What do you do when Heaven is silent? When God simply doesn't answer a prayer? We're taught in Church that God will always answer our prayers. That not one goes without consideration. Sometimes the answer is yes... you pray to find your keys, and the next table you look under, voila! there they are. Sometimes the answer is yes, but in the most frustrating ways... "Sure... I'll help you find your keys... keep looking, I'll make you remember this experience." This is probably the most common answer, at least it is for me. Sometimes we are so hurt and upset that we can't recognize His comforting hand on our shoulder, and I think that is common for everyone. Sometimes the answer is no, "Nice try... This is the tenth time this week. You're on your own kid." But what happens when there's silence?
About a year and a half ago, I was taking a Statistics class. I studied hard, and spent hours with tutors. But Math has never been my strong point, and I struggled with even the most basic concepts. The night before my final exam, I knelt down and prayed that I could pass... even telling Him that a C- would suffice (C 's get degrees after all...) But I felt nothing. Not a yes, not a no... just empty space. I didn't know what it meant, but I got up and went to bed anyway.
I failed my exam. With flying colors.
I personally believe that silence is the "answer" when our hearts are closed to what God could say. I limited God. I doubted His power and influence. If we doubt (consciously or unconsciously) that God can actually answer our prayers, then He'll be silent. It takes two to tango.
That doesn't mean that if we have perfect faith that God will answer our every prayer, that He will do so. I can't tell you how many times I have begged and pleaded with God to help me find my car keys. His answer? "You're on your own with this one kid... this is the 10th time this week." God doesn't answer our prayers in the way we want Him to... That's the beauty of it. He makes us think; He makes us learn. Our Heavenly Parents are just that... parents. They will help us learn. But sometimes, it means teaching us a lesson... and that lesson is to put your keys back where they belong, otherwise you'll be ten minutes late for work.
It's not just the general membership that have silent prayers every once in a while... It's the Brethren too. I used to work with a guy who is one of President Monson's grand kids. He asked President Monson one day if he and the Brethren had prayed about homosexuality in the Church. And they have. They pray in their room in the temple, and they haven't received an answer. Not yes, not no... just silence. Why is this? I believe that it is because some/most/all of the Brethren have a bias... They believe that they are already right, and that they don't need to be praying about it. But instead of getting the instantaneous "yes" answer that they are looking for... it's absent. Gone.
I don't know about anyone else... but it gives me hope.