"Thus says the Lord, the Maker of the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it; the Lord is His name: Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know." –Jeremiah 33:2-3 (MEV)
Prayer is a crucial habit to the Christian life. If we read the Bible, we will find instructions and continuous reminders to pray and seek the Lord. And because prayer is the way we communicate with God, we can't afford to live a life without it.
But what do we do when it seems like God isn't answering our prayers, that He is silent? Have you ever experienced praying to the Lord and receiving nothing but His silence?
If you have or are experiencing it right now, here are some things you should remember.
Three things to remember about God's silence
1) His silence doesn't mean He doesn't hear us
When God is silent, it doesn't mean He hasn't heard our prayers and noticed our cries. He always hears us, even the slightest whispers in our hearts. We find this to be true according to David in Psalm 38:9,
"Lord, all my desire is before You, and my sighing is not hidden from You."
God knows the longings of our hearts, so don't be discouraged from praying when it seems like He's not listening. He hears our prayers, even if His reply seems delayed.
2) His silence doesn't mean He didn't reply
God's silence doesn't automatically mean He doesn't want to respond to our prayers. His silence might mean we need to pray and seek Him more.
Consider what happened to Daniel. Although God quickly answered his prayer, it took more than 21 days of prayer and fasting before he could receive the reply that God sent. It turns out that the devil hindered the response from arriving. (see Daniel 10)
Maybe we need to do the same and seek the Lord in prayer and fasting.
3) His silence might also be the response
Some might think that God is unfair when He chooses not to answer, but in reality His silence could already be the answer to our prayers. There are times when God has to say "no," and will do so with what we would call "unanswered prayers."
Consider what the Bible says about God choosing not to say "yes" to our requests:
"You ask, and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your passions." (James 4:3)
"Certainly, the hand of the Lord is not so short that it cannot save, nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2)
"We know that God does not listen to sinners. But if anyone is a worshipper of God and does His will, He hears him." (John 9:31)
Check yourself - and keep praying no matter what
Friend, maybe God has already replied to your prayers but you thought He hasn't because His reply isn't what you expected. Check yourself. God promised to answer our prayers, so never stop praying. Think of our Lord Jesus Christ who even cried out to God while hanging on the cross in the deepest, darkest moment of his life, right before his death. If Jesus didn't stop calling out to God in even a moment as crushing as that, we also shouldn't stop.