When Prayers Get Answered…Years Later

Garth Brooks once wrote a song about unanswered prayers.  The lyrics tell a story of a man who introduced his wife to his High School girlfriend.  Later in the song, he reflects on how he had prayed for his girlfriend to be with him forever, but alas, God had other plans for his life.  The chorus says, “Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayers.”

I’ve had plenty of opportunities to thank God for unanswered prayers.  I’ve also had plenty of times where I’ve given up on a prayer request because I think God isn’t listening or that it’s going to be “just another unanswered prayer.” 

I’d been praying over a scenario for over 10 years…and then…yesterday the prayer was answered. 

Elated. Tearful. Ecstatic. Nervous. Happy. Surprised. Stoic. Grateful.

Those are all great words to describe the emotional rollercoaster when I realized something I had been praying for over a decade was about to come to fruition.

While I was journaling my daily gratitude list last night, I thought about women from the Bible who had also prayed for outcomes…often for a very long time.

Of course, Sarah came to mind first.  Sarah was childless until she was 90 years old, despite that God had promised her husband Abraham that she would be “a mother of nations” (Genesis 17:16).  She struggled with that promise and what appeared to be an unanswered prayer request. 

She struggled so completely that she gave her husband permission to sleep with her maid and subsequently have a child with her. She believed that her perceived barrenness was an unanswered prayer.  More than that, she believed it was a broken promise.


Until God answered the prayer for Sarah to become a mother and fulfilled his promise to Abraham.  In their old age, Sarah and Abraham became pregnant with Isaac. 

Answered prayer.

Both Sarah and I continuously prayed over a scenario. Both of us lost the belief that God fulfills promises and hears our prayer requests.  It’s important for us to discern that unanswered prayers may simply be answered prayer that needs some time to be perfect.

I’d like to encourage you this week.  If you’ve been praying over a scenario, a situation, a child, a marriage, or a job…and it seems like the prayers are unanswered, please keep praying.  The unanswered prayer’s timing will surprise you.

Sometimes the answered prayer takes years.


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)

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