The Patience of Unanswered Prayers

Abundant Mystic Deeper TreasureOne of my new favorite books is Howard Thurman’s Meditations of the Heart. It is filled with beauty, compassion, wisdom and inspiration.

One of the Meditations that recently caught my attention is titled, The Patience of Unanswered Prayers.

Have you experienced unanswered prayers? Have you ever hoped and wished and prayed for something that seemed to always be elusive and “out there?”

Thurman writes: “Who is there that has not carried at a central place in his concerns the persistent hunger, sometimes dull and quiet, sometimes feverish and angry, for something that has not come to pass.

There were many long years in my life when the “prayer” for financial abundance (or even stability) felt like it was being unanswered. The “persistent hunger” was indeed feverish and angry at times, but, even when it was dull and quiet, I could feel it. That hunger was always present.

There were times of such deep anguish, when I was sure I had tried everything without success…

The general overtones of anguish created by the unfulfilled need often send the soul searching for some clue, some key to unlock the door of the treasure house.” Writes Thurman.

It was at those times of deep anguish when that seeking Thurman speaks of was my only refuge, the only place I found relief from the pain of that persistent hunger. If my prayer would not be answered at least I could discover the reason why!

On the path of Awakening there is a deeper and richer treasure than the fulfillment of our needs. Could it be that the real treasure is to be found when our unanswered prayers send us searching for the key to a door we did not even know existed?

It may be that the persistent hunger is an Angel of Light, carrying out a particular assignment in life.”

Wow… what if that hunger we feel when living with an unfulfilled need is an Angel? And what if that Angel is pointing us to a treasure greater than we could ever have imagined?

Thurman notes the important transition that comes as we shift our attention: “the center of emphasis is shifted from the hunger itself to what it has meant to deal with it through all the years.

What prayer is unfulfilled in your life?

What would it feel like to shift your focus away from the unmet need and onto the qualities and characteristics and foundational energy patterns that are being built and strengthened within you because of this unmet need?

Thurman ends the meditation with these words: “At last a man may say, ‘I know now that there is present in my life a quality that is only mine because the hunger is mine. Thus at last, I come to the door and seek entrance where is gathered the great community. I know the password: Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.’

How would you feel if you embraced the Patience of Unanswered Prayer?

How about trying it today by bringing just 5% more (or even just 1% more) patience to your unanswered prayer?

Leave a comment below and let us know how it feels… and what treasure you discover!

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Ron Landskroner says:

    In spite of not possessing classic good looks, being extraordinarily virile, outgoing or particularly charismatic I enjoyed my fair share of positive experiences with women in my youth stretching into middle age, both of brief and extended duration, a few even lasting years. None, however, resulted in what I consider genuine long-term committed relationships I never married though this has been a lifelong dream, or at least that’s the story I have been telling myself. Well, I recently turned 68, my body showing the ravages of age. It’s now been quite a long stretch since anything approaching what might be considered a relationship, even of the superficial kind, if you know what I mean. I continually ruminate about all the many opportunities I squandered and frittered away, literally shaking my head in disbelief that I could have messed up so terribly, missing out on the very thing I’ve pursued and so long hungered for. The words “wife” or “husband” are hurtful for me to read or hear, making me wonder how, when and why things went so terribly wrong. Has my fate been sealed? Have my actions (or worse yet inactions) guaranteed that the remainder of my life is to be spent alone and lonely?

    Then today a friend sent me this link. While it most definitely speaks to me and is of some comfort, it cannot remove the hunger that a loving, intimate relationship can provide. Why is it, I continually ask, about me that seems to have set me apart from the majority of people I know. Is there a missing piece to the puzzle as your other link addresses. Did I need to learn the hard lesson of truly opening myself up to love? Was I not appreciative of youth or sufficiently grateful for the many opportunities offered me which now seem to have completely disappeared?

    I am endeavoring to be philosophical and do the necessary work. But, to be honest, it will take what now feels like the endurance, courage, patience and persistence of a saint. And the last time I looked they don’t canonize Jewish boys from the Bronx.

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