Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Pete Greig's new book, God On Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer, (Regal Books, 2007).

 

You’ve prayed repeatedly for God to intervene in a situation close to your heart – but all your requests have been met with silence. You’ve prayed with great passion and faith – yet still, God doesn’t answer. Do unanswered prayers mean that God doesn’t care, or worse, that He’s not even there? When you’re heartbroken over His silence, it can seem that way.

 

But God has a message to send you through the silence. Here’s how you can hear Him, even when He doesn’t answer your prayers:

 

* Be honest. Admit your disappointment, frustration, confusion, doubt, sorrow, anger, and any other feelings you have about the fact that you haven’t yet received answers to your prayers. Don’t be afraid to express yourself completely to God, without shame or pretense. Pray about every concern you have. Ask God hard questions.

 

* Trust in God’s love. Know that nothing – not bankruptcy, divorce, illness, death, or anything else – can ever separate you from God’s love. Regularly remind yourself of specific ways God has already shown you that He loves you, such as through answered prayer in the past and His promises in Scripture. Recognize the blessings you currently have that you haven’t noticed before, and thank God for them. Remember that God often expresses His love through the kindness of faithful people. Choose to take God at His word and believe that He cares about you, no matter what.

 

* Seek God Himself instead of just His miracles. Understand that, although God sometimes does choose to perform miracles for certain purposes, He often decides not to do so. Believe in the truth that a miracle is always possible, but remember that miracles are rare by definition. Check your motives to make sure you’re not just vying for a miracle, but instead are seeking to grow closer to God. Don’t expect God to be like a divine vending machine who dispenses miracles on demand. Love God Himself more than what He can give you.