How Unanswered Prayers Have Shaped My Faith

Ruth Davidar Paul   |   February 15, 2023 

I was talking to a friend recently about one of my earliest prayers as a teenager and how this one prayer has remained unanswered. In fact, I am still praying this prayer more than 20 years later! That's ridiculously long when I think about it. One would think that I'd give up and move on by now!

But thinking about that prayer, I realised that it has been integral in cementing my faith, as incongruous as that may seem.

It's not so much the request itself that is important but rather the glimpses of God and His character that I have seen over the years. Those are invaluable and I would like to share some of those glimpses of God's character with you:

The God who works in the dark

This was a huge lesson that I learned and relearned and am still learning. Praying prayers that might seem like shouting into a void with no response or transformation, are not a waste of time. God is there, listening. And He is in the business of resurrection -

"God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did" (Romans  4:17).

What might seem absolutely hopeless, is not so with Him. The period of darkness might seem never-ending, but He can and does turn things around. While He doesn't answer some prayers, it doesn't mean that He can't. I honestly don't know how not receiving an answer to your prayer can stiffen your faith but it does. So I continue to pray in faith and hope, believing that this prayer will be answered too.

The God who is faithful

God will complete what He has started. He will not leave a task undone. Nor will He promise and not fulfil. So when I pray into a promise I've received but don't see any fruition of, I know that He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). Therefore I pray in faith, believing that I will see an answer to my prayer one day. It might not be when or what I expect to see. But it will nevertheless come to pass. So I no longer pray from a place of fear or anxiety but of joyful anticipation.

The God who is enough

I think this has been the biggest learning for me. Ultimately over the years, I've realised that even if I may never receive an answer to my prayer the way I want it to be (and that is something else I've had to make my peace with), I have God and that is enough. I don't want to sound pompous but truly, through the tears and years of pain and waiting, the comfort I've found in my Lord are inexplicable. He has been my treasure. And having Him has been deeply comforting.

My prayer for you as you read this today, is that you may discover these imperishable truths for yourself even as you navigate the pain of unanswered prayer. May you experience the comfort of God's presence every moment of every day.



Photo by Damian Denis on Unsplash


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Ruth Davidar Paul is a freelance editor, writer, and recently, an artist. She has lived in several cities across India and currently calls Chennai home, where she lives with her husband Abhishek and their children Abigail, Jordan, and Amy. She blogs at and paints @quaintstains on Instagram.

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3 comments on “How Unanswered Prayers Have Shaped My Faith”

  1. What is that prayer/request? I shall fulfill it so that you don't end up waiting another 20 years. I've been told that God sometimes works through people.

  2. Thanks for those comforting words. I really needed to hear them in this time of waiting! God is enough and knowing His love and encouragement keeps my soul singing!

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