I prayed for the world’s madness to stop. It only got crazier. Silence from heaven.
I prayed for several friends not to die of Covid. They died. Silence.
I prayed for God to heal my brother of pancreatic cancer. Silence.
I prayed for 15 years for a husband. Silence.
I prayed for five years for a child. Silence.
I prayed for friends to be healed of cancer. Silence.
I prayed for a job promotion. Silence.
Here is a short-list of my struggling with God through the years. Everyone has a record on paper or on the heart of similar musings in prayer. Even the staunchest atheist has thrown a prayer heavenward—even if sarcastically.
I remember my first prayer and attempt to believe in Something or Someone much bigger than I.
My childhood friend lived across the street, and we played together almost daily. It is so interesting that my first prayer involved her and was a kind-of test to see if God would answer.
As a little first-grader, I lifted a heartfelt desire as a prayer, “Let my friend and I cross the street at the same time to play and meet in the middle of the street.”
Such an interesting childish longing, I repeated the request daily until it happened. Suddenly one day, my friend and I stood in the middle of our neighborhood street, face-to-face, imploring each other to play for the day. We met each half way which was exactly what I had asked.
Mesmerized and hooked, I marked the moment on my heart forever.
I built a life of prayer as a child, teenager, and young woman. I remember singing in a choir in high school and performing at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado Springs. The mountains moved me, and I felt the presence of God in this absolutely gorgeous setting.
Then I had prayed for something specific to happen that night. It was attached to the dreams of a teenager. At the moment, it appeared that my heavenly Father had ignored or not answered. My heart sunk as we approached the finale of the evening.
That night the girls dressed in colorful formals and the boys in suits as we stood on risers on the stage. The stars sparkled from an indigo, inky sky above, with glorious and majestic mountains sheltering us. We sang out, “How Great Thou Art.”
My heart swelled with each line, “Oh, Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the world’s Thy hands have made… I see the stars and hear the rolling thunder Thy power displayed throughout the universe…”
In that beautiful setting of praise, I let that unanswered prayer go; and, most importantly, it didn’t diminish my faith. It grew so insignificant compared to glory and revelation of God in the moment.
Since then, I’ve had 50 or more years of prayers, yearnings, longings, waiting in darkness, tears, wandering, and disappointments. Sometimes I’ve wanted to stop and shake my fist at the Lord of the universe and ask why He had allowed certain things. Still I didn’t let it diminish my faith.
In the end, God blessed me more than I deserved.
The formula to figure out how He answers prayer has always been simple. Even six-year-old Bonnie could have understood.
There just isn’t one.
He answers, “Yes, no, or maybe.” While I waited to find out how God would answer, I stuck to believing that He is good. I stuck to believing the song of the mountains, “How Great Thou Art.”
There is suffering in the delay and unanswered prayers—much of which will never be explained here. One day we will stand face-to-face with Jesus and our questions may be answered. Will it matter in the presence of such extravagant love, goodness, and power?
Life’s experiences get you through to the end. Every prayer or struggle with God listed above came to resolution in this life. I finally married at age 32 and was so happy for the delay that brought such a good man to me. We adopted a little girl from Guatemala that has brought us joy! Now she is married and has two beautiful children.
It was so hard to lose my brother to cancer and friends to Covid recently. None of it can be brushed under the carpet. That is the point. God cares how you measure your connection to him through prayer. He is rooting for you. Stick with him long enough to work through to resolution life’s serious issues. The Lord of the universe longs to show that He is trustworthy with your deepest requests. Sometimes though, you will find that your prayers change as you learn to lean into his love.
©️Bonnie Saul Wilk