Have you ever prayed that prayer so dear to your heart, and yet it seemed God just chose not to answer?
Or have you ever needed God to answer a prayer, but you got discouraged along the way and stopped praying?
Many have asked the question, “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”
What I have learned through my own experiences and those of others is that God always answers our prayers, but we might not be open to seeing or hearing His answers—especially if we want Him to answer in a certain way.
Scripture is clear, however, that there are things we do that can hinder our prayers from being answered.
One of these is that we aren’t always surrendered to God’s work in His way in our lives.
Isaiah 44:3 says, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.”
Another thing that can hinder our prayers from being answered is when we have unforgiveness in our hearts toward others. Scripture reveals our sins will be forgiven in direct proportion to our forgiveness of others.
“. . .forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12, NLT)
Sometimes our prayers are hindered because we don’t stick with them in the long run. We live in a society that has become accustomed to immediate gratification. That can extend to our prayer life.
God is not a vending machine in which we insert a prayer and expect an immediate return.
God’s timetable is not ours.
“Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
If we are willing to entrust our cares and our requests to Him, shouldn’t we also be willing to trust His timing?
Several Scriptures remind us that we often do not have because we don’t ask God in the first place (“. . . You have not because you ask not.” James 4:2). Or, all too often, we do not pray without ceasing, as we are encouraged to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Sometimes we pray once or twice or even a dozen times, but do not continue in our prayerful pursuit of God’s best. Paul reminded us in Philippians 4:6, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
At other times we pray but miss God’s answer because we are looking for a specific response, and when we don’t see it, we interpret it as the lack of one. It’s important that we recognize God’s answers take three forms: Yes, No, and Not yet (Hebrews 10:36). The “yes” answers are easy to identify. But the “no” and even more so the “not yet” answers might be more difficult to recognize.
We are sinners saved by grace, with a very limited view of our lives and the world around us. Because of our humanity and our limited vantage point, we won’t always know what is best for us. Our prayers should always ask for God’s will to be done rather than our own, that He would save us from ourselves, while we trust that His plan for us is always good and His timing is always perfect.
Have you ever thought God wasn’t answering your prayers, when it turns out He was, but His answer just didn’t come when or how you expected?
If you have a prayer request, please let us know in the comments. We’d like to pray with you.
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