When prayers go ‘unanswered’, the answer may have been “No.” or simply “Wait.” (The tree of life in the Garden was good fruit enabling us to live forever but we mercifully must wait for heaven to eat it.)
But is it possible that ‘unanswered’ really means I didn’t get what I wanted when I wanted it?
Or James says it may be, “You don’t get what you ask because your whole aim is wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure. ..If your aim is to enjoy the evil pleasure of the unsaved world, you cannot also be a friend of God. The Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, watches over us with tender jealousy. But He gives us more and more strength to stand against all such evil longings. (Jas. 4:3-6 LB)
God is all about transforming the desires and motives of our heart.
Why would God, who is jealous for my undivided love and worship – knowing that’s my created purpose – give me something which in reality displaces Him or helps me go my own way and feel self-sufficient or mistakenly feel like I’m in control (like God) and can manage perfectly well on my own? Anything that I look to for ‘real life’ and joy and fulfillment is my god.
Delight yourself in God (alone) and He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps. 37:4
As I delight in Him my heart is changed and I want only what He wants – which He assures us is good, well pleasing, and perfect. Rom. 12:2