Why does it sometimes seem as if God is not answering our prayers?
I feel great comfort when I read the gospels and notice that Jesus faced the same dilemma as us when prayers seemed to be left unanswered. He spent all night praying before he chose the twelve disciples, and even so, one of them turned out to be a traitor. In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed Matt 26:39a “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” Was the cup of suffering taken away from Jesus? Of course not. Jesus’ prayers sometimes seemed unanswered, just like our prayers seem sometimes see to go unanswered.
However, look at Jesus’ prayer again in Matthew 26:39, but this time look at the second part of His prayer “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Wow! This is real trust! Jesus did not want His will to be done, but that God’s will be done. In other words, prayer was for Jesus a way to converse with His Heavenly Father, a way where He could openly commune with His Father and where His Father would share with Him His will. Shouldn’t our prayers be like His? “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Wouldn’t all our prayers always be answered that way?
God’s prayers does not always get answered either! How is that possible? Read Matt 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” NIV Just like a man longs for his wife to return to Him, or just like parents who wait to see their children return to them, God longed, really longed for His people to gather together under His care. Was God’s prayer fulfilled? Sadly no. Why not? Isn’t He the omnipotent one? Isn’t He all-powerful? He sure is, but He will never impose Himself on anyone, even less on His own children. This is real love, my friend. God loves you so much that although He wished for you to come back to Him-although He knows that you are going straight to a disaster if you don’t listen to Him-He still respects your decision. God loves you, my friend!
Now, if Jesus’ prayers and God’s prayers are not always answered, why should we, being sinful and not knowing how to pray as we should, expect all of our prayers to be fulfilled? Think about it: Can God grant us the desire to marry someone we love, when He knows that the end result will be an unhappy, broken home, where our own children would become derelict? Or, how could God grant us fame and fortune if He knows this would only puff out our egos and make us turn our backs on Him? No, God won’t stop us from making wrong decisions. What He DOES do is everything, short of interfering with our power of choice, to protect us from harm.
The message found in John 11: 1-45 means so much to me. John writes that a dear friend of Jesus, named Lazarus, was on the brink of death. His sisters send for Jesus and pleaded for Him to come immediately to the rescue of their brother. Jesus delayed going to Bethany and Lazarus died. Mary’s and Martha’s prayers seemed unanswered! Why did Jesus not come, especially since He could have healed their brother? Why was Jesus silent to their request?
They buried their brother and went through the whole funeral process. Lazarus was embalmed and put into a grave, which was covered by a heavy stone. All were mourning and in despair. Where was Jesus? Why didn’t He answer their request? Then Jesus told His disciple John 11:7 “Let us go back to Judea.”
When Jesus got to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Martha reproached Jesus and said: John 11:21 “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Martha was completely right, if Jesus had come immediately Jesus would have healed Him and her prayers would have been answered. However, would she have missed something if He had done that? Would her relationship with Jesus have had the same depth as when she saw with her own eyes Jesus ordering death to flee from her brother and seeing him standing up alive and well? Wouldn’t she and all of us who read God’s Word have missed that Jesus could boldly and truly say: John 11:25-26 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Would we have had the same assurance whenever a loved one died that Jesus one day would resurrect our loved ones? Wouldn’t we have missed that if Martha’s prayer were answered immediately?
When God does not seem to answer my prayers, is it that God’s silence is going to bring into my life a greater revelation of my Heavenly Father than I have ever known? Doesn’t it mean that He is going to reveal Himself to me?
I always pray through my sin checklist, as sin will silence God’s voice in my life. If there is an unconfessed sin, God reveals it to me through His Holy Spirit and I repent from it, knowing full well that: 1 John 1:9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I confess it and make it right. If there is still silence from God, I begin to watch with great anticipation for what God is going to teach me about Himself. I wait, and sooner or later God reveals Himself. It is guaranteed! Mic 7:7 “But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me”.
If it seems that your prayers are unanswered my friend, why don’t you prayerfully go over your sin checklist? Ask God to come into your life and reveal any unconfessed sins and if some are found, repent, and make them right. If still God’s voice seems to be silent, why don’t you wait for Him patiently and wait for Him to reveal Himself to you? You will be flabbergasted and astonished of the kind of relationship you can have with your Heavenly Father. God is so awesome. You will discover that. Why don’t you try it?
You know what set me free and what will set you free, my friend? Truth! Truth is not a set of doctrines. Truth is not a certain denomination. Truth is a person who is actively involved in your life. Jesus could confidently declare: John 14:6-7 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” No need to feel depressed when your prayers are unanswered, instead start to be excited and anticipate for God’s Truth to reveal Himself to you. Will you reach out and accept Jesus’ stretched out hand to you?
As a conclusion, let me share you a little story illustrating what I tried to share with you.
The young man had lost his job and didn’t know which way to turn. So he went to see the old preacher. Pacing about the preacher’s study, the young man ranted about his problem. Finally he clenched his fist and shouted, “I’ve begged God to say something to help me. Tell me, Preacher, why doesn’t God answer?”
The old preacher, who sat across the room, spoke something in reply — something so hushed it was indistinguishable.
The young man stepped across the room. “What did you say?” he asked.
The preacher repeated himself, but again in a tone as soft as a whisper.
So the young man moved closer until he was leaning on the preacher’s chair. “Sorry,” he said. “I still didn’t hear you.”
With their heads bent together, the old preacher spoke once more. “God sometimes whispers,” he said, “so we will move closer to hear Him.” This time the young man heard and he understood.
There are a number of reasons why it may seem God is not answering prayers. The obvious is that He is not answering them, period. Let us examine these reasons.
If we are living in disobedience to God, our prayers will not be answered. It is not that they are not heard but they are ignored until the supplicant repents of his or her disobedience and asks for forgiveness. God does not reward disobedience. An example is king Saul. He disobeyed God and when he sought an answer to his prayer of whether he should fight the Philistines, God remained silent and of course Saul was defeated and died by falling on his sword.
1Samuel 28:6-AV And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
2. Secret sin
Similar to disobedience is secret sin. Something we are not prepared to give up. We may profess to be saved, go to church regularly, even preach the word of God to others, and at home at night where not even a family member can see, we get on the internet and look at pornography. Just for an example. It might be that we have an adulterous relationship or be living with someone we are not married to, or have a homosexual relationship, or believe in star signs and astrology. It will need to be something you know is not right but think you can get away with keeping it.
Psalms 66:18-AV If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]:
Do you run to God when you are in trouble but do not bother with Him when you are not? Are your prayers expressing love for God or are you just trying to get out of trouble? This is the situation the Jews were in in the following verse. They sought not with an affection to God, but for ease of their own grief.
Proverbs 1:28-AV Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
4. Neglect of mercy
Your attitude to others in need will determine how God deals with you when you are in need.
Proverbs 21:13-AV Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
5. Despising the law
The law of God, the Ten Commandments is what defines sin for us. Many contend that this law is abolished or no longer applies because we are under grace. We cannot keep this law perfectly and that is why Jesus died for us. However we are supposed to try.
1John 3:4-AV Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Romans 3:20-AV Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.
Do you know what sin is when you do it? Of course you do. Your conscience tells you because if you have Jesus His laws are written in your mind. It is not possible to sin except we break the law of God. Yes, Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins and has forgiven us for them, but as He said “Go and sin no more”. Every time you break one of these laws of God, you are helping to sacrifice Jesus.
Romans 6:15-AV What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Romans 6:16-AV Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Proverbs 28:9-AV He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer [shall be] abomination.
6. Blood guiltiness
Isaiah 1:15-AV And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
He shows that where men are given to evil, deceit, cruelty and extortion, which is meant by blood, there God will show his anger and not accept them though they seem holy, as in Isaiah 59:3-AV For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
Similar to 5.
Isaiah 59:2-AV But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.
Micah 3:4-AV Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
Zechariah 7:13-AV Therefore it is come to pass, [that] as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:
Continual refusal to listen to God or to His Word or Prophets will cause Him to not hear you when you are in trouble and cry out to Him.
Ver. 13. “Therefore it is come to pass, [that] as he cried”, & c.] The Lord by the former prophets called them to repentance and obedience:
“and they would not hear”; his words, nor obey his voice:
“so they cried”: when they were besieged in Jerusalem, and were carried captive into Babylon:
“and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts”; so as to deliver them out of the hands of their enemies; see “#Pr 1:24-28”.
Do you waver in your faith? Gung ho for the Lord one day and backsliding the next? Only want to make an effort when it suits you?
James 1:6-AV But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
James 1:7-AV For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
9. Self indulgence
James 4:3-AV Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts.
How many are asking God for material possessions? To win the lottery? For financial blessings? For a better house? In this ministry we get numerous prayer requests for self every day. How many times do you pray as though God were Santa Claus, or a credit card?
God has already promised to take care of all our material needs (not wants) during Jesus ministry on earth. When you ask for such things, doesn’t it seem as though you are not believing his promise?
Matthew 6:31-AV Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Matthew 6:32-AV (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Matthew 6:33-AV But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:34-AV Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.
To summarize this then, if you pray with sin in your life that you know about, or having not listened to the Word of God preached to you, or have not shown mercy to someone in need, or without faith in the promises of God given you in His Holy Word, don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer.
One prayer or cry that God WILL hear from anyone not presently one of His own, is a cry of repentance and of seeking salvation. From such He will not turn His head. Dear reader, are your prayers getting through? If not, or if you are not sure, answer ‘The Savior’s Call’ in this newsletter.
Sometimes, because it takes so long for an answer and sometimes because the answer is “no” and we can’t imagine any other answer besides a yes. Meaning, if the answer isn’t “yes” God must not be listening.
Look at how people respond with their own answered prayers. Almost 100% of the time, someone has received something tangible; a healing, a job, a soulmate etc.
It’s almost never that someone can respond about the no answer and how it has strengthen their faith. But answers that take a while are worth the wait and there is a lot to be learned from God’s “no” answers. God talks, but are you listening?
If we look at this clearly we will see that God is preparing us for the answer of our prayers. However, sometimes we expect the answers of our prayers to be quick and now, due to the society we live in. God answers our prayer in His timing and if we are supposed to be Christ like we need to align ourselves up to His timing. He will hear our prayers and requests, He is standing right next to us. But, to receive the answer we must allow God to change us to accept the answer. But, sometimes we don’t get what we want and we feel God didn’t answer our prayer request. That, way of thinking is wrong.
God gives us Good gifts because He loves us. He doesn’t want us to have something that would harm our walk with the Lord, and sometimes He doesn’t answer our prayers at the snap of your fingers, due to sin. He wants us to change and be Like Him, so that when the answer to our request comes to us, we will Praise Him for preparing us for that request. Don’t think God doesn’t answer you that is a deception from the devil (rebuke in Jesus name) he doesn’t want you to have Good gifts from God. He is only there to destroy your relationship with God, keep Praising Jesus despite the way you feel, or what you are going through, Ask Him to forgive you if you have sinned. Learn the steps on walking with the Lord, the first is having him in your heart. Through this step He changes you inside and out. Second read your Bible all the time, then you will gain strength, Thirdly pray…May God bless you
God wants us to look at him first, before receiving answered prayers. God has in his hand our answers to prayer. But he wants us to totally and fully look at His face before he gives you what is in his hand. And when this occurs, something extraordinary will occur, beyond your wildest comprehension.
I have had a problem a long time ago dealing with the fact I thought God was not answering my prayers. I blamed myself. I discovered God answers even if he says no. Sometimes what I asked was not best for me. God can see ahead and knows the consequences of what we ask. I thank God for not saying yes to what I want because he knows best. I don’t. It is like a child asking for candy everyday and the parent saying no because they know what too much candy can do to the teeth. the child doesn’t know. I know that God loves me so much he wants what is best for me and does not want me to suffer. Saying no sometimes is his way of protecting me.
Because He sometimes doesn’t answer them the way that we wish He would. He knows what is best for us better than we do, so He will answer our prayers for help in the way HE knows that is good for us. We do not stop to understand this though. Just because He doesn’t give us something in the way WE think we should have it doesn’t mean He is not answering our prayers for help………….Also, He will answer us in HIS time, not ours. We being human have a tough time being patient and waiting. He will not answer us according to our timing, but according to His timing for His plan for us. MAY ALL BE BLESSED!
I feel GOD doesn’t answer pray for many reasons: 1. are motives are selfish. 2. the answered prayer may hurt us or another in some way. 3 he has makes us wait to trust him, or the time is not right for the prayer to be answered and he is showing and teaching, and preparing us in the time we are waiting. 4 we might be praying our will not his. we should try praying his will. also how many times do we just thank him for what he has done ? to many times people think of him as the servant like a genie we make are wish and it is supposed to come true. well he is the master we are the servant. what he give is a gift that should be thanks and praise for his name.
There are many reasons that one feels that God is not answering prayer as no two human beings think alike, but the most common are:
One.) The person praying for an intention does not release the burden to God and believe with blind faith that God will answer the prayer. Mark ll:24 tells us that whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believe it has been given and ye shall receive it.
Second.) If any person does not forgive all others for hurts done to them by any other or has malice of any source in their heart for another will not have their prayers answered by God. Most often this person blames God when in reality they are the reason for unanswered prayer.
Third.) Breaking of God’s Commandments. Some who pray continually break The Commandment of our Lord and wonder why their prayers are not answered.
Fourth.) Some think prayers have to be answered immediately and feel like they are not answered as they forget that prayers are answered in God’s time and not the impatient time of the one asking.
Five.) Sometimes what we ask for is not good for us and God really protect us by not answering what we ask for. He will answer our prayers but it may be a different manner that we requested but ultimately we will find the answer was better for us.
We have an Awesome Lord who died for our sins and who loves us. He waits daily to hear about our needs, wants and desires and does His best to supply them to us. We have to believe, by blind simple faith that He will. We should love one another even if that person has hurt you as prayers said for one that hurts you is music to God’s ears. God gave us a simple Ten Commandments to follow in His Light. Some find these simple request from one who died for them too much. We have to learn to be patient for God’s timing and not our timing. Most of all, we have to realize that God knows what is best for us and will give to us only what we can handle and still find our way home to Him
In His Love, Barb
In answer to the question concerning prayer, God always answers every prayer lifted to his throne of grace, sometimes it may seem as if he does not, we must check out temperature and see from which position we make the request. If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear them from Heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land, he says, if two on Earth age in my name then I will do it for them, he says he has taken our sicknesses and infirmities upon himself, he says the he is the same today as he was yesterday as he will be tomorrow. There are four wills of God, the majority of prayer refers to his creative will, don’t feel bad if iy seems that the prayer is not answered, it has been so, either yes, no, or later, please keep praying, Pray Until Something Happens, keep pushing in, blessings to you
from Andrew in London
As I look back over my lifetime, I have experienced many times when God seemed to be ignoring me or even worse, not protecting me. Now, since I have lived long enough to see a part of his plan, I know that I grew during those times. I’m sure when I get to heaven and see the total plan for my life I will be shocked to see how many things I prayed for that were not in my best interest. I think it will be interesting to see how many messes He save me from. I have a dear friend who always says, ” Be careful what you ask for”. Many times I asked to have my “freedom” but when I thought I was free, I usually fell into sin of one kind or another. I wanted freedom for my parents so I got married very young. Not a good idea! I wanted freedom from that marriage, and my young husband died and left me with two small children. I have learned that just resting in God’s timing is a lot easier. I have learned to pray, “Thy will be done”, and I have had a lot less drama in my life. I think they call that Peace!
Being human, we are inclined to want all our prayers answered in our time frame and, this is not how it is-Sometimes, I feel, “God” is testing our faithfulness to him-He does reply to our prayers-but in “His” time-If we put our faith and, full trust in our” Father” knowing he will respond, so He will.
He does not always answer the way we expect Him to and we miss it. Sometimes we ask amiss and it is not His will.
When we sometimes think that God does not answer our prayers, it is because we are so impatient. We want our prayers answered immediately and God will answer all prayers, BUT IN HIS TIME. We have to learn patience and to continue to pray earnestly and not give up, the prayers will be answered. Perseverance is very important and always remember to thank the Lord for his never ending love that He has for us. He wants us all to humble ourselves before him, He wants us to be healthy and have success, but we must always put Him first.
I believe it just seems as if Gods isn’t answering us only because he wants us to wait. Just because He does not give us what we pray for instantaneously is not a refusal to our request.
God bless us all!
His word is sufficient in explaining why we wait sometimes with frustration after praying. In both cases these women were barren and had prayed long and hard with no results till the time when the Lord provided. Gen 18:14 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” (NIV)
1 Sam 1:20 20 So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.” (NIV) Seven times the servant of Elijah was sent to see if there was any rain and then;
I King 18:44 44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, `Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'” (NIV)
Ps 75:2 2 You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly. (NIV)
The Lord appoints all times not us.
Eccl 3:11 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (NIV)
Eccl 8:6 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him. (NIV)
I would think because we don’t have our eyes set straight upon Jesus, and we let the devil put that bit of doubt there. I know I have anyway and always regret it, because Jesus is my first Love and my Savior.
Sometimes God may not answer our prayers because something may make us turn against him or maybe some things were just not meant to be.