In Matthew 15, we hear the story of the Canaanite woman pleading for Christ to heal her daughter. This was pretty significant for the time because she was not a Jew by birth or religion, but instead a Gentile. Christ's ministry on Earth was specifically to the Jews, as He explains in Matthew 15:24, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel [the Jews]." At first, Christ completely ignores the woman's pleading for help and does not answer her at all. However, this silence does not deter her, as she then goes to the disciples and asks them to get her help. They refuse her and Christ tells her He was not sent to help Gentiles. But, she is evermore persistent and shows her faith in Christ as she asks for just the smallest bit of help that He could possibly give. Finally, Christ sees her faith and heals her daughter.
This story is a great metaphor for the ways in which we can receive answers to our prayers. The woman first was faced with silence. Often times, we may feel that our prayers are going unanswered because we have not received a specific "yes" or "no". This seems to happen especially when we are praying for help to make a decision. We may feel lost, confused, or like God isn't there or isn't listening. But, I know that this is just a chance for us to prove our faith, like the Canaanite woman. When we receive silence as our answer, we have to move forward according to our own choices and feelings and trust Him to catch us if we fall. We each are blessed with the power to choose, called agency, and the point of our life on Earth is to learn how to use this power correctly. So it only makes sense that God would not "spoon feed" us the answer to every single decision we have before us. If all you're getting is silence to a question, take heart! It shows that the Lord trusts you to decide for yourself and that He will guide you if you go the wrong way.
Many times, we are given a "no, not yet" or even a flat-out "no" for our answers. This can be disheartening when you really wanted to hear a "yes". But again, it is an opportunity to exercise your faith and trust that the Lord just has something better in store for you! Finally, we can also receive "yes" answers. Even these require us to stretch our faith by going outside of our comfort zone to act on the answer we receive. All in all, the purpose of God's responses to our prayers are to help us to trust Him and to exercise our faith in some way. We never know exactly what is coming our way, but as we seek the Lord's help and trust in our ability to follow it, we will never be steered wrong.