When we pray, we must pray for inner strength and grace to do the Will of God in our life. In Mathew 7:7 we read; 'Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened.' This is the promise of Jesus.
Then why do we experience the opposite of this in our daily life? All of us have experienced, at one time or another that our prayers go unheard. When I look back into my life, I too feel the same. There were times, I prayed fervently and constantly, for graces and blessings from God for days, months and years together. But it seemed to me that God was silent, absolutely silent. It led me to feel and think within that, God is deaf to my prayers.
But as the years passed, and as I continued exploring my spiritual life, a new light flashed on my mind and my outlook on life, on prayer, on the Will of God… underwent a great spiritual evolution. And the continuation of the above Gospel passage came to my mind with new light and insights as answer to my question. 'What man is there, among you, who if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?' (Mt. 7:9-10).
This Word of God clearly tells us that why at times God does not answer our prayers. It is because when we ask for bread, it is not bread we ask, but stone, when we ask for fish, in fact it is not fish we ask but a serpent. If children ask for stone and serpent, definitely no parents will give them to the children.
This can be clearly understood by another example. Tom was the only son of his parents. He grew up as a promising youth. When he was about to complete his SSLC he told his parents that he will do well in the examinations and then they must gift him with a motorbike. He passed the examinations with high marks. But his parents delayed giving a positive answer. They told him, that they would give a bike as a gift, when he completes his pre-degree course. He agreed.
And as he passed PDC, he came out in flying colours with first rank and the parents gifted him a motor bike. Tom was overjoyed and happily he received the gift. Parents too were happy to gift the motor bike. But after a few days, as Tom was riding on his bike, his bike collided with a running bus and Tom died on the spot. The parents were left alone. Their only son Tom is no more. He was their hope. He was their future. Life stood empty and meaningless, dark and void. They deeply regretted for gifting their son with a motor bike. They thought if they had refused to give him the bike as gift, they would have enjoyed their son's company even today. Now they felt sad and lonely, helpless and hopeless.
Same applies to our daily life. When we pray for graces and blessings, God in his infinite wisdom and love, does not grant us our wish, for he knows clearly what we will do with those graces, and what will happen to us in future. The graces we ask may seem to us very good. But they can turn into bad to worse like the motor bike and the accident. God knows our past, present and future. So whatever God sends us that is best for us.
When we look at our whole life from this perspective there is greater meaning to each and every deprivations and situations. Be it sickness, tragedy, hardships, misunderstanding, difficulties, trials, aridity, confusion and even death.
Nothing happens to us which is outside His plan. As the Gospel says, 'Even the hairs of your head have been counted.' (Mt. 10:30). We cannot try to fathom God's ways by our feeble sense, feeble reasoning and feeble understanding. When reason is buried with prayer, faith blooms and produces fruit. But mean time we have to wait. When answer to the prayer delays, it is a clear sign that God's wisdom is unfolding in our life, on an entirely different angle we dreamt of. In the infinite wisdom of God everything that He wills is for our ultimate good.
Always God's love keeps some thing best in store for us, than what we have kept asking God for. Only faith, hope and love can help us to yield to His loving plans and ways. Here it is good to remember the words of St. Paul;
'God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.' (1 Cor 1:25).