Monday, November 26, 2012

The Patience of Unanswered Prayer

Dear Friend,

Are you struggling with your prayer life right now – or perhaps getting weary as it seems so many prayers leave your lips unanswered?

Remember Past Experience

I find it especially helpful to think of some experiences in the past that God has turned around for me.  I go over them bit by bit, reminding myself how dark and hopeless it all seemed and then the way God moved in turning the whole thing around.  I let myself savor the memory of those incidents and then simply pray, “Do it again, Lord, do it again!”

“Do it again prayers” are a great way to go when you get discouraged.  Once I was impatiently waiting for answered prayer for a family member.  It was a case of praying for conversion.  In this instance, I began to doubt that God would “do it again.”  So I spent some time lying on my bed reliving my own conversion experience.  I came from a background similar to that of the person I was praying for.  As I thought about it, I marveled at the perfect timing of the events leading up to my conversion.  After I had revisited that experience, I found myself praying “do it again” prayers with renewed confidence.  As we persistently remember the mercies of God from the past, we will find it easier to persist in the present.  

Pray for Endurance

Most of us quit before the answer comes, but we should pray about quitting before we actually do it.  If you find yourself about to quit, stop right there and say, “Lord, I am just about to stop praying because I am very discouraged.  I see nothing at all in answer to all the praying I’ve done already.  There is not a cloud in the sky, and so I am about to give up.  If you want me to continue, please give me some help; give me some hope.”  I have found that when I pray like this about quitting, I don’t!  Somehow help comes, and I put my head down and go on. So if you’re having trouble persisting, first remember past mercies and then pray for endurance. 

Why don’t you make my prayer your prayer as you continue to wait and trust the Lord with the things on your heart?

A Prayer About Unanswered Prayer

Tender Jesus,
caring for the ones who care not anymore ~   
for those beaten by circumstances
and driven by sorrow
to believe that they are lower than dogs,
bereft of a reason to live~
hear our prayers.

Tender Jesus,
moved with compassion for the sorrowing ~
teach us the work of prayer.

Tender Jesus,
teach us the perseverance of prayer
in the face of a silent heaven
when  you ask us to wait awhile
for the answers to our petitions.
See us ~
those who would see you smile
and  feel your hand of blessing.
Touch awake faith in a Father who cares;
a Father who will never reject,
who is active on our behalf.
Oh Lord, teach us the patience of unanswered prayer!



Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us


  1. Encouraging Jill, thanks.

  2. I really needed this today although I'm still very discouraged.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement and reminder to persevere in prayer. I keep a journal and when I feel discouraged about a prayer being answered, I reread my journal and am reminded of God's faithfulness.