Why doesn’t God answer our prayers?
It’s a question that has plagued even the strongest, most pious of believers. Though there may not be a concrete answer that fully satisfies this question, there a few concepts we should realize and think through:
3. He wants us to wait.
In today’s world of immediate gratification, waiting is not an option. However, when it comes to the petitions we bring before God, waiting can often make all the difference. We have to understand this fundamental truth:
“WAIT” is an answer.
It may not be the answer we hope to receive, but it’s an answer nonetheless. We trust that waiting while our food fully cooks is better than eating it raw. It tastes better when it’s cooked. It’s safer for us when it’s cooked. It looks more appetizing when it’s cooked. If we don’t push waiting aside when it comes to our food, then why would we push waiting aside when it comes to our prayers—the very things weighing on our hearts?
If God responds to our petitions by telling us to WAIT, we must trust that it’s because it’s more enjoyable for us, safer for us, more beautiful for us, BETTER for us to do so.
4. He wants to grow us.
Every parent says “NO” to their child at some point or another. Parents do this in love, to teach their children, to help them mature, to grow them into responsible, wise adults. Children are considered SPOILED when they receive everything they ask for. Doesn’t the same concept hold for our relationship with God?
If God granted our every request,
we too, would become SPOILED brats.
Just as we feel it’s good for children to hear the word “NO,” it’s good for us to hear it too. When God says “NO” to our requests, it’s not because he wants to be a big, mean, bully. It’s not because He doesn’t love us or because He doesn’t want us to be happy. It’s because He knows what we’re asking for is not beneficial or necessary for us. He knows saying “NO” will grow us – in thankfulness, in selflessness, in contentedness, in patience, in wisdom, and in so many other ways! And as far as our happiness goes, He wants us to recognize HIM as the source of our joy – not the stuff He gives us.
5. He wants to refocus us.
The distractions of this life are many. In saying “NO” to certain prayer requests, God creates space in our lives for better, more necessary things. Through this, He matures our faith, builds our strength, stretches our endurance, takes our eyes off of all the vain things of this world and shifts them onto all that is good and holy and pleasing to Him. In doing this, He creates room for fruit to grow in our hearts and flourish in our lives.
When the answer is “NO,” we must remember: This is His grace to us. By weeding out unneeded distractions, He tills the soil of our hearts, giving us the opportunity to grow spiritual fruit that can be shared with others.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. | Galatians 5:22-23
Did Christ not charge us to go out into the world and make disciples for Him? This is how we do it: By cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and inviting others to the feast.
“Why doesn’t God answer our prayers,”
He most assuredly does. Sometimes we’re at fault for not praying the right prayers. Sometimes we don’t hear His response. Sometimes it’s simply that His answer is one we don’t like, and so it’s easier to tell ourselves that He’s ignoring us.
Friends, our God is a prayer-answering God. He’s a miracle-performing God. He’s a world-shaking, life-changing, best-Dad-in-the-universe God.
His every answer is founded and grounded in truth and in love, divinely purposed for our good and His glory.
So keep praying, friends. Keep talking to Him. Don’t be discouraged by what you perceive as silence from above. And as you pray, ask for the faith to pray yet another day. He will surely grant you even that.
“The presence of God is perceived and grasped by faith—not by feeling.” | J.D. Greear