We all have experienced times when we ask, plead, and beg God for something and do not get what we asked for. I have requests that I am still waiting for God to give me. I struggle spiritually in the area of prayer and why my prayers sometimes do not get answered. Are you sometimes not sure how you should pray? Do you wonder why God does not answer your prayers? I studied what the Bible says about prayer and why God sometimes does not answer our prayers the way we want. Over the next several posts, I will explain from God’s Word the seven reasons why He sometimes does not answer our prayers.
The Bible says, He will give us what we ask for, so why doesn’t He? Matthew 7:7, 8 states, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8) For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Jesus spoke these words during His sermon on the mount. Verses 7 and 8 are clarified in verse 11, where Jesus explains, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” This verse identifies two reasons why God does not give what we ask for in prayer.
Reason One: Is God your Father?
Some people say that everyone is a child of God because He created us in His image. Being made in God’s image does not make us children of God. The next three verses explain who the children of God really are:
John 1:12 states, “But to all who did receive him (Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Did you receive the forgiveness of your sins and the Spirit of God to be your Lord and Savior and believe in Jesus’s name?
Romans 8:14,16 explains, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 16) The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Are you led by the Spirit of God and do what is pleasing to Him?
1 John 3:10 states, “By this, it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” Do you practice right thinking and behavior and do you love your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus?
If you know that God is your father, do you believe He would give you something that is not good for you? Did your earthly parents give you the things you asked, and did you become offended when you didn’t get what you asked? I did. It is natural to be upset when you don’t get what you want.
Reason 2: Is your request something good?
James 1:17 tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” You may want something you think is good, but you don’t know the potential problems. Because God knows all things, including the future, you can trust Him to give you good things, not always what you want. Isaiah 46:10 states, “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times to things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” God has a good purpose for you and your future. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” What you are asking for may not be part of the perfect plan God has for you. So, you need to do what Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Do you trust the LORD with all your heart and are willing to accept the better plan He has for you, though you do not understand? For instance, I prayed for God’s favor with my boss, so she does not lay me off. I may not know why God did not answer my prayer, but I trust He has a good purpose for my layoff and directs my steps.
You may say, but Psalm 37:4 and 5 says “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5) Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” Are you delighting in the Lord? What does it mean to delight in the Lord? Have you committed your way to the LORD and yielded every part of your life to Him? Do you desire to please God by being thankful even when you don’t understand his plan for your life?
God’s timetable is not the same as ours. He knows better than we do when the best time is for our prayers to be answered. Hebrews 6:13-15 explain how we may have to be patient and wait. In the story of Abraham, God promised a son to Abraham. But Abraham became impatient when Sarah didn‘t bear him a son, so she gave him her servant to be his wife. Abraham and Sarah tried to fulfill the promise of God themselves, and the result was disastrous. We are still seeing the devastating impact of their not waiting for God. Fifteen years after God promised them a son, He fulfilled the promise when He saw it was best. Will you trust God today with the desires of your heart and wait for Him, even if it takes fifteen years or more?
Q: Why doesn’t God seem to answer my prayers?
A: So often we are inclined to think that the only answer God can give our prayers is “yes.” We need to remember that “no” is an answer also. “No” is certainly an answer of love on the part of our Heavenly Father when we ask Him for things which are not really for our good or for His glory. God does not always give us what we want; He gives us what we need. Just as a good parent does not grant all the requests of his child, God does not answer every request in the way we desire.
The first two reasons why our prayers may go unanswered are that God may not be your Father and what you are asking is not good to God, who gives the best. First, make sure God is your Father by believing in His Son and receive the forgiveness of your sins that was purchased by Jesus on the cross. Invite Jesus into your heart and to be Lord of your life. Second, accept that no answer is also an answer, and God sometimes does not give us what we ask because it was not good in His sight.