Unanswered Prayer? Doubt or Faith.

Why are some prayers answered, but some are not? The Bible promises in Matthew 21:22, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” James 1:6-8 states, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7) For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord 8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

  • Do you doubt God answers prayer?  If yes, then ask God to show you any painful memories of disappointment that is causing you to doubt. Forgive the person who caused the pain or disappointed you, and then ask God to take the resulting resentment. Next, find something to be thankful for concerning that disappointment to transform the memory. Read chapter five of my book called, 5–Finding Painful Memories and Healing Issues.
  • Are you disappointed because of unanswered prayers? If yes, then ask God to show you what His best is for you and accept His sovereign will for you. Next, mentally submit your plans and requests to God and trust He has a good purpose for your life in His timing. Many of King David’s Psalms reveal his disappointment and submission to God’s sovereignty in his life.  See my post called Know Your Purpose? .
  • Do you feel you are not worthy and that God does not love you?  This unhealthy belief is from a painful memory, so let God reveal it and heal it. To understand how this works, read my book on my website.
    • Even if you don’t feel God cares, the truth is, He does. 1Peter 5:7 says, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” And when you commit your problems to God in faith, you will have peace. Believe that “He causes all things to work together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  Do you believe?

Reason Five: Do you doubt God in any way?

First, what is faith?

Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And Romans 8:24 tells us that “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” Faith believes God will do what He has promised, so I pray the promises of God over situations in my life.

Matthew 9:29Then he touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith, be it done to you.’” This verse is most concerning because what we receive will be according to our faith. So, if we have a little faith then we will get a little.  2Kings 4 tells the story of the widow who met Elisha and asked him how she can pay her debt so that she and her son would not get sold into slavery to pay the debt. When he asked her what she had, she said she only had a jar of oil.  He told her to gather as many empty vessels from her neighbor as she could. Then pour the oil she had into those empty vessels. She could have doubted that such a thing could be done, but she gathered all the empty vessels she could find according to her faith. Then she filled every jar from that one jar of oil. The oil stopped when she finished filling all the containers. If she only got a few jars, then that was all the oil she would have gotten. It is the same with our faith. The moral of the story is that faith requires absolute obedience to experience answers to prayer.

Another example of great faith was when Jesus was walking on water, and Peter said in Matthew 14:28, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “come,” and Peter got out and began to walk on the rough waves towards Jesus. WOW, could your faith be that great? He was doing great until he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the waves. When he realized what he was doing, he became afraid and began to sink. Matthew 14:31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” The moral of the story; keep your eyes on Jesus, not your circumstances.

Matthew 16:8 states, “But Jesus, aware of this, said, ‘O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?’” The disciples witnessed Jesus taking five loves of bread and two fish to feed 5000 people, then seven loaves to feed 4000 people. In this verse, the disciples were concerned about not bringing food with them for the journey. Did they forget how Jesus multiplied the food he had to feed thousands of people? The moral of the story; Jesus will do miracles to provide what you need according to your faith.

Matthew 17:20 states, “He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.’” In this story, the disciples could not cast out a demon from a young boy.  When Jesus cast the demon out, the disciples asked Him why they could not.  Now, Jesus does not mean to move a literal mountain; otherwise, there would be no mountains.  The mountains represent the impossible things in our lives. 

My faith was tested when I needed to find another home for my children and me. My first husband was throwing us out of our home due to the divorce. I prayed for weeks for God to show me where to go, but the only income I had was child support. A friend suggested I start a sewing business. My business provided enough to put food on the table and pay the bills. But I did not make enough money to pay rent in my community. I found a cheap house that needed fixing up. So I went to a banker in my church about getting a mortgage, and he said I could not get a mortgage because I did not have a steady income. I continued to pray, and then God did a miracle and moved my mountain. I got a call that a small bank in another county was willing to give me a small mortgage. WOW!!! I bought the fixer-upper house, and God increased my business so I could pay the mortgage and all my other expenses, plus fix the place up. The moral of the story; God still does miracles and moves mountains to meet our needs.

Mark 5:34 states, “And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.’” The story behind this verse is of a woman who went to every physician, and they could not help her.  Her only hope was for Jesus to heal her, so by faith, she approached Jesus through the crowd of people around Him so she could touch His garment. Jesus felt power leave Him, so He turned to see who had touched Him. She confessed that she touched Him. Her faith brought the healing she hoped for. The moral of the story; faith connects to the power of God. Why are many not healed when they pray by faith and believe God will heal them? Read, How the Devil Causes Trouble and my other posts on why prayers are not answered.

When you doubt, you are not trusting God.

Are you consumed by worry or anger? When we worry and are angry, we doubt God can help us. Our emotions become like the waves of the sea described in James 1:6 because our negative thoughts act as the wind to whip-up our emotions. When we worry, we fear the worst will happen, and we are not trusting in God.  Don’t expect He will help you if you are not asking and trusting Him.  Philippians 4:6-7 states, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Anger demands justice and retribution for an unfair wrong done against you.  God will patiently wait for you to turn the issue to Him before He acts on your behalf.

Proverbs 3:5-10 explains how to trust God.

5) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding

            Does your heart reflect trust?

6) In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths

            Do you acknowledge Him in all your plans?

7) Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 8) It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones

            Are you humble? Do you fear God and repent when you sin and do evil?

9) Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10) then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine

            Do you tithe?

Conclusion

The greater your faith, the greater the miracles.  The greater the doubt, the more you worry and become angry. Faith looks to God in hope and expects Him to provide excellent things.  Doubt looks to the distressing circumstances and sees no hope that things can be better.  God is waiting for us to come to Him in faith and receive the good things He has for us.

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15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

Pt. 2: Why You Can and Cannot Trust God? 

Unanswered Prayer? Why?

Unanswered Prayer—Are You Connected?

Unanswered Prayer—Are You Presentable?

Unanswered Prayer? Why?

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?

From billygraham.org:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

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