What does it mean when prayers for a pregnancy don’t get answered? When a baby doesn’t make it to term, even though you pray for its health and beg God for its life? When an adoption doesn’t go through, even though every step in the process has seemed like answered prayer?
There is no public dialogue on questions like these. Maybe they’re too difficult, or too emotionally-charged. Maybe they force people to think about things they’d rather not consider, or confront truths they’d rather avoid. Whatever the reason, the absence of answers leaves us alone with our thoughts. And those can be devastating.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” What are we supposed to make of these words of Jesus’? They used to submerge me in despair. I was praying. I was believing. And instead of a baby, I had miscarriage after miscarriage – leaving me with the question: What am I doing wrong? Why don’t my prayers get answered?
Are you wondering the same thing?
Here’s what I’ve come to understand:
At first, my will wasn’t aligned with God’s. My will was: give me a baby now. It was, to be perfectly honest, an infantile kind of willfulness that was too obsessed with gimme! to consider God’s purpose or His timing. I wasn’t praying with a servant’s heart; surrender was nowhere on my radar screen. My prayer was more often, “why not?!” – and sometimes, I didn’t even wait for an answer.
My prayers were more about entitlement than obedience. Without realizing it, I presumed that I knew best. That a child now was better than a child later; that this pregnancy would trump a future one; that the sooner I got a “yes,” the happier I’d be. It was all about my plan (now!), not God’s plan. It was about satisfying my intense desire (entitlement), not about serving God’s purposes (obedience).
My impetuous neediness wasn’t all that mattered to God. Despite my sense that I couldn’t hang on much longer without getting the baby I wanted, God knew I could. He resisted my pleas with patient wisdom, despite the fact that my suffering broke His heart. Over time, my broken spirit became a malleable one, and God made me more of the steward He wanted me to be for the soul He’d always planned to entrust to me.
Then, I learned to pray for God’s best. Instead of trying to wrestle with God over whose will should prevail, I finally began to demonstrate my trust by letting go of my desire to control. I chose to trust that God intended to make me a parent – in His way, in His timing. With that choice to surrender, came a wave of peace. And with peace, came a pregnancy… that went to term… and brought into the world the baby intended for me.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” For a long time, I didn’t believe that I had received anything. Where was some evidence? All I could see was that I hadn’t received what I wanted. But, when I learned to pray for God’s best – His best timing, His best plan, His best reasons, His best outcome – and trust that I had received a “yes” in response to that request, everything changed.
Surrender was the secret to victory.
Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com