Home Faith in Action Why some prayers are not answered (Part 1)

Why some prayers are not answered (Part 1)


By Pr Isaiah White

We all pray to God with the hope of getting answers, but at times we do not get what we have prayed for.

Perhaps you have been told by some preachers and teachers that God answers in one of these three ways: He says ‘yes’, sometimes ‘wait’, and in some incidences ‘no’.

This explanation is usually given depending on someone’s experience.

Some have prayed and have not received whatever they prayed for so, they concluded it was a ‘no’ from God.

Others have prayed and got immediate answers, therefore, that is a ‘yes’ and some have prayed timely prayers whose answers have come later or out of time, and concluded God asked them to wait.

The Word of God provides several reasons our prayers are not answered.

Note that the reasons below are not necessarily the only ones why God might not answer your prayers.

Again these reasons are not indicative of the fact that if you acted or prayed otherwise, then by all means you will make God answer your prayers.

We all pray hoping for answers from God, however, it is not always automatic that we get our heart desires. (Source/Jesus.net)

He is sovereign and His answers are under His charge and not subject to what we do.

The few reasons below are for our edification and growth as committed Christians and helpful to our prayer life.

Poor and selfish praying
The first reason our prayers are not answered is not knowing how to pray and having selfish prayers.

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3).

If one prayed for a public office for his selfish intentions, that prayer will not be granted.

When we pray to God, He discerns our thoughts and understands who we are.

It does not matter what we say in our prayers because He knows exactly our intentions.

If we genuinely want to expose how pure or impure our prayer requests are to God, we need not look any further than His Word for answers.

If we want to understand and unlock the wisdom of James 4:3, we need to apply every self-introspecting word of Psalm 139.

God knows everything about us. So, if our intentions are not pure, we might never receive the answers we seek.

Doubt and unbelief
You are not answered because you are not only sure about what you are praying for but also doubt the capacity of whom you are praying to.

The Bible says: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

Mark 11:24: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Without belief in God, nothing can happen. Doubting God is blasphemous and it is compared to denouncing His authority to provide.

Praying in sin
While God does not answer our prayers based on how righteous we are, He is concerned with how sinful we are when we pray.

We are all sinners, but it is one thing to be a sinner by identity and to be actively involved in sinning.

Praying to be protected by God as you steal is a request that cannot be answered.

Getting away with your stealing or adultery does not necessarily mean God answered your prayers.

God does not answer prayers of impunity. The Bible says: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

Leaving in sin might be an obstruction to answered prayer.

“When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil” (Isaiah 1:15-16).


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