It was an autumn day like any other when I went to my knees for the last time to pray to God to heal my grandfather. He was in hospital for a long time and I was not ready to say goodbye. Just a few months earlier, he told me that if he ever “went away” (those were his words), I was to inherit his Hi-Fi sound system. It was a strange idea for me. I believed my grandfather was still okay, but I think he started feeling weaker day by day.
This all happened in my grade eleven year. In April, he passed away. It was hard for me to accept that my grandfather was just gone. I say ‘gone’, but I believed he was with God. The thing that made it so hard was that I prayed that God would come and restore my grandpa’s health (a couple of times even), but it never happened. What do we do when we feel like God does not listen to our prayers?
Does God even listen?
I think it often feels as if God does not listen when we pray for good things and they do not happen. It seems that God is far away if our prayers remain unanswered. But we are repeatedly reminded in the Bible that God is not far away:
Those who know the Lord trust him,
because he will not leave those who come to him.
If our prayers are not answered, sometimes it seems that God disappoints us, but I think it’s more likely that we are disappointed because of our expectations. We regularly pray with the expectation that God will answer our prayers in our way. But God’s will is always greater and better than our expectations.
What happens when we pray?
We must keep praying. Something amazing happens when we pray – we strengthen our relationship with God. Just as we would visit a friend’s house or go to the mall with them, the more time we spend with God, the better we will get to know Him. And the better we know God, the more our hearts will turn to the things that are important to Him.
Keep your trust in God
I look back to the time when I prayed for my grandfather. Although God did not answer my prayers in my way, I learned to trust in God. My grandfather was old and unfortunately that was part of the reason he was dying. My prayers then also changed. My prayers began to echo with gratitude about the things I learnt from my grandpa. They became about my family and that God would comfort us in that time. And those prayers were answered.
God always listens.