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Don Stewart :: Why Do So Many Prayers Seem to Go Unanswered?

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Don Stewart
Christians often complain that God did not answer their prayers. But such is not the case. All of our prayers are answered.

The Answer May Be No

Sometimes God answers our requests by saying no. God has also promised to give us the grace to accept any answer that he gives us. Not everything we pray for is granted. The Apostle Paul said of his experience:

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to Me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8,9).

In this case the prayer of the Apostle Paul was answered but it was answered differently than he expected.

Saying No Is For Our Benefit

Christians have to remember that God only has the believers best interest in mind. When He says no to our prayers He does it for our best. The Apostle Paul wrote about God answering no to one of his prayers:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:8,9).

Wait

Oftentimes God does not give us a yes or no answer but rather says for us to wait. A delayed answer is not necessarily a no answer. A case in point can be found in Scripture with Zacharias-the father of John the Baptist. God delayed the answer to the prayer of he and his wife to have a child. The reason is that God had something in mind that was better than they ever dreamed. Their child was to be the forerunner of the Messiah. Yet they had to wait until they were very old before they saw the birth of this child because of God's timing. They wanted a son but got a prophet instead.

Can Have Bad Result

There are occasions when the granting of our requests can have detrimental result. An example of this would be Hezekiah. When the prophet Isaiah informed Hezekiah that he was about to die he prayed to God to prolong his life. God granted his request and gave him fifteen extra years to live. However in those fifteen years two things occurred that had terrible consequences on the future of his people. Hezekiah showed the Babylonians the great treasures of the Temple. One hundred years later these same Babylonians plundered the Temple and its treasures.

Evil Son

He also conceived a son in those fifteen years who became one of the worst kings in the nation's history. His name was Manasseh. Manasseh led the people into all types of idolatry and idol worship and caused the nations to stray away from the service of the Lord.

The Bible says:

So He gave them their request, but sent a wasting disease among them (Psalm 106:15).

Sin


The Bible indicates that sin can hinder our prayers being answered in an affirmative manner. The psalmist wrote:

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear (Psalm 66:18).

Honor With Their Mouths

The prophet Isaiah records the Lord as saying:

Inasmuch as these people draw near to Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but they have removed their hearts far from Me (Isaiah 29:13).

Marital Problems

Marital problems can hinder the granting of prayer requests:

Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

Lack Of Faith

Sometimes a lack of faith can keep our prayers from being answered:

But let the person ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that person suppose that they will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6,7).

Not Remaining In Christ

Our prayers will be answered if we remaining in Christ.

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you (John 15:7).

To remain in Christ means to keep His commandments:

and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him (1 John 3:22).


Not According To His Will

Often times our prayers are answered with a no because it is not according to His will.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).

Summary

There are several reasons why prayers seem to go unanswered though all prayers are indeed answered. One of the answers that God gives is, No. God also may answer with, Wait. Whatever the case may be, God does answer all the prayers of believers.



CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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