I’ve always wondered, like many of us, if God answers prayers. In my heart, I know that He does. However, there are times that we really want a specific answer that we never get. So why does that happen?
Let’s start with the basics.
- God always hears our prayers – This is not only true, but He really does care about the prayers in our hearts. He knows these prayers more than we know them. He loves us unconditionally and wants us to be happy.
- God always answers our prayers – There are three answers that He can give us: Yes, No, and Not Now. The hardest one for us to ever hear is “No.” I remember my parents telling me “No” many times as a child. It was hard to accept because I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do. As I grew up, I came to realize that it is because they knew what was best for me. It’s the same way with God. He knows what we need, when we need it. If we don’t need it, the answer is “No.” This is also true when our prayers are for others. He knows what everyone needs, when they need it.
- Are we listening? – Many times our prayers are one way conversations. A question to ask ourselves is, “Are we taking the time to listen?” This doesn’t mean that our answers will come at that very moment, or that they will come in a huge booming voice or in a burning bush. That would be amazing, but probably won’t happen to most of us. What it does mean is that we need to take time out of our busy days to simply Be Still and Listen. It is in the whispers of our hearts, other people, or other events that the answers will come through.
All of these things have been very evident in my life recently. A few weeks ago, I was meeting with my Spiritual Director, and I shared that I have seen God working in my life in so many ways lately. I know it isn’t because He wasn’t sending me messages or speaking to me before. I have just been so much more aware and open to what God has to tell me.
My husband and I have been married for over 13 years. We have always been open to life, and we love children. Many of our prayers have been about having a family. The obvious answer for me from God had been “Not Now.” I had been okay with that. But was that my answer or His?
I have felt called into ministry within our church for many years, specifically ministry with teens. At a retreat this past October with our teens, I heard God speaking to me very loudly. It was something I had been hearing a lot for the past couple of months, too. Although I hadn’t planned on sharing anything about this, God has a way of encouraging you to do things. I had seen and heard so much brokenness in the teens throughout the weekend.
They spoke of the fears of going back to reality as the retreat was drawing to a close. What they didn’t see was that the retreat was part of their reality, too. It was something they could take back with them and not leave at the camp.
With the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I let them know what I had previously only shared with one other person who is currently serving as a Missionary at our parish – and also happened to be at this retreat. I have struggles and pain like everyone else. I also live a very blessed life. There is a reason my husband and I don’t have children, and God has a plan for my life. He knew what He was doing when He called me into ministry. God has given me the greatest opportunity to share the love He has given me as His Beloved Daughter with all of His children that are a part of my life, even if some of them are only in my life for a moment. He knew what I needed, when I needed it.
You see, I don’t need a child that is flesh of my flesh to be able to give that love. For we are all flesh of His flesh. The greatest gift for me these days is acceptance of God’s will and His answer. Although it is difficult at times, I know that His “No” is the right thing for me. Will His answer change? Perhaps, but I don’t need it to. I have found peace in my life through people He sends my way.
Here is a prayer that has helped me. It has really opened my heart, eyes, and ears to His messages for me. I pray it will also help you. Can you hear what God is saying to you?
Prayer of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so to establish myself in you unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity.
May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave you, my unchanging God, but may each minute bring me more deeply into your majesty!
Grant my soul peace.
Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place of your rest.
May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action.