But Why Doesn’t God Answer Me When I Pray?

I sat at the table either lunch with my daughters. My oldest asked me (for the hundredth time) when we were going to have another baby. Not being too keen on walking my 4 year old through the reproductive process, and wondering that question myself, I told her I didn’t know.

“Just keep praying about it, honey.”

“But MOM, I have been asking God for a baby. Why doesn’t he answer me when I pray?”

Her question pierced right through my heart.

It took me back to that relationship I was in before I met my husband. Where I was desperate to be loved and in a spiral of performing for attention and affirmation. I begged that God would make him love me, that we could work out.
God, why don’t you answer me when I pray?

It took me back to my college courses that I was failing. I had my whole life planned out, and this major I had picked was the first step. Suddenly, it was all falling apart. I was left unsure of who I was and what my life would look like.
God, why don’t you answer me when I pray?

It took me back to a family member of mine who was suffering. We prayed constantly for relief, for miraculous healing, for God to reveal himself to this person so that he may be known, but the suffering continued.
God, why don’t you answer me when I pray?

It took me back to my first couple of months as a foster momma. Our first call was for a teenager who needed a forever home. I wanted to say yes. My husband and I prayed and prayed. Our physical bodies became sick and weak in the days leading up to our decision. Nothing felt right, but God felt so silent.
God, why don’t you answer me when I pray?

“Momma!”

I snap back to reality, sitting at my dining table with my two daughters.

“I keep praying, but we still don’t have a baby!”

I take a deep breath.

“Honey, praying to God doesn’t mean bossing him around. God loves hearing our prayers, but he knows what’s best for us. Sometimes you might think God isn’t answering you, or you may not like the answer he gives, but He always knows best.”

Sometimes, in the midst of my deepest questions, it gives me so much clarity to explain it the same way I would to my 4 year old. I often think that’s why Jesus had a few things to say about a child’s role in the Kingdom.

Whatever your big questions are today, know that God hears you. I cling to this scripture in my times of hopelessness: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

That speaks louder to my heart than any doubt. My love for my children runs so deep and so wide and so fiercely. This scripture moves me to tears every time. How much more he loves each of us. Hallelujah.

~ Ali Hofmeyer