WHY PRAYERS ARE NOT ANSWERED
"I cry unto you, and you do not hear me: I stand up, and you didn't regard me" (Job 30:20)
I prayed and cried to "the God that answers prayer" but He does not answer; Maybe He didn't hear me. That's the question that goes on in the mind of many Christians, who prayed but couldn't get immediate result to their requests.
How can we reconcile this to the tenderness and mercifulness of God, whose very nature is goodness, and who is most free and ready to do good? Again, how can we reconcile this to those many promises of God in scripture concerning the hearing of prayer - " So, I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9). Has he not said, “ Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me. (Psalm 50:15).
“Doesn't He see my needs?" ..."Doesn't He care about me?". "If God's ear is open to my prayer, and I pray diligently, why is there such little evidence of His answering?" Things go on as usual - nothing happens. "How long must I wait?"
How are these promises true, if we cry to God, and he does not hear us?
GOD ALWAYS KEEP TO HIS PROMISE.
The Lord makes His word of promise and acts according to his own nature, which is infinitely good, yet this does not always appear so to us; Our prayers are always heard and answered, but the answer and goodness of God to us in it, is not always reported and discovered to us. God certainly hears what we speak, but many times we do not know what He speaks, though He speak to us.
God always hear our prayers of faith and answers it, but we do not always hear what the answer is. "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" (1 John 5:14-15)
It is a holy scriptural confidence that God will hear us when we pray, and therefore every believer may be confident that he is heard.
God knows your needs before you even ask (Matthew 6:8). He cares unequivocally about you, "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). We have great assurance that He hears every prayer, “In my distress, I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From His temple, He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.” (Psalm 18:6).
GOD MAKES SOME DEFERS, BUT DON'T DENY OUR PRAYERS.
God makes some defers, though, properly, He makes no delays, much less given any flat denials to our prayers of faith.
There is a wide difference between the deferring of an answer, and the delaying of it, that is a delay of help when help comes not in due time and season, or when it comes too late. God never fail to give help in the most needful season, though He often defers to give it at our season.
Sometimes, God defers to hear the prayer of His servants, to exercise their graces, faith and patience; and to strengthen their prayer life. God does not stop answering prayer, to the intent that we should stop praying, but the end point is that we should renew our prayers.
Thus God always hears the cry of His people.
TEMPTATIONS THAT USUALLY ARISE WHEN PRAYERS ARE NOT ANSWERED.
It is more troublesome to a gracious heart than all our afflictions, if we are not heard in the day of trouble. Many temptations will fall on our spirit, such as:
How can this be, when after so many cries and calls, He did not answer a word?
Is that true which is told us in His word for a truth , that "He is rich unto all that will call upon him?" (Romans 10:12)
He has said that "we shall not seek him in vain (Isaiah 45:19)", and yet I can get nothing from Him when I seek him.
In a stressful nature, we will quickly resolve not seek to nor call upon him anymore.
The devil will now deceive believers to doubt the faithfulness of God in answering prayer. Satan would have us believe that God has shut His ears to our cry and left us to work things out for ourselves. Let us be careful not to charge God, as did Job, with being slothful; and unconcerned about our needs and petitions. Job complained, “I cry out to you, but you do not answer me; I stand up, and you do not regard me " (Job 30:20). His vision of God's faithfulness was clouded by his present difficulties, and he ended up accusing God of forgetting him. God rebuked him soundly for it.
"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you (Jeremiah 29:12), "I will be with you in trouble; I will rescue you and honor you" (Psalm 91:15b).
God cannot shrink from His promise, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not a little of His word shall pass”(Matthew 25:35).
The longer a prayer is delayed, the more perfect it will come forth at last. Also, the deeper the silence, the louder the answer. If God is delaying, it simply means your request is gaining interest in God's bank of blessings.
REASONS WHY OUR PRAYERS ARE NOT ANSWERED
1. GOD DOESN'T LISTEN TO SINNERS (John 9:31)
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.(Psalm 66:18), "Now we know that God does not hear sinners" (John 9:31b), Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.(Proverbs 1:28)
Our prayer may be hindered—by lying in any sin we commit against God or, in wrath, by not forgiving our brother/sister or be hindered by a secret grudge lodged in the heart against another. If you know that someone has a legitimate grievance against you, how can you sincerely approach God in prayer? Uncorrected problems with brethren are extremely detrimental. Christ will not deal with anyone with a wrathful and unforgiving spirit. We are commanded to "lay aside all malice, envy, and evil speaking, and as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word" (1 Peter 2:1, 2).
If a Christian refuse to obey God instructions nor hearken to His commands, Will God hear their requests?
"I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me!" ( Psalm 66:17-20 )
Always confess your sins, before you pray to Almighty God, He doesn't like sin.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” - Mark 11:25-26).
Remember the Lord’s prayer "FORGIVE US, AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS”
2. DO YOU ASK/PRAY ACCORDING TO GOD'S WILL?
Our Prayers are not answered when they are not in accordance to God's Will. We can pray for whatsoever we want, as long as it is HIS WILL. "If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (1 John 5:14). Daniel prayed the right way. First, he went to the Scriptures and searched out the mind of God. Having gotten clear direction, and sure of God's will, he runs to God's throne with a mighty assurance. "And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer" (Daniel 9:3).
WE KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT WE WANT AND TOO LITTLE ABOUT WHAT HE WANTS.
3. LUSTFUL AND WORDLY DESIRES
Our prayers are not answered because of our lustful and worldly desires. God always hears our prayers. He loves us and wants the very best for us. But we don’t necessarily understand and pray for what is the very best for us. Our prayer purposes are wrong when we ask blessings for the use and encouragement of our worldly desires. "Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lust" (James 4:3).
We pray to wear good clothes to gratify our pride and not glorify God. If we seek anything that we may serve God with, we may expect that He will grant our heart desires. He sees the beginning from the end, and He has many things to teach us.
As humans, we are drawn towards seeking earthly things that will pass
away(temporal) but neglect the heavenly things that are eternal (Matthew 6: 19 -21). But God’s thoughts are of transforming us from our earthly human tendencies and creating something divine through our situations in life; His thoughts are quite different from ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).
If God doesn't give us what we are asking for, we have to remember that He has a good plan and a purpose for everything in our lives and He only wants the very best for us. He is looking at everything from an eternal perspective. Our time on earth is meant to prepare us for eternity. God cares about our physical needs, but He is infinitely more concerned about our spiritual needs and growth.
OUR PURPOSES MUST BE RIGHT DURING PRAYERS.
4. LACK OF FAITH
A lack of faith can certainly hinder one’s prayers. James declares that we must pray “in faith, don’t doubt” (James 1:6). He describes the doubter as being like the restless sea. He has two minds—one of faith and the other of doubt. Hence, he shall not receive his requests from the Lord.
Prayer is the bow, the promise is the arrow, and faith the hand which draws the bow, and sends this arrow with the heart's message to heaven. The bow without the arrow is of no use, and the arrow without the bow has little worth; and both (arrow and bow) without the strength of the hand, serves no purpose. Neither the promise without prayer, nor prayer without the promise, nor both without faith, benefit the Christian.
Unbelieving fears rob the believer of joy and confidence in God. God does not hear all prayer - He hears only believing prayer. Prayer is the only weapon we have against all the fiery darkness of the enemy. That weapon must be used in great confidence, or else we have no other defense against Satan's lies. In a world of doubt and confusion, how can we have confidence that God is truly listening and responding to our prayers.
HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
No one is qualified to approach the great God of the universe with a spirit of smugness. "He is the Lord, God Almighty" (Genesis 17:1). "We are but dust" (Genesis 3:19). “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). While we are to pray with truly humble hearts, due to the work of our great high priest, Jesus Christ, we may draw near “with boldness unto the throne of grace” (Hebrew 4:16).
ARROGANCE CAN NEGATE PRAYER. HUMILITY WILL BLESS IT.
6. PRESCRIBING TO GOD HOW HE SHOULD ANSWER
Our prayers are not answered when we prescribe to God how He should answer. Those who prescribe to God how and when to answer actually limit the Holy one of Israel. Since God will not bring the answer in the front door, they are not aware of His coming through the back door. They trust only in conclusions and not promises. But God will not be bound up to time, manner, or means of answering. He will forever do exceedingly, abundantly more than we ask or think of asking (Ephesians 3:20).
He will answer with health; or grace that is better than health. He will send love, or something beyond it. He will deliver, or do something even greater. Just because our prayers are not answered exactly when or how we want should never cause us to lose confidence in the heavenly Father.
One of the greatest things we can do to ensure our prayers are heard and answered is to fortify our faith in our God and to trust Him to answer our prayers in the way that is best for us.
LEAVE YOUR REQUESTS LODGED IN HIS POWERFUL ARMS AND PATIENTLY WAIT FOR ANSWERS.
7. WHEN WE STOP PRAYING
One of the reasons we feel our prayers are not being answered, is because we stop praying. "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We should be rest assured that God hears our prayers. What we should be worried about is if because of temptations, hard times, and trials we get discouraged, and give up praying. In Luke 18:1, Jesus, “spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart"
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Let that sink in. God is prepared and ready to make this season of waiting beautiful if you can only hold out until the time is right. Sometimes God’s timing does not align with our timing. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
8. DISREGARD OF GOD'S WORD
If we don't spend time learning God's word and obeying what we learned, we should not expect God to answer our prayers. King Solomon says in the book of Proverbs, that prayers made from a hardened heart are an abomination to God (Proverbs 15:8); “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9). God gives us His word, so He can speak to us. If we disobey what He teaches, He will not answer our prayers.
The more constantly you feed on the Word, the richer and deeper your life of prayer becomes. The Word of God is the food that makes you strong to pray. Jesus defeated Satan by pointing to the essential role of the Word. “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
God’s Word nourishes your prayer, strengthens your prayer, and warms your heart and fires your spirit as you pray. You cannot have a strong spiritual life apart from constant feeding upon and assimilating God’s Word. Spiritual growth depends upon daily spiritual food. Earnest, even forceful praying, if not nourished on God’s Word, may be weak and flabby.
Little of the Word with little prayer is death to the spiritual, Much of the Word with little prayer gives a sickly life, Much prayer with little of the Word gives more life, but without steadfastness BUT A full measure of the Word and prayer each day gives you a great authority to do greater works for Christ.(Andrew Murray)
9. UNSEARCHABLE WISDOM OF GOD
"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable." ... "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! ( Romans 11:33)
There are many things that we will never know, or understand, the unsearchable things of God... things like, why are some people healed and others aren't? Why are some people spared from tragedies and others aren't? ... We need to know that when our prayers aren't answered, it doesn't mean that we are necessarily doing something wrong, sometimes we can be doing everything right.
Remember, when we are living a life that is pleasing to God, we are more of a target for the enemy. We live in a fallen world and there is evil in this world. God created this world to be perfect, but sin entered in. God does not cause evil nor cause anyone to sin or do bad things, yet God gets blamed for a lot of things that are not His doing. God made a way for us through Jesus, and God does promise to work all things together for good for those who love Him. He will redeem what the enemy has planned for our harm, what the enemy hoped would be a stumbling block to our faith, God will turn around and redeem and use for our good and His glory.
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT GOD HAS ANSWERED OUR PRAYERS
As stated earlier, many Christians pray and not get immediate response; BUT How may we know that we are heard at any time, especially when we have not present answer?
1. BY THE QUIETNESS OF OUR SPIRITS
It is a sign that our prayer has been answered, though we have not received what we prayed for. Hannah having poured out her soul before the Lord, went her way and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad (1 Samuel 1:18).
The scriptures says nothing of the answer of her prayer at that time, but the peace and satisfaction which she had in her own spirit about it, was an argument that the thing was granted, as indeed it was.
2. FRESH STRENGTH TO BEAR IT
Though we received not the mercy presently, yet if we receive fresh strength to bear the want of it, that is an answer: So Paul was answered, God did not remove the messenger of Satan from him, but he said "My grace is sufficient for you and my strengths made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), though I didn't remove the evil, yet my power shall support you under it.
We are answered, even though, the evil is not removed, yet we have faith and patience to wait and tarry the Lords leisure for the removal of it. When patience has a perfect work ( either in expecting or suffering ), we are perfect and complete, wanting nothing (James 1:4); though we don't have what we want.
Dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.(Jude 20,21)
“But verily God has heard me, he has attended to the voice of my prayer; Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy away from me. (Psalm 19:20)
"O You who hear prayer, To You all men come". (Psalm 65:2)
1. EXPOSITION OF JOB with practical observation by JOSEPH CARYL
2. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1597-6-reasons-why-some-prayers-are-never-answered (By Wayne Jackson).
3. https://www.hopeforthebrokenhearted.com/when-your-prayers-arent-answered (By Debbie Kay).
4. Dmm Testimonies article on joesebeth facebook community.
5. Several sources from the Internet
18th June 2021