Have you ever prayed and prayed and prayed, and it seems as if God isn’t listening? Or you haven’t received the answer you were looking for, or you didn’t like the answer you were given? Welcome to life. There are many reasons why prayers go unanswered. There is a country song (Listen Here) that mainly talks about unanswered prayers being a good thing. It definitely isn’t a bad thing when some of our prayers go unanswered. i want to touch briefly on a few reasons why it seems our prayers go unanswered or why we don’t get the answer that we think is best. This is not an exhaustive study by any means but a quick glance to better our understanding.
First, motives. We need to have the right motives when praying. How are we using the answer or how will the answer benefit us? James 4:3 says, “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong-you want only what will give you pleasure.” i could stop there because that is pretty clear but let me take us to another passage. 1 John 5:14-15 reads, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of Him.” Let me assure you that if you “Seek first the Kingdom of God…” Your will and God’s will, will be one in the same and motives will not be what hinders your prayers.
Second, sin. God is under no obligation to answer our prayers and especially if we are not living right. If you are a non-believer the only prayer that you can be 100% assured God will hear and answer is that of you crying out to Him for salvation. After that, our continued sin can be a hindrance to our prayers. Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities (sin) have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” and in 1 Peter 3:12 we read, “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns His face against those who do evil.” Now we know that God does not abandon us. He desires to bless us, i simply point out God’s word to us. Jesus teaches God’s desire in Matthew 7:9-11 (NIV) “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!“
Third, delays. It could be that your answer was sent to you from the moment you started praying. However, there is a spiritual battle going on that you can not see but is there, and it is delaying your answer. Daniel finds this out, and we can read about it in Daniel 10:12-14 (NLT) “Then he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first-day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to exprain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.‘”
Fourth, timing. This one is a big one! If you say, i have confessed my sin, and i trust that my motive and intention are in line with God’s will, it may just be, that the timing might not be right. There might be work yet to do. It might involve others who have free will as you do and God is still working on them. Patience is key. Hebrews 10:36 (NLT) says, “Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.” Hebrews 6:13-15 (NLT) reads, “For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in His own name, saying: ‘I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.’ Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.'”
Finally, we need to trust in God’s timing. Kairos (καιρός) is an Ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical or opportune moment. His timing is perfect. Instead of being angry or impatient with unanswered prayer, look at it as an opportunity. An opportunity to make sure you and God are in a good place. An opportunity to make sure your motives are pure. An opportunity to grow in spiritual strength equipping you for more significant battles down the road. An opportunity to be at the exact right time and the exact right place to see God’s mighty hand move in ways you couldn’t even have hoped or imagined!
You are Loved,