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Where's the Fruit? Encouragement when your prayers seem fruitless.
Thursday, October 5, 2023 by Doreen Wennberg

Are there unanswered prayers in your heart? What are you still waiting for God to answer? Do you feel forgotten by God? Have you ever thought—Surely, I haven’t prayed all these years, Lord, not to see any fruit?

Have you been praying things like these for years:

  • A family members salvation or spiritual growth.
  • A person in crisis, with addictions, or a spiritual stronghold
  • Family member’s chronic illness
  • Realization of a dream
  • Prodigal adult child
  • Single-family member waiting for a spouse
  • Marital issues, yours or a family member
  • Direction for college or career path
  • Fill in the blank_________________

For people of faith, though we know that God answers in his timing, we may need the reminder—often.

You have prayed and prayed for fill-in-the-blank and there is no evidence of even a sprout, much less fruit in these prayers. Or maybe there is, but the bucket you hoped for yielded only a few pieces. When that happens, it’s easy to become discouraged. We can become disillusioned and take our eyes off of God. The issue becomes magnified, and God is not.

Sometimes we just need a friend to gently remind us to, “Lift our eyes up to the One who sits enthroned in heaven” (Psalm 123:1 NIV).

Waiting is hard, and it is crucial, to stay saturated in the truth of scripture. Our faith may waiver, but be encouraged “For no word from God will ever fail” (Luke 1:37 NIV).

It is important to note that there is no winning formula. It’s not that this way or this prayer will do it. We are not responsible for how, when, or if people respond to Christ. Whether it’s for salvation or the breaking of strongholds in someone’s life or any of the above that you’re waiting for—that is God’s part.

Our part while we wait is to be faithful. Consistent. Yielded.

You might be familiar with the prophet Habakkuk, who cried out, “How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Hab. 1:2 NIV). In your situation, do you sometimes feel like that?

Recorded in the book of Habakkuk are his questions and God’s answers.

Habakkuk begins by asking how long God will allow evil to triumph. God’s response to the prophet is that God is raising the Babylonians up as his tool of correction. (Hab. 1:1-11). Habakkuk may not have fully understood that God would use the Babylonians to cause Judah to return to God. We sometimes don’t see the whole picture either. God often uses and allows circumstances we would’ve never chosen for those we pray for.

Seeing God’s Sovereignty, Habakkuk once again had hope. He concludes his book with the familiar words from Habakkuk 3:17-19. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” 

Rejoice! The reminder is so clear—yet can be so hard when the wait is long. When God seems silent, it is always a choice whether or not to rejoice.

When we think we can’t do this anymore if something doesn’t change, take your eyes off the unanswered situation and look to God.

When we choose to rejoice and declare the Sovereign LORD is our strength and the source of our courage, he will make our feet steady and sure.

Then we can walk forward with spiritual confidence and renewed faith in God’s ability to bring about his plan and will for those we love— in his way and timing.

It is always too soon to give up praying!

Father,

Thank you for the encouragement from a difficult time in Judah’s history and the prophet Habakkuk’s resolve to trust and rejoice anyway. May you give us the strength to continue in prayer for those we love—even when the wait seems long—and we have not seen any change. Give us faith to trust you and to rejoice in the strength you give us. Thank you for keeping us steady through difficulties while we wait.

~In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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