Whether we believe in God, vehemently don’t, or are still on the fence, we’ve all posed the question before:
Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?
Though there may not be a concrete answer that fully satisfies this question, there are some answers that get us pretty close.
1. We’re praying the wrong prayers.
This first reason is two-fold. I’m often reminded of a message I heard several years ago. The speaker suggested something that blew my mind and has left an impact on my prayer life ever since:
Perhaps we’re praying for
that which we needn’t pray for.
It sounds outrageous, but let me elaborate by posing another question: Why do we pray for that which we are already promised in the Word? We know God’s presence is with us always, forever, until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20), and yet we often ask Him to be with us throughout the day, on our travels, with our children, through the night. We know the life of a believer is to be wrought with suffering (John 16:33), and yet we pray He would remove our suffering and protect us from it. Praying these things isn’t wrong, but it also isn’t necessary because we already have God’s answer in His word.
Instead of asking God to be with us and our loved ones throughout the day, we must ask that He make us aware of His presence, His nearness. Instead of asking the Lord to remove our suffering, we must ask Him to strengthen us through our sufferings.
Asking for a life free from suffering isn’t the right prayer to pray. Asking for His full equipping to endure the suffering joyfully and faithfully is.
The second thing to note here is this: The prayer that opposes the revealed will of God (the Bible) is also the wrong prayer. Our prayers should be in line with His word and what we know of His character through His word. Asking God to keep us from getting caught while stealing is not the right prayer to pray because it goes against His very character and will for us. Asking God to quiet our materialistic heart or to give us wisdom about whether we should purchase something is the right prayer to pray.
2. He is answering us – we’re just not hearing Him.
Again, a two-fold reason. We’re so quick to cast blame on God for ignoring us when really, the fault is often ours for not hearing Him when He speaks to us. “How are we supposed to hear God?” you ask. It’s easier said than done, but here’s your answer:
“You have to be near Him to hear Him.” | Jared Brock
Our hearts need to be so close to the Lord and to His Word. Communication is key. But there’s more than just closeness involved in “nearness” – there’s also a necessary remoteness. We have to make a conscious effort to cut out the extra noise.
My husband is a much better multitasker than me. He can have music turned up all the way while also being deep in thought and conversation. Me, not so much. I often have to turn the radio down to barely audible while we drive home from work. I have to cut out the extra noise in order to focus on the important noise.
Nearness not only demands that we draw closer to the Lord, but that we push further away from all that is not of Him.
The other thing to ask ourselves here is this: Are we ignoring God because we don’t like His answer? Our disapproval of or disappointment in God’s answer to our prayer is merely that. We shouldn’t fool ourselves into believing that God hasn’t answered us when in reality, He has.
Praying without surrender to His perfect plan and will is futile and will always leave us bitter, frustrated, and unsatisfied. The same goes for praying without faith that His will is best.
Though we may feel as if the Lord is ignoring our petitions, we must remember that He is not. Perhaps we’re praying the wrong prayers or maybe we aren’t listening close enough. The reasons may fluctuate with each prayer, each situation, but we can always rest assured in this:
God hears us and He will answer.
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. | 1 John 5:14-15