Updated: Mar 14
Thank God for them. For - all is gift - especially unanswered prayers, because the Lord is an omniscient giver of gifts. Whether or not God answers our prayers - all is for the best.
Our Holy Father Elder Ephraim the Syrian
He considers what would benefit the supplicant. And when the Lord sees that a man is asking for something harmful or even merely useless, the Lord does not answer his prayer and refuses him that which he thought good. The Lord hears every prayer, and he whose prayer is not answered receives from the Lord the same saving gift as he whose prayer is answered.
If two people approach the Good One, one in need and the other with a debt to pay, He will give to the one and forgive the other. Thus both walk away from the Giver's door with gifts: the one in need receives delivery from necessity, and the debtor receives forgiveness of his debt.
In every possible way God shows that He is a merciful Giver of gifts.
He bestows upon us His love and shows us His kindness. And this is why He will not answer even one inappropriate prayer if its fulfillment would bring us death and ruin.
Even in this case, however, when He refuses to grant what we ask for, He does not leave us without a most useful gift, for He removes from us harm and opens to us the door of His compassion.
Therefore, be sure that every prayer that is not fulfilled is certainly harmful
But a prayer that is answered is beneficial. The Giver of gifts is just and good and will not leave your prayers unanswered, for in His goodness there is no malice and in His truth there is no envy.
Glory to Thee our God.
+ Glory to Thee for All Things! +
Excerpted by Bishop Theophan the Recluse from the works of our Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian.
PHOTOGRAPHY: by Anna Elizabeth Cook (Grand Rapids, MI)