Many years ago, as I was struggling with doubt about God's existence due to a long period of dryness in unanswered prayer, a wise friend and spiritual mentor shared with me God's three responses to our prayer.
God says ... yes. This one is easy, since it meets our expectations of God in a world where response time and quality are how we define something as good. Sadly, some of us even think we deserve to be answered affirmatively and quickly by God. But it's sure nice when it happens, and boy do we ever love God for it.
God says ... sorry ... but no. This is usually where the problems begin. After all, how could God feel this way, since ... (see #1). But God has a plan for each of our lives. What's often true in my own life is that when my plans for me are in conflict with God's plans for me, I'm outta whack. "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you; plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope." Jer 29:11 And here's where having some level of spiritual maturity comes in handy, because we're called to accept, with trust, that God knows better than us what we need and what is good for us. When our kids were little and my wife had to deny some request from them, she'd always preface it by saying, "I love you ... but, no." I have a feeling I know where she borrowed that line.
God says ... perhaps ... but not now. For most of us this is, by far, the hardest to contend with, for a couple reasons. First, because, doggone it, I want it when I want it (see #1). And secondly, because, let's face it, waiting ... especially a long wait ... feels like no, and I don't like no. Most of us don't wait well, especially when what we're waiting for is significant.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and presume that a 'yes' answer to our prayer will likely lead to more prayer. I mean, why not, it worked the first time, right? But when that yes answer doesn't come, we all find ourselves at a crossroads with God. And while standing at that crossroad myself one day it occurred to me that maybe the problem with prayer is prayer itself. Maybe we just need to stop asking God for stuff, and instead just acknowledge God for being God. After all, God already knows what we need.
If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough. ~ Meister Eckhart