1. You pray, but you don’t believe that God will answer.
Science writer David Blatner, says that there are approximately seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains of sand found on all the beaches and deserts on the earth.
The same scientist estimates that there are roughly 70 thousand, million, million, million stars in the observable universe. For those of you, who like me, have no idea what that means – we’ve got multiple stars for every single grain of sand on earth.
The Bible tells us that God calls each star by name. This same God does not allow a single strand of hair to fall from your head without knowing it. Do you believe that God can answer you? Don’t make your big God too small to answer your prayers.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:22)
2. You pray selfishly.
You pray for what you want with no thought of God. The truth is that God wants better for you than you want for yourself. Because that’s true, praying for His will to happen is the most advantageous prayer you can pray.
There is a clear line between selfishly trying to use the Lord to get what you want and humbly coming to Him with our needs and struggles. Consider this question honestly: What concerns you more – who Jesus is or what He can do for you? Knowing Him must be our ultimate goal. When He becomes the desire of our heart, our prayers come in line with His best for us, and they are answered.
Or when you ask, you do not receive because the reason you ask is wrong. You want things so you can use them for your own pleasures. (James 4:3)
3. You pray, but you are unwilling to obey the Lord.
There’s an expectation that because we are the children of God, He is obligated to answer our prayers. Answers to prayer come when we desire to please the Lord with our life through obeying His Word. This is not to suggest that we “earn” answered prayers through our good deeds, but when we put our faith in action – our will becomes aligned with His.
Are you obeying the Lord today? Obedience is the true test of our love for God. You may be reluctant to trust God in some area of your life today because you fear that He wants to change your plans, and He probably will. But His plans for you are inconceivably better than the ones you have for yourself.
And whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things which are pleasing in His sight. (1 John 3:22)
4. You don’t pray.
Some people won’t bring prayer matters to God because they feel that the requests are silly or too small. If it’s important enough for you to worry about, it’s important enough for you to pray about.
Some Christians lack the spiritual discipline to pray. No one ever spends regular time in prayer without commitment and discipline. Resolve to spend time with God daily, and ask the Lord to give you the desire to pray if you don’t have it.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. (Matthew 7: 7)
5. You pray with sin hidden in your life.
You cannot pray with any sin hidden in your lives and expect God to answer you. You may have become so comfortable in that particular sin that you do not even realize that it is present in your life. This is where it becomes vitally important to sit before the Lord and ask Him to reveal hidden sins.
As Jimmy Needham says, “Shine a light in every corner of your life until the pride and lust and lies are in the open.” Then repent of the revealed sin, forsake it and ask for forgiveness. You will receive it, and your prayers will be heard in Heaven.
I see everything they do. They cannot hide from me the things they do; their sin is not hidden from my eyes. (Jeremiah 16:17)
6. You pray without meaning what you pray.
If you buy yourself a parrot and teach it to pray a prayer for something that you really need, God won’t hear that prayer. Why? Because the parrot has no idea what it’s saying. Sadly, this is how some Christians also pray. We pray the same words day in and day out, but our words don’t match up with our intentions.
God listens to our hearts – not our lips.
And when you pray, do not be like those people who don’t know God. They continue saying things that mean nothing, thinking that God will hear their many words. (Matthew 6:7)
Common Misconceptions about prayer:
1. Length of time spent praying matters. “The longer I pray, the more effective my prayer will be.”
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah and the prophets of Baal are on Mt. Carmel praying for fire to fall down from Heaven. 450 prophets of Baal prayed from morning until evening, crying out and cutting themselves in order for their prayer to be answered. Nothing happened.
Elijah prayed one sentence. Fire roared down from Heaven.
2. Number of people praying matters. “The more people that pray for me, the better chance that God will answer.”
James 5:16 says that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” God is not impressed by numbers. 1,000,000 unrighteous people praying will not garner the response of ONE righteous person.