Difficulties in Prayer: Feeling Unheard

Based upon Catechism paragraphs 2734-37:

How many times have we prayed for something, or someone, and felt that God did not hear us? Have we feared that God would not even listen to us, or that He has in some way abandoned us?

Such feelings may prompt us to stop praying altogether because it doesn’t “work.”

If we view prayer that way, then we aren’t praying to God in a loving relationship, but instead trying to use Him to get “results.”

Whenever we feel that our prayers are unheard, we must step back and remember Who God Is. Trusting that the Lord loves us beyond our wildest imagination, we know that He never ignores or abandons us. God hears us as a Father listens to His beloved children. As the infinitely good Father, He knows what is best for us.

But we, as His little ones, do not. We may believe with all our hearts that it would be right and good for the Lord to grant us our prayer, for ourselves or our loved ones. Yet in truth, we cannot understand the full implications of what we ask for, how our request may ultimately affect our earthly life or our eternal welfare.

When God appears silent, He is not rejecting us, but rather inviting us to greater trust in His will.

This is an opportunity for us to reflect and to grow in faith. Are we honestly seeking to do God’s will, or are we instead demanding that God do our will? Is our petition arising from a faulty desire or improper intention? Or is our prayer a true and sincere pursuit of the good?

God may not give us the “answer” we want, but He does answer us out of His tender mercy. We can please God greatly, and delight His Heart, if we trust in Him in spite of all the tensions and uncertainties we feel while waiting. God will bless us abundantly for our faithfulness in ways that we might not expect.

As the fourth-century theologian Evagrius Ponticus wrote, “Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask Him; for He desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to Him in prayer.”

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