How many times have you prayed for something to happen in your life?
You prayed that a great job opportunity would work out. You prayed that the man or woman in your life would be "the one". Some people even pray to win the lottery, saying it would enrich their lives.
You may have even bargained that if God answered your prayer you'd sacrifice or pledge something. You'd attend church faithfully; you'd treat your fellow mankind with appreciation and compassion. You'd never ask for anything again. The list could go on and on.
Country music star, Garth Brooks, sings a song titled, Unanswered Prayers, which I'm moved by every time I hear it. He sings a story of meeting his old high school flame at a hometown football game with his wife. During the encounter he realizes that had his teen-aged prayer to "make her my own for all time" been answered he'd have missed out on the true gifts in his life.
The story is about a man who discovers how God's plan doesn't necessarily include all our prayer requests. It represents that some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. As the lyrics say "I guess the good Lord knows what he's doing after all".
The song says to thank God for unanswered prayers.
If you think back on some of the prayers you've asked along your journey I'm sure you can come up with at least one that you are grateful went unanswered.
I will admit that some of my prayer requests were, in hindsight, not thought out too well and often desperate. Yet I was quite passionate and full of conviction at the time.
To share a real example -- I prayed for years, literally, that God would make my marriage right and bring relief to my frustration. That prayer went unanswered. Now I understand that was the path intended for me. I never would have evolved to who I am today nor would I appreciate the individual I've rediscovered or the true gifts in my life.
Learning from what's behind us and never knowing what's in store for our future makes for an unknown. I've replaced the craving to define the "unknown" with a desire to experience and benefit from the self-evolution that I trust will unveil.
The true wisdom to be gained from an unanswered prayer isn't necessarily the content of the prayer. I think it's more about appreciating and recognizing the blessings we do have in our lives.
If we adjust our "need to know" and begin trusting God's plan we might consider it exciting to not know what our future holds. Which prayers God will answer and equally important, which ones will go unanswered and how will that shape our destiny. "I guess the good Lord knows what he's doing after all."
This article is dedicated to my family. I've truly been blessed with the gift of a family that loves and supports me. I can put into words many feelings, however, I cannot do justice to the true feelings I have for each and every one of you.
My newfound appreciation for each of you is a direct result of unanswered prayers and a year filled with lots of heartache and frustration. Through this experience I've come to appreciate the really important things in my life and the value each of you holds for me. There is nothing stronger or more important than a family that stands by one another, loves one another, respecting our individual differences -- celebrating our personal achievements and introspective growth.
When Prayers Aren't Answered
by John E. Welshons.
Using true-life stories as well as insights gathered from the world's great spiritual traditions, he demonstrates how to use the painful circumstances in life as fuel for our own spiritual journey. In When Prayers Aren't Answered, John gently guides us to a new understanding of prayer and how to best use it to feel spiritually connected, joyful, and peaceful in our modern world.