We have surely had times in our lives where we prayed for a particular thing, even with the help of others, yet nothing happened. We prayed, cried and consulted people to no avail. No one seems to understand us. The world seems to be against us though our hopes are pinned on God alone. Yet God seems very far away from us. The Bible gives many reasons in addition to the ones above why God would not answer a prayer.
There are many reasons why God will not answer a prayer. The first is if we are living in sin (Jn 9:31; Ps 66:18; Prov 15:29; 28:9).
The second is bad timing. It may not be the appointed time like the prayer of Abraham for Ishmael to live so the promise of God would be fulfilled. He felt he was getting old and wanted Ishmael to live since he felt God will no more give him a child. As if saying; God I would not wait for that one just leave this one to live. He looked at his own timetable and not that of God. Has God made you a promise but you think a shortcut will do? You hold on it and pray hard to no avail? My friend, you are on a wrong timing. God has an appointed time for everything. No matter how you pray, there will be no answer.
The third is "do the crime, do the time." God may not answer our prayer positively because He wants us to face the consequences of our sin like the case of Cain. Sometimes you may run into trouble, but the Lord does not take you out. He wants you to know that what you really did was bad. That is why sometimes we have people who killed, are sentenced to death but later give their lives to Christ in jail. The world cries that they should not be executed yet they are executed and God does not intervene to set them free. Though God, has saved them from condemnation, He leaves them to face the consequences of their sins. Do you remember why you are in the predicament you are now? Have you learned your lesson yet? You will have to repeat that class until you get it right even if your name is “I Can’t Get It Right”.
The fourth: Expunge and delete bad files. God at times may not answer our prayer to erase the memory of sin like the case of David. If the child of sin he had with Bathsheba had lived, David’s sin would have constantly been in his face. So God takes away the child because when he forgives he forgets and rolls down our sins into the bottom of the river (Micah 7:19). Do you remember why you lost that position you got by forgery? Do you realize that when you believed, most of the things you got by forgery disappear as you start to be a serious believer? Don’t cry about them. God loves you and does not want you to live with a soiled conscience.
Fifth: Unclean Motives. At times, God may not answer our prayers because it is not His will or if we have a wrong motive (James 4:3; I Jn 3:22).The case of Jonah who did not want God to forgive the people of Niniveh (Jonah 4:3) is a glaring example. Have you thought about why God has not given you what you are asking? A man was healed in the bible and he asked Jesus to allow him to go with him. Jesus refused and told him instead to carry the word to the city. What is the alternative God is giving you of what you are asking?
Sixth: making us better people. Sometimes God does not answer our prayers to build our character., like the case of Paul (2 Cor 12:8-9). Yeah God could be building your character by not answering your prayers. Now, I have grown as a man into great patience to know that I will not always have everything I want.
Seventh: God does not sew his coat according to our size as we think. Most of us think that we can twist the hands of God. A man came to Jesus, made a plea to follow him, but Jesus told him to first go sell all he has, give the money to the poor, before coming to follow him. The man could not, so he went away sorrowfully (Lk. 6.20, 24-30). That was his prayer rejected. Another one wanted to follow Jesus but asked him to give him time, so he could go bid farewell to his family. Christ again rejected his prayer (Lk. 9.61-62). If God does not answer our prayers, let us keep waiting in prayers and stop all the gymnastics of consulting prophets and running from one place to another, from one church to another and from one conference to another, increasing our blood pressure and breaking our hearts. There is a better reason why he is not answering. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).
God bless you as you wait upon the Lord.
It would seem many Christians do not understand the implication or definition of prayer. Prayer /prŏsĕuchē/ and worship/prŏskunĕō/ are from the same family and are as such, interrelated. Therefore, prayer is daily focusing on the Lord in our being. Prayer in other words is communicating with God. We communicate by word, gestures, signs and writing. Both prayer and worship are talking about having the Master as a central focus in life all the time: in actions, words, writing and the signs we use. Why then would God not answer our prayers?
Until then, I hope that our prayers would be answered.
Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk