Do you feel as if God is not answering your prayers? Should God say “YES; OK” to our every prayer request or petition? Does God answer all prayers? Or does He choose to ignore some of them?
Jeremiah 33:2-3 NKJV
“Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it (the Lord is His name): ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
God has promised to answer us if we call Him. However the fact is, many people (myself included) pray for God to do specific things in our life, and at times it feels like either God is taking too long to answer, or it appears as if God may never answer some of our prayers.
Therefore, when we pray to God and talk to Him concerning the many diverse issues of our lives, why does it seem as if He is so silent or so slow to respond to our prayers?
REASONS WHY IT MAY SEEM AS IF GOD IS NOT ANSWERING …
(1) You Need To Be Patient – God will answer you in His own time. God does not always respond instantly to our prayers. He does not answer us according to our own timetable. Therefore whenever we pray to God, He will at times expect us to exercise patience and He will want us to wait patiently for His response.
Romans 8:25 ESV – But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Psalms 37:7 NKJV – Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
(2) Learn to Listen & Discern – It’s important for us to listen just as much as we speak. Perhaps you are not listening. God might be speaking to you but perhaps you cannot hear Him because you do not recognize His voice. It might be that the answer you want or expect is not the answer that God is giving you. Sometimes we want God to answer the way we want Him to – but God does not always answer the way we expect. Sometimes when you have prayed for something specific, you might expect God to answer you with a specific outcome that you would have pre-determined on your own – but sometimes, God’s plans are not our plans – and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8 NKJV). Therefore how you expect God to answer you can hinder your ability to listen or discern God’s voice if God is preparing to answer or speak to you with a different outcome than the one you are expecting.
In the Bible in 1 Samuel 3:1-10 NKJV, God called Samuel’s name 3 times and 3 times, Samuel mistook God’s voice for Eli’s voice. He thought that it was Eli who was calling him when it was in fact the LORD who was calling his name. Samuel failed to distinguish between the voice of God and the voice of a man.
Therefore when you have prayed, it is important to be able to listen and to distinguish between the many voices that may speak to you so that you are sure to hear God and obey Him. There are many voices that will vie for your attention: the voice of man; the voice of the world; the voice of emotion; the voice of natural intellect and even from the voice of the devil – but it is important to discern and to know God’s voice.
John 10:27 NKJV – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
(3) Have A Relationship with God – If your best friend, your spouse or even your child were to call you on your cellphone, would you be able to recognize his/her voice via the cellphone? When you have a strong and close relationship with God, you may not be able to see Him, but it is possible to recognize His voice. It is however pertinent that our relationship with God is strong and sound. Unless you have a genuine, one-on-one relationship with God it can be sometimes difficult to hear God’s answers to your prayers. Therefore, the more you know God, the more you will recognize Him. It is important to note that in 1 Samuel 3:7, when Samuel could not recognize God’s voice the scriptures say “(Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)”
Therefore if you do not know the Lord or have a relationship with God, it can be very difficult to hear God’s answers pertaining to various issues in your life and pertaining to your prayers.
Revelation 3:20 NKJV – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.
(4) You Are Praying Amiss – Whenever you seek God’s help, do you pray with the right motives? For example, as you pray are you seeking vengeance and damnation on other people, when in fact God wants you to pray for their salvation? Or are you praying for God to give you material things only when in fact God would wish that you would focus more on praying for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life?
In 2 Chronicles 1:7-11 Solomon became King and God asked Solomon what he wanted. Solomon then asked for wisdom & knowledge. God ended up giving Solomon MORE than what he asked because Solomon had asked God with a pure heart and with the right motive. This is what God said to him after Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge: 2 Chronicles 1:11-12 – Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life — but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king — wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”
Therefore if we are to hear God’s answers to our prayers then we must pray according to His will and His purpose. We must pray God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
James 4:3 NKJV – You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
(5) You Are Not Adding Faith and Works to Your Prayers – God is not a magician or a wizard. Neither is He is genie. You can therefore not simply wish things into existence. Whatever God does, He does to glorify Himself. If we expect God to answer our prayers, then we must have faith in Him. And our faith must be accompanied by action. For example, perhaps you are looking for a job with good remuneration. It is good to pray for a job, but you must also spend time sending your applications and CV to respective companies. You cannot just pray for a job but not make the effort to practically search for the job you want through the newspaper, employment agencies, internet sites etc.
Or perhaps you want to give up an addiction such as smoking. When you have prayed for God to help you to overcome the addiction and temptation of smoking, you must then accompany that prayer with action and effort by avoiding to smoking cigarettes.
When you put faith and works together, you will then experience the God’s practical answers to your prayers in your life.
James 2:17-19 NKJV – Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
(6) Spend More Time Reading His Word – God’s word, the Bible has many answers to many issues and questions that we may have in our life. God is able to answer your prayers through His word. However you cannot receive or understand His answers unless you spend time reading His word. Many times God has answered specific issues in my own life simply by using His word.
In 1 Samuel 3:7 the scriptures say (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)
Therefore part of the reason why Samuel did not recognize the Lord or His voice was because the word of God was not yet inside him. It is therefore important for us to study and meditate God’s word if we are to hear and understand God when He responds to our prayers.
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 NKJV
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
God loves us and He will not ignore us if we come to Him with the right heart. God is more interested in the condition of our heart and if we come to Him, He will listen to us.
You don’t have to be perfect for God to listen to you. In fact, God will listen to you more so when you are flawed and broken.
Psalms 34:18 NKJV – The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Psalms 51:17 NKJV – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise.
In conclusion: Does God answer prayers? Yes He does.