I came across this quote by C.S. Lewis this week...
"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer."
If I had to sum up what God has been teaching me over the past year this would probably be the best way to do it. I have had a couple conversations with friends lately in which they wondered why God wasn't answering their prayers. It was certainly true that what they were asking for and desiring wasn't sinful and wouldn't be viewed as self-centered. In fact, they were desires that all of us have at one time or another as human beings who need love and rest.
It seems as though that one of their gut reactions was to question God when He didn't come through in the timing or manner in which they thought made the most sense. It wasn't necessarily that they were questioning God's sovereignty or love but certainly His actions, or lack thereof, and His reasoning.
This to me gets right back to Tim Keller's "Prodigal God". Both sons, the younger and the elder, didn't want their father. They wanted only what their father could give them. The elder brother may have even convinced himself that he loved his father but he couldn't fool himself any longer after his father didn't give him what he thought he deserved.
I think C.S. Lewis offers the best insight into the heart of God that I have come across. God may not (I can't know for sure) be answering your prayer(s) because He is waiting for you to want Him more than what you are praying for.
I quote this verse to my friend all the time..."But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matthew 6:33. I remember singing that song in Midweek choir practice when I was a youngster. I loved singing it then but I love it even more now because I understand what it means. By giving you whatever you ask without teaching you to seek Him first, God would simply be enabling you to live a life void of true love for Him. If you have someone in your life that you only keep around because of what they can offer you, you definitely don't have love for them...only for what they can give you.
God is more interested in giving us Himself than anything else. That is what the cross is all about. We keep asking for the Creator to give us His creation when we should just be asking the Creator for more of the Creator. In God you will find rest, relationship, provision, peace and unconditional love and grace. Do you really need anything else?
I am not saying that it is wrong to ask God for other things. The Lord's Prayer makes it clear that it is good and right to bring our petitions and requests to the throne of the Almighty. But we would be well served on every level to start and end our prayers with pleas for the Almighty Himself. You don't glorify God by asking for anything but Him.
"Thou art coming to a King, Large petitions with thee bring; For His grace and power are such, None can ever ask too much." - John Newton
The gospel exhorts us not to purchase from the world (security, significance, etc.) a false version of what we already possess in Christ.