I can still remember being stretched out on my floor, kicking, screaming, and crying out to the Lord. I was going through a divorce and my then-husband was being let’s just say – very difficult. And I had been praying, asking the Lord to intervene and do something about the situation.
But instead of getting better, things kept getting worse.
I was saying to God …
Where are you?
Why aren’t you doing anything to help me?
I don’t understand this.
As I was going through my tirade, my phone rang. I started not to answer it, but I saw it was my mother, so I picked it up. She could tell something was wrong. I explained what was happening.
Instead of joining my party, she told me to get up off the floor, wash my face, and instead of asking God why He wasn’t doing what I wanted Him to do, I should praise and thank Him for the prayers He was answering for me in other ways throughout this process. She reminded me that God wasn’t on my timetable – I was on His. So, I needed to keep on praying, trusting, and believing that God would act when He wanted to act.
I wish I could say that at that moment, I thought my mother had given me great advice. But quite frankly that wasn’t what I wanted to hear.
I needed the Lord to act.
As time went on, I began to see the wisdom in her words. But in that moment, all I wanted to know was why God was being silent.
If you’re in a similar place right now, then I have something to share with you. Because today, we’re going to talk about what to do when God is silent – when it feels like He’s not hearing you and certainly not answering you.
Have you been asking the Lord to do something and nothing’s happening?
A prodigal child you’ve been laying before the Lord, praying for his or her return to God…
Your marriage that is so hard right now, you don’t know what to do…
Or maybe your finances are on the brink of bankruptcy…
But God is silent – you’re not getting any answers to your prayers.
And sometimes, it feels like things are just getting worse. It feels like your prayers are bouncing around in the atmosphere, but God either isn’t hearing them, or He’s chosen not to act on them. That’s so frustrating.
The Microwave Generation
We get frustrated waiting for the things we want.
Waiting in the grocery line at the store.
Waiting in traffic on our way home.
And yes, even while waiting on God to act.
We live in a fast-paced, “gotta-have-it-now” kind of society.
Even we as Christians can get caught up in the hype, especially when we’ve been lying before the Lord with a prayer request that He seems not to have heard. You know in your head that God hears every petition you bring to Him – but your heart is hurting.
God’s Ways and Timing Can Be Different from Ours
The thing we have to remember is that God doesn’t give you an answer when you want it and how you want it – every time. Sometimes, He’s silent and the only thing you can do is prayerfully wait on Him.
The important thing to remember is that God’s silence doesn’t mean that nothing’s happening. Most often, He does His best work when He doesn’t seem to be saying or doing anything.
I want you to think back over your life and the times He was silent. If your life is anything like mine, it was during those long times of silence that your relationship with the Lord really grew. That’s been so true for me throughout my life – going through a divorce was one, but there have been other seasons where it felt like God was being silent when it came to my prayers.
But Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” God answers every righteous prayer request and every petition you place before Him in the right season for you. No matter how right something seems to you, if it’s not the right season, the Lord’s silence means “WAIT!”
Waiting Isn’t Easy
I’ll be one of the first people to admit that waiting can be difficult. Who likes to wait – especially when what you’re praying for needs an immediate response – at least we think it needs an immediate response. But think about what could happen if you don’t wait on the Lord.
If you attempt to move forward without waiting on the Lord’s best for you, you can end up frustrated and out of God’s will. Instead of rushing ahead, focus on growing your faith and your patience.
And here are three things you can do right now to help with that.
3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Grow Your Faith and Patience
#1 – Praise
I know how hard it can feel sometimes to praise the Lord when your heart is breaking, or you’re scared. But that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do – it was the advice my mother gave me. And even though it’s hard, the truth is you can do hard things.
Our greatest example of doing the hard thing is Jesus Christ. He willingly died a horrible death for our sins. He endured separation from His Father when He took on the sins of the world. He didn’t have to do it. But He willingly gave His life for us.
As I said before, He is our example.
And, because we’re Christ’s followers, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, lives in us. That power – the Holy Spirit – helps us do hard things.
The Bible tells us to offer up a sacrifice of praise in Hebrews 13:15. So, even when we don’t feel like it, even when it’s hard, we praise God. Because the truth is, whether He answers our prayers or not, God is still sovereign.
Our praise should never be dependent on what He does or doesn’t do. God always deserves our praise, no matter what is going on in our lives. So, continue to praise Him through your tears, your frustration, and not feeling like it.
#2 – Pray
Yes, continue praying. Continue lifting that thing or that person before the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to pray without ceasing.
Keep asking – James 4:2 says we don’t have because we don’t ask.
Keep on praying, don’t lose heart. Ask, seek, knock. Pray harder than you’ve ever prayed before. Nowhere in scripture are we told to pray about something once and never bring it to God again.
Remember the woman and the unjust judge?
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells a parable about a woman who keeps going to an unjust judge for justice. Jesus told his disciples this parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time, he refused. But finally, he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Just like this woman, keep going before the Lord with your request. She belonged to God and so do you.
Jesus is standing at His right hand, interceding with Him on your behalf. We can be assured that God is listening.
In Revelation, we’re told that our prayers are held in golden bowls. The golden bowls show us that our prayers are precious to the Lord. We don’t store worthless things in golden bowls.
Never stop praying.
#3 – Stand
Stand firm in your faith.
Psalm 40:1-2 says,
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
To stand on Christ is to acknowledge the strong foundation you have in Jesus. Standing firm recognizes Jesus as your source of strength. He is our rock. It’s on Him that we stand when our situation seems hopeless.
When God’s answer to our prayers doesn’t come when we want them, 1 Corinthians 16:13 says that we’re called to stand firm in the faith, to be courageous, and to be strong.
If you’ve been praying and you can’t seem to hear from God, remember this:
First – Silence from God doesn’t mean absence.
There is nowhere that you can go, that God cannot reach you. He is always with you – no matter what. You might have to remind yourself of this daily … sometimes hourly. Silence means “not yet,” which in itself is a kind of answer.
Second – Spend time in the Word of God.
Act as if your life depends on it and search for the wisdom that you can find in your Bible. Sometimes, we’re looking for God to speak to us like He did with Moses, Joshua, or some of the prophets. And He does still do that, sometimes. But He also speaks to us through His Word.
The answers we’re looking for can often be found right in the pages of our Bible. If nothing else, reading God’s Word will give us the peace and strength we need when we’re going through a really tough time. So, spend some time reading your Bible.
Third – Don’t give up on your prayer.
I said this earlier.
Even when, and especially when, it seems pointless – continue bringing your petitions before the Lord. Remember to pray without ceasing. Never give up on prayer!
I want to leave you with Psalm 27:14 as a word of encouragement: Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say on the Lord!
God has equipped you for this season. Keep praising Him. Continue to lift your requests up to Him. And stand firm believing that He hears you and He will answer – in His time.