My previous post really got me thinking a lot, and I have to thank all of you for sharing your clearly inspired comments. I've collected several of the comments below that were most helpful for me in getting through that dark patch. Seeing all of this compiled together in one place really does amaze me... to have friends like you all, the vast majority of whom I've never even met, giving me such amazing advice and bringing me out of the funk time and time again... well, it's obvious to me now. YOU are the answer to my incessant prayers. Thank you :)
I am reminded of the saying I once heard that God never does NOT answer prayers...just that sometimes His answer is YES, sometimes it is No, and sometimes it is NOT NOW.
... some of us, are called to (the word call is not right) to WAIT longer than others.
I guess I see prayer as a way to grow in our relationship with God. For awhile I had a hard time praying to him for what I needed, wanted or was longing for - it felt like I was treating him like a bubble gum machine - insert prayer and expect the desired result to pop out! Then, I realized that in any deep and close relationship, you share your thoughts, dreams, hopes, disappointments and desires - so of course we should share these with our Lord, our Father, brother and friend.
But what I do know is that I would not trade these years of suffering for anything. They have given us a whole new set of eyes in seeing the value (invalue really) of material things, and taught us, no INGRAINED in us, that people's souls are the only things that last forever. Without these years of suffering, I don't think we'd be anywhere close to understanding this concept.
Ultimately, it was His time and whatever we were doing in the meantime was our response to a difficult situation. Hopefully, our response was to use that difficulty to grow closer.
I don't believe God's answer is ever "no." Actually, He hears all prayers but answers them in His own way. That is not equal to a "no." What I think He does deny us, for our own good, is the way in which WE want the prayers to be answered. I think there's a great difference.
If none of us had our prayers answered like that, would anyone really believe in the power of prayer?
For some things, there is relief and comfort; for other things (especially of a spiritual nature), the "thorn in the flesh" is allowed to remain, to keep us grounded.
Lately I've been thinking a whole lot about how Jesus cured some people right on the spot, while others had to persist in their pleas, and it's all a matter of His wisdom and providence. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say! He may be just calling you to deeper trust, deeper humility. For some, a brilliant answer to prayer may be what they needed for that trust and humility to blossom; for others, suffering does this.
Even if the very fact of those people receiving them is a source of additional suffering to me, He will provide me with an oppportunity to grow in love and in holiness through whatever miseries I have to suffer in the earthly life.
I don't think my prayers *resulted* in my son, I believe that what changed in my life (physically and spiritually) were necessary steps to conceiving and that my prayers obtained for me the grace to prepare for such a gift.
Jesus did insist on some people literally begging for a cure before He would give it, and finally He would often say, "Great is your faith!" so He truly was testing them and strengthening their faith at the same time.
Prayers change our minds, not God's. I took this as God has his mind set on our special plan and that it is the trusting and praying to Him that somehow changes us into being better at accepting our challenges.
I am still in a waiting game at this time, and the next few days are going to be difficult to get through as I wait, and pray. "Lord, protect us from all anxiety, as we wait in joyful hope..."