Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Unanswered" Prayers

I always end with some type of quote - a Bible verse, poem, or lyrics from a song - that relates to what I have written.  This time I've chosen to begin with something I found on a website of inspirational sayings.  I read it, said "Wow-this is my life," and posted it on my facebook page...

I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and God gave me brawn and brains to work.
I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for patience and God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.
I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted.
I received everything I needed.
My prayers have all been answered.
-Author Unknown

From the time I was little, I remember saying prayers - bedtime prayers, the blessing before a meal, prayers in church.  My prayers began with short memorized ones like "now I lay me down to sleep," and "God is great" then progressed to more personal ones as I learned what to ask for and how to ask for it.  I always expected my prayers to be answered because I was taught they would be if I had faith and believed.  It wasn't until the last few years that I learned the answers to my prayers don't always come in the form I choose or in the time I would like.  I've had to learn that God answers prayers in his own time and in His own way. 

It would have been easy for God to just give me the strength I prayed for, but the strength I have today is much greater because it wasn't handed to me - I built it myself, with God's help, through the events I've dealt with in my life.  I don't have all of the answers for myself or anyone else, but I have a much greater wisdom today because God helped me solve my own problems rather than solving them for me.  I'm not by any means materially rich, but God gave me what I needed to get an education and a good job, and then He left it up to me to use it.  I believe courage comes in different forms and means different things to different people.  God helped me to develop my own kind of courage by placing obstacles in my life and then helping me find ways to overcome them.  I haven't always been the most patient person, but I believe my patience is improving because God has made me wait for things rather than immediately giving me what I've asked for.  I've always been blessed with the love of family and friends, and I've tried to share that love through my teaching.  Now I'm hopefully sharing it through my writing.  If I can help even one person who's going through situations similar to mine then I will have been successful.  God has presented me with many opportunities for learning and growth in my life and has helped me see how to use these to help myself as well as others.

Three years ago I would have said that God wasn't listening to me.  None of my prayers were being answered.  Nothing I was so desperately asking for was happening.  At the time I didn't understand why.  Now I do.  I didn't get what I wanted when I wanted it.  I didn't get what I wanted in the way I wanted it.  But I did get what I needed.  God slowly, steadily helped me develop what I needed so that I could play a part in answering my own prayers.   

"Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.  Remember when you're talking to the man upstairs that just because He doesn't answer doesn't mean He don't care.  Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." -from Garth Brooks' Unanswered Prayers

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