When Prayers Are Not Answered

We pray and plead and hope and trust, yet nothing happens.

Or does it?

We set our sights on the answer, and only the answer we desire.

What if it’s not that simple?

What if there is more going on than a transaction?

Imagine a child-parent relationship based on transactions? The child says to the parent, “I will ask you for things. you take care of them and I will thank you.”

I don’t want the parent or child side of that relationship. Sadly, I think we often approach our faith this way and we miss the depth of an authentic relationship with the Father.

He promises us:
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Instead of focusing on questions surrounding unanswered prayer, maybe we need to look for Him in the midst of our trial. He promised not to leave us, so He IS there…but where? Where is He revealing His love to us? A song, a smile, a sigh of relief?

He is there, He is here. Look for Him and let Him love you in the quiet moments and raging chaos. Answered prayer encompasses much more than checked boxes. It is about healing the parts of us we didn’t know were broken and revealing the loneliness inside. It is letting God love us and noticing when He does.

Don’t let “unanswered prayers” distract you. Transactions are empty, relationship fills the deepest part of us that longs to know Him and be known by Him.

Prayers Spoken, Lives Changes {Guest Post}

A guest post…

Jen Bio BW Cropped jpg

Jennifer White is the author of the forthcoming book, Prayers for New Brides: Putting on the Armor After the Wedding Dress. She blogs at Prayerfully Speaking where she shares Hope from the truth of God’s Word. Today Jennifer encourages us to praise God before we see the breakthrough we desire. This post is an excerpt from her free ebook, Prayers Spoken, Lives Changed: God’s Extraordinary Love for 18 Ordinary People.



It was a bucket list moment for me. I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Brooklyn Tabernacle for a Tuesday night prayer service. The experience was so powerful: the music, the people, the testimonies of answered prayer, and the message. Pastor Cymbala, whose books have helped to shape my prayer life, taught from Psalms 67:

 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

I was thrilled to learn from God’s Word the order of events that leads to breakthrough. WOW. Have you seen this before? Praise comes first. God gets acknowledged first. We set our hearts on Him, Who He is, What He can do – and THEN – the earth yields its increase. The italics in the verse are not my own, but straight from the NKJV.

Praise before Breakthrough

I searched the internet for the phrase, “praise before the breakthrough” to see what others had to say about this topic and found a fabulous teaching by Phil Morgan at Sermon Central. Phil explains the concept of praise very well here:

 “So when the Bible tells us to “Praise” Him, it’s calling us to give vent to our adoring heart. Worship can be silent, but praise NEVER is.”

In his sermon, Phil taught me these amazing truths about praising God. I’m so excited to share them with you today.

Praise Secures God’s Presence

2 Chronicles 5:13-14

“when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking  the Lord ….. the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.”

Psalm 22:3

“But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel”

 Praise Secures Victory

2 Chronicles 20:15-22

“as they went out before the army, saying, Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!”

Psalm 149:6-9

Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand,…”

Praise Secures an Unburdening

Isaiah 61:3

“…The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness….”

 Praise Secures Release

Acts 16:25-26

“at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.”

All Eyes on Him

I’ve spent too many decades struggling to change myself. Can you relate to that? My failure to do so left me angry and led to self-loathing. All ME focused, right? What a lie from the pit of hell – thinking that I am not at God’s mercy to become a new creation.

Cymbala and Morgan’s sermons remind me that I am called to keep my mind on God and all He is and can do. He is worthy to be praised. His power is incomparable. His love for you and me is unlimited. I will choose to focus on Him! Will you join me?

We can praise Him together, in the comment section below. I’ll go first, but don’t leave me hanging friend! Put feet to this and make it your truth.

Grab your copy of Jennifer’s free ebook, Prayers Spoken, Lives Changed: God’s Extraordinary Love for 18 Ordinary People. With it you will get a subscription to her bimonthly newsletter to boost your faith that #GodAnswers prayer.

jennifer white


Phil 4:6-7
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer
and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Peace. There is not a substance on this planet that can bring about peace like the peace that comes from God.
It is without side effects or hangovers and never makes your butt look big.

God comes and takes away the panic and our response to the anxiety can be His response: peace.

Our prayers do not have to be long winded or Shakespearian. But, they do need to be heartfelt, real, and honest.

They may be one word: help!

God is not looking for a performance from you, He is looking for a relationship with you.

Talk to Him like you would a friend who is sitting there next to you. A friend you trust, a friend who you know loves you and is safe.

He is.

Praying for China

Sometimes I have these deja-vu type moments and I remember. A smell, a sound, whatever it may be, brings me back to China and a flood of emotions overwhelm me.

Of course when we went to China 2 years ago, I was over the top excited to be meeting my daughter. After kissing pictures of her and rocking alone while crying because my arms ached to hold this little girl who captured my heart, I finally was able to feel her in my arms. To look into her little eyes and see her gaze back at me- as if she’s seen me before. We prayed that the Lord would give her sweet dreams in the orphanage and I believe with all my heart, he showed her the mother that was coming. I’m telling you…that look…call me crazy- I don’t care…she’d seen me before. Her eyes said to me- “it’s you.”

But I’m going to be brutally honest with you. Aside from the joy of receiving my daughter, I did not enjoy China. I did not have a love for her culture or many of the people there. The lack of respect for life, especially life that may not be “beautiful” or “normal,” angered and saddened me.

A woman in the park (ie. a large concrete slab) smiled at Lauren until she saw her scar from the cleft lip, then quickly pulled her child away. It is common for children like Lauren to be kept in rooms “for the deformed” while in the orphanage.

The society is void of God as a whole because of the Communist government. They are so deceived. They still worship Chairman Mao decades after his death. His pictures hang everywhere, most notably in Tiananmen Square (as seen in the picture of us while in China). This man murdered 10’s of millions of Chinese people with great satisfaction. The horrors he brought to this country are since forgotten by many and now they adore him, mostly due to the political campaign to keep Communism alive, for fear of the government losing control.

It has taken me some time to get to the point of hurting for these precious people. I know that most of them think the way that they do because it has been programmed into them since birth.

While I still am upset with the Chinese government, I know that our battle is not with flesh and blood, but with the evil forces behind the deception. I now feel a great love for these precious people.

I did share the Lord with our guide Jane while in China. She was very sweet and I pray that she opened her heart to Him.

During this Olympics, we have an incredible opportunity to reach people that don’t know Him. I believe that many will come to know the Lord in China at this crucial time in history and our prayers are essential to their salvation.

Here is a headline from the Voice of the Martyrs:

Pastor Sentenced to Re-education Through Labor – China Aid Association

On July 4, Pastor Zhang Zhongxin was sentenced to two years re-education through labor in Jining city in Shangdong province. According to China Aid Association (CAA), “Shandong Re-education-Through-Labor Management Committee issued a written decision sentencing Zhang Zhongxin to two years re-education through labor.

Authorities accused him [Zhongxin] of cult participation in the ‘whole scope of the church’ organized ‘Sunday school training courses, preaching the gospel to the northwest, Tibet and other places for missionaries and pioneers sermons.'” CAA added that in 2005, Zhongxin established The Rainbow Missions Fellowship and Timothy Bible Training School in Jining city, Shandong province, where Christian leaders are trained.

Zhongxin has appealed his sentence. Pray for Zhongxin and his family during this difficult time.
Ask God to give them courage as he appeals his sentence. Ask God to protect believers in China who face trying times as the government cracks down on believers ahead of the Olympics next month.

It is hard for me to believe that this happens even today.
Voice of the Martyrs is offering free bracelets to remind us to pray for China.
I encourage you to click on the link in my sidebar for your free bracelet and pray for the Chinese people. They desperately need it.

Also, I just want to say how thankful I am and always have been for Lauren’s birth mother who 1st chose to give her life and then when realizing she could not care for a child with special needs (and I DO understand this- it would be terribly difficult given the expense and stigma) that she laid her on the steps of a very busy temple knowing that she would soon be found.
To her, I am eternally grateful.

Speak to my Soul Sunday

I am going to be out of town for the weekend and I won’t have my computer, so I wanted to tell you that I am honored to be a “guest contributor” to Mel’s World on Speak to my Soul Sunday this week.

I felt that the Lord really directed me to write this specific devotion and I always know it must be from God when it blesses me too! It is filled with His Word and I hope it touches you like it did me!

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Come see me at Mel’s World!
Don’t forget to sign up for the April Praise and Coffee Giveaway,
just scroll down to the April 1st post!

Awesome Prayer for God’s Wisdom

Again, I’m in Colossians today, this time let’s back up to chapter 1.

Col 1:9-14
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

I love this prayer Paul prayed and I have written it out
so you can pray it over yourself or someone else.
I love to pray the Word!
Not in a repetitive, meaningless way-

but speaking it out because it is life and power!!

(Insert “I” and “me” or the name of the one you are praying for.)

Lord, I ask You to fill _____________ with the knowledge of Your will through
all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

I pray this in order that ____________may live a life worthy of You Lord
and may please You in every way.

That _________ may bear fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of You God.

That ____________ would be strengthened with all power according to
Your glorious might.

So that ____________ may have great endurance and patience,
and joyfully give thanks to You Father, who has qualified ____________ to
share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

For You have rescued ___________ from the dominion of darkness
and brought ___________ into the kingdom of the Son You love,
in whom ___________ have been redeemed and forgiven!

In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, amen!

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