Sometimes we pray for things one time and see immediate results. However, most of the time this isn’t the case. Most of the time when we pray for things, we have to continue to press in and ask God for them. But what do we do when we pray and ask God for things over and over, and still don’t see the results we were hoping for? What seems like unanswered prayers can often lead to discouragement in God and His love for us, but we don’t have to give into that disappointment. We get to choose to trust Him and be faithful, even when it’s hard.
The first step in overcoming discouragement when we don’t see the things we’ve prayed for is resting in biblical truth. We can’t trust God if we don’t know God, and we can’t know God if we don’t know His word. Reading His word and letting that be the foundation of our lives is how we know He loves us, He is faithful, and He has our best interests at heart. We can’t look at God through the lens of our circumstances. Instead, we have to look at our circumstances through the lens of who we know God to be, and we know Him through who He says that He is.
When we read His word, we find verses like Jeremiah 29:12 which says, “‘You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.’” This verse is proof that when we come to God, He doesn’t just hear us speaking, He intently listens to the words we’re saying. When we don’t see the things we pray for, we can easily slip into the thought pattern of believing that God has stopped listening to us. This verse is the biblical truth that allows us to break agreement with that lie. He is listening to us--He knows the sound of our voices and the cry of our hearts. He literally says “I will listen to you.” That is a promise that He makes to us, and it’s promise we can rest in.
When we pray, God promises to listen, but we wouldn’t know this about Him and His character, if we didn’t know His word. A big part of overcoming discouragement when we don’t see the things we’ve prayed for is simply resting in God’s word so that we can know His faithfulness and know that He cares about us. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that, “the word of God is living and active.” If you stay in the word, you cannot be cut-off from God. Staying in the word is a major component to overcoming discouragement, because when we make the choice to stay in the word, we choose against discouragement. Our strength and courage come from the Lord, and knowing the Lord comes from knowing His word.
The second step of overcoming discouragement when we don’t see the things we’ve prayed for is perseverance. Discouragement is not from God. His goal in not answering our prayers the way we think He should or when we think He should is not to hurt us or discourage us, but to get us to where we need to be. The worst thing you can do if you’re feeling discouraged is to give into that discouragement and give up. Don’t give up on God, because you feel like He’s given up on you--He hasn’t. Continue to press into Him, and allow Him to give you peace about His plans. Continue to press into Him, and allow Him to reveal Himself to you. Continue to press into Him, and allow Him to increase your trust in Him to take care of you. Whatever you do, don’t stop pressing in. Stay determined to seek Him, and you will find Him.
When we choose discouragement over determination, we begin agreeing with a lot of lies. The truth is, when we give in to discouragement and let those lies in, we put up walls that keep God and His truth out. However, when we persevere and continue to seek Him, He eventually does prove His love and kindness towards us. Choosing faithfulness here looks like continuing to give God the space to move, and trusting that He will, even if we don’t see it yet. So keep pressing in and pray without ceasing. If we shut ourselves off from God, it’ll be even harder to see His faithfulness.
The third and final step to overcoming discouragement when we don’t see the things we’ve prayed for is super important: You should not expect a certain outcome or result, you should expect God to take care of you. When we pray for things, we often think that we know what the result should be, however, Proverbs 16:9 tells us that God determines our steps. We don’t determine our steps for ourselves. God does not answer our prayers the way we think they should be answered. If we put our expectations in an outcome, and God’s outcome is different, we’re going to end up disappointed and discouraged. If our expectation is simply that God will take care of us, it doesn’t matter how He answers our prayers, we will be satisfied.
So, for those of you who feel like you’ve been stuck in the same place forever and God isn’t answering your prayers--don’t be discouraged. Take Him at His word, don’t give up on Him, and expect Him to take care of you. Your prayers are powerful, and influence God to move. He’s going to come through for you.
Author | Stephanie Stewart