Building projects require some preliminary work, and the other day my back yard got its share of colored paint so the contractor would know where to dig. (actually so he would know where not to dig.)He spent a lot of time with a shovel looking for electric or gas lines, but couldn't find them. The next day he had the yard painter come back to repaint. so he could dig some more. Turns out he would have spent a lot of time looking because the lines were painted in the wrong place.
It reminds me of that old(?) song: "Lookin' for Love in all the Wrong Places". You just can't find something when it isn't there. Doesn't matter that someone said it was there or might be there, that it used to be there, that it should be there, or that you want it to be there; if it's not there, it's not there.
And if you're looking in the wrong place, you'll probably find something, it just won't be what you thought you were looking for.
Or maybe it's like the treasure maps we used to have as kids, "X" might have marked a spot, but I never dug a big enough hole to find the buried treasure.
A lot of people treat prayer like that too. We say we're praying, but in actuality we're just going to God and telling Him what we want Him to do for us in a particular situation. We're drawing lines so we know where to dig for the answer. Then we sit back and wait, and when we don't get the answer that we told God would be an acceptable response, we decide that God wasn't listening or God doesn't answer prayers, or worse that God just doesn't care. Sometimes we've drawn the lines in the wrong place.
Sometimes we just need to get out of God's way, and let Him answer our prayers in the way that He thinks is best. The lines we draw, the "X" that we put on the map, the places we decide would be the best places to look just might not be right.
Learn to let God decide for you, and you might just be surprised.