Acts 7:44-47: Unanswered answered prayer.
“44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.[a] 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him. “NIV
Here’s a question: was David’s prayer answered or unanswered? Both, paradoxically.
David desired to build God’s house, but it was not for him to do so – even though it was a good longing to have in his heart. So his prayer went unanswered. At least, that part of it did. However, God’s house was built in the next generation by his son, Solomon. So his prayer was answered.
This is the paradox of unanswered answered prayer. It’s one of the mysteries of prayer that we can ask for God for some things that we may not receive in their exact specifics, yet the prayer gets answered all the same – and we know it is. God sees the sincerity of the heart that asks, but sometimes, it seems, He has to slightly remodel the prayer, and, as someone said, gives us what we would have asked if we knew everything as perfectly as He does. It is always best to await God’s way and time.
Ronald Dunn wrote that ‘God sometimes answers later in order to answer better.’