We started the session by saying that we all go through seasons when we wonder if our prayers are getting through or just ricocheting off the ceiling.
It’s discouraging, isn’t it?
When we don’t see results in our lives or the lives of others, why should we keep praying?
We decided that we really can’t explain why some prayers are answered and others not. We know that some of them may not be answered, because they are frivolous, others are selfish, sometimes sin blocks the communication with God. Those unanswered prayers are on us.
Some unanswered prayers are because we live in a lost world where sickness, violence, evil, natural disasters, and the potential for tragic accidents are a fact of life. The reason for other unanswered prayer is quite frankly a mystery.
Lesli White, in her article on beliefnet.com gives us her thoughts on 6 reasons that God doesn’t answer prayers. Read the article to see if any of them apply to you.
6 Common Reasons God Doesn’t Answer Prayers
By Lesli White
God hasn’t forgotten about you or abandoned you.
Have you ever prayed and suggested to God all the ways He could reasonably answer your prayer? Perhaps you thought of the perfect solution and asked God to make it happen. Now you’re waiting on God, wondering why He hasn’t answered your prayer the way you asked Him to. If you have been in this place, or this is the place you’re in right now, know that you’re not alone. All of us have had experiences where our prayers seem to go unanswered and we wonder if God can even here us. In some cases, we may even feel distance from God. The important thing to remember is that God hasn’t forgotten about you or abandoned you. The Bible tells us, “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will not leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). While you may be weary or beginning to lose your confidence, your attitude should be one of confidence that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His Will and timing. Here are six common reasons God may not being answering your prayer.
God is Making You Wait
As difficult as waiting can be, it builds spiritual muscles in a unique way. Isaiah makes this truth clear: “But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). This is a glorious promise but our discontented hearts find it difficult to wait. One great thing about waiting is that it allows us to pray without ceasing. When our thoughts turn to worry, fear, discouragement and anger, we are to consciously and quickly turn every thought to prayer and every prayer to thanksgiving. Another great thing about waiting is that it increases our faith. We wait and God works!
You Are Only Focused on Receiving a Blessing
We often say, “I’m so blessed” when we’re sharing pictures from our most recent vacation, updating everyone on a recent promotion or sharing our new relationship status. Without even thinking, we’ll equate these happy moments or personal successes to God showering blessings on us. But these pleasures and successes are not God’s highest priority. God wants us to be happy but the truth is, our happiness and success aren’t God’s end goals. While it’s right and good to be thankful for the tangible blessings in your life, you shouldn’t fail to see that blessings from God don’t always make you want to shout “I’m so blessed.” When you pray, acknowledge God for your blessings and not just those that make you feel good.
God is Answering in His Timing
Our God is a merciful God. Sometimes we forget this when we get so caught up in the pain we’re experiencing, the people we’ve lost and the things we don’t have. We start focusing on all the ways that God hasn’t measured up to our standards and find ourselves disappointed time and time again. Instead of focusing on the blessings we’ve been given, we focus on what God hasn’t done for us. This is human, but it doesn’t mean it’s right. It also doesn’t mean that God has abandoned us. It means that what He wants for us is in His time. Not ours. And sometimes God’s plans are bigger than our own. You might pray for love to come into your life at a certain time, but if it had, God wouldn’t have been able to make you more strong and independent. If things had fallen into place at the college you prayed for, you may not have attended the school that shaped so many of your future friendships and dreams. Just because God isn’t granting the prayers in the way we want Him to doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us.
You’re Dwelling on Worry
One reason your prayer may not be answered is because you’re dwelling on worry. Worry, feeling uneasy or troubled seems to plague multitudes of people in our world today. It’s human nature to be concerned about the bad situations in our world and in our personal lives, but if we’re not careful, the devil will cause us to worry beyond what’s reasonable. While it’s human nature to worry about the things that are going on in our personal lives and in the world around us, it’s important that you don’t dwell in worry. John 15:7 says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
It isn’t God’s Will
John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” So that means if we tell God what we want, He will give it to us, right? Well, not exactly. If you’re wondering why things aren’t going according to your plans, here’s the short of it. We aren’t aware of God’s Will. It’s important that we pay attention to the word “abiding” in this verse which means “to live in, dwell in and remain in.” When you have an intimate relationship with God, you begin to know His heart and have a clearer sense of the things you should pray for and what His will truly is for you.
Your Prayer isn’t to the Glory of God
Is your prayer to the glory of God? One of the most important questions we face in prayer is whether our petition is for our own selfish interest, pride or attainment, or whether it is really to the glory of God? Answers to prayer are supposed to honor God and bring glory to Him. This is one of the main reasons we offer prayer in the name of Christ. Jesus assured His disciples that if they remained in Him and His words remained in them, whatever they wished would be given to them. Prayer that is offered in the name of Christ and to the glory of Christ is prayer that God can answer.
All of us have had experiences when our prayers seemed to go unanswered. Sometimes days, weeks, or even years will go by at a time and we still find ourselves wondering, when is God going to answer this prayer? The important thing to remember is that God hasn’t forgotten about you or abandoned you.If you’re confused and hurting, the Lord doesn’t expect you to cover it up with a smile. Tell Him what you’re really thinking and feeling.
Also, don’t worry if you feel like your prayers are going unanswered. If we pray in the Will of God, we can be sure that God will answer. As we praise Him for His faithfulness, seek His Will and glory, pray faithfully and wait patiently until God’s time, He will come.
Why Are Some Prayers Answered Miraculously and Others Not At All?
Whether our prayers are answered the way we want them answered or answered at all we can always count on the fact that God can make use of whatever happens. Here’s something written by British author John Baille:
Let me use disappointment as material for patience.
Let me use success as material for thankfulness.
Let me use trouble as material for perseverance.
Let me use danger as material for courage.
Let me use reproach as material for long suffering.
Let me use praise as material for humility.
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance.
Let me use pain as material for endurance.
Romans 11:33-36 (NLT)33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!34 For who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?35 And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
The fact that God wants a relationship with us and listens to our prayers at all is a gift of grace,.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.