Navigating Spiritual Disappointment – Part 3
I Prayed and God Let Me Down – Part 5
These examples from the Bible and their unique scenarios give us key takeaways to help us eliminate the idea that a person can pray and be let down by God. In addition to that, these examples will help us take prayer to the next level as we face our own similar circumstances. We will share two more examples: Saul and Elijah.
Saul – God Chooses Not to Respond.
Example number three is Saul. The key takeaway that we pickup from Saul is this. God may choose not to hear you.
Saul prayed and God would not answer him. The way Saul put it was like this. “God didn’t answer him neither by dream nor by sacred lots, nor by the prophet.”  God didn’t send a messenger or anything that Saul would have expected in receiving an answer from God. In fact, instead of God saying “no”, He would rather not reply or find a way not to even hear you.
For God not to answer your prayer, He must first not hear you. Saul, the first King of Israel, knew what it was like to hear from God. He was used to it and expected it. However, his actions led to a shift in his relationship with God. This shift impacted his ability to confer with God on matters that prior to the shift would have been normal for him. Could it be that something has shifted in your relationship with God that has resulted in God choosing not to respond to your requests?
Elijah – Maybe You Stopped Too Soon.
Example number four is Elijah. The key takeaway we gain from Elijah is this. Could it be that we stopped too soon? The scripture says that Elijah was praying for rain. Now keep in mind that the reason Elijah ended up praying for rain in the first place is because years before he had prayed for it not to rain. Therefore, his request was answered in a God-sized way.
A drought that Elijah may have intended to only last for a little while had a God-sized impact because it was powered by God. That’s a subject for another day. In this case, Elijah decided to end the drought, so he prayed earnestly for the rains to return. When was the last time you prayed earnestly? Therefore, he sent his servant to look towards the sea for signs of any clouds. Each time the servant would come back and report, there were no sightings of a cloud. Could that be where you are in your life? Could you have been praying, but not looking for a sign? How will you know the progress of your request if 1) you don’t look, and 2) you don’t know what to look for?
Could it be that you have been trying to finish your degree, you are working and everything is working against you, and there appears to be no sign of hope that you can accomplish your goal? Could you be going through marital challenges and there are no signs of hope or improvement? Could it be that your friends are turning their backs on you, even betraying you? Maybe it looks like all the odds are working against you. Could it be that you prayed and every time you look, there are no signs that anything is happening?
The servant of Elijah went out again and again following Elijah’s earnest prayer efforts and instructions. He did this six times. Here’s the interesting thing about this particular example. He went out six times. The question you must ask after having prayed many times is this: do I keep praying or do I give up? The average normal, ordinary person chooses to give up. That is why most people live with this type of thinking: I prayed, and God let me down. Could it be that you gave up too soon?
Elijah prayed a 7th time and sent his servant to check the 7th time. This time there was a tiny glimmer of hope when a small cloud, the size of his hand, became visible. At that sign, Elijah with excitement began to believe that rain was on its way. He began to announce it. He announced that this child that he could conceive is on his way. Excuse me, the rain was on its way. He announced that the job he had been longing for was on its way. No, excuse me, that the rain was on the way. He announced that his marriage that’s falling apart would be healed. Excuse me, the rain was on the way. He announced that his failures in life were turning around. Excuse me, the rain was on the way.
It would have appeared that Elijah prayed, and God had let him down up until the 6th prayer. The truth of the matter is, maybe you just stopped. The answer may have already been present and on its way. Don’t stop too soon, you might just be one prayer away from the rain falling in your life.
These four examples teach us a lot about prayer and how our huge requests, whether we deserve it or not, can appear to go unanswered.
These examples represent four truths about God. God can answer your request with a caveat, and we just missed it. Maybe we were wrong and have not corrected our wrong path. It could be that God has chosen not to hear us because what we were about to ask was not the direction He wanted us to go. Could it be that we just stopped too soon? Maybe we simply stopped short of seeing the victory, seeing the outcome, seeing the advancement, or seeing the manifestation. Don’t let these common ideas and thoughts keep you from receiving the answer to a prayer that is on its way. Don’t be robbed of God’s “yes” for you. This is how we overcome the feeling that we prayed, and God has let me down. This is how we take prayer to the next level!
Question: In which of these four situations might you find yourself in and why?
 1 Samuel 28:6 NLT, Bible.com, accessed November 17, 2023, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/1SA.28.6.NLT
 Partner, Daniel. 365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories. Ohio: Barbour Publishing, Inc. 1995.
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.