl, going through extreme health issues, I vaguely remember the lifeline that prayer offered me. (Vague, because I it was so many years ago!) As a teenager, I remember times of heartbreak and feelings of “not being enough” that made it hard for me to get down on my knees. And then, when prayers were not answered to my satisfaction as quickly as I wanted, the prayer process became a more interesting one.

There were times that my hopes diminished. There have been times as an adult that those hopes have darkened, as well. The only antidote was to go back to Father and ask for strength to hang on until things changed, shifted, or I gained better understanding.

In this world, we have the opportunity to exercise faith and hope in a huge way. Because we cannot see the end from the beginning (and often very little in between!), we must lay it all on the altar when we kneel in prayer, trusting that our Father will tend us as we need (which is a very different matter from what we want).

Whether we are thirteen or ninety-three, our part is to trust in our Father, who knows us and loves us more than we can imagine. Often, the prayers that we feel are unanswered, are merely in the process of being answered. Because we can see no difference yet, we may falsely assume that God is not hearing us. Maybe that assumption comes because we are thinking in an earthly way, and not a heavenly one.

When we pray, He does hear us. We must keep in mind that He is our Heavenly Father. When Jesus Christ offered the prayer which has been captured, at least in part, in the scriptures, we note that he began with, “Our Father which art in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9.)

His heavenly way of doing things is beyond our mortal comprehension. Sometimes the plan that is best for us includes a holding pattern or a time of preparation, or perhaps a shift in what we are praying for. By turning ourselves over to Him and his heavenly way of doing things, we can hang on to the strength and courage needed until those answers come.

A few simple reminders that may help us keep on keeping on, while our prayers are in process of being answered are these:

  1. God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
  2. His way of doing things is higher than our way.
  3. His purposes are grander than any that we might have at present.
  4. He sees the road ahead, and knows what is best for us.
  5. He waits for us to submit our hearts to Him, in ever-growing trust.
  6. He loves us.

Whom do you love? What do you want for those persons you love? If, at times, it is required that a loved one go through a tough time in order to learn an important lesson, or come out a more joyful person on the other side of that trial, would we not wish for him to go through it — even if they did not understand the benefit at the time? We joy in the process because we understand the blessings in store for our loved ones better than they do.

So it is with us. If our prayers are not yet answered, what blessing of peace will come as we remember that our prayers, as we shift our will to properly align with God’s, may be in the process of being answered. He understands things much better than we do.

If we dare to distance ourselves from despair, we will feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit whispering that, “The Lord will answer (you) sometime, somewhere”!