Unanswered Prayer

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Perhaps your prayers sound like Habakkuk’s: “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” (Hab. 1:2, ESV). Like Habakkuk, you may be wondering why it’s taking Him so long to answer.


Fortunately for us, God let Habakkuk in on a secret: “I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told” (Habakkuk 1: 5 ESV). God revealed that He had heard Habakkuk’s prayers and He had a plan. Even when it seems God isn’t listening, you can know that He’s working behind the scenes. 


Still, Habakkuk was impatient, so he climbed his watchtower to wait for God’s answer: “I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me” (Hab. 2:1, ESV). If you are waiting on God, follow Habakkuk’s lead: Continue praying, watching, and waiting. 


God encouraged Habakkuk not to grow weary. He reminded him that He will not be hurried: “These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed” (Hab. 2:3, TLB). 


Slow, but not delayed! That seems like a contradiction in terms. Yet in God’s economy, nothing is delayed. God’s timing is always perfect. As Isaiah writes, “This is what the LORD says: ‘At just the right time, I will respond to you…” (Is. 49:8, NLT). 


God knows it’s not easy for us to wait, but He often uses waiting to grow our faith. He reminded Habakkuk that “the righteous shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4, ESV). Though we can’t always see Him working, we can trust in Him.


In chapter 3, Habakkuk recounts how God rescued the Israelites from slavery and helped them defeat their enemies, recognizing God’s holiness, power, and faithfulness. We may not fully understand God’s plan, but we can be sure God knows what He’s doing. 


In the end, recognizing God’s sovereignty, Habakkuk chooses to rejoice in Him, even when his prayers remained unanswered. “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3:17-18, ESV).


Knowing God is faithful, He has a plan, and He’s working behind the scenes gives us strength to keep on praying. 


If you’re waiting on God and there’s no answer to your prayers in sight, choose to obey and trust in Him, knowing He is working. Here are a few articles compiled by Just Between Us (JBU) to help you. As the writer of Hebrews states, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1, ESV).


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