Top 3 Reasons Why God Does Not Answer Prayers
I hear it so many times … most people do not pray because they say that prayer does not work. Well, they are partially right. It is not that prayer works. It is that God works. As EM Bounds has written, “Prayers move the hands that moves the world.” It is God that moves the world. It is God that works, and most often, He works through prayers.
However, most people feel like their prayers go unanswered. And this could also true. But why? Let me give you the top 3 reasons why God does not answer prayers.
# 3: We Have Damage Relationship
This is really, really huge, and yet, it is most often neglected. Our relationship with one another matters when it comes to answer prayers. God does not answer our prayers if we mistreat each other. He does not answer our prayers if there are some damages in our relationship with one another, especially with our spouse and our Christian brothers and sisters. The Apostle Peter warns husbands to …
1 Peter 3:7~ 7 … live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Our prayers can be hindered when we have arguments with our spouse and leave those arguments unreconciled. Our prayers can be hindered when we are not living in harmony with our spouse. We think that we can hurt our spouse, yell at our spouse, ignore our spouse, and then go into our prayer closet and expect God to answer our prayers? It does not work that way.
One time I got so frustrated with my wife and spoke to her in an unloving manner and tone. She turned to me and snapped right back saying, “This is why God doesn’t answer your prayers because of the way you speak to me.” I was cut to the heart. She was right. So, I apologized to her right there and then because I knew God would not listen to me if I do not honor my wife.
But it is not only our relationship with our spouse that we need to concern ourselves with. It is also our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. With one side of our mouth we pray to God, with the other side we gossip poorly of them. God does not hear those kinds of prayers. If we hold bitterness in our heart against our Christian brothers and sisters, we should not expect that God will hear our prayers.
Jesus has this to say to his disciples:
Matthew 5:23-24~ 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
There is an order … FIRST restore the broken relationship, and THEN come and offer to God. Our relationship with our spouse and our relationship with our Christian brothers and sisters matters when it comes to answer prayers.
Are you holding any bitterness in your heart against another person whom Christ has died for? Reconcile quickly with that person and then come to God in prayer.
# 2: We Have Selfish Motives
The second reason our prayers are not answered is because we pray for the wrong thing. The Bible says that …
James 4:3~ 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
The word “wrongly” is literally “wickedly”. We pray for things that do not please God or things that feed our selfish desires instead of promoting God’s Kingdom or God’s love.
One time, I had a disagreement with a brother in Christ, and so, he prayed that God would judge me. Instead of trying to reconcile the broken relationship and praying for humility and understanding from both parties so that relationship could be restored, he wanted God to avenge him by punishing me. He took comfort in his prayer that God would one day afflict judgment on me. I can honestly say that God has never answered that prayer.
When we pray for things that elevate ourselves or things that allow us to indulge in our “wicked” pleasures, God does not answer these types of prayers. Our prayer should be for God’s Kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven and for God’s will to be done. Not our will, but His.
And the Number One Reason why our prayers are not answer is …
# 1: We Do Not Pray
Yes! This is the Number 1 reason why God does not answer prayers … we really do not pray. The Bible says this in the book of James.
James 4:2~ 2 … You do not have, because you do not ask.
We talk about praying. We tell people that we will pray for them. But we really do not pray. We make hopeful, wishful statement of prayer but we never get to the point of actually praying.
One time I was deeply concerned about a business that I was overseeing because we were running into financial difficulty. I shared it with a friend who responded, “I pray that God will turn it around.” That is not praying. That is a statement about prayer.
We know we should pray. And we tell people that we will pray for them. But most of the time, we really do not pray. So, the number one reason why God does not answer prayer is because we never prayed.
Remember that prayer does not have to be long. Most prayers are short. So instead of talking about prayer or telling people that you will pray for them, why not start by lifting up our voice to God and pray?
Start praying today.
See also other articles in this series Prayer, Passion, and Purity: