How to Trust God with Delayed Answers to Prayer

How do we trust God when our prayers seem to go unanswered? My friend and I prayed for her teenaged children who were rebelling against her faith and values. Nothing she did seemed to reach them. One day while reading the Bible she came across a verse that resonated with her.

 This is what the Lord says: ‘Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,’ declares the Lord.

‘They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your descendants,’ declares the Lord. ‘Your children will return to their own land’” (Jer. 31:16-17 NIV).

My friend believed this was God’s promise to her. She repeated “they will return” to herself when their behavior worsened. This word from God boosted her faith whenever she was tempted to worry.

Abraham and Sarah are an Old Testament couple who also found hope in a promise from God. When their circumstances contradicted the promise, they trusted God to keep His promise.

This couple had tried for decades to have a child with no success. Sarah was infertile. Imagine their surprise when God approached Abraham when he was pushing 100 years and said Sarah would give birth to a son.

As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her” (Gen. 17:15-16 NIV).

Sarah was at least 89. If she couldn’t conceive during the normal childbearing years, how could she hope to conceive a child now?

Because God promised. Their hope was in His ability not in their own.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:18-21 NIV).

Abraham didn’t live in denial. He looked the facts squarely in the face and laughed. God sure had a sense of humor. He would bring a son out of his ancient body and Sarah’s dead womb!

At age 100 Abraham held his infant son in his arms. At age 90 Sarah sang lullabies as she nursed her newborn.

God fulfilled His promise to my friend too. Both of her children walk with the Lord and are raising their children in the Lord.

How do we trust God when our #prayers seem to fall on deaf ears? #BigGod Share on X

How do we trust God when our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears? We ask God for His perspective and then focus on His promise—not on what we see. Some of God’s promises—like Abraham being the father of many nations—are bigger than a lifetime. But He always keeps His promises.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1 NIV).

What helps you trust God when you can’t see Him working?

Little Faith, Big God is available for preorder!

Could your faith use a boost? Let the men and women of Hebrews 11 show you how to walk by faith.


Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InstaEncouraements#Recharge Wednesday, #TuneinThursaday, #Dance with Jesus, #FreshMarketFriday, #Grace&Truth, #Faith ‘n Friends

Photo by Bethany Laird on Unsplash

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  1. Ann Musico

    Love this Debbie. Just this morning in my devotional time in the Message in 1 Thess. 5:24 I read: The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He’ll do it!!

    That was my reminder and confirmation that what I’ve entrusted and committed to Him in prayer He is keeping and will bring to pass at the perfect time and in the perfect way.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I love the way that reads. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  2. J.D. Wininger

    I’ve come to suspect that the “deaf ears” are my own Ms. Debbie. There’s been far too many times when I’ve prayed and heard nothing. Have come to understand that I heard nothing because I was not in a place where I could here. I wasn’t in meditative prayer; I wasn’t in God’s word; and too often I wasn’t in God’s will. I’ve learned that if we’re not listening, then God’s not talking. God’s blessings ma’am; and thank you for this wonderful reminder about the faithfulness of prayer.

    • Debbie Wilson

      J.D., I think sometimes I expect the answer to look one way and when it looks another I don’t recognize it at first. Thanks for reading and engaging.

  3. Melissa Henderson

    I have learned to trust God’s plan is always better than mine. Although I want immediate answers to my prayers, I know God works in His timing. Knowing He is listening and will answer according to His plan gives me comfort. 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Melissa, I think that is one of the benefits of having known Him for a while, don’t you? We can look back and see His faithfulness. Thanks, Melissa.

  4. Emily | To Unearth

    I LOVE that reminder to focus on God’s promise and not on what we see! I try to remember how God has been faithful in my past along with reading Scripture. It makes a world of difference to hope in God instead of my circumstances!

    • Debbie Wilson

      It is the difference between hope and despair. Thank you, Emily. Blessings to you.

  5. Laurie

    I am so glad that your friend’s children returned to their roots and are raising their children in the Lord. Those terrible teen years are certainly a trial for parents at times. God was with your friend’s family, even through the struggle and stress. He is good all the time.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Laurie. And that He gave her peace as she waited. He is good all the time. Blessings to you.

  6. Valerie Riese

    Some promises are bigger than a lifetime…. This was my favorite part of the post. Many heroes of faith never saw God’s promises come true in their lifetime- but they did come true. He is always faithful. Thanks so much for linking up with Grace and Truth this week!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Valerie! We get into trouble when we try to squeeze an eternal God into our timeline.

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