2022 was the year of “Prayer” for my small group, and we studied six different Bible Studies on this topic. I must say it was enlightening to me about how much I did not know about my own prayer life and how to ask in prayer, how to praise in prayer, how to give thanksgiving in prayer, and most importantly, “why God answers some prayers and other prayers He seems to be silent on with no answer.”
I’d like to explore this question in our blog this month.
“Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”
Any ideas as to why? In my library, I have many translations of the Bible, and my favorite is my Charles Stanley Study Bible. In this Bible, Dr. Stanley has so many beneficial notes, life principles, and explanations, and the content – author, and timeline at the beginning of each book are fabulous. As it pertains to our question above, Dr. Stanley gives ten very specific reasons our prayers are not answered.
Let’s look at them one by one.
- God does not answer our prayers due to our DISOBEDIENCE. This comes directly out of Psalm 81: 10 – 12.
I am the Lord your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
“But My people would not heed My voice,
And Israel would have none of Me.
So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart,
To walk in their own counsels.
- God does not answer our prayers due to our DOUBT. This comes directly out of James 1: 5 – 8 and Mark 9:23.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let, not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
- God does not answer our prayers due to our attempts at manipulation. This comes directly out of 1 Samuel 13: 9-14.
So, Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came, and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore, I felt compelled and offered a burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now, your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
- God does not answer our prayers due to our Wrong Motivation. God does not partner without schemes. This comes directly out of James 4:3
You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
- God does not answer our prayers due to our LACK OF RESPONSIBILITY. God does not compensate a lazy or negligent person. This comes directly out of Proverbs 19:15.
Laziness casts one into a deep sleep,
And an idle person will suffer hunger.
- God does not answer our prayers due to our ILLEGITIMATE “NEED.” This comes directly out of Jeremiah 45:1-5
The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the instruction of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: ‘You said, “Woe is me now! For the Lord has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.”
“Thus, you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, what I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck up, that is, this whole land. And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,” says the Lord. “But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.”
- God does not answer our prayers due to our REJECTING God’s method. God has made our path clear, and it is simple in terms of what we are asked to do. It is our interpretation through worldly eyes which obscures His commandments which we are given to live by. This comes directly out of Psalm 16: 11, Joshua 6, and 2 Kings 5: 8 – 14
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Ps. 16:11
Open your Bible and read the Joshua and 2 Kings passages.
- God does not answer our prayers due to our DISOBEDIENCE AT His redirection. When God wants to use our gift in a new way or direction, we go a different way. He is not pleased. This comes directly out of Genesis 37:39 – 50 and Isaiah 43:19.
Please open your Bible and read Genesis 37: 39 – 50
Your descendants also would have been like the sand,
And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;
His name would not have been cut off
Nor destroyed from before Me.”
- God does not answer our prayers due to our not to be taught by Him. Sometimes God’s will is to redirect our focus to our eternal and spiritual needs in order to enhance our “trust” in Him in “all things.” This comes directly out of Isaiah 48:18
Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
- God does not answer our prayers due to our turning our backs on Our Lord wanting to bring us to repentance. Confess our sin, turn and repent and keep praying. This comes directly out of Luke 15: 11 – 31 and 18: 1 – 8.
Please open your Bible to the two passages above and read them.
All of us are guilty of each of these ten reasons God does not answer our prayers. Perhaps you journal your prayer requests. That’s not a bad idea, but it is important to journal with the date. Also, on the same page, you might want to complete your journal with the following: 1. Prayer Requests, 2. Answered Prayers, and 3. Praises. You see, asking is not a one-and-done thing; it is a conversation with God, and He seeks to have an ongoing relationship and conversation with you.
One of our studies in 2022 was Walking In Fellowship with God – Disciple’s Prayer Life, by T. W@. Hunt & Catherine Walker. Fabulous content and a deep dive into our prayer lives. In the back of the study guide, there are pages and pages of what the authors call “Prayer Guide.” I’d like to list them here in hopes they will prompt you to do this study with your group.
Prayer Guide 1 – Giving God a Reason [to answer your prayer]
Prayer Guide 2 – Knowing God [praying using the Names of God]
Prayer Guide 3 – Prayer Identities
Prayer Guide 4 – Using the Bible in Prayer [praying scripture back to God]
Prayer Guide 5 – Expressing Gratitude in Prayer
Prayer Guide 6 – Worshiping God in Prayer
Prayer Guide 7 – Praying Together
Prayer Guide 8 – Agreeing with God
Prayer Guide 9 – Principles of Asking
Prayer Guide 10 – Dealing with Hindrances and Delays [these are in addition to the 10 items stated above]. This one is probably the most impactful of my Christian life!
Prayer Guide 11 – Asking for Yourself and Others [helpful when praying for others]
Prayer Guide 12 – Praying for Missions
If you are a person of faith, a believer in Jesus Christ, and you are not praying daily and having a conversation with your Father who is in heaven, then who are you in a relational conversation with? It is my experience that we give our thoughts, emotions, and reactions over to Satan if we are not very careful about keeping our thoughts, emotions, and reactions to what is going on around us in the fallen world. Don’t believe me? Next time you find yourself in free fall, having anxiety about someone or some event, angry, verbally saying something to someone you love in frustration, ask yourself: “Where is this coming from?”
My friend God does not operate in this manner. You have opened yourself up to the fallen angel of heaven.
If you are looking for a mentor, a coach, or a small group or a church where you can learn about these things, look in your own neighborhood. If you need help, please reach out to me and I am happy to help you find your way back to the sure footing.