Part of the problem with our prayers is that we give up too soon. We simply assume that it must not be God's will: "I prayed four times for an awakening to come to America, and it didn't happen, so it must not be God's will."
The early church prayed—and then kept on praying. They continued to bring their need before the Lord. This is one reason their prayer for Peter's release from prison was answered.
But what about those times when our prayers are not answered? Sometimes we will pray for something and God won't give us what we want. We will say, "God didn't answer my prayer." Actually, He did. He said no. And no is an answer.
Sometimes God says no
. Sometimes God says slow
. Sometimes God says go
. And sometimes God says grow
The apostle Paul had what he described as a "thorn in the flesh," some kind of a physical infirmity. He prayed three times for God to take it away. But essentially God's answer to Paul was grow
. He was saying, "I'm leaving it in your life because it will cause you to grow spiritually."
Then there was Moses, who wanted to deliver the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt. Let's just say he was a little early. He took matters into his own hands and made a mess of things. God said to him, in effect, slow
. He sent him out to the wilderness to whip him into shape. God made him into the man He wanted him to be.
But sometimes God says go
. You will pray about it, and God says yes, let's go now. You pray, and it's done. Sometimes that happens.
So keep praying. Keep seeking. Keep asking. That is what the Bible tells us to do.