Why All Of Our Prayers Have Not Been Answered
Belief necessitates supplication as a certain means of securing needs, and just as human nature has an intense desire for it, so too the Almighty God decrees,
“My Sustainer would not concern Himself with you but for your supplication,”
which has the meaning of: What importance would you have if you did not offer Me supplications? He also commands:
“Call upon Me and I will answer you.”
If you say:
“We frequently offer supplications, but they are not accepted. But the verse is general, it states that every supplication is answered.”
To answer is one thing, and to accept is something quite different. Every supplication is answered, but its being accepted and exactly what was sought being given is dependent on the Almighty God’s wisdom. For example, if a sick child calls the doctor, saying: “Doctor! Doctor!” and he replies: “Here I am, what do you want?” and the child says: “Give me that medicine!” the doctor will either give him exactly what he asks for or something better and more beneficial for him. Or knowing that it is harmful for his illness, he will give him nothing.
Thus, since the Almighty God is the All-Present and the All-Seeing, He responds to the supplications of His servants. Through His presence and response, He transforms the desolation of loneliness and solitude into familiarity. But He does this, not in accordance with man’s capricious and importunate demands, but in accordance with the requirements of Dominical wisdom; He gives either what is sought or what is better than it is, or He gives nothing at all.
Also, supplication is a form of worship and recognition of man’s servitude to God. The fruits of this pertain to the hereafter. The aims pertaining to this world are the times of a particular sort of supplication and worship. That is to say, supplication has the meaning of worship and man’s acknowledging his servitude to God.
As for worship and servitude to God, it should be purely and sincerely for God’s sake. Man should only proclaim his impotence and seek refuge with Him through supplication; he should not interfere in His Dominicality. He should leave the taking of measures to Him and rely on His wisdom. He should not accuse His Mercy. Indeed, what is in reality established by the Holy Book’s clear verses is that just as all beings offer their own particular glorification and worship, so too what rises to the Divine Court from all the universe is supplication. This is either through the tongue of innate ability like the supplication of all plants and animals by which each, through this tongue, seeks a form from the Absolute Bestower and to display and manifest His Names. Or it is through the tongue of innate need. These are the supplications for all their essential needs – beyond their power to obtain – offered by all animate beings. Through this tongue, each animate being seeks certain things from the Absolutely Generous One for the continuance of its life, like a sort of sustenance. Or it is supplication through the tongue of exigency, through which all beings with spirits who find themselves in some plight or predicament make supplication and seek urgent refuge with an unknown protector; indeed, they turn to the All-Compassionate Sustainer. If there is nothing to prevent it, these three sorts of supplication are always accepted.
The fourth sort of supplication is the most well known; it is our supplication. This too is of two sorts: one is active and by disposition, and the other, verbal and with the heart. For example, having recourse to causes is an active prayer. To gather together causes is not in order to create the effect, but through the tongue of disposition to take up an acceptable position in order to seek the effect from Almighty God. To plow a field is to knock at the door of the treasury of mercy. Since this sort of active supplication is directed towards the Absolutely Generous One’s Name and title, it is accepted in the great majority of cases.
The second sort is to offer supplication with the tongue and the heart. It is to seek certain wishes, which the hand cannot reach. The most important aspect, the most beautiful aim, the sweetest fruit of this is this: “The one who offers the supplications knows that there is Someone Who hears the wishes of his heart, Whose hand can reach all things, Who can bring about each of his desires, Who takes pity on his impotence, and answers his poverty.”
And so, O impotent, needy man! Do not neglect a means like supplication, which is the key to the treasury of mercy and to an inexhaustible strength. Cling to it! Rise to the highest peaks of humanity! Include in your supplications those of the entire universe, like a king! Say,
“From You alone do we seek help,”
like a servant and deputy representing the entire universe! Be on the Most Excellent Pattern of creation!
By Bediuzzaman Said Nursi