For many people who pray, the most puzzling is the problem of unanswered prayer.
Why is it that some things we pray about are never answered? Many people have prayed and prayed, often with tears, only to conclude in the end that our prayers had not been answered.
Every cemetery reminds us that not all our prayers are answered.
Every cancer diagnosis testifies to the suffering of this life.
Every divorce proves that good intentions are not always enough.
The question of unanswered prayer is difficult because we don't know what happened. Did we not pray hard enough? Or long enough? Or passionately enough? Did we use the wrong words? Or ask for the wrong things?
Unanswered prayer can make you lose your faith. I think it is one of the reasons a lot of people drop out of church. Which leads to the thought when there is no answer and no explanation, perhaps it's not true at all. Perhaps God isn't there, or if he's there, He doesn't know or He doesn't care. Who knows? Maybe there's no God at all. Or maybe his Word isn't true, after all.
How do you reconcile faith in God with the mystery of unanswered prayer?
The answer comes in two parts, we have to trust God; and we have to have faith. Why, because that what the bible tells us, it does not tell us we will always get an answer. But the following two bible verses should be on our mind as we pray.
1 John 5:14-15 in the NIV2011 version states "this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."
Romans 12:12 (NIV2011) states "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."