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What to do when you have unanswered prayers

(Photo: Unsplash/Kyle Johnson) | (Photo: Unsplash/Kyle Johnson)

During the holidays, I spend quite a bit of time reflecting. I feel extra sentimental and pensive during the final months of the year. As another year comes to an end, I enjoy taking the time to ponder over what is, what was and what could have been, and I once again give thanks and glory to God for another year to enjoy family, friends and freedom. As I look back on the last several months, I can’t help but realize how many of my prayers were unanswered, how many situations I desperately wanted to pan out that never came to fruition and how many setbacks and failures I experienced. That reality may seem bleak to some, or as if I’m lingering in the past, but unanswered prayers and supposed disappointments are blessings in disguise, and I am grateful! We serve a deliberate and purposeful God. He makes no mistakes. So, an unanswered prayer is actually an answered prayer in itself, and for that I am thankful.

“Finally… remember the words of Jesus: Your ‘heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need form day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” —Matthew 6:22-23

Closed doors, failed friendships and situations not panning out often feel frustrating, disappointing and even as if the end of the world is near. However, those failed situations or loose ends were purposefully planned. Yes, planned. God did not set you up to fail. He planned for something better to happen. There are blessings in “no,” and thanking God for His “no’s” can truly revolutionize your life as a believer.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” —Proverbs 3:5-6

He does not close doors out of spite, entertainment or just because. He closes doors and does not answer prayers in the way you desire because His purpose for your life is much bigger than you or I could imagine.

Instead of trying to decipher His plan or reason, give thanks.

Instead of harping over the past and stirring up feelings of resentment or anger, give thanks.

This is the season of giving and gratitude, right? Well, now more than ever, thank Him! Thank Him for giving you the strength to push through despite not receiving what you thought was best for your life. Thank Him for closing doors because only God knows where those doors lead. Thank Him for listening to your every cry, prayer and thought. He is a selfless God who never stops His watch for you. Thank Him for knowing what is best for your life. When you truly understand and accept that God is and will always move in your life for your advantage, you will realize that unanswered prayers are not a letdown or defeat.

Do not pray in fear. Instead, boldly proclaim, “Not my Will, but Yours,” and watch your faith unfold in a powerful way.

“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your Will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not My Will, but Yours, be done.” —Luke 2:41-42

Laci Swann is owner of Sharp Editorial, LLC, author of the children’s book series “Sloan Saves the Day,” and a writer for Lightworkers. LightWorkers’ mission is to create engaging, uplifting and inspirational content that breaks through the clutter, building a community of sharing and igniting a movement in the real world that motivates people to celebrate and share the good all around them.

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