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I remember once making a request of my parents that was so out of sync with the plans for the family, that they just stared at me, no verbal response, just a glare. Some may say that my request was unanswered. It took me years to learn that my request was answered. The answer was in their glare – a silent “no.” The more I studied prayer, the more I discovered that Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer in his teaching on the subject. In spite of both secular and church pressure to admit to unanswered prayer, I concluded that there was no such thing as unanswered prayer. One such secular pressure was in a song by Garth Brooks, in which he returned to his High School reunion only to see the girl he had prayed to marry. Her condition was such that he sang, “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers.” Even in church, I grew up singing the hymn, “Have Faith in God” in which the second verse begins with “Have faith in God when you pray’rs are unanswered.” However, that which we often label unanswered is in actuality, a silent response, that answers without words. The response is so out of sync with the plans of God, that no answer is necessary, just silence. If God appears to be silent, the fault may be yours, not His. So, what does one do when God appears to be silent? Do not assume that He is uninterested. Listen more intently. Walk more closely. Consider God’s silent “no” may be a re-direction, rather than a rejection. Re-think the request. It is possible to “ask and . . . not receive, because you ask amiss” (James 4:3).

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