Longing For God to Answer My Prayers – Session One
Longing For God to Answer My Prayers – Session One
In this session we look at how unanswered prayers are God’s way to awaken our longing for something far greater: himself.

This study guide was produced by Keswick Ministries. Keswick Ministries hosts a Convention for 3 weeks each summer in the English Lake District. They also run year-round teaching and training events and produce digital and printed resources. The central vision of Keswick Ministries is to see the people of God equipped, encouraged and refreshed to love and live for Christ in his world. We hope you are blessed by this series.

Getting Started

‘If only God would . . . ’
What did you pray for this morning? A spouse, a job, good health . . .
You may be praying for something that is good and right, like release from addiction or your child’s salvation, but even then God does not seem to answer your prayers.
In our sadness and confusion, the Psalms provide good company. They are packed with examples of people crying out for God’s intervention, and their complaints give words for our anger, hurt and despair. The Psalms show us God can deal with our raw emotions, but, if you read on, they also challenge our perspective. Sometimes we are so consumed by what we want God to do for us that we lose sight of him, and our desires actually steal our affection for him. Perhaps unanswered prayers are God’s way to awaken our longing for something far greater: himself.

From the Bible – Psalm 13

1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, 4 and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’
and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Discussion Points

Personal Application

The problem is if God is not the starting point, then our own perceived
emotional needs become the drivers and sole focus of our prayer . . .
We should not decide how to pray based on the experiences and feelings
we want. Instead, we should do everything possible to behold our God
as he is, and prayer will follow. The more clearly we grasp who God is,
the more our prayer is shaped and determined accordingly.

Tim Keller, Prayer, pp. 61-62

Prayer Time

In reality there are no unanswered prayers. God hears you every time you pray. He may say ‘no’ if you are asking with selfish motives, or for something that would do you no good. With hindsight we’ll be glad God
said ‘no’, because he sees the bigger picture, the eternal perspective, and he knows what furthers his good purpose. He might say ‘wait’ because it is not the right time for what you’re asking, or because he wants to stretch your faith as you learn to trust him more. Or he might say ‘yes’!
Speak to God honestly about the requests you mentioned in question 1.
Ask him to answer your prayers according to his will (Luke 22:42). But don’t stop there. Pray that you would be satisfied in God, not just in the gifts he gives. Ask him to transform your longings so that your deeper desire is for him alone.