Be very careful how you interpret “unanswered prayer.” Our hearts are so vulnerable in these moments. It’s just too easy to lose heart. The conclusions come rushing in—God isn’t listening; he doesn’t care; I’m not faithful enough; prayer doesn’t really work. Catch yourself! Don’t let your heart go there! Ask Jesus to help you interpret what is going on. Jesus—catch my heart, is the first thing I always pray. Catch my heart, Lord. Help me interpret what is going on here. Beware those nasty, soul-killing agreements.
The disappointment is real. I appreciate that the scripture admits deferred hope makes the heart sick, because that sure is true in my experience; it assures me that God knows it does too. He said so. The disappointment of unanswered prayer can be devastating. We need to invite the love of God into the disappointment; we need his ministry there. We may need to shed some tears; we may need to grieve; we might need to take a baseball bat to a trash can. However we express our heartsickness, we must invite Jesus there—just like we do with inner healing prayer—to comfort, heal, and restore.
I have had to add another phrase to my journal on who God is, and who I am:
God is not a betrayer—he does not betray and he has never betrayed me.