What happens when you fast and pray for something and it doesn’t happen? Does that mean God doesn’t answer prayers? Does it mean He doesn’t care? Or does it mean that something better is in store? That we just need to have patience.
I choose to believe the patience thing. Sure, it would be nice if I could show my faith through sacrifice and automatically get everything I ever wish for. Sometimes I wonder if my kids think that the hole in their stomach from fasting is really a wishing well. It’s not.
We should be fasting and praying for things that are meaningful rather than creating a wish list for Santa. Even then, we should remember that the purpose of faith and fasting is to align our will with our Heavenly Father’s. This takes patience and a lot of trust.
This month I couldn’t abstain from food. That never seems to work for me when I need it to. While I can’t fast in the traditional sense, I can still offer heartfelt prayers. And I did. My whole family was praying for the same thing. Sort of. Parker informed us his fast was for something a little different. He was dead set on one specific outcome. Starving himself for 24 hours would certainly result in his will his way. Not His will nor His way. Parker is 11 and is still learning.
I felt compelled to pray that we would have the wisdom to do everything in our power that we could control. Then I prayed that whatever the outcome, I could feel peace. That I would maintain my faith and trust in my Heavenly Father. As much as I wanted a specific outcome, I wanted more to have His will be done. I know He has guided our lives in the past and I have no doubt He is doing that now. I simply don’t have the ability to see the end from the beginning as He does. My crystal ball has been on the fritz … well, as long as I have had it!
I wouldn’t say I had a sneaking suspicion that the outcome would not be our “wish.” I really didn’t know. When things didn’t work out as I had hoped, I did feel disappointed. Only it wasn’t a profound disappointment. If anything, I have felt more sure that things will work out eventually. I don’t know how, when, or why. I just know it will all be okay. Until I learn His will for this particular need of ours, I will cling to past miracles. Remembering those blessings that came in extraordinary ways reminds me that He has not forgotten us.
It’s easy to want to lose hope. To believe that God doesn’t answer prayers if the answer is a no, or even a not right now. The peace I feel is real. That proves to me that He did answer my prayer. I am so grateful for that peace.
And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88)