Tough Issue: Unanswered Prayer

18 Jun

I have been pondering lately the idea of unanswered prayer. Why does God not answer prayers? Why do some people not get healed? Why are so many believers without jobs? Haven’t they prayed in faith? After much prayer and searching the scriptures, I have come up with a list of some answers. Fortunately, the God I serve is bigger and more powerful than even the most thorough research and comprehensive list, though I believe He delights in our pondering and wrestling with tough questions. First, I would like to say that I don’t believe the Lord leaves any of our prayers “unanswered.” I believe the Lord’s heart is utterly broken when we are suffering and He is not a coward or an avoidant to our problems. I believe that, over time, the Lord reveals His truth to the hearts of all of His children, as they diligently seek Him.

Some reasons I found for “unanswered prayer”:

1. We don’t ask. Maybe we asked, but we lacked persistence. (Matthew 7:7-8)

2. We haven’t asked in faith. We have to believe that God is capable of answering our prayer, that He desires to communicate with us, and that His will is perfect. (Mark 11:24, Mark 6:5 NLT, Hebrews 11:1)

3. We are not looking for God’s answer. (Acts 12:13-16, Jeremiah 7:24-26)

4. We are not asking in Jesus’ name. There is power in a name, but there is even greater power in the name of Jesus Christ. Make it a regular practice to use his many names in your prayers. (John 14:13-14, 16: 23-24)

5. We haven’t fully surrendered our lives to God. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 10:39)

6. We are asking for things outside of His will. (1 John 5:14-15)

7. God is waiting for us to accept a different (often greater) answer. (1 Samuel 1 – It wasn’t until Hannah changed her prayer from just having a child for herself to desiring a child to turn over to the Lord in service did the Lord answer her prayer.)

8. His answer is being delivered in rough packaging.

9. We are disobeying God. This may be in an aspect of our life that is entirely different from the thing we are praying for. (Hebrews 3:7-19)

10. We must FULLY obey God before the answer comes. (Jeremiah 7:23)

11.  We limit God by our half-hearted obedience. (Matthew 16:24)

12. We limit God by our half-hearted prayers. (Ephesians 1:19-20)

13. We are cherishing something that is outside of God’s will. (Isaiah 59:1-2)

14. We need to forgive others. (Matthew 5:23-24, Colossians 3:13)

15. We need to forgive ourselves. (Hebrews 8:12 He will never remember our sins… Neither should we beat ourselves up about them.)

16. We are seeking a supernatural remedy when a natural one would do the trick. We are being lazy to help ourselves. (2 Kings 20:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:6)

17. This isn’t the right time. (2 Peter 3:8)

18. We aren’t being still or quiet enough to hear Him. (Psalm 37:7, 62:1)

19. We need to spend more time in His word. (Psalm 119:105)

20. We don’t fully grasp God’s heart for us, and therefore lack faith that He longs to speak with us. (Jeremiah 32:40, James 1:18)

21. We need to confess some part of our lives to others. (Psalm 32:3-5, 66:18)

22. We aren’t in a Godly community. God uses our communities to speak truth into our lives and answer our prayers. (Acts 2:42-47, Ephesians 4:15, Hebrews 10:25)

23. Our pride is in the way. We are not fully willing to be broken by God and fall in humility at His feet. (Obadiah 1:3)

24. We are not trusting God with our finances. (Malachi 3:8)

25. We are not living a life of servitude. (John 13:14)

26. We are not answering the call of the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19-20)

27. We are not living in an attitude of worship and thanksgiving. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, Psalm 89:15-16)

28. God has given us free will and the ability to choose. Sometimes He wants us to decide for ourselves between many “good” options.

If you are struggling right now, I would love to pray with you. The Lord is the great restorer, and He has the power to help you through the fiery flames of life. Please know that the Lord loves and cherishes your heart more than you could imagine. He created you and He delights in His creation. Be encouraged. Our God is sovereign and He knows what He is doing.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11


One Response to “Tough Issue: Unanswered Prayer”

  1. harinayfe June 25, 2010 at 6:44 am #

    I think the 3rd verse you listed really reflects us as humans. I believe that more times than not God has answered our prayers, but we do not see the answer because it was not the answer we were looking for.

    I found your page on the dashboard of webpress and am enjoying it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: