What do you do with your unanswered prayers?
I misplaced my bunch of keys last week. I discovered it was missing on Monday morning just as I was about to take my little man to daycare and then get ready for work. I did not have a spare car key so I dropped him off with my wife’s car and came back home to search for the missing bunch of keys. I said a quick prayer about it and after an hour of unfruitful search, I sent an email to my boss notifying him I would be working from home.
I hate misplacing stuff. I believe everyone does, naturally, but I more than usual. It eats me up inside, making it tough to focus on anything else as I dwell on the last time I saw the missing item, playing it over and over and over in my mind, like an unending Tarantino flick. I had my car, office, gym, house, and wife’s extra keys in the bunch. The thought of replacing them all and changing the house locks (for safety) was disconcerting. You get the picture now, I really wanted to find the missing keys.
I then set apart time to pray more about the missing keys. I threw the proverbial kitchen sink at it: Mathew 7:7-8, Mark 11:24, Malachi 3:10-11a, Mathew 17:20 etc. After some time in prayer, I was sure I would find the keys. I decided not to call the dealership or locksmith for a new key. I turned the house inside out, nothing turned up. I took Uber to work the next day; I was still certain the keys would turn up. On Wednesday, I finally called the towing company to get my car to the dealership so I could get a new key. I also arranged to get the house locks changed the day after.
I did not find my bunch of keys. I still have not.
Maybe I will find the keys later, maybe not. It would not matter then because all missing keys have been effectively replaced and the missing bunch is dead useless to me now.
Finding the missing bunch of keys was really important to me, I asked God to help me find it, and I had faith I would find it but I did not. I try not to be frivolous in my requests to God, and to the best of my understanding I pray according to His will so when I pray I expect to get answers (1 John 5:14-15). When my prayer does not get answered I try to find out why. A number of times I attribute unanswered requests to God knowing better, knowing something that I do not know and the unanswered prayer was a good thing for me on the long run because…Romans 8:28.
I could not apply that in this case. Although I got a couple of favors when replacing the keys (got an unusual discount on the car key, got the house locks replaced for free), I still have no clear idea why I did not find my keys. I believe leaving unanswered-prayers hanging is not good for building faith. If God “did not answer” a prayer with no reason obtained, what is the assurance He would answer the next request. If this continues, prayer becomes an activity of chance; maybe He would, maybe He would not. And that is not what faith is.
So my earnest question to you is this: What do you do with your unanswered prayers?